I have a senior employee that gets frustrated at work. He’s a developer who has to solve the more technical problems, provide advice and guidance, and help plan projects. The consequence of this is that he bounces back and forth between projects.

Yesterday, we met with our project manager for the second time to talk about his schedule and how to make the best use of his time while minimizing frustration.

We didn’t come to any perfect solutions.

I told him, “It’s not important that we come up with a fix right now. The important thing is that we better understand the problem.”

We’re used to a dramatic arc with a resolution. Novels and television episodes lead characters through conflict, growth, and denouement. Sporting events pit two teams against each other and within a couple of hours a winner is declared.

Sometimes our experience lines up with that. But often what happens is that we engage with our challenges and there is no clear resolution. Days later we have a flash of insight or come to a decision while waiting at a traffic light.

It’s like two boxers slugging it out in the ring, the final bell rings, and rather than declaring a winner everyone goes home. Then three days later, while one of the boxers is having their morning Wheaties, the referee barges into their kitchen and raises their hand as the winner.

As it pertains to growth, the important thing is knowing what few obstacles you should engage with and to stick with them long enough for the path forward to appear.

Featured image is of a boxing scene depicted on a Panathenaic amphora from Ancient Greece, circa 336 BC, British Museum. Used under CC0. Provided by Ricky Bennison.