I was faced with a small situation recently where I got a reasonable request in a constrained situation.
In normal course, the request would have been easy to get done. But, current conditions made things hard. My initial thought was to write out an excuse note detailing why it isn’t possible.
But, I paused and asked around instead. Initial prognosis – not good.
Wrote up that excuse note.
I think of myself as persistent. So, I asked around some more. Still no alternatives.
Completed that excuse note. I’m about to press send and then I stop. Have I really tried?
This time, I chat with a couple of folks who are just brimming with a can do attitude – one I’m clearly lacking at this point given my half hearted attempts at solving the problem. They rapidly think through solutions. That inspires me to ask around some more. And, this time, against all odds, we found someone who could replicate what we were looking for.
Problem solved. I removed the excuse email and shared the solution.
I was reflecting on that experience and took away a couple of lessons.
First, even if we had failed, I know from experience that it would have been well worth our effort. This is the often unacknowledged benefit of attempting something whose results are far from guaranteed. These journeys are worth it for the creativity and camaraderie they inspire.
Second, I was deeply inspired by the can do attitude of a couple of folks through the process. The odds didn’t look good but they attempted to spin up solutions anyway. And, that built the kind of momentum that was necessary to solve the problem. We are the average of the folks we spend our time with. Make sure these are folks who possess a can do attitude.
It is these folk who understand the nature of life’s most interesting problems. They all appear un-solvable.
Until they are.