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Rocky Mountains Of Perspective

July 30, 2013


If you go to climb a mountain
Sit down when you begin.
Count up all the things
That you must sacrifice to win

The mountain peak it’s for the brave
And those who really try.
When they suffer failure
They don’t sit down and cry,

But put themselves back on their feet
And start off once again.
They just keep on tryin’
‘Cause they know that they must win.

Mountains and Towers

We’ve all been warned to avoid making a mountain out of a molehill. But, what about when you really DO have to climb a mountain? What then?

It could be a literal mountain, but given that this column is about business topics, we all have mountains in our work. Maybe it’s creating a two week training course. . .by March 1st! Or, it’s preparing for the presentation to the CEO. . .for the first time.

Maybe it’s just getting through a mountain of emails, two planning meetings, 3 customer calls, all by 5:00 so you can get out and start your vacation.

Whatever the mountain, it’s important to keep perspective. The picture at the top of this column is the mountain that I live under. Okay, I’m not a troll, I live in a house, just below the “G,” which stands for Pleasant Grove. To the right of the G you can see a canyon. This is Battle Creek canyon. The scene of one of the first battles between settlers and Native Americans.

This picture is the view from the Battle Creek Canyon trailhead.
Battle Creek Canyon trailhead

Do you notice something about the pictures? When standing at the trailhead you can’t see the peak. You are too close to the mountain.

We, of course do the same thing in our projects. It’s called losing perspective. I’ve seen a department order hardware not because they needed it, but because it would be too much work to cancel the order when the project needs changed.

Here’s that view from a mile down the road.
1 Mile

I can now get a better view of the ultimate goal. Sometimes you need to take that step back (in this case a mile worth of steps) so that you can actually see what it is you are trying to accomplish.

This is the view from two miles away.
2 Miles

It’s easy to now see not only the mountain peak, but the surrounding issues and projects. . .I mean canyons. You can take the “step back and get perspective” exercise too far.

Here’s the view from 5 miles.
5 Miles

Sure, I can get a better view, but I’ve now started to lose some of the detail of the surrounding initiatives. . . I mean canyons. I’ve worked with people who were so interested in getting the remote perspective that they never got around to getting to the details. Like last week when I talked about David who was responsible for getting internet access to 16,000 locations around the world. (But He Held Great Meetings) David spent so much time at the 5 mile range that he never actually charted a path through the canyons. . .I mean issues.

I love Utah.

I’m a transplant from Washington State, but I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the high mountain desert and the Rocky Mountains. My mother still lives in Olympia, Washington. She came to visit me last year. We were planning to visit my daughters who lived around the valley. I found myself saying,

Well, first we’re going to Payson. It’s at the base of that mountain over there.
Looking South toward Payson, UT

Then, we’re going to Eagle Mountain. It’s that mountain over there.
Looking West toward Eagle Mountain

You’re hotel is at the Point of the Mountain, over there.
Looking North toward Point of the Mountain

And of course, our house is in Pleasant Grove at the base of that mountain, there.
Looking East toward Mount Timpanogas

The mountains have become my guideposts. But, you have to get enough distance away at times to be able to see them clearly.

And, this, this is the view from my front porch, just under the “G” on the west slope of Mahogany Mountain, just below Mount Timpanogas.
A summer sunset looking West from my front porch

Like I said, I love Utah. It’s pretty here.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He lives under a mountain in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and 13 children.

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