Going Up To The Balcony
It is so easy to become enmeshed in our daily challenges as leaders. They are right in front of us.
A disappointing employee
An angry manager
Unwelcome financial results
Negative customer feedback
The list can be endless. And very frustrating.
When I was a younger leader, I would allow small issues in the workplace to fester, hoping they would go away.
I would strive to sweep them under the rug. I would go home in the evening and perseverate over the issues that I wanted to disappear.
I would even lie in bed awake at night thinking about these workplace challenges, losing sleep and contributing to the creation of unhealthy neural pathways in my brain.
My focus was on the problems themselves, not the solutions.
Then I learned about a powerful metaphor. It helped give me perspective, balance and hope. It was a leadership concept with which I had been unfamiliar.
“Going Up to the Balcony”
Going up to the balcony represents a leadership perspective that gives us the ability to look at our issues in a new light.
When we leave the orchestra section and climb up to the balcony, we can “look down” on our issues and problems in a new way.
We can give ourselves permission to view the big picture.
We can place our challenges in the proper perspective.
We can view tough situations in light of past experience and future successes.
We can more easily forgive ourselves for mistakes and apply the lessons learned from those errors.
We can even learn to laugh at our own mistakes in judgment and vow to do better next time.
When we are “too close to the forest to see the trees,” we are unable to view the big picture.
We become caught in our own emotions.
We suffer an amygdala hijack.
We abandon our best leadership skills and surrender to the feelings of the moment.
The next time you find yourself trapped in a negative spin cycle, so close to a problem that you cannot reason calmly and rationally, so frustrated that you are having difficulty engaging in productive thinking, pause.
Give yourself a push to climb those stairs to your virtual balcony.
Look down on your life, on your job, on your leadership. Appreciate all the good things you have achieved, especially as we are in the midst of a pandemic.
Get in touch with your leadership accomplishments.
Identify with your significant self-confidence.
Breathe. See the big picture.
You will feel better and regain your sense of control and optimism.
Remember – the balcony is always there. It’s up to us to remember to find it when we need it.