Recently in a conversation with a trusted friend, I remembered an incident that happened nearly 30 years ago. I was in a workshop in which problem solving was the prime topic. There were somewhere between 12 and 20 people in the room and we had been at it for at least two days when I came to a major insight. Three of the workshop participants had been working at a particularly thorny issue – one that I do not recall at all – for what seemed to be hours. The room was beyond tense. I believe everyone wanted the solution to be found or for the trio to call it quits in defeat.
This next part is what becomes crystal clear to me. I was seated in the windowless training room on the second floor of the building. I was facing east and the row I was in had exactly five chairs in it, each occupied by fellow participants; my chair was the furthest to the south in the row. There was a space of about three feet behind us and there was a door to the hallway just behind my right shoulder. I was wearing jeans and a knit pullover shirt.
For several minutes I thought that the anxiety in the room would be over in a second if they would just solve the problem. I also wondered why no one was coming to their aid. There were three workshop leaders and five to 13 other participants. Still, no one just took charge, gave them whatever missing piece of the puzzle they needed, and thus put us out of our misery. I looked to my left at the others in my row and wondered why no one stood. I looked at the workshop leaders, too. No sign of movement.
Then it came in a flash. Maybe no one else knew what to do. Maybe everyone else could not act for some reason. Maybe each of us was waiting for our prince to come.
I understood that my prince had come, and he is me!
The only thing I felt sure of was that I knew the answer that would unlock the puzzle they could not solve. I didn’t know what anyone else knew. I got up, approached the trio, told them what to do, they did it, and we were all relieved. I don’t recall if the workshop leaders appreciated my intervention or not. I probably don’t know because I don’t care. I didn’t need to wait for my prince. I didn’t even need to give up on believing in him. I just needed to believe sufficiently in my own agency, hold on to my dream, and get what I want.
To hell with disillusionment!