For many years there were three words that whenever I read them on a brochure of something I was about to purchase, would make me quite nervous. Those words were “Some Assembly Required”.

I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s ‘The Gifts Of Imperfection” and I love this wonderful distinction about courage and heroics… “Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line”.

What makes me feel vulnerable are the words “Some Assembly Required”.

I’ve often struggled with the debilitating and illogical feeling of perfectionism and wanting to get things ‘just right’, and over the years, the writers of instructions on DIY kits, flat packs and the like, didn’t do me any favours when the English translation of whatever it is that they want you to do, just doesn’t make any real sense… and why were there always so many spare parts or nuts and screws left over?

Oh, I can track the initial cause of this real quick. Sadly, as a child, I wasn’t all that good at building things with my older brother’s Mechano set. Of course, if I had have read the instructions it might have made things easier, but the instructions weren’t really all that interesting, and just having a go at making whatever it was I was attempting to build just from the picture was more fun… at least until I approached the end of my short attention span and my patience would get the better of me because what I was building really didn’t look like the picture at all. So I’d typically just move on to the next toy, game or whatever.

This ‘follow the instructions’ issue for me has been sustained for most of my adult life, but despite that, every now and then I would still have a go at the occasional DIY project.

Yesterday was one of those days, and it was a great day. It was one of those ‘in flow’ days that I will cherish. Yesterday, our two sons, Liz and I worked together to assemble a new bbq and it was a serious “Some Assembly Required” job. It wasn’t just the bbq, it was pretty much an outdoor kitchen.

We finished the DIY project just before night, and yes, there were quite a few nuts and bolts and odd pieces left over at the end… which we all agreed were included for another model and just packed anyway. But what was magic about the day, apart from just working on something with our sons and the serious amount of laughing when things just weren’t going right (until we re-read the instructions out loud again), was the lessons I realised I am still learning.

  1. Let go and let others do
  2. Celebrate and congratulate each little win
  3. Don’t just read the instructions… follow them
  4. Take more advice rather than giving it all the time
  5. Ask for help
  6. If you don’t ‘get it’ maybe others will
  7. Admit when you’re wrong
  8. Say sorry
  9. Encourage more
  10. Really listen to others’ advice

The 8th inescapable truth in the Intentionomics Blueprint of 9 inescapable truths for a prosperous life is to ‘Develop A Thirst For Intentional Learning’. While we can very easily get sucked into living our lives by ‘outward-looking’ and comparing ourselves, our lives, our possessions, or our status with others, some of life’s best learning is through our everyday experiences that we intentionally create, and use as an opportunity to intentionally learn and grow.

It would have been easy to have had the bbq delivered and installed, but what an experience we would have missed, what a wonderful time of sharing we would have missed, what a lot of learning I would have missed.

The key here is to look for opportunities to build your intentional trust relationships, remind yourself of your intention for those who you are going to be with, adopt the intention to use the opportunity to learn and grow, and while in the opportunity, whatever it is, be there, breathe into the experience and enjoy the struggles, enjoy each and every win, and you’ll be adding a real deposit into your experience bank to help you live an even more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.

And in concluding this post, when you re-read that last paragraph, this is just as appropriate for you in your work life with others as it is with your personal life with others.