On a particularly snowy afternoon I found myself overlooking an expert trail on top of a little ski area in Vermont named Round Top (since closed). The snow had been falling most of the day which resulted in many of the skiers packing up their gear and heading home. Along with my two companions I decided to stay and enjoy the fresh snow covered trails, now almost completely empty. If necessary we could always get hotel rooms and wait out the storm.
With the tips of my skis suspended in mid air I peered down the trail’s frightening descent wondering if I should backup and find a route that was less challenging. Just as I was about to gingerly start my retreat a voice called out “what are you waiting for?” I flinched and turned to see my old friend and mentor Gabe standing a few feet away.
“I didn’t know you skied I cried as we hugged hello”, “ I do indeed.” he said. “Are you descending?” He asked as he moved toward the overhang. I explained to him my indecision and at first he just smiled.
You’re a good skier” he said “so the bottleneck is just in your mind, agree?”
As always he’d summed up my situation succinctly and with a hint of mocking me, I nodded in agreement.
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead
of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” Bill Watterson
“ Grabbing the moment during the descent as it unfolds is key, and remember you can always sit on your skis if you lose control,” He said.
“I’m off to the bunny trail myself,” he said as he turned, and it was only then I noticed a group of skiers standing not 20 feet away, he joined them and they trudged off.
With the idea of each moment unfolding in front of me I descended the expert trail. I kept my awareness a ski length in front of me and other then a couple of near falls I had a great run. At the bottom I turned my gaze back up the mountain and smiled while quietly thanking Gabe for reminding me that what’s important is the moment.
Business owners and management often find themselves in similar situations, they stand at the edge of a decision peering into both the future and the past wondering what they should do, wondering which path makes the most sense for their continued growth and ROI. It can be a very uncomfortable place to find yourself, especially if your decision affects lots of stakeholders.
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.” A.A. Milne
How can leadership move forward when both the past and future seems like an endless steep decline into the unknown?
The answer is to shift your thinking out of the past, shift your thinking out of the future because you have no control nor any chance of control of either. The opportunity to have a successful run into the unknown rests in grabbing the moment that is unfolding under your feet, and all around you.
And if what I’m saying is true how do you get your organization out of the past-future mindset? Two words will open the door, Dialogue Process.
Embracing the Dialogue Process within your entire organization will help to explode creativity, innovation and in the end ROI. It’s not magic, it’s not smoke and mirrors no the Dialogue Process is at its core a radical embracing of the Moment.
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