Puzzles are flying off the store shelves, and their sales have skyrocketed. The demand for puzzles is worldwide during this pandemic, and even puzzle-swapping has become “a thing.” Doing a puzzle with someone whose company you enjoy is not only mentally stimulating, but it is also a fun way to recreate. In the recent COVID shutdown, puzzles have made a comeback in our home. My wife and I have enjoyed the teamwork and lighthearted banter while puzzle-making. We welcome the excitement of having to hunt for that particular individual piece and laugh with the happy bursts of “WooHoo!” when we find that elusive piece. Experiencing the satisfaction of working together to solve a tricky area of the puzzle, and those energetic high fives are exhilarating.
Seeing a puzzle picture completed brings an inner sense of accomplishment. Puzzle-making can be a method of fostering conversations at family gatherings. We scatter the puzzle pieces onto a coffee table, and it isn’t long before people sit on the couch together —picking up and placing down puzzle pieces and easy conversations effortlessly ensue.
A puzzle is a game or toy, or it can also be a problem intentionally designed to test one’s ingenuity or knowledge. Merriam Webster defines the verb “puzzle” as: “To offer or represent to (someone) a problem difficult to solve or a situation difficult to resolve: to challenge mentally. Also: to exert (oneself, one’s mind, etc.) over such a problem or situation.
Putting together a puzzle is a potent metaphor for starting a business. Consider these similarities:
You must first select a location to accommodate the size of your puzzle. Prepare the work surface, and make sure every piece, taken out of the box, is turned right side up. Initial preparations allow for the activity to begin. You know what you are dealing with and can focus on the challenge before your eyes. All of the pieces are “turned over, and right side up” before you launch out. A successful business plan’s fundamentals begin with thoughtful, necessary basics, and accurate assessments of one’s resources and abilities before the real building activity begins.
Setting Up the Framework
The best way to begin a jigsaw puzzle is to locate those defining, flat-bottomed pieces that form the puzzle’s frame and connect them to establish borders. Boarders give you the dimensions and boundaries from which to work. In the beginning stages of building a viable business, the guidelines and terms of service must be in place for people to understand “the big picture”; and contribute their talents towards the desired objectives.
Focus and Concentration Towards the Big Picture
As you begin putting a puzzle together piece by piece, you continually refer to the picture on the puzzle box, and so it is in our businesses. Everyone must always return to the clear objectives and work towards the big picture. We do concentrate and focus on small individual sections of our puzzle. However, it would be best if you still had the overall picture in view. Your end objective is to contribute your hard work to the same project that others are. Small pieces, which in themselves are nothing beautiful, turn into a business identity that others recognize and admire. There is no avoiding the tedious placing of a piece, and it is the only way you can achieve the desired final result.
It takes time and patience to put together a puzzle. Puzzle-making is not something that you can shortcut or “hack.” One particular piece must connect to another specific piece, and no substitute for that piece will do! Only then, after that, one piece is placed, can other pieces then be connected to it. Some puzzles are small, consisting of only 100 pieces; others can have 1000+ pieces or more and will require multiple days of concentration before finishing. For sure, Compumatrix has been one of those 1000+ or more piece puzzles! Long in the making, but we are now seeing the final pieces going into place, and the high fives are soon coming!
We are working together in unity towards a common goal. Competing or vying to out-do one another has no desired place in puzzle-making; wonderful camaraderie and encouraging solidarity fuels teamwork. Our business also works hand in hand with other partners. Let’s encourage our partners in their portion, and enjoy their encouragement to us, as we piece together our share. Celebrate their contributions, don’t envy them, for your teammates are working with you for your success and their own.
People may approach putting together their little section of the puzzle in different ways. Some people focus solely on seeing the different kinds of shapes. That’s their specialty. They fit things together best in that method. Others are color specialists, and they focus mostly on coordinating colors and excel in matching the colors of puzzle pieces together. They can solve a difficult section of the puzzle that the “shape specialist” cannot and vice versa. In business, there are always different skill sets brought to the table. Applaud diversity and unconventional ways of approaching problems. We are all working towards the same coveted goal.
No matter how careful you are, there always seems to be those one or two pieces that are missing. A piece may have accidentally slid off the table, or as I so often wrongly say, (and has never once been the case), “This puzzle is defective! The manufacturers left the needed piece out of the box”! But then my wife places “that” piece, and we laugh about it. The puzzle must have those missing or hard to locate pieces.
Satisfaction and Joy
Lastly, there are always many high fives, a few shouts and happy dances, and lots of smiles when we finally place that last piece of a tedious puzzle! We did it! And we did it together! We leaned on one another’s unique skill sets, and there is a sense of real accomplishment. Were there moments when we felt like quitting and packing it back into the box? Sometimes. Let’s not kid ourselves, in business, and in all of life, there will be several frustrating times when we can’t find that “one elusive piece’. We feel as if we’ve been defeated and cheated. We’ve run empty on patience, and we think that we have wasted way too much time looking for a solution to that staring-us-in-the-face problem. You have not wasted anything. The solution “piece” IS there. Stay the course, and encourage those around you. It could unlock the gridlock of your own business.
We are near the end of completing an essential phase of our ultimate Compumatrix vision. Our business dreams will soon be propelled forward because of it. The excitement is compounding, and we feel new energy as the last pieces are identified and are in-hand. The times of the mad search, the questioning, and the uncertainty is over. Pray and prepare yourself! The final surge to finish what we began together is here, and nothing is puzzling about the blazing brightness of your future!