You’re the fixer — but you can’t fix it. Now what?

Tunnel Visionary

We are the problem-solver, the fixer, the emotional handyman of our tribe. The world runs more smoothly and smartly because we’re in it.

Keen understanding is the secret to our prowess — looking at all the information and knowing what to do with it. But, on rare occasion, a few pieces of the puzzle are missing, and then we’re stuck. It’s an unfamiliar sensation. We don’t have much practice at this stuck thing, so we feel like we’re stumbling in the twilight, unable to see what we need to make sense of it all.

In this half-blind moment, we’re acting like a Tunnel Visionary, operating without enough information to give us wider perspective.

How do we open our aperture? First, we need to understand the current mindset that we can’t seem to shake. Are we guarded? Fiercely determined? Unduly influenced?

Take our mini-quiz to find out.

Tunnel Visionary mini-quiz
First, think of a time when you were stuck because the information you had didn’t add up. No matter how hard you tried to piece together a solution, you came up empty. Then quickly answer the following three questions:

What did you Feel when you were uninformed?
A. Resigned
B. Irritated
C. Dismayed

What did you Think when you were uninformed?
A. This isn’t going to be pretty.
B. I will not give up.
C. When did things get so bad?

What did you do when you were uninformed?
A. Tell people to lower their expectations.
B. Push forward (and secretly hope for the best).
C. Wish there was another side to the story.

If you chose mostly A answers, read about Guarded Visionaries, below. Mostly B’s, you’re likely a Determined Visionary. C’s are Influenced Visionaries. If you had a mix of letters, you’re a hybrid, which means you’ll find parts of yourself in all three types.

A. Guarded Visionary. You’ve been to enough rodeos that you aren’t easily thrown. So when you’re feeling off-kilter, your first instinct is to head to a safe zone. In your case, it’s spotting what’s wrong with the situation. You focus on the flaws to the point where you can’t imagine a more positive outcome. And by your calculations, that’s the better bet. Most likely, you reckon, you won’t end up looking foolish.

You need to get uncomfortable. The antidote to your single-minded repose is to practice vulnerability. Yes, it’s a state of being that most humans actively avoid. But it’s also the best mind-set for taking chances and seeing things differently.

B. Determined Visionary. If life were a race, you’d win. Your grit and confidence propel you forward, and you’re not going to let some stinking stuck moment slow you down. But underneath all that momentum is a tiny bit of desperation that your plan won’t work — or you won’t be first to the finish line. That only makes you push harder. At times like these, patience and other viewpoints go out the window.

You need to get comfortable. A frantic state of mind takes a lot of energy, but rarely gets us anywhere. Relax. Sink into a big, soft easy chair and release the steel trap that’s holding your brain hostage.

C. Influenced Visionary. It’s unusual for you to see just one side of the story but, on occasion, a prevailing point of view drowns out the alternatives. The media is a common culprit, but you could just as easily be swayed by a trusted friend. Loyalty, too, whether to a person or process or even an object, can loom large. And it doesn’t help that your own feelings on the subject are lukewarm, making the status quo all the more appealing.

You need to summon your instincts. In short, trust yourself. Just below the surface are all kinds of provocative thoughts swimming around, ready to be recognized. Tap into them.

Key to any stuck moment is to understand where our gap is. As a Tunnel Visionary, it’s a seeing gap: The harder we focus on the situation, the narrower our range of possibilities become. And knowing this can be a relief. Here are simple ways to broaden our perspective.

PRINTABLE TIP CARD #24: What kind of Tunnel Visionary are you?

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