Can You Still See The Box?

Arizona LeadershipBy Kim Hanna, Class 27
Economic Vitality, City of Scottsdale

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

The only box I see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

It seems like weekly I hear the phrase to be creative and “think outside the box”. Last week at Scottsdale Leadership orientation day we were told to “get outside the box.” I thought—OK, I can do that.  But, then it was followed up with, “…and if you can still SEE the box you’re still way too close to the box!” That was my first AH-HA moment!

During the day, one of the speakers, Ian Percy, shared his view on leadership.  He asked us if we were sucking energy or adding energy in situations and said in life there are infinite possibilities—focus on those, don’t focus on the problems. Problem solvers are maintenance people but leaders create a world that no one else sees.  He said they see things other people can’t see. About that time it was all I could do to contain myself.  At first I thought the word choice was funny.  Then I thought a little bit more and suddenly got inspired.

I thought…can you even imagine having to get up and turn the channel with a knob on a TV?  Talking on a phone that has to be hooked in to a wall?  Having to light a candle to see in the dark?  Looking back, those practices were normal and accepted. Then I thought…can you even imagine what it was like to be the person who was thinking so far outside the box that they imagined a TV remote, cordless phone and electricity?

Suddenly, my mind became flooded with possibilities.  If it is true that you only use 5 percent of your brain to make conscious decisions, what the heck are we doing with the other 95 percent?  Is the subconscious really the best place for that 95percent–I think not!

Then the big question: “What’s inside of you that hasn’t seen the light of day yet?”

My answer: “Ouch!  What am I waiting for?”

I continued to ponder over the next few days.  I reflected on a diversity training course I experienced a few years earlier.  At the end of the multi-day class, the instructors gave all of the class participants candy suckers—all of them were green.  I immediately thought to myself…yuk…I hate lime.  Much to my surprise, the green sucker was not lime; instead it was one of my favorite flavors…watermelon.  OH MY!  Didn’t anything sink in during the last couple of days?  That exercise demonstrated I still had preconceived notions.  Hopefully, I have grown over the past few years.  Let’s see what today brings with my new adventure with Scottsdale Leadership.

Our orientation day was sponsored by and hosted at Scottsdale Community College where we were able to tour various programs, including the culinary program and yes, Cupcakes were included.   

Share this if the only box you see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

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