Monday, June 18, 2012

Sometimes "Ready, Fire, Aim" is a Good Strategy

After five days of vacation, I feel rested and refreshed and I learned something along the way. Now when I look at the stack of mail on the side of my desk, or  at the file folders not put away at work, I understand what gets in the way for me. Sometimes I think too much.

I've heard the advice to be wary of pulling the trigger too quickly on some new idea or endeavor. Consultants often glibly refer to it as "Ready, Fire, Aim" and calmly assure people that they need to take time to aim before pulling the trigger. That is where I get bogged down. I can comfortably spend a large amount of time thinking about anything from where I want to file a bill, to launching the next phase of my life. Now seriously, those are two things on a totally different scale, but sometimes I feel like I give everything the same importance.

The realization hit when I was visiting my parents and helping them out around the yard. They have a nice fountain in front of their house that was empty of water and has been since the last time I visited. When I asked about it, they told me that it leaked. They wondered what to do with it; whether or not to just put soil in it and plant flowers. We stood discussing ideas about what to do about the fountain for a while. Finally I offered "what if I can fix it?" They didn't want me to take all that time and besides, they didn't think it was repairable.

I took the fountain apart, cleaned it, and filled the bowl on dry ground. Nothing. No leak,  no spillage. I was proud of myself as I put the fountain back together and filled it with water. Apparently the leak had been a fluke. Until about an hour later, then the leaking started. I immediately emptied the bowl and put it in the sun to dry. After purchasing a tube of silicon, I layered the inside of the bowl with silicon and let that dry. Problem solved. The fountain works beautifully.

So what? I learned that, for me, it is best to do something just to start on a project. I can think about things all day, all week, or all month and they will remain un-started. By jumping in, I learn as I go and in the process things get done. Of course some might say that I'm firing before I aim, but for me I can always realign my sights. The important part is that I have to pull the trigger because I can aim for a very long time.

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