One of my favourite family activities over the holidays is to work on a picture puzzle. We lay out the thousands of pieces on a table and over the span of 2-3 weeks we work toward creating the final image. Some days many pieces are put together and other times only 1-2 find their place, but we work diligently until the picture is complete.

 

It is always interesting to me how the process of putting together a puzzle includes 3 phases:

 

The Motivated Beginning – where it feels fun and light with the initial pieces going together easily. The borders are created and the direction is set. Our energy is high and committed.

 

The Difficult Middle – where the challenge increases and progress slows to a crawl. We believe there must be pieces missing and the entire experience starts to feel frustrating and hopeless. During this phase, I often think of just putting the whole thing away.

The Satisfying End – which is defined by the more focused, informed and effective energy that experience teaches. We have worked through tricky parts and realize success is possible. Motivation is renewed knowing the end is near. Those final pieces always feel so satisfying.

The energy toward life’s challenges follows a similar path as putting together a puzzle.

 

Successfully solving our problems and issues will always require an ability to withstand discomfort when things are not coming together easily or even at all. Then our motivations wane and we look for relief, sometimes through quitting our challenge altogether.  And yet, if we find a way to keep forward motion – even with baby steps – and trust in the process we will eventually emerge from the weeds of the messy, confusing, and frustrating middle. We then can know success is just a few moves away.

 

And the effort it took to get there transforms our stress into fulfillment.  

 

I am looking forward to this year’s puzzle.

I hope you will join me in January for the online workshop BEYOND CONFLICT!

Here we will be exploring the mindsets and skillsets to journey through life’s messy middles successfully. Register by midnight, December 22 and get 30% off the early bird price. Use the code:  SALE300 at checkout to get this fabulous bonus.

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