The Tool Boxes of Success | In-Between the Pages

”It’s about having the right people, with the right abilities, in the right place, at the right time.” – Quote Addicts

Heading headlong into the new year not being prepared with the tools you need is a sure fire way to lose or burn out. The more prepared you are for the work ahead the better off you will be. Think of it as being intentionally proactive.

I would like to use an analogy and narrative of my father-in-law with the work he does to make my point.

He has his tools for the jobs he works on in three different tool boxes. The first tool box is the one on his hip and on his tool belt. They’re his pencils, pad of paper, and his measuring tape to name a few. The ones that he goes to the most often on the job. Sometimes a hammer and bunch of different screws and nails for flexing on different things he’s working on. The second tool box he has with him at all times is the one that sits across the room he’s working in. They are not always with him, but they are the tools that are close enough to him for those common things that come up he won’t have to go far to get. The last tool box he has is the one he keeps in the cab of his truck on the construction site he might be working on at any given time. These are the rare tools if used at all, that come into play for those really unusual jobs. An example of this would be this huge red heavy monkey wrench he has. I don’t have a clue what it would be used for other than some monster pipe on a job site that wants to cause problems.

We need tools if we are ever going to craft the best version of ourselves or help others craft their own. We not only need these tools, they need to be positioned and stationed at the exact place and/or space where they will be used the most at the right time.

Before you set out any further in 2017 you should sit down with yourself with a piece of paper and a white board. On those mediums you need to map out your tool boxes. Write an “A”, “B”, and “C” column. “A” is your tools you always have on you and with you always, “B” is the tools sitting across the room and are easily accessable items you need at the ready, and “C” is the tool box in the parking lot. “C” is kind of unique because it could be tools you don’t always need depending on the work you are completing or they could be the tools you just don’t know really how to use. Be aware of that if that is the case, you’re going to need them some rainy day, and you don’t want to forget that they are there.

Here’s an illustration of my “A”, “B”, and “C”:

A – My iPhone, Watch, iPad Pro with Pencil. Additionally I have my Kindle for books I am currently reading/studying. Last, because most of them are electronic in nature I have a battery back up that can charge two devices at one time. I have my trusty Moleskine and pen should that all fail me too.
B – My bag with other extras. Easily you could paint the picture that it is a tool box on the side of the rooms that I am working in. Mostly you will find it leaning somewhere in my office at work, Starbucks, or my office at home on a wall. In that tool box, I have my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for bigger writing jobs or research, headphones for focusing, and another bigger paper journal along with a bunch of pens.
C – My tools in this box are usually the ones that I leave at home. Some of those are my best leadership books in my office library, my dad’s desk where my best ideas are thought out, and a very comfortable corduroy bean bag chair that I do a lot of meditation of thought in. Tools that would be impossible to carry with me, but would rarely need to do that anyway.

A lot of the above is just stuff. Tools don’t always have to be physical, they can be other things like your skills or mental tools. Imagine your “A” as if it was the skills that are your top 5 strengths, “B” would be the ones that you move back and forth between “B” and “C” based on the current goal or job, and “C” are the skills you have yet to learn for the work ahead or are unskilled at.

I’ll leave you with this definition of a toolbox:

A toolbox (also called toolkit, tool chest or workbox) is a box to organize, carry, and protect the owner’s tools. They could be used for trade, a hobby or DIY, and their contents vary with the craft of the owner.

As the owner everyone has a different resource of tools, not all are alike. Take inventory of yours. What’s missing? Your craft depends on it. Enjoy the new year and good luck with your goals.

Feel free in the comments to share your tools or how it’s going for you.

Shawn

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