Why “Twenty Thousand Feet”?

Put your nose against a painted canvas, and all you’ll see is a blur of color. But step back a few paces and a beautiful landscape or portrait appears.

The same applies in a vertical direction. With our feet planted on the ground, the view is limited. From an airplane, however, we get a panorama. What we saw up close is now one part of a whole.

So, why “Twenty Thousand Feet”? It’s an analogy that describes a way of looking at and managing life. From twenty thousand feet up, goals, roles, projects and next steps have context. We see how they fit into the total experience.

Twenty thousand feet is the perfect altitude from which to spend a significant part of our discretionary time. It’s high enough to provide perspective, but not so far in the clouds that we lose sight of necessary individual tasks. Once in awhile we’ll soar up into more blue sky – to define concepts such as mission, values, and vision – and on occasion we’ll spend time on the surface, exploring techniques for effective execution.

Mostly, however, we’ll hover at twenty thousand feet. And now you know why.