All my life I have been a problem-solver. I think it’s in my blood. My older brother scolded me, one time, to never complain unless you are going to do something about it. And I took that to heart. When I see something that needs fixing, I can’t help myself from coming up with solutions. And nothing gets my creativity flowing more than a problem that everyone else has decided is impossible. I live for that type of challenge! And I’ve made a career out of it.
My sole purpose has been to assemble the right expertise, information, technology, resources, and equipment to overcome insurmountable challenge. And I’ve made a little name for myself in my tiny corner of the world. I’ve become the go-to. The person you call when you're in a tough spot and you need an idea, fast. Because I’m an optimist. And I’m an experimentalist. And I am comfortable with open-ended tasks with uncertain futures. And solving hard problems comes naturally to me.
It wasn’t until my plate got too full and I realized I needed an army of problem-solvers to tackle all our work that I started to think critically about how I do what I do. When something comes naturally, it’s hard to realize you’re even doing it, let alone get into the step-by-steps of how you’re doing it. It took a lot of self-reflection and introspection. And I am working to communicate and educate and mentor the problem-solvers that surround me. To share my process as widely as possible.
In the midst of all that introspection, I realized that I could describe what to do to accomplish the impossible, but I didn’t know anything about why it works. I had developed another blindspot by doing what I do naturally.
Discovering why it works became my mission.
First, because people don’t love to be told what to do, even from successful mentors. They are much more motivated if you can explain why you’re doing what you do and then give them the freedom to apply those concepts in their own way. Discovering why became mandatory to achieve my—selfish—goal to create an army of problem-solvers who could take work off my plate.
More importantly, tho, I realized that discovering the underlying why would help me uncover my weaknesses and focus my efforts to become even better. And it also would be necessary if I ever wanted to move into a different industry, where the processes weren't as well defined. Or if I wanted to enable others to solve challenges that had nothing to do with our work. Or if I started a training and coaching company, called Tailored Output, and needed to create an impactful and repeatable process that would empower clients to design tremendous and fulfilling lives.
That last one sealed the deal.
Not only do I need to build an army of problem-solvers to get more work accomplished at work, I want to help create an army of problem-solvers worldwide, working to tackle the nearly-infinite number of nearly-impossible problems that face humanity. And so I am on a quest to understand and communicate how to do the impossible, and also why it works.
My research, so far, has taken me far and wide. I have learned about the importance of listening to your natural inclination and discovering your natural talents. Of working on projects of deep significance to you regardless of what others think should be important. Of having the right mindset and perspective to continue on in the face of difficulty. Of finding great mentors and developing new skills. Of learning all you can about your focus area and also about unrelated topics that interest you. Of maintaining your physical and mental health. Of taking a big leap before you think you’re ready. Of experimenting and learning from your mistakes and also from your successes. Of finding teammates that complement your weaknesses with their strengths. Of developing your leadership and communicating effectively because we accomplish more together than we ever could alone.
And that is just the start!
I’ve pulled in so much information that I couldn’t keep it all in my head. Or visualize it usefully on my laptop screen. And so even though it makes me feel ridiculously analogue, I’ve dedicated two walls in my apartment to this work. And there is no end in sight.
I’ll admit, it took me a while to find my voice on this blog. I didn’t want to simply take up space with words. My goal is to share something valuable. And I think I have finally found something worthwhile to say. I believe that we all want to do great things. And sometimes great things seem impossible. The only solution, then, is for every person to learn HOW TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE.
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