A Thousand Feet Below

Alexandra Franzen proposed a few powerful questions last week on her blog.  It was shared with me and I read it hastily on the way to catch a flight.  Only once I was securely captive in my window seat as I jetted across the continent did the power of her questions begin to unfold.  As I peered out the window I caught sight of another aircraft piercing the sky headed in the opposite direction, a thousand feet below and moving expediently into the vacuum of airspace that we had just vacated.  A three second encounter gave me pause.  It forced me to try to calibrate the power of air travel.  How quickly I took for granted the physics, technology, and decision-making that allowed me to sit in an abstract state contemplating something completely irrelevant to aerodynamics, engineering, and navigation.  The expertise of the flying ecosystem had allowed me to have a completely different experience than say the Wright Brothers.

When I consider Alexandra’s questions it reaffirms to me the importance of purpose.  If we have not considered the effect, impact, and experience we intended to impart then we miss our greatest super power.  Few people join a cause to raise more money, re-word a mission statement, or attend an all-weekend retreat.  We joined because of an experience that was offered to us and we wanted to share with others.  We want other people to feel the way we feel.

I offer Alexandra’s questions as ones you should bring back to your tribe and ask aloud.  I think this may be the most important dialogue you can have right now.  Otherwise, you may be sitting in a window seat watching your enterprise’s best experiences headed the other way, a thousand feet below.

“What is the effect that I want to have on people?”

“What kind of impact do I want to have?”

“What kind of experience do I want to create?”

“How do I want people to feel?”

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