What I noticed more than the cleaning technique was the difference in perspective I had of the surrounding landscape with a clean window versus a dirty one. When the smudge, grime and pigeon droppings were removed from the window it was as if the surrounding landscape was brighter, more appealing and worthy of my attention. I also noticed other restaurants nearby that had dirty windows and found myself asking about them – what else in that restaurant is dirty?
We all have dirty windows that block our perspective both personally and professionally. The way we look at our work for example may be distorted by years of accumulated smudge, grime and the occasional droppings from bad leaders, and we need to clean these windows. Here are three steps for ensuring you are seeing clearly the landscape around you:
1. Interrogate your reality: Seeing clearly starts with reading beyond the confines of what we know and are comfortable with. By reading an opposing view of your most cherished belief; with the intent of finding one thing you can agree with, broadens your perspective and challenges you to think critically.
2. Pay attention to what you pay attention to: Seeing clearly entails understanding not only that which goes on around you, but also what goes on inside you. Being able to notice what grabs your attention, your reaction and WHY you react the way you do is an essential element of seeing clearly.
3. Take a mental sabbatical at least once per month: Getting away from your day-to-day schedule and having time to think is essential if you want a clearer perspective. Whether for two, four or eight hours, disengaging with the pressures and demands of work frees you to think broadly and creatively.
Which of these three strategies will pay the greatest dividend for you?