I am starting to see a shift in our collective ability to see the bigger picture.
For leaders in the business world and beyond, the capacity to see the bigger picture is not only useful for maintaining a productive pace, but imperative to ensure the endurance of often multi-faceted projects and operations. It is, however, a skill we can and should all have the forethought to adopt in everyday situations.
Our world has undoubtedly changed, and that change has oftentimes drawn us into a highly limited routine.
It’s life, but not as we knew it.
We readjusted and complied, we withdrew and resisted, we smiled hidden smiles (and sometimes just didn’t bother). But, as we succumbed, and for many introverts, sometimes reveled in a new existence, we may have also become entirely used to being in the weeds and not seeing the bigger picture.
Our world got smaller.
We fussed and fretted, to begin with, but gradually became conditioned to the numbness of our new society. If we did have an awareness of the bigger picture, we slowly began to lose sight of its power.
Even for those of us who are lucky to be living in some semblance of normality again, the echo of a time when we could step back and view things from afar, climb to the top of the hill and take everything in, has become much more challenging.
Our new habit of coping by concentrating on a smaller vantage point was what we needed in order to cope during the pandemic, but it’s become a restrictive mindset for many who are trying to find their way post-pandemic.
WHY IS THE BIGGER PICTURE IMPORTANT?
Let’s take a moment to imagine you are in a round room, it’s safe there and you are comfortable with day-to-day life, but often it feels like something is, well, missing.
The thing that is most often missing? A sense of purpose.
Let’s now look at the same round room, but take a step back. What we now see is actually a cog among hundreds of other cogs and parts all doing their bit to fuel a greater purpose. Some are fast, some are slow, some have color and some have noise but in each individual and wonderful way, they are all contributing to something bigger than themselves. Work, family, community, the environment, the list goes on.
There are so many bigger pictures we can align with if we choose to do so. With this knowledge, or awakening to what we have become numb to, comes not only a better perspective of what’s working well, but also a sense of empowerment to make changes when they aren’t.
The bigger picture is vital for a lasting sense of purpose.
A Leader, a Manager, or a Business Owner, who doesn’t broaden their view, will witness things start to come apart at the seams. They know that. It is why big picture thinking has been on the radar for many years. However, for many of us, the bigger picture hasn’t necessarily been an actual skill we work on to enhance our lives, if anything it is used more like a fleeting cliché. But it’s that lack of utilization alone that can blur our existence and often lead to frustration and loneliness.
The bigger picture frames a new perspective, stepping back allows greater clarity and the confidence to zoom in when it’s called for.
FIVE BENEFITS TO SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
1. It offers perspective. Our world or tasks can seem so overwhelming when we are deep in the weeds. Taking a step back and evaluating the bigger picture can give a different or clearer perspective on how to proceed effectively.
2. It can give you a chance to view where you have been, where you are now, and what you might do in the future to move productively and purposely in a direction that will serve you well. As opposed to continuing along the same path because that’s what you have always done.
3. It helps not only with your sense of purpose but also a stronger sense of identity. That may be in your workplace, your community, or just with your peers. By seeing the bigger picture it helps us to see just how important we are in the greater mix of things.
4. Clarity. With a bigger-picture perspective, we can become aware of what is succeeding and what needs more attention.
5. A change of view. How many times have you walked a different way or driven a different route home and noticed something you hadn’t seen before? Perhaps it triggered a chain of thoughts you’d have never had if you’d not gone that way. Take a moment to step back and see the bigger picture to allow your brain to present some wonderful new angles you may not have considered.
Of course, there’s a rare beauty to allowing ourselves to shut the bigger picture away every now and again, and in work, there are positives to be found in the details too! I’m not denying their strengths and the all-too-familiar powerful pull to restrict everything around us.
Sometimes we absolutely need to limit our focus to iron out the creases which can’t be done from a distance. But it’s the bigger picture that paints the potential for opportunity, for purpose, and for feeling part of something that’s greater than us.