Is it better like this? … or better like that? A? … or B? Which is clearer? One… or two?”
Anyone without perfect vision has heard these questions before at the optometrist. And when the publisher of MOTIVATED asked me to write an article about vision, I doubt this is what she had in mind, but I’m not only cute and incorrigible, I’m also full of surprises. That’s why she always says I’m full of it.
The questions above are often much easier to answer when we’re sitting in the eye doctor’s chair than when we’re making choices in our careers. Why is that?
How can we learn to see the choices in front of us, focus on the merits of each, visualize the potential outcomes, and make the decision that is clearly the best?
We can’t. The best we can hope for is 20/20 in hindsight. Foresight is pretty much a shot in the dark and most of us don’t eat enough carrots. I love it when people tell me to “expect the unexpected.” That’s impossible. It’s unexpected! If we try to prepare ourselves for every possible twist and turn in this world, we doom ourselves to a life of worry, fear, and panic. Forget about trying to expect the unexpected; the unexpected is what makes the universe a fun place to live!
Vision is not about knowing what comes next, it’s about realizing what the heck is happening right now! If we had the ability to see into the future, of course we would be prepared for everything to come, but we would also be deathly bored without the anticipation of it.
In stand-up comedy there are very few givens. I know when I get to work there will be a stage and a microphone. And as long as my reputation does not precede me, there should be an audience too! The rest is utterly unpredictable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The very essence of good comedy is the element of surprise, after all. Because I do not know what will happen next, I am compelled to listen to the reactions I am getting and adjust my tone, persona, and material accordingly.
No one is a better listener than a comedian. I am constantly asking the audience, “Is it better like this or better like that?” and they answer me in laughter.
I teach my corporate clients to apply this principle to their interactions with clients and potential clients. The response you’re getting to your presentation should determine the direction the presentation takes. If something is working, give them more. And if they’re telling you it’s not, feel free to change gears.
The beautiful thing about bombing is you now have nothing to lose!
So what vision really comes down to is listening. Whether you’re a comedian, an eye doctor, or an account executive, we’re all asking the same questions: A or B, one or two, this or that. And whoever listens to the answers and responds most effectively is the one with the most satisfied customers.