I wonder how many pictures have been taken of the Gateway Arch. I know I personally have shot hundreds of them as a visitor and as a St. Louis resident, and judging by the amount of photography that was occurring while I was there in July, I am not the only one who attempts to capture its grandeur in an image (although I failed).

As I was reviewing my pictures, I noticed all the people who were in the background. I wonder how many pictures I am in – taken by strangers, who do not even notice that I am even in the frame. Yet, our paths obviously crossed, even though I have been relegated to being invisible in their photos.

I think of other “people in the background” of our lives who go unrecognized but whose work intersects with our experiences. The baggage handler who loads our suitcase on the plane or the controller in the tower who guides the pilot to the correct runway. The stocker who ensures that our groceries are on the shelf or the truck driver who delivers the goods. The maintenance person who keeps our office or school tidy or the engineer who oversees the electrical grid. We may not notice that they are there, but we would be impacted if they were not.

Retrain your eye to increase your consciousness of the whole picture. Don’t just focus on the Arch and ignore the people around it. Your life is more interconnected than you notice.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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