Shifting Perspectives: The Big Picture View
By Guest Blogger: Jennifer Fenton
The View From Above
Flying above Seattle, everything looks different. Buildings cluster together, miniature cars slither along a curving highway, the stadium towers above it all and the waters of the Puget Sound are immense.
A few minutes earlier, the plane was gliding over the majestic Cascade Mountains with peaks and valleys visible and covered with a dusting of snow.
Landing, it is time to step back into the hustle and bustle of a busy and noisy airport. The breathtaking beauty of the view from 10,000 feet has vanished. Taking a deep breath, it is time to head to baggage claim.
Staying Grounded While Remembering the Big Picture
The view from 10,000 feet in the air is amazing, but I’m always happy when the plane lands. The combination of seeing the Cascades from 10,000 feet and the return to reality and juggling my daily activities help keep things in perspective. Having my feet on the ground puts me that much closer to my family and friends who help me keep it real.
However, once back on the ground, it is often difficult to remember the big picture and how everything fits together. Rather, it is a fight against traffic and hurrying to the next meeting.
It is easy to get lost in the daily grind and forget about the big picture. Taking the time to reflect and notice the view from a higher altitude is essential for moving forward. The ability to simultaneously recognize both the big picture and also be aware of all those pesky little details is a unique skill.
To gain a broad perspective and understand how everything fits together, I focus on getting to know people. I listen to various perspectives and look for patterns or commonalities. Being aware of what is happening outside my small world helps me understand a much wider view. It is easy to get pushed into a narrow perspective. Breaking down these silos keeps me from getting stuck in a narrow view.
Professional Organizations are Key
One of the ways that I stay engaged and get the big picture perspective is by being involved in professional organizations. Benefits of my participation in local, state and national professional organizations are numerous. Meeting regularly with my peers and hearing what they are doing and who they are connecting with often inspires me to try new things. With technology, we no longer rely solely on in-person meetings and conferences, we can connect in many ways virtually.
I started with professional organizations when I was just a teenager so often forget that not everyone knows about this great resource. Before even graduating from high school, my boss asked me to volunteer at a conference. I sat at the registration desk for hours and observed the people around me. I discovered that there was a much bigger world than just my little library.
Networking within my professional organizations provides me with a diverse group of people that I can call on in various situations. When I am curious about trends or need fresh ideas on how to do something, I galvanize my network. They are amazing and together we build great things. We help each other spark new ideas.
What YOU Can Do to Shift Perspective to the Big Picture
To gain insights and develop your own big picture perspective, here are some tips to get you started:
Find your people:
Yes, read the professional literature and look beyond that to reading community and national newspapers, magazines and reliable online sources. Keeping current is essential.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. The only way to learn is to discover, and asking questions often leads to great discoveries.
Learning to incorporate these activities into your regular routines will broaden your perspective and help you connect to the bigger picture.
Jennifer Fenton has worked in libraries for many years and has worked in a variety of capacities from youth services to management and training. Passionate about libraries, people and technology, Jennifer embraces change and seeks new opportunities.
Beyond the daily job, Jennifer and her husband have a jewelry and art business, Fenton Studios. This endeavor has definitely broadened Jennifer’s perspective!
Fenton Studios can be found on Etsy, Facebook and Instagram.