"It's down the back on the right..."
I am often struck by how the most simple ideas get thrown out of my mind, well not necessarily thrown out but put in that box labelled "Just don't even think about these things".
I talk with my clients and point out the fallacies of their own arguments, the conflicts that I see so plainly in the strategies that they employ over and over again. Then something happens in my own life that pulls me up short. Thankfully on this particular occasion neither life changing or threatening. Yet it is a reminder that in other areas of my own life I may be missing important issues or considerations.
We were on the way home from the gym, my husband and me, and we decided that ice cream should be on the menu for dinner. Not just any ice cream but the Haagen Dazs variety. We passed by the first shop as they only had a small freezer with cones and lollipops. The second shop had a large swinging sign outside declaring that our desired ice cream was inside. So in we went and down to the large chest freezer at the back. However, looking through the glass top to the various varieties below we simply couldn't see our ice cream. We scanned the varieties available and we looked back and forth in the freezer to find the elusive Haagen Dazs. No, not in there. So we settled on an lesser brand. Mild annoyance.
At the cash desk I said to the owner it was a shame that he didn't have the Haagen Dazs that was advertised outside. It was then he said those not-quite-world-changing-words "Yes we have, it's down the back on the right." My husband and I exchanged glances that said "Yeah, right!" However, being the optimistic man that I am I walked back down the shop and sure enough there it was. 'It' was a freezer as tall as I am, 6' 3", with acres of glass-flooded light holding many different types of the very ice cream we were searching for. How had I missed that?
Worse was to come. When I went back to the original freezer I slid back the glass top to return the lesser desired brand. Having placed it back I slid the glass top back into place and then there staring up at me accusingly, was a large hand written sign, in the shape of an arrow no less, pointing to the huge upright freezer full of the ice cream we were looking for all along!!
How had we missed both the arrow and the upright freezer itself?
No matter that I had the name of the ice cream and the shape of the tub in my mind when I searched the first freezer, I must have decided that it wasn't there. So much was my conviction that it wasn't there I choose to ignore the information before my eyes showing me where I could find what I wanted. I must have looked at, or more likely straight though, the sign that was handing me the information that I wanted. Somehow I blocked it out, twice! The first time when I was looking and took out a different brand of ice cream and secondly when I slid back the glass top. Never mind the fact that I didn't care to simply look around for other freezers that might hold the ice cream I was looking for.
It was a sobering experience as I stood there looking at the sign-in-the-shape-of-an-arrow asking myself a whole host of questions most of which were 'How.....did I miss that?"
Grasping our treat in hand we paid and left.
This did leave me wondering:-
Just how 'blind' can I be in my every day-to-day life?
What issues do I prejudge the outcome of and so not engage with other options and possibilities?
What do I not see that's right in front of me?
Do I see through somethings and so miss very useful and important information?
Should I be more considerate to my clients? Oh yes, them. Mmmmmm.
Then I realised my saving grace - I had sought another perspective from the shop owner. Maybe things are not so bad if I am not only willing to ask someone else for their advice and help but also take action based on new information.
I like to think that the consideration I show to my clients is by asking them about the fallacies and conflicts that I do observe. Rather than just interpreting for them and offering pre-digested conclusions I prefer to engage in a conversation and I am willing to be led by them.
There is still hope for me - and the comfort of great ice cream.