I read a book last weekend that changed the way I was looking at a problem. The more I reflected about the book’s offering to me, the more I appreciated the mindset shift I experienced. My approach to a long-standing issue had changed radically in a few hours.
The familiar quote “Can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind.
It is used when someone is too involved in the details of a problem to look at a situation as a whole. I’ll take it one step farther.
It’s not just about being too involved in the details of a problem; it’s about being too involved in our own mindsets to see that they are mindsets.
Mindsets can be changed.
Why are so many people engaged in systems that aren’t effective and often are harmful? Why is it that so often we get buried in the details (the trees) and can’t see that the solution to our problem may require our pulling back to see the entire forest?
We have to get out of the trees and above the forest before we can go to the source; the root.
I see struggles we all have in getting to the root of a problem. As a coach, I am trained to dig deeply, through powerful questions, to explore what is below the surface. What I often discover for myself and for clients, is that the problems we all have are rarely taken to their root level. People get “stuck” and repeat patterns that are harmful to them because they don’t go to the root. Even for people who are trained to do it for others, it can be impossible to do for themself.
Failure to go to the root of a problem challenges many levels of our society. The prevailing mindset is “I am too busy to stop and think about how I might get to the root, so I will just keep doing what I have always done.”
Here are some tools for leaders and influencers to use to get to the root:
Stop periodically and quiet your mind
Breathe deeply from your belly with your eyes closed
In this state connect to your care and ask what matters most
What question needs an answer?
Pay attention to any signs, words, or ideas that come to you
Have a “root” explorer in your world ; someone who asks the tough and challenging questions
My wish is for you to see the trees and the forest, while remembering that it all begins at the root. Look “below” the symptom. Get curious. Keep probing.
To your “up-rooting!”