On a busy corner in Winnipeg I was waiting for the traffic lights to change. When the lights did change the man beside me started walking with his head down. He reacted to the light without consideration of what else was going on around him. The walk light flashed and he instinctively put his head down and stepped off the curb to make his way across the street.
He didn’t notice the moving truck that increased its speed to run through the yellow light and it ran right through a red light half way through the intersection. I stepped off the curb for a moment to grab the man still unaware of the truck speeding towards him and pulled him back to the curb. The truck stopped to make sure the man was ok, and bystanders thanked me and offered a compliment here and there. The man however, let me know he was ok and then just put his head down and continued to walk along as though nothing had happened.
Since then I have thought about of how this situation relates to our lives as we live them out in our organizations. It reminded me of those times when I would see people wandering through their career with their heads down just trying to get to the other side of the road with no inclination towards caution enough to look for that truck. Some people are so entrenched in what needs to happen to stay their present course that they forget to scan their environment in order to make sure it is still the course they should be on. Others on the other hand are so involved with the environment they are likely to not even notice the curb and might trip over it only to fall out in to the street.
Taking time to think about your next step before you take it is the best course of action. Make sure it’s safe and that you are going in the direction you want to go. Notice what obstacles might be heading your way, or might be already at your feet. Here are some ideas that might assist you:
- Where am I trying to go right now?
- Am I going in the right direction, or do I need to take a detour?
- Are there any barriers in my path that would prevent me from getting there? If so, how can they be overcome?
- Is my current environment conducive to me getting where I want to go, or is there something within it that may pose a challenge? If there is a challenge, how do I overcome this or minimize the risk?
Remember everyone, take time to lift your head up, evaluate your environment and make sure your present course is still the best option for you. Avoid getting hit by that truck and don’t trip over that curb, whatever they might actually be.