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BLOG | August 13 2020

Jigsaws can help piece together more than lockdown blues…

Chris Parnham from Absolute Corporate Events talks to us about how jigsaws can work as a metaphor and lesson in piecing together our goals in life.

With so much free time on our hands due to COVID-19 and its after-effects, have you been tempted to reach for a jigsaw puzzle to while away the hours?  If so, have you noticed how a jigsaw can very much mirror our lives today?

We may know where we want to go in life, but it’s the next step of the journey that often baffles us. Just like with the jigsaw, we can see the outcome by looking at the picture on the lid. But how do we fit the pieces together?

With any life goal it’s best to start with some anchors. In a jigsaw, these anchors are the corners. There are only four of these in the pile so they are easy to find, and as they can only be placed in one of 4 homes, they are easy to land. The same goes for your life anchors.

  • Good health is important at any age; focus on a balanced diet combined with some exercise and don’t abuse your body or take it for granted.
  • Your family only require a little of your time and consideration, and in return they will always be your fan-club and your safe haven.
  • Home and financial security are obvious priorities and need to be nailed before you reach for higher goals.

Once the four corners of the jigsaw are in place, your life anchors, the next and most important phase of life goal planning is to look to the sky.

Look up and wonder what you want your life to look like in 10, 20, or 30 years’ time, up to – and past – retirement. Just like the pieces of the jigsaw that make the sky, these ambitions don’t require any major detail. They can overlap, blending into one another – but they need to be separated out from the details on the ground, as these are blue-sky ambitions, not plans. You don’t have to know how to get there, you just have to see it.

Once you have removed the sky pieces from the jigsaw of life, don’t place them yet. It’s best to first work on the pile of remaining details from the ground up. Your four corners are in place, and you have removed about 25% of the pieces that represent the sky, so the job of placing the remaining pieces is now much easier.

Each remaining piece is different and only fits into one space. These are the tasks that will help you achieve your goals. In life, you can begin with these right away.

Whatever your life goal, think about what you can stop doing in order to create available time to focus on this goal. What are you doing that is slowing down achieving this goal? Goals are rarely achieved by accident; they require a change. If you continue living your life the way you have for the last 10 years, then the chances are the next 10 will be just the same. This may be ok, but not if your life goals require something different. Without change, nothing new happens.

Think about life’s jigsaw. Know what your lid looks like, what the future looks like, and then once you’ve checked your four corners are solid and in place, look to the sky. Create your goals, then put them to one side and get to work on the small pieces of detail that will get you there.

Written by Chris Parnham MBA CDir

Owner of Absolute Corporate Events, communication-strategist, change-expert, creative-guru, entrepreneur and author

Chris Parnham, Absolute Corporate Events