How can a tape measure inspire insight & a fresh perspective?

It smelled like a pungent, loamy forest encased in a single, mysterious room. To this day I remember the smell of sawdust in that forbidden room of my childhood memories.


My dad was a master hobby woodworker – he had a magical room chock a block full of electric saws, nails & screws in all shapes & sizes. The wild & wonderful hand tools dangling from a pegboard on the wall looked like puppets eagerly waiting to be picked up & played with.


Only girls were most decidedly not allowed in this kingdom. So I’d wait for quiet, surreptitious moments to sneak in & take a look around this place, so close yet so far, in our family basement room.


Maybe I was drawing on his DNA, while moving about with stealth, as he was a spy for his day job. Who knows? All I knew is that I loved being in that room.


How a tape measure inspires insight


Today I’m nowhere close to being a master carpenter, but my toolbox does include a couple of tape measures.


Which made me sit up & pay attention when I saw this video about unusual, oft undiscovered features in said tape measures. Who knew the jiggly metal end bit of a tape measure is both a way to mark your measure when no one’s around to help or you don’t have a pencil at hand & that same loose, jiggly bit when pulled taut, creates a precise measure.


There’s a lesson there – insight is to be gained from taking a new look at an old itch, scratching it to gain a new view.


Take your own measure & look for new insight


Ever feel like you’re stuck in the same old, same old? Spinning your wheels with no time to research, take a course, or pay for therapy (or a massage for that matter)?


Here’s how the metal, jiggly bit found on tape measures just might help.


Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective – a new way of viewing the situation & low, the solution is right there in front of your face. (Insert a dusty poof of magical sawdust here.) Like looking anew at the jiggle end bit on tape measures with a new perspective.


When something’s not working we tend to do more of whatever it is that’s not working. We say the same thing over & over (the only variation being the level of exasperation in our voice) & don’t necessarily stop to try a new approach.


So give it a go.


What’s bugging you in your life that could use a fresh perspective?


Need some prompts?  Here are some examples, based on issues a client raised at a two day team building retreat I just designed & delivered for them:

  • Challenges with transparency at work
  • Lack of communication with stakeholders (people &/or organizations that have an impact on or impacted by, your work)
  • Poor communication (e.g. between work teams)
  • Giving & receiving feedback
  • Lack of accountability


For now, it’s enough to simply identify 1 or 2 things that are bugging you & could use a fresh perspective. Next week I’ll give you some simple ways to bring on that insight.


And, in the meantime, if there’s a particular example you’d like me to use next week, please leave a comment below or email me.  I’d love to hear from you.


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2 Responses to “How can a tape measure inspire insight & a fresh perspective?”

  1. David Gouthro Says:
    March 17th, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Thanks, Lee-Anne–great metaphor and I loved the tape measure video–I am a changed man!

  2. What do you do when you realize your kid’s spring break starts today? | Rock.Paper.Scissors.Blog Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    […] Check out last week’s post for how a tape measure inspired fresh insight.  While today I’ll walk you through how I gained perspective using this very messy spring break mix up as an example.  It’s based on my Life Lenses™ assessment.  Even if you haven’t taken the assessment (which I’m designing to be available online later this year), you can still get a sense of how the lenses can help you gain insight. […]

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