One of the most anticipated events this time of year is the Kentucky Derby. Although, I’ve never attended. It’s fascinating to watch the celebration as the winner crosses the finish line, while the commentator tells the sad stories of those that fail to finish. These beautiful animals prepare for months to run a 2-kilometer race that’s over in a couple of minutes. They are often strapped with blinders to stay focused on the race in front of them. The blinders prevent the horses from looking to their side or rear, blocking out crowd distractions.
Right now, you may be saying to yourself, “that’s me.” Do you feel like that Kentucky Derby contender with blinders on? Are you just running your race full steam ahead? That level of focus and determination to cross the finish line, get that promotion, land that contract, or close that sale is to be admired. However, you can’t let your focus cause tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is defined as loss of peripheral vision or extreme narrow-mindedness. If you’re running, running, and running you could miss that opportunity to your left that will actually shorten your distance, or make that race just a little bit easier.
It’s time to take the blinders off!
I recently found myself in a situation that seemed like it was impossible. I had already designed the solution in my head, so I had a vision for what I was looking to achieve. All my energy and focus went toward looking for that one particular solution. It’s nothing wrong with having a vision for what you believe you need. The problem comes when that is the only thing you’re looking to find. If you do not remain open to all the possibilities, you might just miss it. I almost did, until someone challenged me with the question, “What’s another way you could achieve the same outcome?” This question forced me to look for alternative solutions. It gave me the courage to look pass my blinders into the crowd. Although this would not be helpful advice for that thoroughbred racing toward the finish line, it somehow gave me permission to get off the path and find another route.
Your next big opportunity may be to your right or on your left, and those blinders are blocking your view. If you’re struggling to move passed your tunnel vision, consider the following:
Take a pause break. Calling a timeout to your situation will give you a moment to process how far you’ve come. Sometimes the most powerful learning moments are captured in retrospect.
Ask yourself thought provoking questions. Just as someone asked me a question that focused my mind to think of alternative solutions, ask questions that intentionally move you away from your current focus.
Do activities that force you to get outside of your comfort zone. Activities outside your normal provoke creativity, because you can’t do would ordinarily do. Having a creative mindset will help you look at problems and potential solutions differently.
Many times, it’s our own blinders that keep us from achieving the level of success we seek. Unknowingly, these blinders block our view to the opportunities that may be in arm’s reach. Don’t let these obstacles keep you on the track running in circles too long. Take them off, and see all the possibilities in front of you.