Tuna fish casserole. This delectable glop of Seuss-like innovation is an exemplar of positive thinking and strategic problem solving. It was conceived by hangry people who found themselves unable to buy or access ingredients for making “traditional” meals. Sure, they could have sat in despair until they began drawing straws on whose arm or pet would go first. Or, they could have become paralyzed with fear and slowly wasted away. But no, they did not let such things happen. Instead, they dug deep within themselves. And they did what every coach advises us to do when looking at a goal: start with where you are and what you have. Take inventory.
Sounds simple, right? Hah! Your innocence is charming. It would be easy if we were the great deity MacGyver. But we’re not. We are more like his wandering offspring…demigods stumbling in our own mortal muck while MacGyver’s power lies buried deep within us.
You see, when we want something, we are pretty good at getting it when the path feels simple or clear. But, when the divide between where we are and where we want to be seems large, we can become overwhelmed. The list of what’s needed to get from point A to point B looks long. In fact, by the time we’ve gone through it, we look up to find point B seems to have creeped further away. And, because we humans are odd creatures, we start acting like feckless neonates plunked down onto Earth without clothes or luggage. We feel stuck and lost. We are lacking so many essential things — where do we even start?! We either spin and go nowhere or give up. Both outcomes drain our energy, mental space, and happiness. Yuck.
So, what do we do? Well, we could chant while holding duct tape and wait for MacGyver to intervene. (I’m not convinced this is the best strategy.) Perhaps a better approach is to challenge our mortal minds and command them to stop being feckless neonates. We are not naked (usually), and we have luggage. We have an inventory. And, that inventory is powerful.
By starting with what we have, we magically shift our mindset from a place of scarcity to one of abundance. And, all of the sudden, we aren’t freaking out that we don’t have tomatoes and chicken. Because we realize our goal was not to make chicken cacciatore. Our goal was to make something edible to tame our hunger and save our arms and pets. We know how to cook. We were born with gastrointestinal fortitude and will eat almost anything. We have noodles and chicken of the sea and creamy canned slop. We’ve got crunchy bits of salty delight to throw on top. We’ve got heat. We’ve got food. Ingenious!
So, my ask of you going into your weekend is to pick a goal that has you feeling overwhelmed or stuck. One that your mind is wrapped around from a place of scarcity. After you pick this goal, I want you to breathe and say, “I will start with abundance.” Say it out loud. Then, get paper and a pen, and begin to take inventory.
- What have I done or am I already doing that could move me towards my goal?
- What internal resources do I have to get me started? What traits, knowledge, experiences, values, and strengths will serve me well in my pursuit?
- What external resources do I have to get me started? What money, time, people, tools, etc. can I use to build a bridge to what I really want?
Now, please go get your colored pencils. If you have been reading my blog and not just telling me you are reading it, you probably have them at your desk. Pick two colors you believe to be amazing. (Blue and green, obviously.) At the very top of the paper, in big, fun letters, write the two most important resources that make our mortal side glorious: resourcefulness and ingenuity. Because with these two, you will find you have a full inventory. Because from these two, all other pieces of the bridge from point A to point B not on your list will be on it soon.
And, if you need a little bit of inspiration, go get your duct tape and ask yourself, what would MacGyver do?
What’s in your inventory?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!