As I have been preparing for a webinar I am conducting tomorrow night, my colleagues and I have been troubleshooting some technology issues. When I project my screen to the webinar, my colleague would say, "I can see the video but I can't hear the sound" or "I can still see your control panel" or "I can't see anything now". While it has been frustrating, it simply goes along with one of my mottoes for teachers: "Technology is fantastic, but it isn't always going to work the way you want it. Expect the unexpected." Sometimes, we find that changing a setting helps solve the problem. Sometimes, the answer lies in standing back and taking a look from the 30,000 foot view. And sometimes, it is simply time to reset and maybe laugh a little bit.
1. Change your perspective
2. Have a vision
3. Don't take yourself too seriously
Check out this great work using miniatures to depict certain scenes.
While the work itself is extraordinary, the ability to see things from a different perspective is absolutely amazing. Seeing popcorn as wadded up paper is brilliant, right? What if we all had that ability---to see things from a different perspective? Wouldn't it make work and relationships and...well, life a bit easier? Stephen Covey said it best when he said, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." What if, when I am boarding the airplane, the person in front of me is taking their own sweet time getting to their seat? "Hurry up. I just want to sit down," I might be thinking. But what if that person just had major surgery and simply can't move that fast? Changing my perspective to be less about only myself can help immensely.
Looking at the miniatures for the first time, I said to Dave, "Who thinks up this stuff?" I suppose it is someone who is not tied down to the ordinary but rather sees things in a much different context than most of us. I will admit that I can get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of things without seeing the forest for the trees (or the broccoli, in the case of the miniatures). One of my very favorite places to travel for work has become the Pacific Northwest, namely near Forks, Washington. As I drive alongside Crescent Lake, I am humbled and awed by the intense beauty of the picturesque scene of lake, forest and mountains. And yet...every once in a while, I find myself distracted by tiny issues that I am working around in my brain, that I look up and realize I missed some of the last few gorgeous turnouts.
When I was a principal and we had to write those annual reports complete with vision and mission statements, I sometimes felt like we were simply wordsmithing to check a box. Now I can stand back and see that having a vision for a country, a vision for a school district, a vision for a classroom, or even a vision for a workshop I am teaching is critical. It gives us purpose.
Dave has always been my rock when it comes to reminding me not to take myself too seriously. About 20 years ago, we had just had K.C., our first Yellow Labrador Retriever, spayed (poor thing had to walk around with a pink ace bandage wrapped around her mid-section while she healed) when I found out I had to have a hysterectomy. When I awoke from the surgery, Dave was there with a stuffed dog wrapped in a pink ace bandage. The note said, "You can wear my pink wrap while you heal. Love, K.C." More stories like this are in my book, Letting Go of K.C.
Taking ourselves too seriously may keep us from being open to new, innovative ideas for fear that we might look weird or silly for thinking of them. But if we are open to not staying so stoic, we may be able to see that a potato chip can look like a crop for a miniature to rake.
Just for today, perhaps we can take a lesson from the miniatures.
In the meantime, I will be working on my webinar. :)