Finding Your Own Leadership Path
Looking in the Right Direction
Last night, I shared a lovely phone call with Tim Sanders who had just arrived in Chicago after several flight delays and detours. Tim is an amazing traveler. I guess he would have to be a speaker so in demand as he is.
I used to travel like that it takes a certain mindset. To do it well, busy travelers also need to understand how to lower stress and keep our eyes on what’s important. The same is true of people who travel extensively and often.
Does that sound like you?
When I hung up the phone with Tim, I marveled at his energy and generous spirit. I got to thinking about how traveling used to affect me and what I learned that made me a better traveler and a far nicer person to work with.
Are You Seeing So Much That You’re Blind?
Working at a fast pace is much like traveling on too many airplanes. The information coming at as us fast and furious. We become machine-like in our effort to process. We see the details of what we need to navigate. The problem that I found was that I sometimes hyperfocused through to the important navigational and informational details that I was blind to the people in the picture. The people became just more data carriers to inform my goal.
That was a problem. It’s not human. We’re wired to be social not mechanical.
So the more I focused on the information, the more stressed and less social I became. With or without a real itinerary, traveling too fast made see so much I was blind to the people around me.
And when we lose sight of the people around us, they find a way to remind us that they are people not unfeeling data points. Such reminders usually aren’t fun or pretty.
So I learned how to pace my “traveling” with an appropriate amount of “space,” so that my eyes remained open to value the people I meet. Here’s what I do now regularly.
- I look at the people I talk with.
- I talk more about the people I’m going to see rather than the places I’m going.
- I think of every detour, delay, and problem as a chance to meet someone and capture a new story.
- I think of myself as a visitor in everyone else’s world.
- I make it a point to sit silently for “recess” breaks 3 or 4 times a day — at my desk, on airplanes, in taxis.
- DI look at the sky and trees, because it’s hard to feel overly important when I’m face-to-face with creation.
No major magic there. It’s doing what Tim calls feeding our brains, what I call keeping our heads wired to our hearts.
Either way the result is a powerful return on investing.
The more I see the people around me, the more they see good things coming out of me.
What do you do to make sure that you’re not seeing so much that you’re blind?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!