Last weekend I participated in a strategy discussion with several of my professional associates. As we talked about the different initiatives that we have underway in our business, one colleague in particular expressed increasing frustration because of the challenges he has faced in achieving planned outcomes. “I just seem to be getting it wrong,” he said. Every time I take a step forward, it seems to be in the wrong direction.
At that moment, another person spoke up. “Don’t think of it as being wrong,” she said. “Think of it as being increasingly right. Every time you take a misstep, you gain valuable information about what not to do as you move forward. Admit it,” she said, “you may not yet have achieved your objective, but you are getting closer. Right?”
As he nodded his assent, I realized exactly how insightful my friend Shelle had been. Our struggling colleague was looking at his situation as if he was balancing on a tightrope. Instead, his journey was more akin to traveling in a concentric circle. Making mistakes did not mean that he was falling into the abyss on either side; instead his errors were serving as small corrections as he moved towards his ultimate goal. True, it might have been much easier (and faster) to get from A to B in a direct line, but traveling in a concentric circle towards the eventual target is also an acceptable and reasonable way to make the trip.
So what goal are you trying to achieve right now that is frustrating for you? Perhaps you need to change your perspective. Look at it as an expedition that is a concentric circle rather than a balancing act on a tightrope. Does that paint a different picture?