Look Both Ways

I was out running this morning, and was approaching a driveway. From the other direction, I saw a fellow pedestrian approaching the same driveway. A car was pulling out, and nearly hit the lady as she was walking – the driver COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact she almost ran this person over.

In fact, I doubt the driver even realized this pedestrian was there. I wondered to myself if the driver probably rarely sees walkers and/or runners cross her driveway. Thus, doesn’t even think to look for them.

To be honest, our society doesn’t really cater to walkers and runners, at least in my northwest suburban Atlanta neighborhood. The roads are a lonely place for people like us. In fact, I am surprised there are still buttons we can push to get the crosswalk signal to let us through. The world is for vehicles now. We are in too much of a hurry.

We are just not conditioned to look for, to notice, and to hear, the things that aren’t out in the open and obvious…

And this concept got me thinking. What else are we missing? What else is there that we don’t even think to look for? How much life is happening, right before our eyes, and we are too focused on what we see right before us, that we miss out on the little things…important, little things that are on the periphery?

We teach our kids to “look both ways” when they are growing up. But I think it is a concept that us adults should remember too. And I am not just talking about crossing the street. I am talking about with how we live our life, how we market our business, and how we interact with other people.

How many people are asking for help, and because we aren’t looking, or listening, we miss great opportunities – to sell them business, to help them through a bad day, and to help them fight an important cause that would benefit the world?

We need to look both ways too. We need to open our eyes. Grow bigger ears. And most importantly, and probably most out of our comfort zone, look down the dark alleys we don’t normally want to look.

But that’s where the little gems are that can make a difference to you, your business, and to the people in your sphere of influence. [btw, "looking both ways" can increase your sphere of influence]

Here are some things to think about, and to look for, from the people you care about in your networked community. Just think about this when you are interacting with them down the road:

1. Every person has someone in their family who needs medical help. Offer them help and support.
2. Every person has a non-profit, a charity, or some cause they care about, and would love your help with.
3. Every business has a major problem they need help with, but is probably too proud to tell anyone about it. Ask.
4. Every local high school team needs a fan club, a means to support some innovative and creative young people capable of making a difference in the world. Mentor them.
5. Every little community has talent – innovators, artists, musicians, big thinkers – that have NOT been discovered. Discover them. You have to open your eyes to find them.
6. There are networking groups in EVERY community that need vibrant leadership, fresh blood, fresh ideas, to revitalize the group. Get in there and make a difference.
7. Get involved in local politics. Trust me, MOST citizens are NOT involved. It only takes a little organization and you can create a movement that will impact local politics. You can make a difference.
8. Your local community weekly newspaper needs fresh contributors. Get involved. You can add a whole new image to the paper.
9. You probably have a passion most don’t know about. Talk about it. Write about it. Blog about it. There are others who share your passion. Build a local movement.
10. Mentor children. They need it. Trust me.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities that exists. I am sure you can come up with dozens more. What am I missing?

We are all busy, leading crazy lives, and get focused on surviving day to day. Take a second, look around you, and you will soon be amazed and all the cool things around that you didn’t notice before.

Take notice. Make a difference. Find inner peace. Live an intrepid life. And you can start doing that by looking both ways…

[photo from andryone on flickr]

  • http://www.actasifblog.com Joe Lavelle

    Todd – this is an awesome post that I both relate to and get inspired by. So many times in the last 2 years since I have started running, I have almost been hit by drivers that were not paying attention (usually b/c they were texting or e-mailing).
    And thanks for the great ideas on how to “look both ways”!

  • Todd

    Thanks Joe, that means a lot. Don’t even get me started on texting or e-mailing. And I am glad you liked some of the ideas. I hope to hear more ideas from everyone…

    Be well!

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