One of the great things to come out of having a broken ankle/leg has been the shift of perspective.
At different stages I have had to use different mobility aids: crutches, wheel chair and even scooting down the hallway on an office chair. While using these different ways to get around, I realised how much I don’t consider anyone who is not able bodied.
For example, my gorgeous wife took me to Coles Supermarket to do some shopping with the trusty wheelchair. As we wheeled up and down the aisles I saw people do something weird and then realised that I usually do the exact same thing.
You know when you carry the basket around, it has a few things in it so it’s a little heavy, and then you can’t find the thing you want on the shelf. So you put the basket down, take a step back and peruse the whole shelf looking for it. Unbeknown to you, you have effectively blocked the entire aisle!
A simple “excuse me” had the person looking a little embarrassed and quickly moving out of the way.
I also found that now having a height in the chair of 1.2 metres (about 4 feet) rather than my usual 1.9 metres (about six foot three), I couldn’t what was on the top shelf. While I could see the stuff on the bottom shelf it was difficult for me to reach. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a different perspective.
Another time I was wheeling into an electronics retailer and I couldn’t fit down half of the aisles. I wanted a portable hard drive and I could barely squeeze past the display to see them. They also had plenty of “specials” piled around the place. They looked great and effectively blocked me from passing.
I must stress the staff at all of these stores were happy to help me and make some special accomodations for me but it reinforced how we rarely consider those with needs different to our own. Whether they be physical, emotional or otherwise.
When you are dealing with your customers and prospects have you truly considered their perspective? Is there something particular that they need? Do you need to ask them more questions to find out what is really going on for them?
Hopefully you won’t need to fall off your motorbike to shift your perspective. A few simple questions and a willingness to step out of your ordinary situation should do it!
PS If you want some excellent perspective shifting and funny tv, I highly recommend watching Speechless.