There’s no place like home, but there’s a lot to be said for changing the view once in awhile. So we picked up and relocated to the Cape for one night in the middle of a work week. I’m back to work today, but with a refreshed mind. We settle into a pattern of familiarity when we do the same thing day-after-day. Routine is powerful, and can be hugely beneficial in earning compound interest over time from daily, positive habits. But sometimes the plaque buildup on our minds needs a cleansing to create new perspective on a project or problem you might be tackling. Nothing changes perspective like a system re-boot like a vacation or a sabbatical. But those opportunities aren’t always there. Changing scenery does the trick most of the time, even when you can’t take extended time off.
This morning I’m back to work, but the view out the window has improved, and a quick early morning walk on the beach offered its own rewards. I noticed a burst of energy in my work tasks, and I’ve seen the fog burn off, not just on the bay but in myself as well. I re-read a bit of Atomic Habits this morning as well. Something kept bringing me to this graph that illustrates the conflict between expectations and reality. James Clear calls it the “Valley of Disappointment”. Seth Godin calls it “The Dip”. It’s the lagging measure of results to actions you’ve taken. Whenever I start a new sales job I try to gauge the amount of runway I have available to take off. If you aren’t selling the trendiest stuff out there at commodity prices then you need time to build demand for your product, build a channel, get it specified, wait out budget cycles and finally get it purchased for installation.
Valleys of disappointment happen, but it’s important to see the forest for the trees. Perspective is invaluable when you’re in the valley, and just as important when you’ve climbed out of the valley. A little change of scenery almost always does the trick. Sometimes that scenery is physical like the beach, sometimes it’s mental, like looking ahead instead of looking back. Jon Acuff wrote in a recent newsletter about the ten year question. In short, what will you look back on ten years from now and wish you’d done today? That is what you should do. Acuff flips the narrative from looking back with regret to fast forwarding to a future you, and looking back from there. Fascinating exercise, and a good way to give you perspective on what is important now. So I tackled the day with new energy, new perspective and a new focus, and that was the goal all along.