My ever-growing five-year-old went to her room to change into play clothes. After a short amount of time, I heard some fussing.
“What’s the matter?” I called up.
Her annoyed response came back, “I can’t button my pants!”
“Can I help you with that?”
There was no reply to my offer, but then I heard another grunt and her cry of “They’re too tight!”
“Is that the only pair of jeans in your dresser?” I asked.
Silence. “Um, no.”
“So why don’t you choose a different pair to wear?”
It’s so easy to get caught up in the thinking that there is only one way to do something. Especially when we are frustrated, that seems to be the default we go to. We become blinded to everything but that one option. Then, when we don’t experience success doing it that one way, we slump over dejectedly and say, “I can’t do it!”
When you find yourself wanting to scream because your attempts to manage your career seem impossible, the first thing you should do is step away from it so you can calm down. Trying to push through when you are angry won’t breed the best results.
After gaining a cooler head about it, grab a piece of paper and write down as many solutions to your problem as you can. Don’t judge — just write. Then, evaluate each item on the list. If there are some that are really far out there (like finding a magic genie who will grant your every wish), eliminate them. Winnow it down to options that are plausible, even if you haven’t previously considered them. Talk over the remaining choices with your circle of trusted advisors. Add their collective wisdom to your thoughts. What is the result?
Maybe you will find that you were on the right track all along, but just needed to tweak your approach. Maybe you need to take a different route that will get you to the same destination. Whatever the choice, it’s better than what you were doing because now you are making forward progress.
Image courtesy of Evil Erin
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