This post is finding itself onto the web late today and is going to serve as tomorrow’s as well. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this week is literally trying to eat me alive. If I survive it will be that which does not kill me makes me stronger. This all being said, now to the business at hand, so the state of SC’s legislators, specifically the budget oversight committee is tasked with very serious conversations about the state’s budget to be voted on within the next couple of weeks. This is a budget that will drive the services for the next year, literally housing, feeding, and supporting the citizens of the state among many other things. So my direction today for all of our collective thoughts is how are you being seen today? A good friend of mine said this to me, consider looking at your life through someone else’s eyes today. I’m not sure what your regular path has for you each day, but I can guarantee if you live and work you encounter people all day.
Consider yourself from someone else’s perspective today. Be it a client if you are a service provider, a staff person if you are a manager, or a board member if you are an executive director. This little tip can be useful in all sorts of situations, both professional and personal. Specifically, I speak to my legislative readers out there, consider for a moment how the person who cleans your office sees you. The next step then is to consider how this change in perspective can inform your decision making today. It may not make a difference how someone else sees you, you may not change a single decision, or it may change everything. If I considered the pressure that a legislator has in a state with little to no resource base facing a mandate for budget cuts, how would she/he see me? I’m currently a carefree graduate student in some people’s eyes, while in others I run a successful evaluation business, and yet in still others I’m a single mom. I see myself so vastly differently, and not at all positively. I am slowly realizing how truly limiting that is. How then does another person’s perspective of you alter your decision making processes? Should it? Once you attempt to see yourself from someone else’s perspective you’ve immediately opened up your own box so to speak, you’ve allowed someone in. For those of you out there who are my Type A compatriots, allowing someone in is tantamount to setting off a personal grenade…are you brave enough?
Look at yourself through someone else’s eyes today.
The thing I have noticed the most during these tough economic times is that no one is thinking. Everyone, from corporate CEOs, to legislators, to non-profit directors and staff, even evaluation consultants are scrambling. They are often running from one meeting to another and halfway through the next one they realize they had a thought from the last one that would be relevant for their work. At the end of the day there are legal pad pages or post-its with scribbles of notes of thoughts that came at some point during one meeting or another with no context and who knows which meeting they came out of or what thought process was in place when they were scribbled. My quick tip for the day is STOP and THINK! Give yourself 20 minutes today, no computer, no phone and focus very intently on one situation that you are currently dealing with. It may mean reading some of that journal article you’ve been meaning to get to, or it may mean a blank piece of paper in front of you for sketching out the solution to something your agency is facing. It may mean making sure you remember your job description! My fear in all of this scrambling is that when we come out of this (note I said “when”, because we will come out of it) we will be backed into a corner. Now is the time to think about all of our decisions, be the one person you know who is calmly, clearly, and intently thinking about the solutions for the problems of the day. I recently heard a local legislator say that whoever comes with the plan will win the day…let’s make sure the plan is well thought out, organized, and focused on solving the problems we face.