We’ve had chickens in our backyard for over 5 years. Chickens are pretty carefree animals, quite smart and very fast – particularly the white leghorns! The other day I was taking a break from writing and was looking out the window to the backyard. I noticed that our white leghorn chook, aptly named “Lady Gaga”, had escaped the pen enclosure and was happily pecking her way through my garden. She is flighty, unpredictable and aloof. All the things that make catching her somewhat of a challenge – Similar to those in life that may require some career problem-solving. My heart sank as I knew what was ahead of me.
I initially ran outside and approached her to see if I could just simply corner her and put her back into the pen. “Silly Louise, when will you learn?”…
Picture gusts of wind from feathers, squawking sounds piercing the cold afternoon air and her friends inside the pen looking eagerly on as Lady Gaga was taking flight over my head.
I then proceeded to do a full circle of the backyard multiple times, following Lady Gaga’s footsteps as she ran ahead of me. If there was ever any video evidence of me chasing this rambunctious chicken, it would have synced beautifully with some Benny Hill music, creating a wonderful comedy skit.
My initial plan was to ‘direct’ Lady Gaga to go back into the tiny hole in the fence that she had escaped from. After the sixth lap of the backyard, I could feel my frustration rising. This plan was not going to happen. I retreated back inside the house. Defeated by a chicken!! I realised that I would have to wait until it was darker and she was inclined to return to the pen and join the others for bedtime.
Playing Chicken with Our Tasks – Career Problem Solving
It got me thinking about how we approach problems, tasks/activities, and career problem-solving. Additionally, how we handle difficult situations, or even day-to-day tasks in our work, relationships or businesses. Most of us will do these metaphorical ‘loops’ at some stage of our lives. We don’t always choose to step back and gain a different perspective, because we are too busy being focused on the final outcome and getting there fast. We don’t realise that we are getting stuck in a rut, playing out the same old narrative or steps. Imagine if you could disrupt this loop quicker and more mindfully. Stop, observe, and spend more time defining the problem and achieving greater clarity about a solution.
“I Would Spend 55 Minutes Defining the Problem and then Five Minutes Solving It”
~ Albert Einstein
I dare you to spend way more time pausing, watching, observing, listening and even more listening before you take action to reach a solution.
There is total merit in some situations when it is better to “jump in” before you know the outcome or solution. You might need to summon your courage to do something out of your comfort zone, or you want to get creative and experiment with something. I will often say to my clients that I want them to act now, as imperfectly as it will be, embracing the branding we have created for them and stepping into their future selves before they feel comfortable with that vision. There are huge advantages to jumping in before you are ready.
Take a moment
Taking a step back can also deliver so many benefits to the outcome.
- More time listening to your partner as they share a problem from their day, rather than trying to ‘fix the issue’ straight away.
- More time listening to your customers as they communicate their dissatisfaction about something with your service, rather than avoiding the feedback or jumping into people-pleasing straight away.
- More time listening to your instincts, your internal desires, and your obsessions, can help guide you with rebranding your business. Rather than looking at what everyone else is ‘doing’ in your industry and just following that.
- More time watching a chook with a taste for rebellion, as it meanders around the backyard and revels in its escapade! Rather than chasing it umpteen times around the yard.
Stop forcing things to happen. Let go of the need for control (easier said than done for my fellow perfectionists). Trust in yourself.
When you don’t let go of control, you fail to see different perspectives, and you’ll end up doing the same things over and over again, and never adapt. Never learning new ideas, and never growing. You’ll get frustrated, you’ll be putting in a lot of effort with very little result. You’ll be going around in circles.
When you are so fixated on the outcome, rather than expanding your awareness and perception, you end up tapping into desperation energy way too easily. This desperation energy builds and grows in your business and your life when it comes to career problem-solving. You start repelling people.
Riddle me this
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because it felt like it.
No rhyme or reason. Here I was trying desperately to return Lady Gaga to her pen, and all she wanted to do was do what felt good.
As the sun was setting, she started to get confused as to where her nesting box was. I knew at this point I had to change my approach. I took a broom, wedged open the door to the chook pen, crossed my fingers that the other three big chickens up inside the pen wouldn’t come out and then I walked away. With a little bit of tap dancing between her and I, she finally found the door and went inside the pen.
You’ve got to seek a solution outside the square sometimes. You’ve got to be willing to take a risk! You need to be open to disrupting the status quo – because that disruption is where the gold can usually be found!
What can you stop ‘doing’ today that could interrupt the constant circling around an issue? How can you disrupt the flow and achieve the outcome that you truly desire?
- Stop pushing.
- Step back and observe.
- Gain perspective.
- Experiment outside the box.
- Anticipate alternatives.
- Let go and surrender.
I DARE you to listen more and find alternative ways through a problem.