There is something somewhere bothering you. For the purposes of this post, considering the frame it’s in, we’ll assume that ‘something' is work related. It could be about a process, or that piece of information you can’t find, or a question about a procedure you’re looking to talk to someone about or a feeling that the path your company is on isn’t quite the right one. That something is nebulous. out of focus and just uncomfortable enough to be a little disruptive. It’s a sense that something’s missing, something’s stuck or something’s not letting you get something done and it’s succeeded in pulling your attention from more productive things.
I was thinking about my own ‘something’ like this last week. That got me thinking about the story of The Princess and the Pea, and that led me to scribble a thought on an index card. Which is how I find out what the niggle is. The niggle gets stable and focussed when I write down the thought that holds the niggle. And unlike the princess who didn’t want to find out what was keeping her up all night, once that thought is staring at me from a piece of card, paper, whiteboard or blackboard I begin to dig through all the layers of mattress. I allow my mind and my attention to wander with a purpose, to sort out what might be going on with this thing that’s poking me in the physical or metaphorical ribs and not letting me sleep well. And when I find that thing, it’s time to look for solutions.
In the story, the niggle is a test: a woman comes in out of the rain, claims she’s a royal and so a test is set to find out if that’s true. In our lives and work, the niggle is also a test. There is something going on that isn’t allowing us to become as royal as we want to be. In the paths we have chosen something is in the way, or is on the side of the road, pulling our attention away from what’s important. We are all princes and princesses. Though we’re not necessarily looking for a wife or a husband, we all feel the pea when it matters. It is well worth the effort to find out what that thing is and change distraction into renewed focus.
Let’s talk about how to dig through your mattresses, remove the pea and make new things.
See you in a week!