Papa fits Harris with his glasses

My father-in-law is an eye doctor and my brother-in-law is currently a student at Southern College of Optometry.  When John comes home from school and we are together as a family, I’m intrigued by some of their conversations about eyes, although usually way over my head.  A few months ago I was coaching one of my leaders in the restaurant about their performance and realized that as a Leader Farmer, I am an “eye-doc” of sorts.  It was clear that this leader was disengaged and ready to move on.  Part of leading in freedom is being careful to not use tactics of fear, force, guilt or any other form of manipulation to get people to stay when it is time for them to go.  However, in this particular case, this leader had hyperopia.  Also known as farsightedness, figuratively speaking, this leader was so focused on things in the future that they could not see the opportunity right in front of them.

Farsightedness  – so focused on the future that one can’t see the opportunity they have right in front of them.

My role as a Leader Farmer is to help them see that opportunity and hopefully take advantage of it without holding them back or trying to control them.  I find that with millennials and centennials one of their greatest challenges is delayed gratification.  They want everything now!  In their minds, life experience, at least not more than a few days of something, isn’t necessary when you have Google or Siri to give you all the answers.   Many of them see working at Chick-fil-A as a temporary job, their high-school or college job, and that one day they will have a “real” job.   Yes, Chick-fil-A is a first job for many, but when they are hyperopic and see their job as “temporary” and “not real” they miss the opportunity to grow or bloom right where they are planted.

Although not as common these days, I have diagnosed some leaders with myopia.  Also known as nearsightedness, they are so focused on the present that they do not have a vision of the future.

Nearsightedness – so focused on the present (or allowing their past to define who they are today) that one  does not have a vision of their future.

As a Leader Farmer I help them see beyond their present circumstances and imagine the possibilities in the future.  I want to draw out their true potential and help them become the best version of themselves.

Do  you have a tendency to be farsighted or nearsighted?  If farsighted, find some

Louci, Annabelle, Ellesie, and Harris in their new glasses

time this week to reflect on the opportunities you have right were you are to grow and develop yourself personally or professionally.  Buy a book on leadership, listen to a podcast, watch a TED talk, hire a coach or simply ask a leader or someone you look up to in your organization about opportunities for development.

If nearsighted, find some time to dream and imagine what your future could look like.  I challenge my leaders to write a 10 year letter to me:  Start by adding exactly 10 years to today’s date and write a letter (to me) about all the things that have happened in those 10 years.  Imagine that everything went according to your dreams and tell me about your future spouse, children, graduating from college, where you live and your career.  This is a great exercise because it forces you to think about the future!

Don’t be myopic or hyperopic on your leadership journey, with 20/20 vision you will not only see the opportunities right where you are, but will also see the possibilities in your future!

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