Puzzling Therapy

It started about a month ago. I sat down at the kitchen table with my kids on a lazy Saturday afternoon and pulled out the 100 – 300 – 500 piece options we had in our Disney multi-pack puzzle box. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

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A heap of pieces or mind-boggling quality time?

The kids were sporadic in their participation. Finding all the flat edges. Grouping like-puzzle pieces together. Sorting by color. Trying to imagine the finished product to mirror the box cover. Then they got bored and found something else to do…leaving mom to ‘clean up the mess’. Typical, eh?

So I finished the Mickey Mouse Soccer Star puzzle and moved onto to finish up Pixie Dust and Princesses. And when it was all said and done, I actually enjoyed myself in the process. Here’s what I gained:

  1. A true sense of accomplishment
  2. Quiet time to myself
  3. Ability to let my mind wander
  4. Creative inspiration
  5. A peaceful, uninterrupted mind game with myself and the jagged edges

It wasn’t until I found myself Christmas shopping a few weeks later that I realized how much I enjoyed puzzle therapy and wanted to share it with others. So, when my sister-in-law asked what to get my son, I recommended a puzzle. When I stood and watched my daughter achieve her first ever experience on ice skates in Rockefeller Center, I bought the puzzle to match as a stocking stuffer. And I could not resist a challenging gift from the lakeside cottages series titled “Rest Stop” for my husband…1,000 pieces and all.

And the rest is history. My husband and I enjoyed the 4-day long weekend anticipating the New Year with several hours together at the puzzle table. It was a challenge. A distraction. An escape. An opportunity to sit side by side. A chance to contemplate how the sky, flying geese, lakefront, landscaping and stone cottage was ever going to come together. Hours flew by. Pieces started falling into place. We’d stand up to stretch our backs and legs. Occasionally we’d make sure the kids and the dog had food and water. 🙂

And then the moment of truth arrived…we had 8 pieces left. And we could not wait to tell the kids it’s time to finish our work of art! We agreed both of them could simultaneously put the last 2 pieces into place. We cheered ourselves in victory and celebrated our accomplishment at 4:44 pm on New Year’s Day.

Puzzles are an addiction, but also a type of therapy at the same time. It was well worth the hours put in and I cannot wait to see what puzzling mind game comes next! And I do believe that I’ve started a New Year’s tradition for the Grom family.

Cheers to 2013!

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By changing nothing, nothing changes.

It was eerily surreal as I gathered up the last of my things and headed out the front door. It was a dark, dreary, rainy, early morning in Greenville, SC. I had just resigned for the first time ever.

As I headed from the door to my car in the parking lot it was a bit like time was standing still. One step forward and I was moving toward what was next. One step backward and I was where I was comfortable, had many reliable business associates and was in a place where I made lifelong friends.

The past 8 years at ScanSource, Inc. were immensely valuable to me. I learned so much about the new age of marketing, how to create raving fans out of everyday customers, developing teammates to do more for themselves, and learning how to protect a corporate culture in an ever-competitive global economy. In fact, the lessons I learned there were beyond unteachable in school. It takes real world business to be impacted like I was during those years.

Here’s something I discovered: Sometimes you can be everything the ideal professional is supposed to be and still have challenges that cannot be solved by following what’s supposed to happen. The good news is these are the moments where you really grow up. I had many of those and I am a better leader, mother, friend and person because of them.

By changing nothing, nothing changes.

Sometimes to most appropriately apply your learnings it requires change. For me it was time for change. While I can’t say that I accomplished everything I had hoped at ScanSource, sometimes it takes a reality check to know when you have done all that you can. I had reached that point. Perhaps I was setting the bar too high and expecting too much from myself and others. Or, perhaps I’m just not that good. I know I can always improve and started believing I needed some sort of justification that doing something for myself for a change was the right path to take.

So here I am. With 28 days off ahead of me to focus on what’s important: my glorious children, my ever-supportive husband, my loyal 14-year old golden retriever/basset puppy, a neglected lake house, leading from within to support local charities and taking time to watch the branches blow in the breeze and hear the clock ticking in my kitchen. Honestly, I did that this morning and it was soul-soothing.

Those who know me, know I am passionate about three things. (1) influencing people to be better, (2) strategic, results-driven technology marketing and (3) learning something new every single day.

I’m psyched to open a new chapter in a new company with new endeavors on February 22, 2012. However, I’m not about to forget yesterday. Instead, I’m excited to apply my past to reach an even better tomorrow. That is the stuff that life is made of. For our careers shouldn’t define us, they should enhance us.

I’m eternally grateful for those who challenged me and lifted me up during my time at ScanSource. I may be gone, but you all are never forgotten.

Nothing I can do…

this week is right. Unbelievable. I’m smart, proactive, resourceful, fortunate and confident. I’ve got one of the strongest support groups on the planet with my family and friends, but Murphy’s Law is in full force. Makes it extremely difficult to stay positive, forward-thinking and productive.

So, I logged into WordPress to reactivate the blogger in me and begin to use this as an outlet for everything and anything moving forward.  Can’t wait to see where it goes.

Bon Voyage! This San Diego-born navy is about to navigate into unchartered seas. Don’t get caught on your ship of fools!