Puzzles are curious toys: put all the related, but disconnected, pieces together to form a big picture, but don’t get frustrated in the process and quit, because the reward for sticking with it is intrinsic and will leave the player wanting to do it all over again, only a little bit more challenging next time.
Children learn the system of puzzle solving by first playing with puzzles that have only four or five components. Once they’ve mastered the small picture, they graduate themselves to larger and larger pictures, increasing the personal challenge with each subsequent upgrade in puzzle size, and the bigger the puzzle the more reliant on systems they become. Locate the four corners, then the border pieces, colors become helpful in identifying in which quadrant the piece might fit best, fill in the middle part, and so on, and piece by piece the bigger picture takes shape until it’s all completed, just as the picture on the box indicated it would look.
During a recent coaching session my client shared with me her frustration at how overwhelming her job currently feels to her. She detailed the multiple demands on her time in an effort to explain how impossible it is, and perhaps to justify her exhaustion and frustration. Maybe, she wondered, she’d taken on too much? Or just doesn’t know how best to manage her time?
I didn’t buy it.
Does she love her work? Absolutely.
Is she in her own self-selected ideal field? Definitely.
Is she feeling at peace in her work life? Nope.
This is a classic example of forgetting to remember that the picture on the box is the end objective and is never created by the puzzle pieces being dumped out of the box.
Remember that the vision of what it all would look like upon completion is just that: a vision, an image, a picture of what’s possible only after you take a bunch of individual steps to create that bigger picture. If you’re holding yourself to the standard of daily creation of the big picture you will experience overwhelm, frustration, resentment, exhaustion, self-judgment and fear. But only all the time.
If you’re experiencing overwhelm and are not at peace, reel yourself in and test a new system: locate your four corners, then establish your borders (create boundaries), and notice the colors on the pieces because that will inform in which quadrant of your creation they might fit best, and lastly fill in the middle part.
This might take some practice, but play with it. Ask yourself what one next step could you take toward the bigger picture? Then take it, do it, create it, whatever IT is. Now, rinse, lather and repeat that process until you’ve put it all together and voila! You’ve got yourself a completed picture. Time to create a new vision and play with its pieces from a place of peace because you didn’t quit and walk away when you forgot to remember it was all a game, anyway.
Find your peace, piece by piece.
Loving you all,