“Can’t see the forest for the trees” refers to our tendency to focus on small details and fail to understand larger plans or principles. Believe it or not, the expression has been around for about 500 years. I guess it’s a common human problem.
It’s what I thought of but didn’t say when John, a former corporate-change colleague came to one of our workshops.
When we got around to the topic of transitions, I mentioned that the change cycle happens to all of us.
“Not to me,” said John. He had been dealing with the change cycle for years, so he could bombproof his life against its effects. He had already figured out his life’s next steps and didn’t need to worry at all! I idly wondered “if that’s true then what’s he doing in the workshop,” and moved on
Six months later, he called and said, somewhat sheepishly, “So, you were right”.
“John! So nice to hear from you. How was I right?”
It seems that he’d spent the first year of his retirement renovating his second home in Florida. Kept him busy, it did. Then, with the renovations complete, he had nothing to do but crosswords in the morning and golf in the afternoon!
The anxiety and uncertainty that we all feel when we undergo a major change had begun to creep in. I was so glad he called, especially when he said that he had started working on his Life’s Next Steps Plan and the ideas were flowing.
He’d finally seen the forest!