Leadership Awareness and Engagement
Whizzing along the highway with invisible blinders on, keeping their minds on the clock and their eyes on the road, they roared past us, late for supper or some appointment, tangled in obligations and duties, wrapped up in other people’s schedules. They were more stuck than we had ever been…
– Tom Brown Jr., as told to William Jon Watkins in “The Tracker”
I recently realized I’m a freak of nature. No, I can’t run a 4.2 forty. I’m 6’2” and I am excited if I can hit the net with the tip of my finger at a full, galloping sprint. A sprint for me is like watching a VHS tape stuck in slow-mo. Therefore, let me be clear: when I say “freak of nature,” I am NOT referencing my athletic prowess.
What I’m referring to is my habit of ‘continuously walking’. I wake up. I eat breakfast. I dress myself and I’m off to work, thinking of my next appointment, completing my next task, making the next phone call. Before I know it, my day is done and I’m back at home. I typically cook to wind down from the day. Then I’ll feed my kids. A plethora of other activities occupies my time before I turn out my light and go to sleep. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. That is the life of a continuous walker. If you think about your life, you may be the same way. Many or most of us humans have this trait.
So what am I going on about? Well, about a month ago, my mentor asked me an interesting question that I can’t get out of my head. She said, “Have you ever noticed that every animal in nature walks and stops regularly to observe their surroundings? Walks and stops. Walks and stops.” I had never thought about that before and initially found it to be an obvious, yet trivial piece of information.
“Even predators?” I asked to fill the silence.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s predator or prey, carnivore or herbivore. Do you know the only mammals that don’t dis-continuously walk?” she responded. I looked over to see her index finger staring me straight in the face. I was the freak of nature. The oddity. The abnormality.
I can’t stop thinking about this concept now. Every animal in nature is highly aware of their environment. They use all of their senses to track prey or to prevent themselves from being prey. To not be aware is life or death for them. What is occupying our awareness? Our phones? The next meeting? Hitting the quarterly sales goal? Bob, the disgruntled cube mate?
We are highly aware. We are highly aware of our future, highly aware of what’s in front of us. But what are we missing out on? What are we blinded to? Is the next great idea eluding us because we are so focused on hitting a deadline? Is the key leadership growth opportunity sailing right over our heads? Are we missing the next rising star because we are focused on the wrong things?
We humans used to be discontinuous walkers. Since we no longer have natural predators, maybe continuous walking is the natural evolution to continued world domination. The world is only getting faster and it’s our job to keep up.
After my mentor was done pointing at me, she had me sit in a field, motionless for an hour. It didn’t take me long to realize what I was missing…
What are you missing out on? The Utech Development Collective meets regularly for ongoing training of your key associates, along with peers from other client companies. It’s a real world interactional experience that helps internal candidates become experts in the field of organizational development. We provide the tools and resources needed to effectively implement organizational change that strengthens your corporate culture.
Try it. Think about it. Click here for more information about the Utech Leadership Collective.