Changing Perspective

It was one of those breakfasts. Balancing trying to eat while savoring each sentence, word, and idea that comes to life when you get together with one of those inspirational ones.

Mind racing.

Pen furiously trying to keep up with the gems.

Another great idea.

That phrase.

That idea.

That thought.

An interesting story unfolds.

A new office. The old one is cluttered. The new office represents a new start. A new set of patterns. Walking in a new larger role.

But the moving day was delayed. Projects, ideas, and work was spread out in a conference room instead. On a larger table.

Instead of sitting, hunched over, almost closed off, they had to stand.

Standing allowed for a larger view, a change of perspective.

Changing perspective was a reminder to get above the piles, the issues, the projects.

Changing perspective was a reminder to take it all in and get above the weeds.

The physical change prompted the mental one.

Changing perspective serves as a good reminder for all of us.

Make a change, find a new space. Stand up, go get a coffee. Try physical changes that may prompt the changing perspective you need.

Perspective

60 (1)

Ironically I got to speak to a group on emotional intelligence a week before the holidays. We joked about how the class was a perfect place to learn and practice before we interacted with our families and friends at various celebrations.

Stress can run high during this season, and sometimes we need Perspective.

I found that Perspective in a post called The Tail End on one of my new favorite sites WaitButWhy.com that demonstrates visually a life time of events. Super Bowls left to watch, dumplings left to eat, visits to Fenway Park remaining…

What brought the most perspective was the remaining time the author projects he has remaining with his parents (5% remaining) and his siblings (15% remaining).

Perspective is when you suddenly realize that there may only be 15 or 20 more holidays together if you are lucky.

Perspective is when you remember that there are no more holidays with others.

Perspective is when you just want a little more time.

I did my own calculations with some people close to me and I realized that between holidays, and birthdays, and the 3 to 4 other times we hang out per year, I may only have 60 more times to connect with them.

That is it, 60 more days.

When someone is diagnosed with something critical, we tend to rally, connect, and spend more time in those remaining days. The small things fade away, as we try to savor those last moments that remain.

Ordinary time has a funny way of pretending to be in unlimited supply.

Perspective reminds us to not be fooled by time’s pretending.

 

 

 

Savoring the Quirks

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Everyone has quirks.

Some quirks are endearing.

Some quirks are irritating.

Why don’t they replace that roll?

Why do they wait until the recycling is overflowing?

Why do they always bring up that thing when you visit?

Why do they [insert our issue, pet peeve, history, expectation, or offense] here?

Recently we have experienced some loss.

Recently those around us have experienced some loss.

Recently we got news that more loss is coming.

Loss causes a shift in perspective.

What was once irritation now causes comfort.

An empty roll means they are still here. Maybe just a few moments ago.

Messy toys on a table, way too many wet shoes piled in a heap by the back door, fingernail polish on the coffee table, the piercing pain when you step on a LEGO, the fuel gauge left on empty, piles of unopened mail, the strange pile of receipts by the phone, clutter on the stairs, jackets on the backs of chairs, modeling clay in the carpet, gum in the driveway, mystery stains on the kitchen floor, the overflowing hamper, the heap of clothes by the shower, whatever gets stuck in the drain, loud voices downstairs in the morning, slurping noises while drinking, loud crunchy chewing, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Today you have all these things. Someday they will cease.

Instead of irritation. Choose savoring the quirks.

Maybe these quirks can be reminders of what you have.

 

Moats, Distance, and Drawbridges

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(Caerlaverock Castle in Scotland courtesy of Wikipedia)

On the call the other day, I was connecting and checking in with someone important to me. They were describing an old relationship that did not end well. They had been hurt. Words were exchanged. The relationship, although important, had essentially ended.

Because of some recent circumstances, they needed to connect with this other person. Connecting after a falling out is never easy. They were wrestling with how to proceed, and the feelings associated with the time that had passed.

As we talked, I explained that sometimes we need to create Moats. Moats are protections for our core relationships. We keep those inside safe, and others are kept at a healthy Distance.

