I was staying at the Lotte Palace Hotel in New York last week for the Million Dollar Consulting Hall of Fame event and my mentor, Alan Weiss's birthday celebration at the Rainbow Room at the top of the Rockefeller Plaza.
The hotel used to be five mansions which were converted into a hotel. We spent five hours in one of the old dining rooms for our opening reception. The surroundings and food were beautiful.
The next day I was shocked at how ignorant I was.
We were taken on a guided tour by "Manhattan Matt" one of the most boisterous, enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides I have ever met. He transported us back in time and told stories about who lived in the mansions and what life was like on 5th Avenue when it was surrounded with green fields full of sheep.
Matt's ability to tell a story was remarkable, but what was more remarkable was everything I had missed the night before in the same room at dinner.
- I missed the original Tiffany windows that are the last installed still showing daylight.
- I missed the secret doorway where the staff sneak in and out of the dramatic dining room.
- I missed the zodiac clock on the wall.
- I missed the incredible library which is identical to the one where I got married in a 15th century manor house in Stratford Upon Avon in England.
I was too captivated by the conversation with my colleagues and didn't take time to absorb my surroundings or get curious about what I was seeing.
Someone in our group even couldn't believe it was the same entrance we had walked through for dinner the night before, because we were seeing so many details and surprises that were simply there but being ignored the night before.
It reminded me of a recent executive I was working with, we were discussing the rapid growth of his company and what it would take to meet their quadruple revenue growth predictions. I could see what was right in front of him but he was too immersed in the immediate demands of his business to see it. Once I pointed it out, he immediately could see it too.
Sometimes it takes having a guide shining a spotlight on what is happening around you.
Who is helping you see what you might be missing?