Seeing the Big Picture

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I’ve been known to stop in the middle of a coaching session to show my client a sticky note with a dot in the center. I’d ask the client what they saw. Invariably, the response would be, “I see a dot”. “No”, I’d reply. “You see a sticky note with a dot in the middle”.

This is one of the multiple ways I prompt clients to “zoom out” and see the big picture. This simple exercise has been life changing for a few.

Well, this past week I laughed out loud as I realized that I was only seeing the dot in a situation I’m currently managing. Okay, I’m not really managing the situation; rather, I’m managing my emotions by zooming out to see the big picture.

You see, we have a lovely flower garden at our new home. I find few things more meditative than sitting in “Koi Cove”— a brook with a tiny pond that is home to 6 goldfish and 5 frogs. Admiring all of the seasonal surprises blooming in our garden and discovering newly hatched fish has become the ultimate pleasure! But over these past two weeks, my meditative state has been mucked by a resident gopher that has been trampling the pretty Purple Coneflowers with no explanation. Drats!
At first, I tied the flowers together with some nylon rope. Then I got stakes to prop up the posies. Michael relocated a metallic heron sculpture to the crime scene as a scare device. I even went so far as to call pest control to see how they could humanely extricate the critter!

Before long, I began heading outside not to admire the garden, but specifically to check the flower stakes and monitor the wreck caused by our tenacious little beast! Michael became worried that I was morphing into Bill Murray’s character Carl in Caddyshack.

Finally, my wise inner self realized that I was focused on the dot instead of the entire page of the situation. There’s more to the garden than those pretty purple flowers. And besides, the bees don’t seem to mind as they pollenate the bludgeoned beauties, cones and all.

So, although I’m not thrilled, I now realize that I can zoom out and enjoy the garden as a whole. I’m choosing to see the proverbial plantings and not focus on these particular tattered patches.

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to meditate with the froggies in celebration of my newfound self-awareness.


  • Deborah Goldstein

    Deborah Goldstein, recovering restaurateur, has been working with DRIVEN professionals since 2009 as an executive coach and workshop facilitator. It’s Deborah’s personal mission to support people in realizing their greatest career and personal potential. She works one-on-one with clients and she partners with whole organizations to build cultures of trust, alleviate workplace stress, and empower teams and individuals to optimize their productivity.

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