You hear devastating news. Job loss. A diagnosis. A new baby with life-changing special needs. Your brain and heart rush through thoughts, prayers, next steps. It’s hard to gain perspective. This was not in the plan.
Perspective and the Arch of Time
I met with Bill Treasurer to talk about his new book, Leaders Open Doors. I was intrigued as to why he would be giving all the proceeds of his book to help children with special needs. His perspective is powerful. A daughter born deaf with cerebral palsy on top of life’s other complications.
“At first it was hard to adjust my expectations for what life with my daughter would be like. Now I realize that there are flowers in every situation.”
Bill believes in the perspective of the “arch of time.” The arch of time allows the good to unfold.
Over time, he’s experienced…
- What courage looks like
- New relationships
- The desire to help
When the news is bad. It’s hard to envision anything good. How do you gain the strength to allow the arch to emerge?
Bill suggests envisioning 10 reasons you are grateful for the situation. If that’s too hard, imagine 10 positive outcomes that could come from it. And then be patient. Enjoy the mystery as each day unfolds. Celebrate the unexpected flowers.
Perspective and the Leadership Journey
How does such perspective apply to leadership? Don’t focus on the difficulty– focus on the opportunity. Don’t judge a situation too soon. Look for possible.
Bill and I share a common disdain for the phrase, “what keeps you up at night.” First, it’s over used. Second, it elicits the wrong conversation.
“It’s as if some leaders believe that the only way they’ll get any rest is as if the entire workforce shares their fears. Unless people are as afraid as they are, they think that no one will be motivated enough to address whatever is causing the leader to lose sleep.”
Keeping perspective is a powerful leadership competency. Inspire and motivate by providing opportunity, even in the darkest situations. Opportunity is motivating. Scaffold your team as they climb the arch of possibilities. The results may surprise you.
How do you keep perspective?