I have a confession to make. I’m not that good at chess.
Lame confession? Not really, I’m a strategist. People’s confusion about this title is vast but it usually conjures images of me in my very intelligent, AKA nerdy, glasses beating people at chess while reading Sun Tzu. I like chess, though I play a lot less than I used to and I’m pretty sure my 11 year old could beat me and while I am impressed with Sun Tzu, you’re more likely to find me reading “Modern Love” then an ancient Chinese military treatise. Admitting my lack of skill at the king of strategy games is like admitting to the public that I’m not who they think I am and maybe even that I’m not that good at what I do.
I think of myself more like Wesley from The Princess Bride,
Buttercup is to marry Humperdinck in little less than half an hour, so all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape. After I kill Count Rugen.
What are our liabilities? There is but one working castle gate. And it is guarded by sixty men.
And our assets? Your brains, Fezzik’s strength, my steel.
That’s it? Impossible. If I had a month to plan maybe I could come up with something, but this.. I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.
Everyday I get to solve a puzzle, what are we trying to do, how many men are guarding the gate and is there a hidden wheelbarrow we didn’t even think of? Obstacles are just opportunities to find a solution and I get to participate in finding that solution. Those solutions can be found through a piece of art or music, through observing a natural ecosystem, through a good cup of coffee and through studying the sacred texts of my profession, through playing chess or trying to organize a neighborhood kickball game. The key is believing a solution can be found. The goal and the non-negotiables are like the container that you get to play in and the solution is there somewhere, yours for the finding. First you figure out who you are then where are you trying to go, then you put your nerdy glasses (superhero disguise) and get solving. Try it on, does it fit, does it work? Either way you get to do more puzzle solving.