A chorus of Lonestar’s song “From My Front Porch Looking In” is, “I see what beautiful is about when I’m looking in, not when I am looking out.” This refers to how the songwriter views his world from the perspective of his family and the good life they give the writer. You can see a very different perspective from comments made by Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan, author of “Last Man on the Moon,” when he speaks of looking at Earth from the surface of the moon and feeling as if he is on God’s front porch.
Two totally different perspectives from being on a “front porch” offer us an understanding of what is significant in our world, whether in our personal lives, our business or our community. Many times, we can look outward or inward and see something extremely different—not conflicting visions, just diverse ones.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to return to the South Dakota Black Hills, and with it came a chance to revisit Mount Rushmore. The difference in this visit from the previous ones was that I was with an individual who was familiar with the area and the land, especially relative to Mount Rushmore, and was wired into the local governing authorities. The individual asked if I would like to have a different perspective of the memorial. “Of course,” I said. You never want to miss a unique opportunity when it is presented to you. What ensued was our assent up the mountain to be able to “look from the backside.”
Was having that view something extremely majestic that could not be duplicated in any other area of our country? Certainly not—there was nothing spectacular about it. It was simply different in that I now view the memorial as a whole and not simply a beautifully created façade that took many painstaking years and man-hours to create. It is a wonderful place and a most fitting tribute to the leadership and freedom in our land.
That experience reminded me just how simple yet complex everyday life can be when we see it from the same vantage point day after day. With this perspective comes a shroud of regularity and numbness that deadens much of what we can no longer truly see or experience. It’s not because there is no desire to do so—it’s only because the stimulation is not there. This is when we don’t recognize opportunities for what they can possibly present for us to experience. This relates clearly and truthfully to our businesses.
The Long Game
Our company just completed working with one of our clients in determining whether a possible corporate acquisition was a good fit and whether the company should pursue it. The original quandary came from the client’s inability to see the benefits for the company in the long term vs. the here and now.
The primary reason for this belief: These two retailers operated in two different markets; therefore, there was no immediate need to acquire the assets of a company that wasn’t a competitor. However, immediacy is not what any of our futures are built on. It is simply now and it serves us in the moment; with great luck and a large amount of effort, it serves us well. However, when it is over, it is over. What we can attain must take us into the future, being ever mindful of growth and opportunities.
This acquisition proved a great opportunity for our client to enter a market in which it had never operated. And it also presented to the company the ability to reach out and grasp what would be a branch on a new tree that would provide sustained growth in the long term. The purchase presented an opportunity for the company to begin operating in multiple markets, making it no longer dependent on the simple number of one.
When we are dependent on that number, we truly have no independence. We are crippled before we go into the field because we are not given any alternatives. It is hard to realize one’s total potential as a fully functioning farmer when the whole day is spent merely picking eggs and placing them in the same old basket. The fragile contents of the basket reflect how restricted we can become due to a limited vision and a narrow perspective.
We spend the majority of our lives viewing the front side of the mountain because that probably is where the road is. Take a different path sometime and catch the view from the backside. It can be even more spectacular.
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