When you look at this picture what do you see? * Sonia Holt

When you look at this picture what do you see?


I don’t know if you’ve come across this picture before, but it was a real eye-opener for me.

You see, if you look carefully, there really are two pictures…

One is a young woman with a fancy feather in her hair.  The other an older woman with a rather large nose and pointed chin and a scarf on your head.

There’s no right or wrong answer and how you see the illusion says nothing about you psychologically.  This is the “Old Woman/Young Lady” illusion and appears in the introduction to psychology classes.

So, which picture pops out at you at first glance?  I’m drawn to the feather in the young women’s hair, so I immediately see a young woman.  (Maybe it’s because I’m fond of hats and fancy feathers?)

Then if I focus on the young woman’s neck, I suddenly see a large nose and pointed chin so now I see the old woman.

In any situation, our past experiences cause us to react to familiar internal or external cues that will either fire up our motivation or drain our confidence.  (In this case, I immediately saw the young women because I'm fond of hair glam and hats.)

One of the lessons from the exercise is that your experience is what you make of it.  It's all about perception!

So, how does this relate to your business or career?


Well, let me ask you a question how do you feel about the “f” word?

FAILURE! (Of course, whatever were you thinking?)


How do you perceive an unsuccessful sales transaction or when a team member who you thought would be a superstar decides they really don’t want to do what it takes to build a business?

Do you perceive this as  Failure or Opportunity?  I know “opportunity” sounds off base, but let me explain.

In my other life as an associate broker in residential real estate, I felt I had to ace every listing appointment or close every sale.  Obviously, that wasn't realistic.  So, when things didn't turn out the way I thought they should, my perception was I failed!  I “should have” gotten the listing or made the sale.  In other words, I wasn't a very good salesperson.  (Never mind I was a Gold Triangle and Million Dollar Club member.)  I had to hit a home run every time I came up to bat.  No pressure there!

Fortunately, time, experience, (and frankly getting tired of beating myself up) finally made me realize I had a choice.  I could continue to fail or I could look at an unsuccessful situation as an opportunity to learn “what didn't work.”

One thing I picked up in various training and mentoring occasions was the practice of reviewing and analyzing my business and personal interactions.

  • What Worked
  • What Didn't Work
  • What Could I do Differently

So, what's your perception?  How do you choose to look at events that don't turn out quite as you hoped? Failure or an Opportunity to figure out what didn't work and what you could do differently next time.


You could take a page from Thomas Edison.  When asked about his failure with the light bulb, he said he didn't fail he just found 10,000 ways it didn’t work.

“Negative results are just what I want.  They’re just as positive to me as positive results.  I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the things that don’t.”


So next time you flop, and we all do, choose the opportunity to learn over a perception of failure.  Find the Young Lady in your picture!

Want to keep your eye on the ball and keep moving your business forward?  Join our entrepreneur community… click the image below or go to

https://soniaholt.com/yep   to learn more.








from article “Find Your Young Lady” by Luis G. Manzo Ph.D. in Psychology Today.




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