Perception v. Perspective

Why Knowing the Difference Makes a Difference

– Pauline Roose Moore, certified John Maxwell Team Coach, Speaker & Teacher

Do you have a certain movie that makes you well up with tears even when you’ve seen it a thousand times? How about a song that will always brings a smile to your face or tug at your heart? These emotional responses come from our perception and perspective. Coupled, they determine which actions we will, or will not, take. You may not realize it but these two things, perception and perspective, literally determine the results in every aspect of your life. With that big of an impact, it’s critical to know what these are, why they matter, and most importantly, how to use them to change your life and achieve the success you really want.

We recently interviewed John Maxwell Team member Pauline Rose Moore, who highlighted the importance of knowing the difference between perception and perspective. A United States Air Force veteran, and Certified John Maxwell Team member, Pauline uses what she’s learned to help other veterans and clients improve their lives, and achieve their goals. When asked why she joined the team, Pauline told how she had read John Maxwell’s, Failing Forward, and that it completely changed her life. “I immediately started reading the book and tears began to flow. It has changed my life. I perceive failure differently now.” If just one of John’s books could do that, she knew she had to learn everything she could about the Maxwell Method and Philosophy. Joining the team was a no brainer decision. Now that she’s certified, she’s striving to help others learn how to shift their perceptions and perspectives so that they can get more gain, less pain, and all the rewards in between.

It’s Just Semantics, Right?
Not quite. Though similar, perception and perspective stand on their own and knowing the difference can help you pinpoint areas you need to improve. Perception is what you interpret. It is your understanding of a given situation, person, or object. It is the meaning you assign to any given stimulus. Perspective is your point of view. It’s the lens you see the world through and determines how you view yourself, others, and everything else around you.

For Pauline, her perspective was that of a woman in the armed forces who wanted to make a difference. Her perception was that not achieving immediate results meant you are a failure and not good enough. This perception then lead to massive emotional pain when certain benchmarks weren’t achieved. In those moments when you tell yourself, “I’m tired, I don’t have anything left, I can’t keep going,” simply close your eyes and think about what your life would be like if you never met your goal. Next, open your eyes. Then with boldness shout, “Yes, I Can!” and press as if your very last breath depended on it.” By redefining what success looked like, Pauline changed how she felt, and now leads a happier, easier, and more successful life.

The Chicken or the Egg?
So what comes first your perspective or your perception? You may think it is your perspective, (your point of view) that determines your perception. (what things mean) In reality it is the perception of our reality that controls our perspective. Our perspectives come from our perceptions and our perceptions are created from our beliefs. The creation of beliefs are the subject of much work, and we won’t unpack that here, but we can tell you that – as the John Maxwell Team President Paul Martinelli teaches – beliefs are created one of two ways. Either through repetition, (something you learn/see/do over and over and over again) or through a dramatic emotional impact. Once we have a belief about something, we use that to perceive meaning from our circumstances and surroundings. For instance, Pauline believed that perfection meant success. Therefore, when she got a result that was less than perfect, she perceived that to mean that she was a failure. Her perspective of the world was that there are two kinds of people. Perfect and imperfect. Failures and Winners. Either/or. What Pauline finally learned through her work and association with the John Maxwell Team is that if we break our old beliefs, we can condition our minds to perceive differently. Once we do that, we can create a brand new perspective. Pauline chuckled, “I didn’t realize how much time I have wasted and how in denial I was about me being a perfectionist.”

Treat the Cause, not the Symptom
You may want to shift someone’s perspective on a certain issue. The better course is to first understand why they have that perspective (what perceptions and beliefs are at play) and then work to help them change those perceptions or beliefs. A word to the wise, many folks are attached to their beliefs and resulting perceptions, so be sure to do it in a way that is positive, supportive, and always comes from a value oriented perspective. After all, that’s what the John Maxwell Team is all about! Adding value and growing others. It takes time, but it’s definitely worth it. Like Pauline found out, change your perception, change everything. Why do you think perception and perspective are important? Leave a comment below, we’d love to learn from YOU!

About Pauline:
Pauline Rose Moore is a Foster Alum & Author of “Gabriella & Samantha’s New Mom”. She is a Veteran & International Certified John Maxwell Team Coach, Speaker & Teacher. Pauline has a MA degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s online masters in Counseling, emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling degree program, where her passion to help people with disabilities obtain gainful employment developed. She has proudly served in the United States Air Force Reserves as a Personnel Administrator for 9.5 years, to include almost 4 years of active reserve duty, which is a great indication that a servant leader is who she is.

Pauline is a Licensed ASL Interpreter, 11+ years, served as Director for both Deaf and Special Needs Ministry for 5 years, and is currently, a 3rd year Master of Divinity degree Candidate, at the Howard University School of Divinity, where she is answering her call to serve as an Air Force Chaplain and Minister to Deaf souls. She is also the creator and host of The Creative Activator, which airs every Tuesday, from 1-2pm, on WBGR Online and FB Live. Her show equips and empowers Deaf and hearing listeners to be exceptional, by using their God-given creativity everyday. When Pauline is not pouring into young people, women with her Women of Triumph Ministry, divorced and troubled couples with her We Said I Do Again Ministry, those who have neglected or rejected in society, or working on her own personal transformation, Pauline is raising 2 amazing sons with her super supportive husband who reside with her in Bowie, MD. She is blessed with a creative & artistic family; they are determined to use all of their gifts for the kingdom!