How do you get parallel lines to cross? Of course they never will without intervention. I see people's paths as parallel lines. We go off on our direction, our path, our journey–focused on goals or not–moving with speed through time and space. Everyone moving on their separate trajectories, along side others who seek the very same things or very different things. Most of the time we do this thinking, planning and advancing by ourselves. We struggle with our destinies and finding meaning alone. Until something happens. A road block, an unexpected and usually unwanted event, you meet someone who changes your life, you have a kid, someone dies etc etc. These "interventions" force us to stop, make detours, and hopefully reflect. Parallel lines intersect.
Remember when you were a kid and you had a magnifying glass or some other convex lens and you held it so the light would flow through the glass? You could see the the light through this prism and then play with the lens to see if you could burn a hole in a piece of paper. You would conduct a mini experiment to find the focal length of the lens and voila, fire! You were getting the parallel lines of the light to triangulate and concentrate their energy in one spot.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Jackson's long time assistant coach Tex Winter, used the triangle offense to win 9 NBA championships. Winter originally called it the "triple post offense" when he literally wrote the book on this strategy. Simply put a guard, a forward and the center form a triangle on one side of the court giving them many options to pass and score. A process to focus the strength of the team to be the most productive through a triangle.
For me, there are many lessons here. Focus and strength come from the intervention of others. They can be your lenses. Triangulation.Think about parents and a child. Consider a mentor and mentee and their mutual goals. Even your boss and you and your definitions of success. To reach the intended result, you have to find the focal point that gives everyone what they need. Parallel lines have to intersect to be focused to be stronger.
We can rely upon random intersections to focus us. Things happen and that becomes what is important. This can work, but it can leave out your true interests and visions for yourself. If you lead by pursuing what you want or who you are, then the intersections will inform your journey. And knowing what you want and who you are can be revealed by your pursuit of your interests and self improvement. Either way, you can not do it alone. You need help, support, guidance, and inspiration. You need interventions and lenses. Every opportunity, every goal, every relationship, and every connection has the potential to triangulate. Here's the key: It may not be your specific idea that gets focused. It may be a new idea, a hybrid, or a new point of view that is revealed. Be open to the new focus that comes from triangulation.
Triangulation verifies where you are. It is your career GPS. Getting input from 2 independent sources (the second opinion). Examining with your mentor, your strategy, your resume, your skillset by comparing it to your goals. When I was in Big Brothers Big Sisters, it was the mother, the big brother/sister parallel lines focused on the well-being and advancement of the at-risk kid.
How do you engage others to intervene, validate, strengthen your focus on your goals? And who do you engage? Many of these people you already know. They are just not engaged in your triangle strategy. Enlist and engage people to mentor you and focus you. And true to my philosophy, you have to think about the people in your life who need YOU to be a part of the triangle offense. To give them options, and insights, and direction. In life, we all have to be player/coaches.
We know parallel lines will intersect at crises. We come together when it is very late or too late. We find humanity and a spirit of cooperation after a tragedy. That triangle is predictable. How do we wake up ourselves and the people around us to snap us out out of the parallelism of our far too busy lives and connect now? How do we deepen our relationships with others before time has run out or we regret it?
Parallel lines never cross. Infinitely going in their own direction without a change or detour. I have learned that intersections are infinitely more rewarding, life affirming, and most important, helps define who I am and who I want to be. And with those intersections comes focus, strength and fulfillment.
Thanks for intersecting for a moment. John