If you recall, a couple of years ago I shared a family tradition of putting together a Christmas puzzle around this time of year. I even think I posted another one from last year. Well, if so then 3rd time’s a charm! I love puzzles and nothing’s better than kneeling around a coffee table in the living room, on your knees at the ripe age of 45, stooped over a thousand pieces for hours at a time – said no one ever.

Wouldn’t it be great to only have a puzzle to worry about in your life? But even if that’s all you had going on, you’re dealing with pieces of all sizes. In leadership, we all learn to apply the concept of moving big pieces first. Understanding that concept will pay dividends in the future. Whatever that looks like to you, do you find that having more pieces to deal with, cause more problems? I’m curious, how do you handle it?

We all deal with problems, much like solving a puzzle, and unfortunately, the more pieces, the more problems we have, right? On the bright side, solving problems doesn’t take the skills of an Italian mob boss, but instead a systematic approach and also, a high emotional IQ. Now, I’m not saying I’m great at both, but instead I would say it’s always my goal to leverage and utilize these methods and qualities as problems come around.

In this photo I took, I’m illustrating my way of solving puzzles quickly. How do I do it? I categorize and group. Much like moving big pieces first, I find that categorizing major colors and then grouping pieces before diving in, makes the most sense to me. It helps me slow down, think and get a feel of the big picture (no pun intended), before I make the next move! In this case, there are six groups; 4 female, 4 male, 3 grouped female/1 male, 3 grouped males/1 female, 2 corner females/ 2 corner males, and finally two opposing male/female.

Prioritizing, categorizing and grouping your priorities in life may help you have the same affect. What’s most important to you? Faith? Family? Friends? Work? In each of those, how do you categorize and group the pieces? Are the a problem, or just a distraction? Is the problem and thing, or a person? Historically which ways have you solved or put these pieces together? Sort of reminds me of the sone Schism by Tool. “I know the pieces fit, cuz I watched them fall away” is significant and can help you learn a bit about yourself, and relationships in general.

Back to the main question, ‘More pieces, more problems?’ isn’t necessarily about an alternative rock band’s ability to resolve their issues, a puzzle, or even how rocks can fit in a container. It could mean anything that’s happening right now, at this very instant in your life. It could be your perspective on things. It could be an end right before a beautiful beginning. What is it to you and how can you rise above it?

Randall Reed – Dataseti President & CEO