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Looking sideways, that’s an art.

Looking sideways, that’s an art.
Dian Lens

I believe wholeheartedly that learning to look sideways changes your world. I also think it’s an art. But it’s an art you can learn. I see it in my coaching, training and the change projects I lead.

You learn to look sideways using your brain’s left and right sides. We work hard on the left side of the brain (the analytical, logical part) at school. The right side is often ignored; you don’t have to develop your creativity. We were told it’s not good for much anyway. But is that true?

Recent research has shown that this creative, intuitive side – the right side – is significant for innovative thinking and thinking differently and, therefore, crucial for our future.

In his book: “A Whole New Mind”, Daniel Pink wrote that you can develop the right side of your brain. In the past, we believed you could never learn to be empathic if you were not from birth. However, it turns out we can learn. You can learn to look at paintings, listen to music, and draw. So, my persistent limiting belief that I could not draw is wrong; I can learn.

It would be best if you had others to help you learn to look sideways and for inspiration. It would be best to have the ambition and discipline to allow yourself the time to find that inspiration, as no one can do that for you. You’ll have to look for it yourself. But I am happy to help you. By now, searching for inspiration has become one of life’s necessities for me. I enjoy it immensely, and I always will. I intend to reach a healthy one hundred, that’s for sure. You know what’s great? I can also inspire my clients to learn to look sideways. It’s what I live for.

My greatest enjoyment is guiding professionals and leaders, eager to discover who they are and to learn to look sideways. Professionals who want to find all aspects of themselves: the dark, the light, the challenging, and the soft. And that they invite these different places into themselves.

I am trained as a Co-Active coach, and our wonderful mantra in coaching is: ‘You are natural, creative, resourceful and whole”.

What does this suggest to you? For me, it means you have all the answers; as a person, you are “whole”. The question is: Do you allow yourself to see and be that wholeness? Are you brave enough to look at all aspects of yourself? Are you brave enough to look sideways at all aspects of yourself? Are you welcoming all parts of you?

If you are thinking, Dian, looking sideways sounds good! But how do I do that? Then I have some tips for you.

You can learn to look sideways through meditation. Chade-Meng Tan, a programmer at Google, had a dream: to achieve world peace through meditation. It was a big dream. He wrote a book: “Search Inside Yourself” in which he examined the benefits of meditation. It seems to help people be more productive. They become calmer, happier and more compassionate.

A scientific experiment shows that people who have practiced meditation for a long time react less strongly to harmful sounds. Less brain activity is noticed in the amygdala. The amygdala is a primitive part of the brain responsible for the flight, fight or freeze reaction. There it is again, the brain. It has been proved that you can regulate the amygdala with mindfulness training. This is an exciting piece of information for result-oriented readers: coaching also creates new neurological connections in your brain; it’s scientifically proven.

In his book “Theory U”, Otto Scharmer wrote that we should take the next step from a state of being present without knowing what will come. From daring to look differently. Not from what we know or think we know, based on the past, not from our experience, but from what presents itself now. He calls this the “emergingfuture”.

It takes practice. It’s no surprise that you will improve with practice.

I like to connect the old world with the new. Do you have the courage to connect the old and the new?

I can choose to take that first step from my emerging future. Not to be afraid to live in wholeness and mildness. And to embrace being present. Then I take the next step, a first next step. You have that choice, too.

My wish is that we embrace looking sideways. Let’s make an art of looking sideways. Perhaps it will be a subject taught at school, so future children may have thoughts that arise from their qualities—using both brain hemispheres more and to their full potential.

Everyone has their talents. What kind of world would it be if we could apply all those (untapped) talents?

If only that could be.

But first and foremost, we work on our talents. Are you ready for it?