A leader, whether leading in the traditional sense or by example, must master their ability to access an array of perspectives and must learn when and how to use them.
I used to play volleyball at a high level. My dad had also played University ball and had since become a great coach for many years. He was known affectionately as Yoda. Lucky for me I had front row seats to the Yoda Show! He would sit me down from time-to-time and talk high-level volleyball; helping me along my athletic journey. He was able to open my eyes to a whole new perspective of the game.
He would say, “Michael, as a captain and leader of your team, you must be able to shift your perspective. At different times during the game, and sometimes from moment to moment, you’ll need to zoom in and out. You have to be able to zoom in and focus so intently on the action you are performing, then zoom back out and see all the moving parts of the game. As well as be able to anticipate and predict what will happen next and what the end result will be.” This is the way to win or in other words:
…learning the art of the game inside the game.
Things like when to back up certain teammates, when to lead by example, when to give words of encouragement, how to analyze weakness in your opponent, how to strategically play the game, etc.
This comes after mastering the basics. Once you can do the basics autonomously then you can move on to higher levels of leadership.
In business, we are lucky we don’t have to make split-second decisions as much as an athlete does. And yet, the need to shift perspectives and make decisions within decisions remains just as prevalent.
And although my father used the sport of volleyball to teach me these vital lessons, as I have grown into my own ways, I have found my love of photography has brought my ability to understand alternative perspectives to a whole new level.
I like taking photos. I think I have a decent eye. But for a while, I hadn’t really delved into the craft. I always just used the standard lens that came with the camera. As much as that can be acceptable as an amateur photographer, I found myself getting frustrated, I wanted shots I could not access with the lens I possessed.
I would miss out on so many great opportunities to capture more dynamic and interesting shots. I couldn’t zoom in close enough for a really good close-up or texture shot. I couldn’t zoom out far enough to get a great wide angle of a fantastic landscape or rainbow. I also couldn’t zoom far enough away to capture those cool telephoto shots that bring all the perspectives closer together.
I could see these opportunities, but couldn’t take advantage of them.
Especially as a leader, or business owner, you need to take advantage of the variety of lenses at your disposal. Invest in better lenses (or perspectives in this case) and spend more time using them and learning their respective advantages.
One thing you must come to learn is that you cannot do everything yourself, and at some point, you will need to bring in the right people to help you achieve your dreams. Leaders should outsource as much work as possible without losing the integrity of the business so that they can obtain and harness greater perspective.
Stop using the standard lens, start getting ahead by upgrading.
The standard lens comes with the camera and has an average range of perspective. It can zoom in a bit and zoom out a bit. Often, people will spend more time using this lens than they should. Too many people stay inside their own perspective; in their comfort zone. They don’t zoom in enough to get the action they need to accomplish and they don’t zoom out enough to gain an outside perspective to see the right opportunity (more on this later).
Standard definitions just doesn’t do it for high-quality viewing. So too, when we only use our own perspective, it is limited, the action and understanding does not quite reach the levels that will correlate with success. Get out of this lens as much as possible! Stop being average!
The macro lens is made to be able to zoom in to see close up; the focus is on the detail or texture of an object. In your business or organization, the macro lens is all about tapping into the superhuman focus of execution.
Zoom in and focus! Small spurts of complete focus will get more done than long hauls of mediocre focus.
“20 minute sprint, with a 5 minute break. (Modified Pomodoro Technique)”
This will help avoid getting 5 things 60% finished. Instead, you will get 100% of 1 thing finished, over and over again. There must be zero distractions, though! Set everything aside. Put your phone on silent, even better not in the same room. Make sure all notifications on all devices are turned off.
Just uninterrupted, zeroed in action.
A wide-angle lens allows you to see more range of field, more like your real eyes do. Seeing all the resources and systems you have put in place around you and connecting and collaborating with other perspectives. Wide angle is to getting help to see the open opportunities to capitalize on and focus your efforts.
“That’s all hockey is: open ice. That’s my whole strategy: find open ice.”
Gretzky was “The Great One” not because he was the fastest player or the most physically imposing player, but because he was the best at seeing open opportunities. Sometimes we can do this on our own, but family members, close associates, coaches, or consultants can help you see from another perspective; helping you see the open opportunities and where you need to focus your macro lens next.
One year I decided I would just get to know all the who’s who of Hawaii in the land-development world. At this time I was in my undergrad. I came up with this development idea for this particular piece of land and started sharing it strategically with CEO’s of companies I wanted to collaborate with.
Next thing I knew I was in their offices. I knew I needed their unique perspective on the idea and ways to combine efforts to get the project done. We were able to see open opportunities together; combining or collaborating views.
Connecting and getting to know others makes you more valuable, makes others more valuable, and increases your chance to collaborate with like-minded people.
Stop whiteboarding and sitting in your office and get out and meet new people!
It helps to get to know influencers, coaches, consultants, and industry folk.
People that can help you see the open ice!
A telephoto lens zooms into far away places, so you can see the distant scene clearly. In other words, the ability to see the grand vision.
Grand Vision: it’s the high-level thinking, pondering, meditating and tapping into whatever higher powers you hold dearest, to think deeply strategically and creatively.
Using your telephoto lens means seeing the end from the beginning.
“Start with the end in mind.”
The stronger and deeper the why, the more resilient your resolve will be.
I may be a little old school, but I made a large chalkboard on the other side of my map in my office. This is where I draw out what my high level thought sessions and inspirational brainstorms bring to me.
Start with high-level thinking. Instead of the day-to-day operations, take time to think deep on the culture of your business, for example. Take time to be creative and let your mind settle on aspects of the business that can be revolutionized. I always take pictures of my chalkboard and record it in Evernote.
I also have a sketchbook journal where I do this too. Find what works best for you and make sure you have a clear grand vision, strong enough whys, and the drive to get everything you need done!
Here’s an example of using perspectives in a game of Volleyball:
“When standing at the service line you zoom out for a split-second, note the score, make speed and strength decisions according to risk level at that point of the game, see where the players are on the floor and see the gaps.
Zoom in on the coaches signal of which position to serve, zoom further in to notice the ankle brace on the right ankle of the player you are to serve to, zoom further in on your execution, and connect flawlessly to the right of the specified player. Success.
During the game you’re down, say 22–24. It’s time to pull out the big guns, the telephoto lens of how you have visualized success and the confidence that has brought prior to the game. Time-out taken to recharge for the last blitz effort, and a reminder of why you’re all here from the coach.
Zoom in and out, and telephoto seamlessly for the last several minutes of the game, in complete high-level flow. Every contact with complete confidence and success. Effort beyond what you knew possible starts to take place, and guarantees the win.
SUCCESS! You win 26–24.”
Use these lenses every single day. Each day is its own game. Start the day with the end in mind using your telephoto lens. Schedule it out with priorities, review ultimate goals, aspirations, dreams, and high level thinking about the business.
Use your macro lens by taking 20-minute sprints on single tasks. Take 5-minute breaks in between.
During the break, use your wide angle lens, you can zoom out and take a call, talk to a coach or a friend, and/or reevaluate if you are on pace to completing your goal of the day. Ask “am I in the right opening so I can macro-focus again?”
In order to master each lens, there is only one thing you must do. You must use them! Practice everyday! Telephoto lens to see the end from the beginning, use the wide-angle lens to see from an outside perspective, and the macro lens to take short focused executions.
Master this and then you can eventually level up to the top 2%, where titans play above the game…super macro, ultra wide angle, super telephoto.
Improvement never ends.
If you want to become a time traveler, accomplish more in your life, and build a foundation to use your lenses properly. Get my free checklist.
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