The Big Five is a hunting term used in South Africa originally to denote the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot – the elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, and cape bull. With restrictions on sport killing in place (Yeah!), most people now use it as lingo to describe their top sightings while on photo safari. After a drive through a preserve you might be fortunate enough to be able to say, “How incredible, we spotted two of the Big Five!” And while we were pumped and ready for our first safari trip to catch glimpses of this most elusive prey, my friend shared that her joy would be to see a giraffe in the wild. When asked why, she shared, “They’re so graceful with that long slender neck. They can see the whole world around them.”
What would it be like to see our world from a giraffe’s point of view? The giraffe is the tallest animal in the animal kingdom. In human comparison, considering their average height can measure 16 to 18 feet, it would be akin to three people standing on top of each other’s shoulders. But once there, towering above your neighbors, you’d have an unobstructed view. In business parlance, you’d have the ultimate super powers to see the bigger picture.
How would your world differ if you could see further and higher than everyone else around you?
- At a parade or street festival you’d never have to peer through shoulders or just above the tops of heads of others to see in front of a crowd. You could stand at the back and have a bird’s eye view of what was happening, and not be jostled by the crowd.
- At the theater you’d know before everyone else when the actors would emerge on stage. And think about the great seats you would have, without paying premium prices.
- At an airport you’d have an idea before everyone else where the security screening was located and the gates for your flight.
- At a park you’d know before anyone how high a trail would go, what directions were open or not and what paths to take to enjoy the best scenery.
- On the freeway you’d see beyond everyone else what was holding up traffic and causing you havoc in your tightly scheduled day.
While none of us has the physical ability to see as far as a giraffe, we can achieve this conceptually if we make an effort. It may be difficult at the start, especially when it does not come naturally or isn’t something you’ve done before. Here’s what it requires:
- Imagination – It takes imagination to think and see outside of your current sphere of sight. You have to look beyond what’s happening in the moment, and let yourself explore what would it be like to be doing something different or unusual. As you do so, you begin to see further past your immediate state.
- Attunement – Thinking about and understanding what you and other people are going to do, if and when the event or circumstance arises. As an example, when we were out on a safari drive, our guide would spot a herd of rhino. She would watch them for a while, and then reposition the jeep, either further on or back up. She’d then comment, “He’s a big boy. If that other animal moves forward, he’s going to move in that direction and we’ll have a better sighting of him.” She was highly attuned to animal behavior, and used that ability to ensure her passengers had the best viewing position for photo taking.
- Correlation – A unique ability to see the how things go together and recognize patterns that may emerge. Discerning the correlation between things, such as an adult zebra and baby zebra, but also symbiotic relationships, such as zebra and wildebeest. When you see them together you think, what an odd pair. What you learn however is that zebras eat tall grass and have excellent sight, while wildebeest eat the short grass and have excellent hearing ability. When you increase your correlation ability you can discern how opposites might align to create something new.
So let’s see how you can use these three to your advantage when deciding upon an alternative career. Let’s say you have always wanted to travel, but can’t imagine that being in your future. You also have great people skills, excellent organizational ability, and are at ease with people. You may be a trainer right now, quite skilled at sharing or translating information for others. Using your correlation skills, you might think about other career ideas, such as being a travel guide. Using your imagination, you can begin to see yourself doing this in two to five years. And your attunement skills identify what might be an appropriate next step to move towards making this dream a reality.
ACTION: Of the skills listed above, which one do you excel at? Which one could you improve upon? What actions can you take to be more like the giraffe in viewing the world around you?
Kathy Hart’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife (ages 40 – 65) 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 next journey into your midlife transition
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