I had a business issue that was bugging me, more than the usual set of three or four business topics that are jumping around in my head at any given time. Usually, you have something to do and you do it; or you have a choice to make, so you weigh the factors and take the leap. This time, I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
It was about a month ago that I finally unburdened myself to a close friend, asking for her advice on the issue. We had a good talk about it. We looked at the problem from a few different angles. I was grateful for her time and her willingness to dig into my situation. At the end of the day, though, I knew, and I think she suspected too that we hadn’t really nailed it.
A few days later I had lunch with a different friend, and talked about her ups and downs and the things on her plate, and I tried again. I shared my business issue with her, and we talked about it some more. This second friend had a vastly different view on the problem than my first friend had had. That was fascinating, and enlightening. We pretty much came to the conclusion that the universe would sort out the problem. I thought to myself, Maybe there’s no answer. That can happen sometimes — right?
The very next day I had coffee with a third friend, an intellectually curious guy who loves to hear about business problems. He dove right into this one. “That’s juicy!” he said. We looked at the issue from different angles. Before long we got distracted and our conversation went off into a different direction. That’s okay – I was still of the mind that not all problems have solutions, excepting possibly the Tincture of Time my grandmother used to remind me about.
I was about ready to stop talking about this business problem altogether but a fourth friend called me and asked me what was new. So we went through it again. She was quick to say “Look, that sounds like something that someone could help you with, but the somone isn’t me!” That’s okay. She’s a dear friend. That night, as I went to sleep, I thought, “I’m sick of hashing over this problem. I’m just going to take care of it, tomorrow. If the solution isn’t perfect, I’ll live with it.”
And that was that. I was exhausted with trying to solve my problem and didn’t want to expend any more energy on it. But I got busy, and didn’t take the steps I had planned to take for a few days. And then I got a call, a few days later, from a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We had lunch. It was grand to see her. Lunch turned into mid-afternoon tea, or just the longest lunch in history. I had no conflicting appointments and neither did she, so we just kept talking. Finally, at two-thirty in the afternoon, she said “So, what’s on your plate that I could help you with?” I hesitated. Then I said, “If you have any ideas about this thing I’m grappling with right now, that would be great. If you don’t, that’s fine too.” I laid out the situation.