My nephew, Jared was four years old when he moved to Oregon. One day, I took him on a walk. We were looking for mushrooms, I explained. I told him to keep his eyes peeled on the forest floor - because that is where you find them.
Not having children of my own, I wasn’t prepared for the experience. We didn’t go very far. He was poking around at slugs, climbing tree stumps, and eyeing the birds in the canopy. I couldn’t keep his focus on the mossy ground.
We weren’t finding any mushrooms, either, and my patience with him was waning.
I turned around to see him squinting and staring up a tree. Just as I started to give him another lecture about looking on the ground, he pointed up the alder and asked, “Aren’t those mushwooms, Aunt Chwissy?” I started to scold him, and then I looked up the tree.
There were hundreds of mushrooms on the trunk of that rotten alder! (I found out later that they were Pleurotus Ostreatus - Oyster mushrooms, choice edibles. To this day, they are my favorites for making pizza.)
Lesson: I had always found mushrooms on the forest floor because that was the only place I ever looked. My nephew - all three feet of him - gave me the insight to look elsewhere. Now I keep that lesson close to my heart.
Purposely detour from your routine a little each day:
• Take a different route when you drive to work.
• Converse with someone outside your normal circles - younger, older, richer, poorer.
• Pose questions about your challenges to an outsider, or even a subordinate.
• Then, listen to what they say.
• Look at your own workplace as if you’ve never seen it before.
• Stay open to the impressions you get.
It seems incongruent, but you get great insights from outside your normal perspective.
Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.
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