Wendy and I purchased our 3½ year-old grandson a junior planetarium as one of his holiday gifts. Weston loves anything to do with the planets, rocket ships, and learning new things.
Those first few weeks when his toy was a novelty, he often urged me into his room — complete with room darkening curtains — to swap out the numerous discs with multiple images like the old viewfinders from childhood.
Beyond the many beautiful images of the other planets, nebulae, and star fields, we always paused a bit longer when we saw the photo of the earth to see the big picture of where we all live.
Where and when do you take the time to zoom out far enough from your daily activities to see what you are part of? Try this zoom out technique and see if and how this wider view quiets your soul.
Try reading a book held 4-6 inches from your eyes. Slowly move the text away an inch or two every few seconds until you can make out the words with some difficulty. Hold your gaze there and read one complete page — or even a single paragraph — and notice the strain.
Now move your arms away to the proper focal length and reread the same passage.
Sometimes we find ourselves far too close to a situation, in which we may lack the objectivity and perspective to see the whole picture. Zooming out to provide a wider view may be all that is required to see things more clearly.
“Approach every task as though it were the moment that will define you.”
—Jol Dantzig, one of the founders of Hamer Guitars
Image from dantzig.com
What’s your brand? How do you represent yourself to the world through your various efforts?
Jol Dantzig designs and build guitars. Over the course of his career, he has designed instruments for many of the biggest names in music including John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles, three of the Rolling Stones, and members of the Pretenders, Def Leppard, and the Police.
His famous orange five-neck guitar—built in 1981 for Rick Nielsen of the band Cheap Trick—was exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and some of his other designs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute.
What are some of your most important tasks? How can and will you more fully express your very best work at this moment to make the impact you desire?
A place to start may be to examine how pleased you are with your efforts. Seeking constructive feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, and family before you deliver can also help you stay on brand and provide remarkable, defining work.
“If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.”
—Stephen Covey, 20th Century American writer & educator
Image from Unsplash by Debby Hudson
What did you want to be when you were little?
Who did you look up to and admire and what was it about those special people that inspired you?
How energized and excited did you feel, given the anticipation of one day climbing a similar life ladder to reach your own pinnacles of success?
What ladders are you currently climbing in your vocational efforts? How confident and sure are you that it is absolutely leaning against the right wall, the one that aligns with your vision and values?
This past year full of economic and social upheaval has caused vast amounts of unemployment. Many people face significant challenges in adequately providing for their families. The transition process has caused many to reconsider if they truly want to get back to climbing the same ladder, leaning against the same or a similar wall.
“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
—John Guare, American Playwright
Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip
Time travel is not just possible. Today’s quote suggests that we all do it daily in our thoughts. Through forms of mindfulness such as meditation or leisurely walks in nature we can view our thinking mind with greater perspective and objectivity.
How often do you review or replay the events of yesterday with a critical eye of what worked and what didn’t? How self-satisfied or perhaps upset do you feel about various events, efforts, and interactions? How easy is it to let these thoughts go, be present, and look toward the future you intend to create?
The power of a vision is miraculous in that it pulls us like a tractor beam in a sci-fi space adventure. This gravitational attractive force is a critical element of self-leadership—and leadership in general—when we are intentional about thinking and speaking about a bright future.
How can and will your own self-leadership efforts to speak and create many better tomorrows make up for any yesterdays that didn’t go as you hoped? What would be the value of doing this exercise on a daily basis?
“The best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.”
Image from Unsplash by Annika Treial
A fair percentage of the coaching engagements I’ve been involved in over the years have related to career transitions. Two common terms for such assignments are on-boarding and assimilation coaching.
One of the more challenging and often stressful assignments is when a new leader or team is brought in to “turn around” an organization. In such situations the company/horse and the vast number of employees/riders are headed in different directions.
These assignments almost always involve casting a more inspiring vision and enrolling others in changing direction toward a better future.
Assuming you are proactively taking steps to lead and manage your own career trajectory, what strategies and tactics can and will you take to lasso those horses and get in the saddle of those headed in a direction you would like to travel?
Image from Unsplash by The New York Public Library
The world recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon.
It is interesting to note that many of the first pioneers into space pointed to the fragility of the earth and how vital it is for all of us to be better stewards of our precious planet.
We are so often enthralled by the big picture that we can fail to pay attention to what is right before us, as today’s quote implies.
Did you know that the human eye is so sensitive that if you were standing on a mountain top on a dark night, you could see a candle flame flickering up to 30 miles away? The height of the mountain would remove the impact of the earth’s curvature.
We can also sense the light from the Andromeda Galaxy, composed of about a trillion stars and located an amazing 2.6 million light-years from Earth.
Yet how often do we not see what is right in front of us?
Regardless of how far you can see, what are some of your top personal, professional, and even global priorities that need your best efforts?
“Innovation is born from the interaction between constraint and vision.”
—Marissa Mayer, co-founder of Lumi Labs
Image of Marissa Mayer from Twitter
How innovative and creative are you compared to those around you? How do you stack up against your colleagues, your competitors, and to the global pioneers that are transforming our world with new exponential technologies?
If your ego has gotten a bit bruised by pondering those questions, there is coaching for you in today’s quote.
Take a few minutes to examine one or two top priorities in your personal or professional worlds. What is your vision for each area, and what limitations or constraints exist?
Consider expanding your vision in these areas to the point where the constraints become greater, requiring you to be even more innovative.
Even if you shoot for the moon and miss, your innovative efforts will land you among the stars.