Distance is the natural by-product of a Moat. Those relationships can be good, but they have limits. Those relationships may be “not so good” but the Distance helps you keep your emotions and expectations in perspective.

Those inside are kept healthy and safe (including you).

When discussing how to move forward, we realized that Moats need Drawbridges.

Drawbridges allow us to let people in when needed. Drawbridges allow us to connect with the greater world by making a decision to lower the bridge.

The Moat still exists, but the connection can be made. When the time has passed, the Drawbridge can be raised again, when and if needed.

We all have Moats. The logical by-product of these Moats are Distance.

It is the Drawbridge that helps us manage both.

 

Thanks for the Delay

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(Image Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

A solitary airport employee stood behind the small podium looking back and forth between the screen, and their own hands. As I approached, their gaze looked down towards the floor. Any attempt at eye contact seemed impossible.

A few minutes earlier, as most of us prepared to board the flight, the announcement was made. Due to delays for an inbound flight, our flight was going to postpone boarding and wait 30 minutes.

Sighs, frustrated words, angry looks, and tension filled the boarding area. Some of which was directed at this solitary employee.

I waited.

Another employee joined that employee and some softer words were exchanged. Finally, they both looked up at me.

“Can we help you?”

“Yes, I just wanted to say Thanks for the Delay.”

They paused.

“Please let me explain. The last time I flew with you, my plane was a late. Storms caused us a delay, and you held my connecting flight, just like you are doing right now. So, Thanks for the Delay. I know what it feels like to think that you will be stranded, and you took care of me.”

Smiles. Relief. More Smiles.

“Well, you are welcome. Funny, someone who came up here was explaining that someone else’s delay was not their problem at all.”

I smiled, waved, and went for a walk to get a smoothie (before the delay, there was no time to get one). As I was leaving I overheard them speaking to each other.

“You know, we may just have to remember that.”

I hope they do. More so, I hope we remember that sometimes planes wait for us. Sometimes you are the customer getting help. Other times, you may have a slight inconvenience when they are providing the same level of service to someone else.

At the end, due to a combination of winds and a flight crew that pushed a little harder on the gas, the flight arrived only 15 minutes later than originally expected.

15 minutes was all it cost so that a handful of people were not stranded in a strange city overnight. Seems like a pretty good trade.

Thanks for the Delay.

 

Among Giants

Among Giants

I have a project. An exciting, new project. A project that I have been talking about for months. A project that partners me with another person (someone who is extremely intelligent, organized, and a deep thinker). We met on the project a few times, took notes, and had a game plan with various assignments.

This project has been on my plate for a few months. I started some research, then stopped. I opened the file to start writing, then stopped. I took the folder out of my briefcase, only to put it back in. For whatever reason, I could not “Ship It” or make progress.

Something was triggering this procrastination. I tried to pin down the reason, but could not find the words.

I took a risk and called this partner. We decided to meet.

“I have to confess. Despite the excitement around this project and our discussions, I have not made any progress on my part.”

“Well, to be honest, I have had the same struggle.”

Another risk. The real risk.

“Ok, here is the thing. I am a little intimidated working with you on this project because you know this material and have studied it in more depth, and are so smart, and so…”

“What? You are intimidated by me?”

The reason for the mutual procrastination was revealed. We both viewed the other person as more competent, intelligent, and suited for this project. I am sure some it stems from the “Less Than Default Switch” and this setting skews our perspective of others.

Our conversation continued.

“It is almost as if I am among giants, when I compare myself to others.”

“Exactly, but I am still surprised you feel that way. I understand why I feel that way, but not you.”

Among giants. Our perceptions of others, their abilities, their accomplishments, their status can warp our own self-perception. This distortion can create the fear and insecurity that holds us back from trying, shipping, or stretching ourselves.

They are not actually giants. They are fellow travelers on this journey. But this problem seems older that just me and this project. Older than you and your project, idea, or journey as well.

“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about” Cassius

(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)