I Can See Clearly Now…

by vernsanders on July 20, 2012

Do you need a leadership vision checkup? How long has it been since you had one? Before you answer, let me tell you why you might need one…

Last Monday I participated…although, with modern anesthetic, I have no memory of that fact…in cataract surgery. I’ll tell you how it turned out in a minute, but for now, let’s have a bit of a history lesson.

Vision has been a recurring part of my life since the third grade. In those days, schools gave students vision exams at the end of each year, and then at the beginning of the next one. At the end of second grade I had the exam, and my result was 20/20. By the time September came around, I had had a growth spurt, and my eyes didn’t participate. My third grade teacher sat us in alphabetical order, so I was at the back of the room. But I couldn’t see the blackboard.

So she moved me to the front row. Still couldn’t see the board.

Next stop…eye test, and a pair of glasses…

By the time I got to high school, my glasses were thicker than coke bottle bottoms (remember the glass ones?) at the edges, and thinner than tissue paper in the middle. I could start fires with my glasses and the sun…

I wanted to play football, but if I couldn’t see anything, I was useless. That, plus the real issue that my eyes weren’t stopping their deterioration, made me a prime candidate for a new-fangled technology: hard contact lenses. I wore those until the turn of the century, when I had lasik surgery.

OK…end of history lesson.

Here’s the point. I remember vividly four particular days:

  • the day I got my first pair of glasses
  • the day I got my contact lenses (discarding the advice to “just wear them about 30 minutes a day to start, and work up from there…” I wore them 18 hours the first day and never looked back…)
  • the day after my lasik surgery
  • and last Tuesday

In each case, my vision was so changed that it was (and is) nothing short of miraculous. For those who don’t wear glasses, you can’t imagine what it is like to get your peripheral vision back. And Tuesday, after the progressive cloudiness of the cataract in my right eye, I got back what Paul Simon wrote: “the nice bright colors…making all the world a sunny day…”

I wonder how often, in leadership situations, we need vision correction. We have a growth spurt, or our vision gets cloudy, but we just kind of make compensating adjustments instead of getting the problem corrected by experts.

So I ask you again… do you need a leadership vision checkup? How long has it been since you had one?

Fellow glasses wearing person? Got a story? Please leave a comment below.

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