Most of us have tunnel vision. We primarily focus on what is right in front of us, if we even really focus at all. We get caught up in the pace of the day and the moments blur one into another. Soon, we look at our watch and the day has passed. Did we make progress on things that matter or did another day just make us run in place? We miss seeing that this moment is always part of something larger.
You can only change what you notice. It requires awareness, attention and intention to step back and gather the expanded perspective to ensure you are moving forward in a way and in a direction that matters.
Author Stephen Covey reminds us in Habit #2 of his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, to “begin with the end in mind.”
Start by getting clear of the goal or direction. Then stand back. See the big picture. Stepping back and allowing yourself to see the full landscape helps you see what things will encourage or interrupt what you want to achieve. Though it is good to really focus on achieving a goal, many talented people get blindsided by the things they didn’t take the time to notice that could affect their direction or plan. Their success gets interrupted by something that was completely manageable – if they had learned to step back and make time to see the bigger picture.
Here are some bigger picture questions to reflect on:
- What is one thing I need to work on to help me be more effective at work, in my relationships, etc.?
- What would make this year happy and successful for me?
- Who has left a great impression on me and why?
- What is one thing that could interrupt my progress on a specific goal?
- What am I not asking or seeing that I should focus on?
- How am I making a difference with the people in my life?
- How am I developing gratitude and appreciation for my successes?
Stop and notice if you make time to see the larger view of things. Stop and notice if you go through work and life more reactive than responsive, jumping into decisions instead of taking the time to better understand the situation and see it from multiple perspectives before choosing how to move forward to improve your outcomes.
What areas in work and life would benefit from a larger view? Create context to minimize an issue or raise it in importance because of the expanded perspective. This requires you to step back to expand your view in order to gather information. Make the time to get more information so you can make your best and wisest decision. See the full picture.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading Something Just Happened and You Asked, “Now What?”