What is the reality you most need to acknowledge?
Sitting in a stark, bare-walled apartment with most of my possessions packed in boxes helped clarify my reality last month. The lack of distractions (no TV, no pictures, no knick knacks) enabled me to focus on what is important and clearly see the challenge (and the monster puzzle) at hand.
Yes, I’m moving again for the 21st time since I graduated college but this time is different since I did most of the packing on the weekends after going to yoga class. These weekly treks to Yoga Yoga in North Austin were not just any class. They were inspirational and dare I say, life changing. The two instructors, Lisa and Kimberly are amazing examples of strong, grounded woman and they helped me more than they know.
When the dreaded day came and I needed to pack the kitchen, I had an exciting new angle and attitude about it.
If you want to resolve something- you have to look at it… really look at it. These were the wise words I heard from Lisa. I was reminded to see things again for the first time, like a beginner entering a yoga pose.
A camera workshop I recently attended in Bastrop, TX, taught me to step back and look at the big picture and to zoom in closely to see important details.
All of the ideas that had been swirling around in my head came together with a simple, yet brilliant principle- “The Oz Principle” to be exact. This book by Roger Connor, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman was introduced to me at work this year and provided simple yet elegant steps to accountability. Like following the yellow brick road to get to the Emerald City, you put one foot in front of the other on and take the following steps:
- See It
- Own It
- Solve It
- Do it
It coalesced for me in my barren Austin apartment when I focused (no pun intended) on the See It part. I also took out my camera to document the process so I could share it with you in this blog.
Before I dove right into fixing and solving my problem at hand, I took a breath and a step back and truly viewed the challenge at hand. What was I dealing with?
What was my challenge that hot and swampy day in the Austin apartment?
I had the dreaded and monumental task of packing the kitchen for an out of state move. Anyone who has moved before knows the feeling that this undertaking brings up and I’m reaching for my Tums just thinking about it.
As I stood back in the small kitchen space of the apartment, I decided that this time would be different. This time I would solve my problem more efficiently and effectively. This time I would see it before I would solve it. I would solve it before I jumped into action to do it.
For my kitchen-packing project, I also used my Scrum Master training to break down the enormous undertaking into smaller, more digestible chunks.
For fun and because I’m a Project Manager geek, I documented the steps of my exciting, new packing process and have outlined them below.
Here are the steps for quick and easy kitchen packing:
- Empty 1 or 2 shelves or cabinets at time and put everything out on the counter or table.
- Look, assess and mentally inventory what you have and how many boxes you’ll need.
- Determine what goes together from a packing perspective and physically group them together.
- Line up your empty boxes.
- Pack grouped items into the same box until it is full.
- Repeat steps 2-5 for remaining items on the counter.
- Once the table or counter is clear, go back to step 1 and empty out another cabinet or shelf and begin the Look and Inventory process again ( step 2).
It was like solving a big puzzle and I had fun with it.
Seeing it help me in this endeavor because I was able to take a step back and truly assess what I was dealing with before I acted to fix the problem.
Seeing the reality in front of you clearly and honestly without filters is one of the most difficult things to do since we all have our internal biases and frames of reference.
So while you may not be packing soon for a move across the country, you will be faced with some daunting and complex challenges ( I like to call them puzzles) in the coming weeks or months. Problems are part of life and it sure is nice when we have better tools and techniques for clarifying and resolving them.
The light bulb went off when I realized that this concept of “Putting everything out on the counter” and Seeing It could be applied to many other areas of my life.
I guess it’s like dealing with the elephant in the room. You have to 1) acknowledge that you have an elephant ( or a smelly fish) present, 2) truly see the size and nature of the elephant and 3) honestly assess it and see the reality of the situation.
Viewing the puzzle from various angles and sides is also helpful. The back side of the elephant gives you a much different perspective that just seeing the trunk or the leg.
So what is the reality you most need to acknowledge?
What puzzle/obstacle/opportunity are you ready to see clearly before you jump right in to solving?
Remember the Oz Principle of Seeing It, Owning It, Solving It and Doing It.
For when Dorothy finally arrived at the beautiful Emerald City to see the Wizard, she had to draw back the curtain to see the true situation before she was able to get back home.