How often are you so focused on something at eye-level, that you forget to look up and see what’s right in front you? It happened to me just this past weekend. We were enjoying a long afternoon walk to Castle Saunderson, a historic site here in Cavan County, Ireland. It’s a derelict castle that now serves as this country’s International Scouting Center.
As we strolled we read the various plaques describing the castle’s past; important battles fought on its grounds, previous owners, and how it fit into the struggle between the Unionists and Nationalists. At one point, so engrossed in the information that I was only focused on getting to the next plaque, I was about to continue my walk when my niece exclaimed, “Aunt Kathy, look up!” When I did, I realized I was standing right in front of the castle, face-to-face with its ruined splendor. It was a moment that gave me pause, and I was struck by what a grand old building it must have been in earlier times. Without my niece’s reminder, I would have either completely missed that first breathtaking view or had to backtrack for an anticlimactic glimpse later on.
So, what reminders or call outs do you provide yourself so that you’ll look up and stop focusing only on what’s in front of you? How do you avoid tunnel vision? Here are a few recommendations:
- In keeping with my niece’s comments, be deliberate in asking others for their insights, perspectives on various topics and on what’s important to them.
- Know your own strengths, and cultivate friendships and colleagues that have different perspectives and insights from yours.
- Read books and articles on various subjects. Absorbing information on other topics can frequently afford you fresh insights on a familiar project or issue.
- Engage with those who have perspectives different than your own. As an example, I am a middle-of-the road conservative, but often talk to others (as well as reading articles and books) with both far-right conservative and far-left liberal views. This doesn’t mean I always agree, but I can certainly empathize with them.
- Take the time to build in experiences, such as traveling abroad (or simply exploring a new area of town), to broaden your horizons and what you see before you.
Last week I learned of the passing of a colleague who I had worked with over 20 years ago. She was the kind of person who was always upbeat and excited by each day in front of her. Reflecting, I wondered if I’m making the most of my life. Am I creating the opportunities through experiences, friends, and what I’m reading to avoid tunnel vision?
What about you? How would you answer these questions? Now is the time to live a joy-filled and purpose-driven life. Look up, and see what’s right there in front of you.
Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!
Services that Kathy offers:
- 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your next life transition, whether work or personal
- Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
- Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
- Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance