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The galaxy just beyond

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We know there are other galaxies in the universe, but it is hard not to focus only on the place we have in this one. People who remind themselves to look up once in a while often have less anxiety. They maintain their perspective on the big things that confront them now, break them down into smaller issues, and set in motion a plan to solve the problem.

Looking back over my career, I was aware of people who made this perspective second nature. They seldom jumped to solve a problem without thinking it through. Many even knew what they wanted out of one phone conversation. Most of them had thought through the agenda for meetings and what they needed to have happen to either solve the problem or advance through one of the smaller issues.

People frequently forget to ask people questions such as:

"Who can I get to help me?"

"Who do I need to bring along?"

"Who might be an issue?"

"When I solve this problem, what do I do to keep this from happening again?"

If you are a manager, you might be evaluating whether someone needs further training. There might be bureaucratic issues. There might be issues around change management. Thinking that you are the only one who can solve it increases stress and may make the problem harder to resolve.

Some problems are repetitive. Having a place to start on making it go away has real value. Additionally, it sets up evaluation of what took place. Once one identifies who was helpful, a "thank you" may be in order so that people see their place in providing a solution. Their success leads to your success.

This intentionality leads to success.

  • It takes advantage of our critical faculties. Thinking through a problem and how decisions will effect others helps "bring people along" rather than find that they are blocking progress.
  • There is a feeling of movement towards solving a problem- an incredible stress reducer.
  • Faced with a lack of progress, it offers the opportunity to step back: reevaluate and redirect one's energy.

The key is to maintain perspective. Remembering that our work is taking place in one galaxy of a bigger universe can give us the focus necessary for great performance.

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