How Much Do You Notice?

The best leaders see what others miss. They not only see the things that are happening; they also see why those things are happening the way they are. Such insight makes it possible for them to march through life with purpose and hope. Yes, sometimes they get sidetracked, as we all do, but they quickly realize why and how they got off on the wrong road and make immediate corrections. Quite often, success is little more than having the right perspective on what is going on around you.

A few months ago this was driven home to me while reading The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews. It tells the story of a drifter named Jones who wandered around a small community sharing life-changing insights with people based on what he noticed in their lives. It was often his ability to notice the little things that others often overlook that gave Jones those insights.

I have to admit that my ability to notice things is spotty. Some days I’m fairly good at observing what’s going on in people’s lives. Other days I’m basically oblivious. I think on the oblivious days I’m in too much of a hurry to take the time needed to notice the little things. That is definitely not a good thing for one who is both a minister and a businessman. I’ve often heard it said that leaders need to learn to walk slowly through crowds, and reading that book has helped me do that better.

One of the reasons I enjoy the auction business so much is that it gives me another way to minister to people. There is always a reason someone wants to see their possessions at an auction, and sometimes those reasons are painful to the one selling. If I am in a hurry and only focused on getting the contract, I will sometimes miss an opportunity to minister to someone at a difficult time in their lives.

Of course, you don’t have to be a minister in order to serve someone. I believe we are all called to encourage and offer hope to hurting people. It does not matter what you do for a living, you are surrounded by hurting people who yearn for a word of hope from someone. The best leaders are servant leaders, and the way we can best serve is by noticing those who are hurting.

I want to encourage you to intentionally try to notice more than you normally do. Slow down a little. Try to hear if there is a story behind the story. Observe how the people around you interact with others. Notice the body language of those you talk to, and the body language of those talking with others. It might take time, but when you begin to see what others are not seeing you will become a better leader in your business, in your family, and in your own personal life.

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