Perspective, like humour goes a long way


As Dave, Mike and Fabian took their first steps to start their company, they sat together on the steps of Union Square in New York to write down exactly what was on their minds. Rather than write a business plan, they wrote down the things in life they wanted to work toward, value, and not forget.

What they didn’t expect is that the declaration of truth that they originally wrote for themselves would eventually pen the direction of the company, and inspire millions along the way. From this, came the Holstee Manifesto. It’s just now, four years later, that they’re able to articulate why the company exists.

What I know is everyone experiences problems from time to time but the way in which people respond to their troubles can vary greatly. Too many people blow their problems way out of proportion, devoting precious mental energy to situations which do not carry “life or death” consequences. I find myself guilty of this some times.


In this rat-race we call life; our senses are heightened to constantly face every challenge head-on – tackling every problem with a solution, responding to every action with a reaction. Our bodies are constantly overcharged with anxiety and stress.  So consumed in our own worlds and faffing about, we have forgotten to take a step back and “smell the roses”.

We have lost perspective. 

As in life, perspective is overwhelmingly valued but widely lacking, in business. Perspective is vital to see what’s really happening in our business today, plot a plan for the future and achieve it with confidence. To adequately see the future and plan for it with confidence, we have to get above our business and circle it, de-construct the whole thing, and piece it back together with renewed clarity. The ability to do so suggests that we have considered our place in this world and appreciate “the big picture”.

woman old lady

You will probably have come across examples of pictographic ambiguity before, where a single drawing has more than one ‘image’ contained within it, depending on how you look at it. This picture, My wife and my mother-in-law, is a particularly good example. Stare long enough and you will be able to spot a young lady and an old woman. One tip: the chin is the other’s nose.

Just like the picture, at first glance it can seem like we don’t have the time or space to examine our lives – that is, until we are forced to. And then another world opens up.


Step back often.

Look at your problem in context, not isolation.  Ask yourself:  How important is this difficulty in the overall scheme of things? What will this matter ten years from now? By understanding the dynamics of the situation, you will be able to identify the levers and drivers in play.  When it’s time to make a judgement call you are more likely to make one in favour of the business. This allows you to make decisions on the battlefield in the midst of action with confidence.

How does it fit into the “big picture.”  Start with Why. What is the mission and purpose? It is important that you understand the overall ecosystem at play and how various elements connect to and serve the overall purposes of the business. It is only then you are trusted to provide solutions that don’t merely serve process, but truly serve business outcomes.

Revel in appreciation. When you are in tune with yourself, you gain a sense of purpose, receive more intuitive guidance and are able to see the reasons behind the patterns that give us security, confidence, and peace of mind.

Every problem is an opportunity for growth.  Too often, we see difficulties as negative experiences.  But when you do look back, you’ll find that many problems and painful situations lead to personal growth and improved conditions.

The power to change your business lies in you. And sometimes, you may discover that everything you ever needed, you’ve had all along.

“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.”                   – Friedrich Nietzsche

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