Forest for the Trees ….

I recently had the pleasure of having dinner with the new defensive coach of our football team.  He mentioned that he was just coming off a year long “sabbatical”, as he transitioned from his previous city to ours.

I was really curious – what exactly does someone do when they take a year off?  Travel?  Repaint the house?  Binge watch missed episodes of The Walking Dead?

He spent the year doing what he loves – from the other side.  He went to football games: high school, college, and professional.  He used this time to challenge preconceptions he’d built over the span of his career.  He studied the new defensive techniques, and questioned why coaches made certain decisions.  He walked the stands and spoke with parents (something that would assist his scouting efforts in the coming years).

He explained that every Spring he would get together with fellow coaches to share the previous year’s plays, discuss new coaching techniques, etc. But given that every team plays at the same time within a set season, this only provided limited value.  He never had an opportunity to truly interrogate the way his colleagues were playing the game.

Taking the time to step outside of your role, and look at something from a new perspective, is critical – especially when you’ve been doing the same thing for over a decade.

The more you challenge yourself to look at things through a different lens, the more impactful your time off will be.  And you don’t need to take several months to a year off …. you can even do this over short periods of time, like a weekend.  All that’s required is that you disconnect from your current assumptions, and view your world from a different perspective.  Do this, and even Mondays will seem easier.

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