Sunday, July 26, 2015

Seeing Things with a New Perspective

The picture above is a street crossing on my {almost} weekly Saturday morning running route. It was here that I had an "aha" moment recently. One that reminded me how easy it is to get blinders on due to ease and routine.

About a month ago, after running this route for over 10 years, my eyes were opened to something new. The actual "event" is not exciting nor groundbreaking. It DID make me pause, and I'll share more about that later in the post.

Here's the path I've taken for over 10 years. In the bottom left corner, you can see where the sidewalk ends and makes a 90-degree turn to the crosswalk. For over 10 years, I've been following the sidewalk, checking both ways for traffic, and crossing to the sidewalk across the street. Once across the street, it's a sharp 90-degree turn to the left to stay on the sidewalk. 10 years.

But, you see... about a month ago... my eyes were opened. 

Instead of crossing straight across and making the sharp left, someone ahead of me crossed where you see "New path" in the picture above. 


So simple, yet I had not seen it. For 10 years.

Once I saw it, it was a light bulb moment. It's so much better for my knee and ankle not having to make the sharp turn, and it's efficient. And I hadn't seen it.
Because what I had been doing was working for me. I never questioned it or looked for a "better way." 

While I couldn't see a different way in this situation, I don't feel like I'm generally a person who gets stuck in ruts. I like change, and I like looking for new ways of doing things. Here are four ideas for NOT "doing it the way it's always been done."

1. Be open to learning from others. In the example above, I needed to see someone else model a new path for me. I was open to seeing what he was doing and applying it my own journey. There are so many people doing wonderful things in the world, it's not hard to find others to learn from. It's important that your mindset allows you to be vulnerable and open to learning.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Not doing it they way it's always been done means change is a permanent resident in your life. The changes aren't always big and aren't always painful, but if you aren't prepared to go through the ups and downs associated with change, you won't be able to persevere through them. The change I experienced in the example above was easy and small, but there have been many changes that I've experienced that made me feel like my world was falling apart. During those times, I had a good support system and I'm disciplined about giving myself positive self-talk, so I got through them and still welcome change whenever I can.

3. Help others. This may seem counter-intuitive do doing something a new way, because if we're going to help someone it's going to be about something we're knowledgeable about... right? When we help others it helps us to see the bigger picture and how what we're doing fits in it. When we do that, we have greater clarity and opportunity to fine-tune, improve, or change what we do.

4. Create something new. Whether it's a tutorial for your staff, a new blog post, a video message, or other creative project, the act of creating can help bring ideas and information together in a new way. Just be sure to act on the new information.

The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," may seem applicable for something that's working. But I challenge you to see things with fresh eyes. You may be able to see another option, but if you get stuck, don't hesitate to contact someone else. You, like me in the example above, might just need someone else to show you the way.


  1. Great article. I love how the four tips were presented and definitely be included in my list.

  2. Love this post...We do need to begin seeing things differently through different lenses. As educators, we cannot be happy with status quo...we need to always be learning and changing. Thank you for this post!

  3. Jennifer,
    Thanks for the reminder. That is so me!!! I can be a creature of habit and often have to remind myself to look at things through a different lens. Here's to trying new things!