Your Vantage Point is Critical
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Recently, my wife and I took a quiet two-day getaway and traveled up to Lake Placid. Its been 40 years since I was in Lake Placid, and it was great to see the arena again where the 1980 Men’s U.S. Hockey team beat the Soviets in what we all refer to as the Miracle on Ice. Based on a recommendation from friends, we stayed at a very nice hotel, the Golden Arrow, which overlooks Mirror Lake. It was such a wonderful time. Just the two of us walking around Mirror Lake, planning the best places to eat (yes, that is a primary interest of mine). A bonus from this quick trip was an amazing teaching moment that I would like to share with you.
Until this visit, I thought Lake Placid was the town where the 1932 and 1980 Olympics were held, and in that town is a lake, Mirror Lake. All of this is true. What I didn’t know is that Lake Placid is also a lake. While walking around Mirror Lake, my wife and I noticed a boat wash station on the other side of the street. Mirror Lake doesn’t allow gas engine boats, so something didn’t make sense. We walked over and found, you guessed it, Lake Placid. An amazingly beautiful lake. How could I have missed this?
Later that afternoon, we set out driving up Whiteface Mountain on the Veteran’s Memorial Highway. It is a spectacular drive that reminded me a lot of the road to Pike’s Peak, only much shorter. Around each bend or clearing in the trees, you see magnificent vistas. While Whiteface is only the fifth highest peak in New York, it offers you a 360-degree view of the Adirondacks, and on a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of Montreal and the mountains of Vermont. At the end of this five-mile-long road is Whiteface Castle, which was built from granite excavated during the building of the road. This “end of the road” offers an amazing vantage point for viewing Lake Placid. Here is where my learning hit me. The answer to my question was my vantage point. When we drove up to Whiteface Castle, I saw what I had missed. This amazing lake, with its three islands, spread out before us thousands of feet below us. Next to it, almost looking like a small bay next to the lake was Mirror Lake.
There are times when we can’t see things that are right next to us. Almost directly in front of us. We can see “reality” as I saw Mirror Lake and the town of Lake Placid, and completely miss my new “expanded reality” of Lake Placid. With the right vantage point, everything becomes clearer. The key is to realize that we may need a more expanded vantage point. When we are facing a challenge or crisis, our view tends to narrow, and we get hyper-focused. It is in these times when we need to back away from our current vantage point and go higher—1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 feet higher—so we can gain a larger perspective.
Thinking partners are critical in these times. Make sure you have someone you are talking with that can help you climb out of the challenge and help you find the great opportunity that might be right next to you.
If you would like to hear more about this topic, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 163 of The Next Page podcast.