Last Tuesday morning, as I prepared my first cup of tea for the day, my spouse handed me a partially completed puzzle he created as a gift for his mother. He’s learning how to use his new 3D printer and thought making a puzzle would be a great project. The first time he handed me the puzzle and the frame it is supposed to fit into, I quickly realized that the pieces were simply too big!
As I stirred honey into my tea, he handed me a new bigger base with most of the pieces nestled within it. The first thing I did was to count the vacant spaces, to be sure that number was matched by the spaces that could be covered by the remaining pieces, I wanted to make sure that it was feasible to make all the pieces fit!
Then I started moving pieces around while sitting in our sunny kitchen sipping tea. I managed to get all but one of the pieces in, took a picture which I shared on Instagram, and then thought some more about the puzzle. It occurred to me that I should take it apart, and start with the biggest pieces first, fitting them together in several different combinations, adding pieces by size until I found a pattern that worked and fit all the pieces.
I like to remind people that learning opportunities are all around us. In the last month, I’ve repeatedly received the message that creative outlets help open our minds. The rest of this blog is going to unpack how the story of the puzzle can be a metaphor for figuring out how to create the business, career or whole life that works for you.
Learning new skills takes time, often our first attempts at doing new things don’t work. That’s OK, because failure is something we can learn from. Especially if we reflect on what went wrong. Getting feedback from people we know care about us, who want us to thrive, can help point out the areas where we can do things differently.
When my spouse handed me the puzzle he hadn’t figured out where the last two pieces fit. He had the blue print; he could have looked at it and placed all the pieces in their correct places. Instead, because he knows me, and that I love puzzles almost as much as his mother, he handed it to me to complete. Often the people who are on our side know an answer, something that could work, and they are willing to share what has worked for them with us. It’s a lot more rewarding to figure out the answers for ourselves, especially when we know that we can reach out to those who support us to brainstorm ideas for how to move forward.
On my first try solving the puzzle, I removed several of the pieces my spouse had placed and tried different configurations. After a few minutes, I managed to get all but one piece inside the frame. Often, we can find hints to our unique journeys to success by building on the experiences and lessons learned by those around us. Libraries are filled with books written by successful people to help others figure out where to go next on their path to abundance. Coaches also run thriving businesses providing a sounding board to their clients.
As I sat there pondering the puzzle and sipping my tea, I decided to take a picture to create a “just for fun” Instagram story. Trying to be active and share my authentic self on Instagram, is helping me identify images that others may relate to.
As I thought about the puzzle some more, I realized that I had to start again, concentrating on getting the biggest pieces of the puzzle inside the frame first. Then I tried several iterations of getting progressively smaller pieces to fit. Eventually I finished the puzzle, took a picture to send to my husband as proof of completion and went to do the rest of my morning routine. As I was brushing my teeth, I realized that the puzzle I completed was a metaphor for living the life you want. If we concentrate on the big things, and finding ways to make them fit into the frame that we want for our lives, eventually we’ll find ways to fit in the smaller things. Things that are also important, but not critical to the lives we want to lead.
Figure out what a good life means to you (the puzzle frame), think about what’s most important, what must fit in your life (the big pieces). The most important things can sometimes be messy and seem strange when examined in isolation. Find ways to make the most important things fit in your life or business, then as those snap together, add in the other things that you’d like in your life (the smaller pieces) that while important, aren’t critical to your overall well-being. As you get more comfortable with the pieces in your frame, you can try shifting things around until everything fits.
Just like the puzzle in this image, I’m still trying to fit all the pieces in the frame that I chose for my life. Sometimes we need to dream bigger, to fit everything that we want into our lives. It’s OK to change your dreams as you learn and grow.
If you're interested in working with me as your Thought Partner as you figure out how to fit in all the pieces you want in your career or business reach out for a free try before you buy consultation.
If you liked this blog, you may be interested in reading:
Growth is Uncomfortable
Gratitude the Gift that Keeps on Giving!
Thoughts on Why?