“I wonder how many people…”

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”

-John Steinbeck, American Author

Image from differencebetween.info

Image from differencebetween.info

 

What is the difference between looking at something, and truly seeing it?

Whether it’s a painting or a person, my sense is that the differences can be great or small, considering the circumstance.

Great art, and in the case of today’s quote, the art of relationship creation and sustainability, requires a level of mastery seldom available to the paint-by-number novice.

EXERCISE:

Where can you place the time and effort to gain the depth of connection, cooperation, and collaboration you desire in your professional and personal lives, through more seeing and less looking?

“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then…”

“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

—Ibn Battuta, 14th century Moroccan explorer

photo from goodreads.com

photo from goodreads.com

One of my favorite books by Dr Seuss is Oh The Places You’ll Go, often given as a gift to high school or college graduates as they step into their life journey.

For many of us, this sense of adventure and excitement wanes as we settle into our day-to-day lives, work, and other more routine responsibilities.

Perhaps this is why most of my coaching clients have travel, adventure, and fun as things they want more of as they move forward. We simply want more WOW moments that leave us speechless. When we tell these “wow” stories, they often ignite the flame in others, causing them to more fully experience life, too.

EXERCISE:

Where have you longed to travel? Find someone who has actually been there – or perhaps a few people – and let their stories ignite a spark in you. When you make your plans and go yourself, consider what stories you will share that would benefit others.

“Travel and change of place…”

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

-Seneca, Roman statesman & tutor to Nero

Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw

Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw

Traveling in Europe was a learning smorgasbord. I did all I could to taste the variety and abundance of its offerings, including:

The variety of languages multiple currencies
Jaw-dropping architecture Local customs & traditions
Music & art Great food and drink
Business & commerce Politics & religion
The natural beauty & history of the region

As an American, I was shocked at how my mental models and perceptions of the world have limited me and kept my world reasonably small. As a business and personal coach, I plan to take the blinder off, in particular with my coaching colleagues who live beyond my doorstep.

EXERCISE:
How can you more fully benefit from your own travels and change of place to experience greater vigor in your journey of the mind?

“People don’t take trips. Trips take people.”

“People don’t take trips. Trips take people.”

—John Steinbeck, American author

Photo from Flickr by EBImagery

Photo from Flickr by EBImagery

The calm riverboat cruise my wife Wendy and I took down the Danube was a trip of a lifetime, providing us lots of time to reflect on our lives. Of particular interest was how this journey took us back in time to visit the lives of people who lived hundreds and even thousands of years ago.

We were accompanied by 136 fellow passengers from around the world, who generously shared their friendship and bits of their lives with us as we toured a number of cities, sharing good food and conversation.

EXERCISE:

As you enter the summer months, how can you more fully embrace the places you visit? What can you do to look beyond the surface and experience these adventures more completely?

“Life is like a road trip…”

“Life is like a road trip. Enjoy each day, and don’t carry too much baggage.”

-Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Georg Sander

Photo from Flickr by Georg Sander

When I first met my wife Wendy almost forty years go, she would often tell me stories of her family’s famous road trips. Her mom, dad, and two sisters would spontaneously jump into their station wagon and head off to places unknown. Each passenger had their turn at directing the driver, telling them to continue on the current road, or to turn right or left.

When they got hungry, they would discover places to eat. When they got tired, they found places to rest. They often traveled with only the clothes on their backs, and little else.

EXERCISE:

How can you live today as if you were on a road trip?  What can you do to enjoy it to the max, taking little or no real or mental baggage along for the ride?

“I would like to travel..”

“I would like to travel the world with you twice. Once, to see the world. Twice, to see the way you see the world.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Nilanjan Sasmal

Photo from Flickr by Nilanjan Sasmal

The majority of my coaching clients would include travel as one of their core values. They want to see and experience more of the world with the precious time they have left. To some extent, they have a bit of regret that they haven’t made a bigger dent in their bucket lists.

Have you ever noticed how much joy and excitement is experienced when a baby is born?  Perhaps it is because this new life allows all of us—especially the new parents and grandparents—to start a new life “adventure” with a child who is seeing the world for the first time.

EXERCISE:

How can you be far more intentional in your efforts to see and experience the world, and at the same time, double your pleasure by looking through the eyes of those who share the adventure?

“All things come to pass.”

“All things come to pass.”

—Heraclitus, pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher

Photo from Flickr by Kpcmobile

Photo from Flickr by Kpcmobile

We’ve all heard the phrase “Nothing Lasts Forever.” This, of course, includes the good things as well as the bad. After each great storm the sun shines again, and then the clouds and storms return.

Given these facts, how might we gain power from Heraclitus’ words of wisdom? Perhaps we can choose an optimistic frame of reference to both maximize and celebrate the good in life, and also minimize the times when life brings us down.

EXERCISE:

How can you accentuate the positive and eliminate or at least minimize the negative, which will come to pass throughout your day?

Consider making the exercise above a daily practice to support you in living an even more extraordinary life.

“There are people who would love to have your bad days.”

“There are people who would love to have your bad days.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Bowersox

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Bowersox

A few weeks ago I visited my family physician. I was having a difficult time with a challenging bug affecting a lot of people.

My symptoms included sneezing, sinus congestion, a headache, a scratchy throat, and every coach’s occupational nightmare – laryngitis. My voice vacillated between bullfrog and complete silence.

My appointment time was 3:00 p.m.; I was still in the waiting room at 3:50. The only distraction was the video wall, showing the four seasons at a number of beautiful locations, and other images in the natural world.

Perhaps the most revealing way in which I passed the time was in observing other patients and their significant health challenges. It caused me to shift my perspective of my own “monumental” situation.

EXERCISE:

Notice how often you make mountains out of molehills, or major in the minors of life. Realize all the goodness and reasons for gratitude that surround you. How many people do you see in the course of your days that would prefer to have your life, even when you are having a bad day?