From Where I Sit…

“With all thy getting, get understanding.”

– Steve Forbes, in every issue of Forbes Magazine, a take on Proverbs 3:5


As business leaders, too often we think we get paid primarily to “know.”

We’d be worth more if we focused first on understanding.

As people (relatives, friends, parents, spouses…) too often we think we’re supposed to tell.  We think based on what we “know” that it’s on us to take a position, make a stand, draw a line.

We’d be better relatives, friends, parents, spouses if we’d ask.  Listen.  Want to know.  If we started from a place of abject curiosity.

Funerals are interesting gatherings of people.  Some come with a sense of celebration, others with a sense of foreboding or sorrow.  Some remember the deceased at their best, others remember every flaw, every episode.  Stories are told.  Some are true.  Some are partly true.  Some are total BS.  From where I sit…

Some are generations-old samplings of a series of he-said, she-said, he-might-have-said, she-might-have-done, no-one-was-there-so-no-one-has-any-idea — you get the point.  Imagine those stories from the perspective of where every participant — teller, listener, over-hearer, insider, outsider — imagine the static involved in trying to tune in that signal.

The only perspective we have is the one from where we sit. The more open-minded we are, the broader and deeper our perspective may become.  The more curious we are, the more complete our perspective will become.

In life, it helps us remember not to judge, not to be the first to toss the stone from within our glass house and it helps us to be a comfort, a value, a bridge and source of hope and love for someone else who needs one of those things.

In business, it helps us become trusted advisors.  It helps us get and keep the focus on the person we’re trying to serve, which is the best way of serving the person who pays us.  It helps us become “remarkable,” which Seth Godin defines as “something worthy of being remarked upon.”

From where we sit, the best we can do is to try to see the situation, the story — this moment — from the perspective of where someone else sits.

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