This morning, as I stole ten minutes to sit in one of my favourite spots in the world (a little Chinese garden), I spotted a sparrow hopping about under the park bench. I watched him for a few minutes, as if I was seeing him for the first time.
Sparrows are such ordinary, run-of-the-mill, kinda (dare I say it) boring birds.
Even though these little creatures inhabit and live alongside us like no other bird, they often go unnoticed.
Leaders, especially CEOs and senior executive teams, feel the pressure to come up with the ‘next BIG thing’; the panacea to the organisation’s turnaround, or an idea that will transform the company.
But just like my little sparrow, it’s the ordinary that can be extraordinary, if we only truly see it.
We have become so busy searching for the ‘next big thing’. And we have lost the art of seeing beauty and value in the everyday.
Your loyal and competent PA who has quietly and efficiently organised your professional life (and sometimes your personal life too), day in and day out, for months or even for years.
The employee in your company who courageously speaks out and challenges ideas, voicing what others are thinking but are too afraid to say.
The security guard in your building who is always there, quietly going about his or her job every day without fail, keeping your company safe in the process.
The leader who smiles at a workmate who seems sad.
The colleague who listens silently and quietly to someone as they tell their story.
Breathing deeply or practising mindfulness when you are stressed out.
Making space in your diary to stop, reflect and think, instead of constantly filling it with action.
Saying thank you.
These are such simple, commonplace actions. And yet, these are the things that can be incredibly powerful. My very wise mother once said –
So by all means, keep looking for the ‘next big thing’.
Keep chasing the big fish.
But don’t forget to notice and appreciate the sparrows in your world.