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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

How Being “Laser-Focused” May Not Always be Helpful

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

A hummingbird flew into our house this weekend, it sought the highest window and kept trying over and over to get through the glass. Despite our encouragement, it was unsuccessful in penetrating the window. Little did it know that if it flew backward (the only bird that can do that) and looked in either direction, there were many open doors and windows beckoning for its release.

This small bird was so determined and focused on his goal that he missed the many opportunities around her. Yes, the flight might have been a moment longer and the elevation lower than envisioned, but he would have saved a tremendous amount of energy.

Does this sound familiar? We get laser focused and stuck on seeing success as looking only one way that we unknowingly, miss opportunities to collaborate, be creative, or find solutions that are faster and potentially more rewarding.

Great self-leadership requires humility, openness, and curiosity. As I said last week: The ability to stay open to everything and attached to nothing. Maybe the trick is to step back just a bit, to detach from the situation enough so that emotions are not driving you and your ego is not limiting your potential. Challenge yourself to take the blinders off and entertain other possibilities. Ahhh, the power of innovation.

I have several very successful clients who have begun to clearly see the dysfunction in their organization. While it has always been there, through coaching they are now able to realize and appreciate its detrimental effects. Having insight allows for choice, you are no longer at the effect of the situation, you are an active participant. The next question is, “What role do I wish to play in this relationship?” Would you keep hitting the window now that you know it will not move or are you ready to step back, acknowledge what is, and bravely entertain an alternative? The choice is yours.

It is interesting that many people begin justifying and finding reasons why staying in a toxic environment is their only option. (think of the hummingbird and the window) But what if, you really felt you had a choice? You recognized your worthiness and skills and believed, despite the fear of change, that there was another option or opportunity available. Can you step back from the emotion and see beyond your fear?

Begin by having the courage to see what else is out there. What other opportunities might exist? You approach this without judgment or commitment to anything, just explore and become curious. It is amazing what happens when you realize you have options… options allow for choice and choice allows for alignment of your vision, skill, and passion.

We see only what we choose to see, if you are only focused on the outcome you may come across a lot of windows. Step back and allow your curiosity to take hold. The open door is just around the corner.

And yes… the hummingbird made it out alive! A wise bird she was.

A fun fact from Audubon: Hummingbirds “can fly straight up and down. Backwards and forwards. Or upside down. And up to 75 miles an hour. But don’t worry, it won’t run into you. This bird can slow down from 25 miles an hour to a dead stop in a space no longer than your index finger.”

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