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It’s Perspective That Makes the Difference

Once upon a time—actually about 20 odd years ago, there was a lovely old public park which had fallen on hard times. It had been a jewel in the Richmond park system, but now its gardens were neglected, its trails were overgrown, its lakes polluted and trashy, its fields used as a dump.

I loved that old park. I walked there almost every day. It made me sad to see a beautiful place reduced to such sorry circumstances. Often, the only people I saw there were a few creepy men with unknown intentions. I believed no one cared.—and that nothing I or anyone could do would make a difference.

How wrong I was. Today, that same park is vibrant and alive. In good weather, the park is full of people --children play in the playground, people walk or bike the hiking trails, play tennis, soccer, or Frisbee golf, feed the geese, fish, picnic. It just feels good to be there, to see the transformation.

How did it happen? A group of people, the Friends of Bryan Park*, thought big when I thought small. They refused to believe nothing could be done. They started working on the park in small ways—clearing a trail here, weeding a bed there, advocating for more funds, creating partnerships with the city department of recreation and parks. Over time, their hard and work persistence paid off and the park slowly came back to life.

You know, when I took those lonely walks in the park years ago, I thought things there would only change for the worse. What time has given me is perspective. Things can change, people can make a difference, what seemed impossible is possible. I have the ability to see something that I couldn’t see 20 years ago. This new perspective gives me hope.

I believe that we can approach life more calmly because we’ve lived enough of it to see that what seems huge is really small, what seems hopeless is truly accomplishable, that what seems like forever is really a moment. Great leaders have this perspective. They help the people around them see it too. They make it possible for people work for the prize despite setbacks, hardships and disappointments.

What is your perspective? How do you share it with others so that they see it too?

P.S. Vedere means “to see” in Italian. I believe perspective is an important element of success. As a coach, it’s my job to help my clients examine their perspectives and discern where their viewpoints no longer serve them. If your perspective is small when it needs to be large, consider coaching as an opportunity for growth. My contact information is below.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about the Friends of Bryan Park, visit their website at http://www.friendsofbryanpark.org/ .

2 Responses to "It’s Perspective That Makes the Difference"

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2008 - 7:49 pm Reply

    That’s a great reflection. After spending several years in government and observing the futility of the abstracted efforts to legislate morality, enforce good values, and market ethics it became ever more clear to me that it has to start with each of us reaching out to another.

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2008 - 7:53 pm Reply

    What a great connection. I worked in government for several years and am still bemused at how folks want to make abstract legislating morality, enforcing values, and marketing ethics. It’s really about each of us instead.

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