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What's the condition of your tool kit?

I heard a woman say on TV last week, "We're going to use every tool in our tool kit to get the job done," and it got me wondering about her tool kit. Maybe what she meant to say is that they would use the best tool in the tool kit. Or whatever tool it takes to get the job done. But not every tool. That could go south in a hurry or take a lot longer as she worked her way through all her options. Maybe she should have said, "We're going to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks."

The tool kit is a great metaphor for your skill set, and it surely helps to have a good and ready variety to draw from, because not all problems are the same or respond well to the same approach. As I expect you've heard, If all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

To keep the metaphor going -- or if we're actually talking about your real took kit under your sink or in your garage, because the same applies -- here are a few pointers to help you be ready when you're facing a problem.

  • Keep your tools in good working condition.

  • If you have multiple versions of the same tool, wonder why. Do you keep forgetting it's there and you have to get it (learn it) again?

  • Take out the tools you tried once and never went back to. You can put them aside in case you need them in the future, but know that they aren't your dependable go-tos.

  • On the other hand, figure out which tool is your metaphorical hammer and determine how you can get the job done with another tool that gives you more precision and control. Develop the skill it takes to use that other tool.

  • Don't be afraid of what you've got. If you can manage your tasks with three, four or five tools, so be it. If, on the other hand, you use many different tools or versions of a tool and they all work for you, so be it.

We are all different people so we all approach our life and the problems we encounter differently. So it is. Whether you're managing kids, relationships, health, work, home, or yourself, use the skill set you have to the best of your ability. And, when you encounter a problem you can't solve, find an expert or trusted one with the tools and skills to help you. They're out there with their own tool kit, too.

So, keep your pencils sharp. And, to quote the beloved Mr. Rogers, when you're scared or lost (or are just plain down), Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

Peace and love to you this week ahead.

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