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Puzzles

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

 

Summer is just around the corner, and that means the multi-layered puzzle of “what to do with my children” is in full motion. I’ve been tinkering with vacation time, camps, grandparent time, activities, fun concerts, possible road trips, swim lessons, and more.

It’s a puzzle that’s quite complex, and seems to get even more complex with every passing day.

But the thing that is interesting to me is this: areas that seem like “problem spots”—places where I haven’t found a plan, or events that seem too difficult, or areas that seem fuzzy… the more I circle them and just let my mind roam, let my eyes scan the calendar, let my wheels turn—well, solutions and ideas are popping up everywhere. Each time I come back to it, another piece of the puzzle gets put in place.

I was thinking about that with a work project that recently seemed impossible to complete. At first, I was tempted to just throw my hands up and say “Well, I give up! That simply can’t be done.” But instead, I circled. I walked away (a very important first step to solution-finding, I’m discovering). Then I walked back and looked again. Then I walked away. Then I walked back. I looked at it from different angles, I let it float around my head, I just sat with it. And after a bit of circling, a solution started to emerge. What before was impossible soon started to feel possible. A puzzle, first in pieces, now complete.

Puzzles take time, patience, creative thinking, and multiple perspectives. To solve a puzzle, sometimes you have to move to the other side of the table. To solve a puzzle, sometimes you have to take it apart and begin again. Puzzles are problems that need solving, and the way to solve a puzzle is the way to solve any problem, it occurs to me.

When I’m faced with a path that isn’t clear, rather than A) give up altogether or B) doggedly dig my heels in to try and figure it out now, I’m always more successful in the end if I engage in the dance of advance and retreat, of expand and contract, of hold on and let go. This dance allow solutions to emerge and ideas to grow.

What puzzle can you circle back to today?

Erika-Brand

Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.   Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika

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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.