I admit it. I’ve become addicted to sudoku puzzles. And, they are showing up in my life in weird ways. Just the other day I was talking with a delightful group of entrepreneurial women on the verge of launching new businesses. We were commiserating about the challenges of writing a business plan. It seems so left-brained and not so much fun. Then, it occurs to me…writing a business plan, planning a product launch, creating a marketing strategy — really any "big hairy project" — is kind of like a sudoku puzzle. The Teacher is at hand…consider if you will the lessons of the sudoku puzzle:
- Start with the "rules" of what you are creating — they provide a container to hold your creation.
- Do the easy things first — they will usually open doors to complete the tasks that seem harder at the start.
- Work in pencil and have an eraser handy — use tools that allow you to easily take risks and make changes.
- Follow the emerging order of what you are creating. Step-by-step is not always a straight line.
- A fresh perspective provides new answers. What is unclear when viewed in one way, becomes obvious when viewed in another.
- Sometimes it goes painstakingly slow, sometimes it ripples quickly — that’s just how it is. Take advantage of your momentum by going fast when things are rippling; let yourself slow down when the pace needs to be more painstaking. The ebb and flow is natural.
- Struggling does not create progress. Stop banging your head against the answer that just won’t come. Move on to a different part of the puzzle.
- Feeling stuck is an invitation to explore a different area– if you can’t find the solution now, it could be because there is other information that needs to happen first before this box can be solved.
- Savor the feeling accomplishment when you solve a piece of the puzzle — and use that delicious feeling to inspire you forward.