There’s more than one map to your destination
(Map courtesy of WorldMapper)
When it takes roughly 24 hours to travel from hotel to home; you have time to think. Flying home from the Middle East, the first item on my travel itinerary was sleep, something I hadn’t yet experienced between my 2 a.m. pick up and 6 a.m. take-off.
I awoke somewhere over the North Atlantic. Rested, I do what I always do, check the tracking map on my video screen. In the process, I noticed that my seat mate was studiously doing the same. Curious to learn from him, a professor at another university in Saudi Arabia, I was intrigued by how many different views he summoned to his screen.
Old dudes like me are accustomed to 2-D maps. And after more than a dozen trips to and from KAUST, I limited myself to the default flight track perspective. But after watching my seatmate, I wanted more. As we approached Newfoundland, St. John’s, and the Gulf of St Lawrence, I realized that I had been watching the world below in a very constrained fashion. But as I adjusted the views, I found a compelling array of different perspectives.
Every new version caused the world to change before my eyes. Clicking to 3D, I saw deep ocean pockets in the water and with it, visions of sea creatures, fishermen, Atlantic cod and my Irish roots came to mind. I pushed the + button repeatedly to see greater granularity and the ocean became something more than simply a great distance to cover. It became personal. I could still see my flight path. But the programmed path was now a secondary concern. Newly-seen craggy edges and sharp inlets gave me a strong sense of place. Light blue merged into deep purple on the screen, distinguishing beachfront real estate from prime fishing territory. I thought of families playing in the sand in the light blue and boats netting my dinner out in the deep blue trenches.
I was fascinated, no longer passively watching tracking software on auto pilot. I was in charge; able to choose how macro or micro my perspective should be; how far east/west/north/south I move on the compass; whether I want left/right side, Cockpit or Wingman perspectives.
It dawned on me as I switched visuals (this being the thinking part of my journey) that this wasn’t just about my map fetish. It was about pushing myself to see things with fresh eyes and from different perspectives.
Inside the cabin, kids were watching movies—the Bee movie and Frozen were top picks—and playing video games. Adults are tuned into their own channels, sleeping, reading, listening to music. While I tinkered with my views, I multitasked as well, listening to Monks, Miles, The Dead, Chet Baker, Paul Simon, and Peter Tosh on my iPod; reading Wuthering Heights, monitoring my maps…and thinking.
It was a fresh perspective through fresh eyes and “daring” to see things in different ways. How I chose to see the world as I flew over it impacted my interpretations of it. Each view I selected was accurate. But each presented a different reality. All interesting.
New ideas emerged. I broke out my laptop and began writing down ideas about ways to solve problems for my clients. In the late morning light, I found insight and clarity.
As marketing executive, the lessons were as obvious as the water below. Keeping my mind open, my eyes clear, and my perspective ever-fresh is the only way to travel for me and my clients.
- How will I choose to see the world and serve my clients?
- What’s my marketing map/client map/life map?
- Where are the answers I seek for all three?
Are they east of Moncton? North of New Glasgow? Awaiting me in the Atlantic Northeast or on the ground in Washington?
They could be anywhere. And if you don’t keep your eyes on the controls and perspectives fresh, at some point you may look up and see that your plane and the world you see on your 9×12 screen has left you behind.
A flight well-traveled; a lesson well-learned.