How 'getting on the balcony' can change our perspective
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
One of the books I remember discussing a lot in seminary was Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leadership by Marty Linsky and Ronald Heifetz.
It is a great work on the value of adaptive leadership, but one concept has really stuck with me, so much so that I believe it's been a core factor in my success over the past three years!
“Getting on the balcony,” as they call it, essentially means getting out of what's going on around you (which they call "the dance") and stepping back (or, "getting on the balcony") to look at the bigger picture.
Once you get on the balcony you are able to see things in such a way that you would not have been able to when you were a part of the action. I’ve thought about how this concept relates to us in the work world, and how it can help when we face obstacles in our personal lives too.
There is drama in my family — like there is in every family — with my dad recently becoming ill. As we think about the future and my dad’s health, there will have to be decisions made. I find myself in the midst of the decision-making and all the emotions that brings to the surface. I had to step onto the balcony to see the big picture and whose needs are being met with our decisions. When I stepped off the dance floor, I was able to think clearer and be more confident with what my thoughts were about everything. Then, I stepped back onto the dance floor and back into the action.
So I invite you all to take a step onto the balcony. There are times in our lives when everything is chaos, relationships are breaking down, and we're right in the thick of it.
But we can take our minds, and we can step off the dance floor. We can look at everything and think about why people are acting like they are and what makes things tick. And that is a spiritual and healing practice.
When we look at the bigger picture, we see how we fit into everything and we even learn something about ourselves.
I am reminded of the great Albus Dumbledore — the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter universe — and the pensieve he kept in his office.
A pensieve is a bowl wizards use to put memories in. Dumbledore would use his pensieve to look at his memories and the memories of others in order to better understand the big picture — his own form of getting on the balcony.
Life is crazy. There is so much happening all the time. Do not let it wear you down! Take a step onto the balcony and really look at what is going on and you just might learn something about yourself in the midst of it!