What Are You Working For?

by Susan Pogorzelski on March 4, 2009 · 10 comments

Another piece of the puzzle, that doesn’t fit
You throw your arms up, you’re so damn sick of it
What are you working for,
What are you searching for?

- Sick Puppies, “What Are You Looking For”

puzzle-tulips by jettgirl (flickr)

Sometimes I think that life is like a million-piece puzzle that you spread out over the landscape of your self, trying to figure out where everything fits to form your complete picture.

Sometimes, everything feels perfectly crafted to naturally fall into place, and you’re eager to move forward, rushing through to complete the puzzle so that you can see what the big picture is all about. Other times, you’re left with scattered pieces that seem to have no connection, no link, and you’re frustrated, confused, and feel a lot like giving the whole thing the finger.

I’ve been on both ends.

I’m on the latter end at this moment.

Truth be told, I’ve always been torn about puzzles. I love the idea of watching a blank canvas evolve into something beautiful, piece by piece. And I love the satisfaction of finally completing something that may have once seemed daunting, impossible. However, before it’s all said and done, there’s those million unmatched pieces that often leave you frustrated, cursing, with only the compulsion to finish it and the anticipation of the beauty of the picture leading you on.

Puzzles are a great metaphor for this, for life. You start with the tried-and-true method of sorting out the pieces, finding the ones with the edges to create the border: the beginning, an idea, a dream. Then you work off of that to fill in the rest, linking a piece at a time until the picture is complete and the goal is reached.

Sometimes, you’re on a roll, each piece naturally fitting into the next, forming a glimpse of the bigger picture. You feel optimistic, empowered; you see where it’s all heading and you know how to get there. However, sometimes you suddenly realize that the piece you’re holding isn’t the one you were expecting — it doesn’t fit and you freeze. Suddenly, you’re not sure which piece is right or where to go next.

I’m there.

For the past three months, I’ve been creatively inspired, writing feverishly, working on new stories, blog posts, freelance opportunities; I’ve created a new site, helped to form a writing group in my community. Each piece was fitting in perfectly, one after another. I could see the picture beginning to form in front of me, bit by bit.

Then I froze.

With the launch of the new site, the first meeting of the writing group, and a sudden, unexpected lull in my writing, suddenly I’ve begun to question what it is I’m working towards and if I have any clue what my picture will look like after all. The piece I’m holding no longer seems to match what I’ve laid out so far, and I’m left wondering “what now?” Where does this piece go?

Where do I go?

The thing about puzzles, and what I try to remind myself, is that in order to complete the picture, you have to keep trying. Each piece is there, tailored just for you — every person, job, idea, and experience waiting to connect to form that greater whole. Sometimes it’s luck that gets you going. Sometimes it’s pure trial and error. But always, always, it’s patience, persistence, and perspective that helps you fill in the empty space and find that missing piece.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan Coe March 4, 2009

I truly believe that if you no the destination, or the final picture, the rest will fall into place. Setbacks, odd pieces or whatever obstacles, keep your focus. You are definitely right persistence and perseverance is the key and it will help you find faith in the empty spaces..

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Anna March 5, 2009

Sometimes when you have so much momentum behind you, and just at the moment where everything seems to be falling into place, it’s easy to lose focus, or lose drive. It’s easy to fall behind, thinking you’ll catch up. But this is exactly the time where you need to keep going at full force. When your creative juices are flowing, stopping for one moment can make you lose all your inspiration. You just launched redesigned 20(or)something, launched a new fantastic website, and started reaching out to your local writing community in a big way. This is the time when you move forward. Don’t stop and over analyze; that will just stifle creativity.

Enjoy where you are right now, and keep going.

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Benjamin March 5, 2009

Moving ahead means resetting those goal posts. You had set some mighty lofty goal posts and through your determination, you’ve made some mighty satisfying touchdowns. Score! Foam fingers are waving. Cheerleaders are doing backflips. The scoreboard is glowing for the home team. It’s time to recognize that those goal posts are not set in the last end zone of the last game, dear one. They are only in the end zone in this “stadium” for this quarter of the game/ You have many more to go. Relish the win. Ice down those muscles. Take a deep breath and savor the success and then study the field and plan the next strategy. Move those goal posts. Reset those goals. This wasn’t the end. It’s the end of the beginning. Your friend, Benjamin Bunny

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Sam March 5, 2009

I love your metaphor! During the past year, I’ve had a lot of puzzle pieces out of place, and recently things have started to change for the better and I’m finally able to put the pieces back together. I definitely agree that patience, persistence and perspective are key. Even when it seems like you’ll never reach the end of the tunnel, you just have to believe that things will get better. When you look back on that time, you’ll understand just how much you learned about yourself.

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Jun Loayza March 5, 2009

I love your writing style. It’s like I’m getting lost in a story.

I completely understand how you feel. For the past year and a half, I have been working extremely hard trying to create a successful startup company. We have launched FD Career, Drop For Me, ProBusiness Blogger, I’ve enhanced my personal blog, I’ve started a blog for my girlfriend and friends from highschool. The list goes on and on.

What am I building towards? What keeps me going?

It’s an inner desire to be the best, be legendary, and be remembered. When we look down at what we’ve done, sometimes we need to take a step back and see the big picture. The little piece in your hand is insignificant to the puzzle as a whole.

I’ve often been told that I need to think more holistically; I’m working hard in doing that.

Love the new site btw…

- Jun Loayza

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Susan Pogorzelski - admin March 6, 2009

First, I want to say thanks to everyone for their comments. I’ve said time and again that I have some of the best readers and every day that is proven true. Your encouragement, honesty, and insight is what keeps me going, helps me to learn, and drives me forward. So thanks for that, thanks to you.

Bryan: It’s absolutely true that dreams weren’t meant to be easy, and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that picture, to lose focus, as you say. I think what I’m learning is if I find a wrong piece, or can’t find the right one, I need to keep moving through, keep looking, keep working, until I do get it right. Thanks!

Anna: I love your comments; they always provide such profound insight and honesty, offering a perspective that I may not have been willing to see before. You nailed all of my concerns and reminded me of what I need to keep doing: moving forward, finding inspiration. I can’t say much more except thanks…Thanks for your words; it was exactly what I needed.

Benjamin: I love your own metaphor! It’s absolutely true and something that I really need to remember (and believe): goals can be ever-changing; there are other challenges, adventures, and dreams that have yet to be met, and I need to take a step back, reevaluate myself and those goals, and continue on. One of my favorite authors once wrote “there are no happy endings because nothing ends.” A bit gloomy when you think about it, but I love the thought. Your own word reminded me of this and I’ve truly taken them to heart. Thank you for your comments, your insight, your encouragement. Truly, thank you.

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Susan Pogorzelski - admin March 6, 2009

Sam: I’m so glad that things are starting to fall back into place for you! It can be really tough when you feel like your forcing pieces into places where they don’t exactly fit…It’s exactly where I was just a few months ago, and it just wasn’t working. Once I let go, I found the ones I was looking for, so to speak. I hope that you’re finding the same for yourself. Thanks so much for your words, and wishing you the very best!

Jun: Thanks so much for your comment — I think that might have been one of the greatest compliments I’ve received, actually, so thank you, it means a lot. Your words ring true: sometimes we get so caught up in the little pieces, the details, the to-do list, that we fail to step away, to look at the picture we’ve completed so far. You’re right-on that the smaller pieces are insignificant when looking at the completed picture — it’s something that I hadn’t thought about, but is so true. Thanks for offering another perspective. And on a side note: I’m so glad that you’re finding success with your company and blog! Keep doing what you’re doing; you’ll make it. Best to you…

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