The Wynwood Walls, in the famous street art district of Miami, are a source of awe for me. I love to feel dwarfed and overwhelmed by these powerful pieces of mural art. My latest visit inspired me with a question: Are you watching the big picture in your life? Or only some fragments of it?
The big picture of your world is what you call reality. Because you have been taught that what you see, touch and feel at every moment is reality, the very idea that the person sitting next to you in the bus or at a concert has a different perception is weird. Aren’t you seeing the same buildings, feeling the same bumps on the road, hearing the same music? Nevertheless, your neighbour’s experience is vastly different from yours. Her values, her culture, the past and current circumstances of her life are telling a different story from the same material. Even you, are having a different perception today than you did a few years before. Do you remember how the building next to your childhood house looked high at the time, and how average it looks today? Like the child you use to be, your world is changing with you. This is why you need to update your big picture, embrace it as it is now because you don’t want to carry on old beliefs and outdated perceptions into your current and future life.
The big picture of your achievements is much, much more than your CV. Slow down a moment and consider this: If someone was introducing you at a conference, and detailing all your achievements until now, all of them, what would she say? Your marathon running, your dedicated parenting, your sales targets outperforming, your engagement with ageing parents, your capacity to thrive in a new job, a new country or a new industry, your capacity to learn new competencies, your incredible taste at decorating a home, your resilience and courage facing disease, your priceless friendship… You know what value you are bringing to this world. Is this reflection an apology of self-satisfaction and idleness? Not even close. It is an invitation to consider, once in a while, how great and brave you are. Studies say we celebrate our successes for minutes and our failures for years. Does it ring a bell?
The big picture of your dreams is directly connected to the previous. While we worry about the things we did not do, did wrong, should do, or should not do, there is not much brain space left for our dreams to expand. Big dreams need big walls. You need space to explore them, embrace them, get inspired, get excited and eventually, driven to action. Once in the middle of the action, you may lose sight of the big picture while achieving smaller goals. One of my clients was feeling out of sync, whereas she just had achieved major progress in her ambitious project. Something was blocking her energy just before the finish line. We realized that she has lost sight of the bigger picture beyond the immediate goals. We built up a strategy to overcome the hurdle and accelerate the process by visualizing the next steps as if she was already there.
And you, what does your big picture tell you?