Parts of the Puzzle

I’ve taken a brief hiatus from posting — being inundated with guests, clients and the exhilarating billows of life.

We’re on the verge of the next trip: Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Dubai, London, Marseille.

I’ve waited 15 minutes for someone to call who missed a phone appointment last week and zealously promised to call this time. Last time the excuse proffered sounded reasonable — today I’m beginning to wonder if it’s pathological.

A key client asked me to help a colleague of his within their organization. He’s missed four confirmed, in the diary, phone appointments but continues to say he’s “very interested” in being helped. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s “very interested” in ticking a box that shows he made a requisite, even if token, effort.

A friend introduced me to a pal — foundering on various reefs in life. This externally successful over-achiever clearly had issues to grapple with — don’t we all? But his demons were quite visible — it seemed even to himself. He told me he didn’t like to dither and wanted to get started. I laid out a work plan. Deafening silence. Two weeks later he told my friend who had introduced us that he wanted a “few more clarifications” from me. How? Long distance mind reading? Responding to my email would have been a start. We spoke again, and he demonstrated he had only skimmed the details. No problem, I  was happy to walk him through it. He’s since disappeared once more…

I have to say this is less than 1% of the people I deal with — on purpose. I tend to move quickly on, and were it not for a close friend and a key client involved here, my forbearance wouldn’t have been nearly as forthcoming. That said, it makes for a fascinating case study.

Might it be that as NLP theorists suggested, we are made up of many “parts” — different psychological aspects with their own agendas, emotional lobbyists, paradigmatic blinkers and more? Could it be we are all Jekyll and Hyde to some extent? And might it be the part of us that gasps for help is over-ruled at times by other parts keen to perpetuate current plateaus?

It could indeed. And this then begs the question, are we just the sum of our parts, or is there a core “us” that can assert itself?

There is a core, the unifying wick emerges from the purposes that coalesce from our medley of appetites, values, impulses, ideas, desires and commitments. And from these in turn are generated, life priorities. And if the priority is strong enough, we can silence our inner nay-sayers.

We won’t become impeccable in execution, follow up, follow through and more overnight necessarily. But we will palpably advance as Thoreau said “in the direction of our dreams”. If we can’t continue taking steps to be and become more than our past, we’re sunk and we’re pretty much done.

So then we have to become fans of progress, of movement, of ways to outgrow parts of us that are really the detritus of past pain. Eventually we have to give up the fantasy that we can somehow manufacture a happier past. The only way to make the past any happier is move beyond its negative delusions — the ones we’ve been towing around since then — and choose better resources to take forward instead.

So pick an area where you’re stuck and tune in to the competing passions at play. Identify your largest priority and find it’s hook up to a key purpose in your life. Then advance boldly in that direction. If you fail, fail forward and keep moving. As Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

And at least be impeccable in the small things that add up to larger things. Be responsive, keep appointments, beat deadlines, show up a little early, leave doubt at the door and engage creatively and courageously in key situations, tell these wailing parts you’ve heard them but can’t afford to indulge them any more.

Harmonize who you are through the actions you consistently take and the types of things you vivify by  taking daily aim at. Treat mistakes as detours not demos. Intention prevails, when we believe it is the greater truth about us than our doubts.

So, leave behind the excuses…or better yet, learn from them and use them as catalysts.

In other words…LEAD!