Yesterday I was plowing through my task list early in the morning when an email caught my eye. A good friend is working on a project and asked if I could help. Without hesitation I started typing up an email saying yes and seeing how many different ways I may be able to help. I was smiling from ear to ear at the opportunity to help and repay her for all the ways she’s helped me. As I wrapped up the email a bell rang in my brain…
One of my big three goals for this year is totally in her wheelhouse. Seeing I was already in contact why not see if she might have an idea to help me move my goal closer to conclusion.
The email I received bag was incredible! Not only was she happy to help she immediately introduced me to an individual who could really help me out drastically! How awesome is that?
In the back of my head I’d planned on contacting her at some point for help, but I probably would’ve waited way longer than I should have per my discomfort with asking for help (see yesterday’s post). The email she sent was so cosmically well timed I can’t help but pause and be thankful for such a serendipitous moment.
Another thing I’m very grateful for today is intentional scarcity. My brain works in strange ways. When I’ve got a project due I like to spend much time tossing it over and over in my brain. The longer I can let it ferment and rough out many different ideas and solutions the better the final product.
Unfortunately my brain has a tendency of wanting to continue working on an idea much longer than I should. As soon as I come to a right solution I immediately go to work on creating a “more right” solution. If I’m not careful I can quickly cross the threshold of diminishing returns and have no finished project.
What I’ve been working on for the past week had a deadline of late this morning. With three hours to spare I put a stop to all the ideation and moved into creating the finished project. I put myself into an intentional mindset of scarcity.
With that scarcity mindset I was able to hyper focus on putting all of my ideas into a concise and consolidated whole. I then took a step back, reviewed the “why” behind the project, looked at it through my eyes, my team’s eyes, my customer’s eyes, and then back to the why. Several revisions were made and then there it was before me.
From the outside it’s be easy to think that it was created just in those short couple of hours. In reality it was the hours upon hours of thought beforehand that was the majority of the heavy lifting. With that foundation laid the focused mindset of scarcity helped to force me to build the solution on the foundation.
For sure, a state of constant and uncontrolled scarcity would have doomed this project. That said, using it to apply the right pressure at the time and in the right place was pure gold!
It reminds me of the story I’ve mentioned many times of Dad telling me about taking time to assess the solution completely before choosing the right tool and plan of attack. I’d just spent minutes grunting, groaning, and sweating as I wrestled with an old cabinet I was attempting to remove. As he told me the story he calmly picked up a crowbar, sized up the cabinet, stuck one end of the crowbar into a very specific spot. Finishing his story he smiled at me, winked, gently nudged the crowbar… and set the entire cabinet free.
Intentional scarcity as a tool… definitely a lesson I need to remember more often!