Coach’s Challenge for 8/3/03
Good day, team,
Last week’s challenge was about wanting to accomplish something and having difficulty doing it. Whether it’s a long-term goal or a short- term task, sometimes we just get stuck.
I received many wonderful and helpful responses to my challenge. Here’s one from my friend Dan Meador, who I think offered some wonderful suggestions.
“After many years of working in technology and wanting to be an engineer, but not feeling like I had the qualifications, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am an engineer and always have been. More recently, I’ve discovered that I am also a man of faith. Although I grew up with religion, went to a religious school and as a child bought the package, I’ve long since recovered from that upbringing. Still, I can’t do anything significant without an unrealistic amount of faith.
When I find an interesting problem to solve or widget that I want to design and build, I come up with some fairly lofty vision of what the thing will be. I think of all the good it will do and how the world will be a far better place because of my efforts. I don’t typically think about how rich I’ll become because that doesn’t really matter as much to me as the good that will come from my efforts.
After I have become totally convinced that the widget will be the best thing on the planet, the point where you’ll notice I’ve suspended my disbelief, I put on my engineer’s thinking cap and start working through the issues to complete the task.
Invariably, I arrive at some intersection of insurmountable barriers and have to make a decision on whether to continue or stop. At this point I very objectively evaluate the odds of success associated with each option. If I stop, the odds of success are zero. If I continue, it’s easy to argue that the odds of success will be better.
This of course is not blind faith. I can actually calculate the odds of success, and besides, I must have had some good reason for launching the project in the first place.
Finally, it comes down to a simple observation. What else am I going to do with my time? Typically when I’m engaged in a project I don’t come up with other really bright ideas because I’m busy solving the problems with my current project. So if I didn’t continue, I’d be sitting around wondering what to do next.
Then some bright idea usually hits me about how to overcome the latest barrier, and I’m off again, making some progress toward the vision.
While I typically achieve what I set out to do, it is a rare event that the lofty ideas I had initially become reality. But my satisfaction that I completed the mission is fuel for the next effort, and I’ve learned to be generous with forgiveness for the difference.
I think your idea of putting your challenges into a book is a great idea, one that has occurred to me and many others, I’m sure. So go forth and put it together. Take the leap of faith into the abyss, and if the naysayers in your head get too noisy, turn the music up.”
Many thanks to Dan for his insights.
And, speaking of getting things accomplished, the coach will soon be turning this challenge into a blog so you can all see each other’s comments. They’re all so good I have to share them… so stay tuned!
Have a good week!
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