When to abandon a sinking ship when things get rough. I missed one of the greatest football comebacks of all-time Monday night. My plans were to attend a class and catch the second half of the Broncos football game. It was a great plan that I did not execute because of one piece of information, the half-time score. Based on one fact, down by 24 points, was the basis of my split-second decision to change my original plan and forego watching the game.
It is tempting to cut and run when things are not going well. Difficult times skew proper perspective and sound judgment resulting in bad decisions. Unless the need to abandon ship is clear, it may be wise to maintain course until you gain more perspective.
Growing up near the west coast, I visited the ocean many times. On one trip, we visited an old shipwreck that was once a cargo ship. It ran aground on a sand bar and settled at a forty-five degree lean to one side. The shipwreck was accessible via a gaping hole in its side. I entered this accidental entryway. As soon as I moved into the ship, the passageways and doors appeared normal, but it left me with the illusion that I was walking on the walls. Left over puddles of seawater appeared to be climbing the same walls upon which I walked. I told my brain that I was walking vertically straight and not at an angle, but my perception did not change until I got topside and found the horizon.
Topside is the place I discover perspective without stepping off the ship. It is a place of fresh air even when delivered with a blast of cold wet sea spray. It may not always reveal the answer I want, but it comes with the confidence of the right perspective. It is the place to view all the related issues for their true value. Topsides a place we build, not find, and should visit before making a final decision to abandon ship.
Here are some ideas to build your place for topside perspective.
- Clearly identify what you value and hold on to it. These values are what provide a personal foundation upon which to make our decisions.
- Identify friends and trusted advisers who value you above their own agenda. Personal agendas usually taint perspective.
- Appreciate the passage of time. Rushing to judgment seldom considers all the facts.
- Learn from your prior experiences. History has a way of repeating itself. Take note of trends that have helped you in the past as well as those that have harmed you.
- Listen carefully to what you are hearing as well as what you are not hearing. Messages of perspective are not always obvious.
It is easy to get a skewed view when we are not standing on firm ground. Abandoning the ship may be the most prudent course of action and lead to new and greater things. Unfortunately, you may miss one of your greatest comebacks of all time. Be sure to build your solid topside that gives you the right perspective before you face a major decision.
What are some additional ideas you can offer to build better topside perspective?