Be like the water, not the rock

Man Checklist

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Sometimes, especially now with the baby, I get overwhelmed by the work and tutoring I need to do.

When I get overwhelmed, I tend to react in the worst possible way. I freeze — unable to identify how to tackle the problem or even what to do first.

I have to switch gears so often I feel lost so often I feel I’m wasting a lot of time as a result.

That’s why I can’t imagine how Hubby S deals with the mountain of responsibilities he has taken on.

Two companies PLUS all the other projects he is involved in… not to mention his work with the Chamber.

I asked him the question on a lot of people’s minds. “How do you do it?

His answer is deceptively simple.

He answered that has the ability to break down what seems to be an insurmountable problem into small easy steps.

His path then becomes clear… Myopic.

He only sees what is right before him that he needs to tackle. He identifies the problem he needs to solve, picks a possible solution and breaks down the things he needs to do into small simple tasks.  He manages to accomplish whatever he has set out to do one small step at a time.  That way he doesn’t feel overwhelmed.

Sounds simple.

Not quite for me.

I tried to do it his way but it’s actually harder then it sounds.

S said I should pick the tasks that are easiest to finish and work my way from there.  Having things ticked off in the list will also help psychologically as it shows progress is being made.

S said breaking down a task gets easier and it becomes second nature to identify which tasks to do first.

S said big problems is actually a compilation of little problems and the problem can be solved by unravelling the little problems one at a time.

Then came the clincher…

S quantified that in business, as in life, there are no clear answers and sometimes, solutions aren’t so clear cut so there should be no “what if’s” when you’ve picked a possible solution.  Just do it, and adjust based on results later.

After my conversation, I realized my major problem is my impatience and perfectionist tendencies.  I want things to be accomplished quickly.  I want to do things and have the problem go away … NOW.

It’s not just the quantity of the work that freezes me in my tracks. It’s the fear of doing something wrong that makes me second-guess myself.

However, sometimes, solving a problem can only be done by trial and error.  Sometimes, there are no specific clear solutions… and making mistakes are an integral part of the process.

I realized I needed to let go and just focus of what I can control.  I should also have the wisdom to know when to walk away and not take it personally when the plan fails.

I realized what makes me freeze is not just not knowing what to start with, but the fear that the path I have decided to take is the wrong one.  And then I waste even more time battering myself when I do make mistakes.

I realized my problem is my fear of making a mistake stemming from what is ultimately, my pride.  That’s what keeps me from progressing more quickly.

Changing a mindset is not as simple as changing a process.  I’m taking it one day at a time.

Am not there yet…. but am optimistic I will get there.

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins


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