Look at this sweet little cherub angel in a perfectly framed passport photo. Easy, right?
But if you panned out, you would see a different picture.
Mom is still recovering from back surgery and can’t hold him, so the baby is sitting in the front carriage of a grocery cart. But that’s not tall enough for the passport photo. So he’s sitting on top of a popcorn tin that’s on top of a holiday case of tequila. Mom is crouched in front, out of the picture frame, securing his waist. Which clearly seems like a fun game, so he is giggling and playing with her hair. They’re on at least the 10th try. “This is the last,” the clerk finally announces.
“It has to work!” mom panics. “His family in Brazil has never met him. We leave in 2 months. I need this photo!”
The Big Picture
We usually talk about the big picture with the idea of getting out of the weeds—seeing how individual actions fit into the whole. How one part of a business fits into the overall organization.
Another way, like the image above, is to see the full picture: people in their context. It seems so obvious, but people don’t come to each moment in life in isolation.
The Sanctuary Model
When I worked at Jewish Child & Family Services, we integrated “community meetings,” a tenet of the Sanctuary Model, into our team. The Sanctuary Model was one proven to be effective when working with children who have been victims of trauma.
In our adaptation, we added a “community meeting” to the beginning of our bi-weekly staff meetings. Each person would answer three questions: How are you feeling? What are your goals for the day (or class, or meeting, etc.)? Is there anyone here who can help you with that?
There was no processing or solving–just a moment to help people be fully present and to get a sense of everyone’s state of being coming into the meeting.
Be Kind: Everyone Carries a Heavy Load
So many times during our days we have a knee-jerk reaction accompanied by assumptions as to why someone does something. The guy who cut you off in traffic is a jerk. Your potential client who didn’t call you back is not interested.
People like to do business with people they like. And being likeable starts with empathy and compassion.
With text and video calls and immediate contact we can reach people anytime, anywhere. Stop to ask, “Am I catching you in the middle of something?” If someone shares something difficult they are facing in their personal lives, ask “how can I best support you? By moving forward on the project? Pausing?”
What’s the big picture? How can you be a help?