One of my loves is to fix things. It doesn’t matter what it is. A core theme I live to deliver upon is to leave things, whatever they may be, better than I found them.
In my personal life, that can be fixing a broken tool; making an old car or motorcycle work better, providing tire services; or, cleaning something filthy and marveling at its cleanliness afterward. For the most part, my focus on leaving things better than I found them leans toward functionality.
I’m drawn to the mechanics, figuring out how things work, more strongly than pure aesthetics. If you know me, you know in periods of stress cleaning things often makes me feel better, but it’s somewhat secondary.
Perhaps a flaw, is that I do not tend to self-promote my efforts enough. Like the quiet auto mechanic, listening, studying, then fixing, it is simply what I enjoy doing. It doesn’t mean I need to climb a bandstand and tell the world about it.
And this quiet approach is reflected in how I approach things professionally. A friend of mine once said, “JT fixes the things most people don’t even want to think about…” It’s one of my favorite quotes because, in my mind, it reflects exactly what I enjoy doing most.
Most things in life are a drama of some sort, large or small. British playwright, William Archer, once said, “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.”
When I get an opportunity to tackle a problem professionally, I enter a situation where there is certain anxious anticipation. There is something wrong, something not working, something not quite right—and we know we need to fix it. Even if we think we have a clue, quite often no one knows exactly what needs to be fixed, or how. Drama.
“Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.”
William Archer, playwright
Early stages of problem solving, dealing with something no one else wants to think about, involve simply listening. Investigating. Asking questions. Observing.
Sometimes it reminds me of the old board game, Clue. The pieces are there to be had. But no one is communicating openly. No one person knows where all the pieces lay. Sometimes players do not even know they are a player.
Slowly, we find where one plus one equals two. It gives us something to work with. Then, we find other examples where 1 + 1 = 2. Rarely, like a great story being told, are we shown straight-off that 1+1+1+1=4.
Sometimes players do not even know they are a player.
No, it is the drive to see behind the scenes, look under the covers, and read between the lines, that compels…or enables…me to help others make the leap(s) to realize, “We knew 1+1=2, and, that 1+1=2, and now we can see the bigger picture of 4.”
Therein lies a key part to the joy, the fun, I receive when realization dawns…not just for me but for everyone else as well. One of the most enjoyable moments, whether it’s with my children, or those I work with, is when you see the ‘flash’ behind their eyes as the fire of comprehension ignites.
Once comprehension is had, once everyone begins to understand, then the next phase can begin: Actually fixing something.