By Rieva Lesonsky
Anyone who knows me even slightly knows I hate snow. East Coast winters (and snow specifically) chased me out of my native New York City. I can still recount in minute detail the winter of 1977-78 that transformed me into an ever-grateful Southern Californian.
So a few months ago I was taken aback when I answered my phone and my friend’s 18-year-old daughter, Elleni, who is a freshman at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, exclaimed, “Rieva, it’s snowing!” Being a third-generation Californian, she’d never experienced snow falling from the sky (though she had seen it on the ground). She called me three times in about 20 minutes, all about the snow. She never complained, nor was she worried. One call was just to tell me how the snow seemed almost magical, like she was sitting inside a snow globe. Her tone was one of awe and wonder.
I was stuck in one of Los Angeles’ epic traffic jams (the downside of living in Southern California), giving me plenty of time to think about our opposite views of snow. I realized it’s all about perspective and experience. Snow was something I always knew, but for Elleni it was a new and wondrous experience. She was able to see the beauty in snow because it was new and different—and, yes, magical to her. (And I admit in the photo above Pullman looks very picturesque.)
There’s a business lesson here: Too often we react the same old way, because that’s how we’ve always reacted. Try looking at things—yes, even the same old things—through different eyes, from another perspective. Maybe the marketing idea you’re sure won’t work can be effective. Perhaps expanding into a new location (whether across town or around the world) isn’t impossible.
It’s really all about reexamining what you believe to be so—and approaching old challenges and new ideas with a sense of wonder, as if you’re experiencing them for the very first time.
Photo Courtesy: Elleni Conley