“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”
― Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
I network frequently and this week was meeting with a friend of mine who is also a shelter director. We have coffee every few weeks to catch up on things, discuss what’s happening in the animal welfare industry and I share with her things that I am working on for Doobert.
She made a comment to me at one point in the conversation that stuck with me the rest of the day and even until now. As I was extolling to her the brilliant ideas that I had for how to revolutionize animal rescue through my technology, she simply said “Chris, you’re not looking at it from the shelter director’s perspective. This isn’t a problem that I have.” I paused for a moment, somewhat dumbfounded and simply replied, “Well what is the problem that you have?” This was a turning point in the conversation and one I wish I had done much sooner during our discussion. She shared with me her view and perspective on things, and we in turn generated some interesting ideas that I told her I would ruminate on and consider how I could help resolving them.
This experience reminded me of how important it is to try and see things from the perspective of those people you are trying to serve. Whether you are a rescue, a shelter, or a volunteer, you come into the world of animal rescue with your particular lens or filter on how you view the world. Likely you have your own pre-conceived notions and opinions, and may be steadfast in your beliefs on the right way to do things. But when was the last time you truly stopped and tried to immerse yourself in the viewpoint of the people you are trying to reach? If you are a rescue or shelter you might be trying to reach adopters or maybe to recruit volunteers. If you’re a volunteer you may be trying to convey your needs and requests back to the transport coordinator or even other volunteers. Can you look at the situation through their lens and see how things could be interpreted?
In a world where we are all trying to get our way and make our impact, try injecting some empathy and curiosity and try to look at things through a different lens to see if your perspective changes.