Then I’ve done it again! Made what’s complicated just as complicated it can be, when it’s most complicated. Typically gifted. Why scan on the surface and make it easy?!
It is also called to have the elephant attitude. In a job context, it turns out to me in two ways.
The first way is when I get a shapeless lump of a projects in my knee. A project I quickly structure and divide in different parts. The entirety in neat and named parts. After my analysis, it appears that the project is an elephant. I love the process of finding the structure of the mess, the context in the fragmentary, the relevant in the muchness.
I go to my boss and show how I structured the project into an elephant. “It’s good that you see the whole elephant, but it’s supposed to be a pig. Can you make it a pig?” And of course I can. Chop off some here and there, but retains the essential and abracadabra, it’s a pig.
The other way the elephant attitude is noticeable, is that I dislike working with parts of a project if I don’t have full comprehension of the whole first and how my part contributes. It is usually possible to resolve by asking questions. Do not just give me an ear without telling me how the whole elephant looks!
Handle the difficulties with an elephant attitude
So far, the elephant attitude doesn’t matter. Well, well, during the process there is a risk that I will start working in the wrong format. Sometimes I see it myself and can ask if it’s okay that I switch from pig to elephant. Other times, it’s my colleague or manager who reminds me of the size and simplicity of the task.
It is not often the customers want to pay for elephant projects. What I heard from gifted around me, is that a great variety of complex tasks can be found in different professions, industries and organizations. Some people are skilled at creating the conditions themselves to get the complexity they need to have an elephant attitude in their work life. Others learn how to handle the difficulties an elephant attitude can cause at many employers.
Get a hobby elephant
In my work I have the opportunity to work with complex projects but they rarely get as difficult as the elephants. Therefore, it has been important for me to have elephant projects in my spare time. Like this YouTube channel. I’ve been given suggestions to pack it in pig-format, kind of like hotdogs, to make it more sellable, and appealing to many. But then I can not make the project fully as complex. In addition, my purpose is to provide you this bitwise very chewy elephant. To serve you who need elephant meat. Even if you’re the only one listening.
When I prepared the YouTube channel I had a handy plan. All the experience and knowledge I’ve gathered about giftedness, structured into thirty fine delineated chapters. Just like a meat cuts chart. A red thread in the form of a walk. I’ve told you about it in an earlier episode. The whole in neat order.
When the projects begin to live their own life
But then that happens as so often happens when a project goes from theory to practical reality. I end up here. Here where it doesn’t work in accordance with the plan. Because, of course, I discover new things I want to share. And I allow myself to abandon the plan and just share that piece of elephant I want to.
There is still a red thread through everything. This is what it looks like:
If you feel sick when you see this, I recommend that you wait a few years to watch episodes. Right now it seems messy. But in the end it will be a clear overall picture. Even though I am currently in the midst of the swirls.
I console myself that I’m not the only one who experiences projects in this way. Do you recognize it? You find out, or get a mission, a well-defined and manageable project. Then when you get into it and discover how wonderfully comprehensive and complex it may be, the target image expands to something astronautically faraway and amazing. And then it became complicated. But you squeeze it into a proper project plan. It’s just that it is not realistic. Too much. Too difficult. In too short time.
Then it is crucial to dare to adjust the target image or project plan. It’s crucial to have a working relationship with your boss and colleagues so that you can ask them for help. Anyway, that’s how I have solved my difficulties. I’ve told them of my elephant attitude and what that means.
Respect the needs of others for meat cuts chart
In job situations, it is usually a prerequisite that you can keep up with the plan. Partly because your manager and your colleagues have to feel safe with the process and partly because there may be reporting requirements in different phases of the plan. It will also be easier for your boss to have an overview if you and other project managers stick to their plans. And if you find it difficult, ask for help. Tell where you need support, be clear about it, and that usually facilitate cooperation.
Avoid to lessen others – ask for help
The elephant attitude can cause difficulties in school as well. Perhaps you can explain to your teacher how you work? Say that you have to make the task complicated enough, like an elephant, to make it interesting. Ask what the purpose of the assignment is and how it is part of the whole you’re about to learn. Then maybe together with your teacher you can decide a way to show that you learned what the task was aimed at? It is important not to disparage the teacher’s task, but instead turn it around, ask for help and explain what you need, to do it. The book “The Gifted Teen Survival Guide” contains many tangible and useful tips. Do not be fooled by that silly title. I’ve benefited from it the past year, even though I’m not even a teenager.
Below, I have linked an article about gifted people in working life. It is written by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, a clinical psychologist and consultant to schools in Minnesota.
If you are ok with the roller-coaster ride along the red thread – see you next time!
For those of you who prefer perfect structure – see you in a few years!
More interesting to read
Article about gifted adults in working life “If Only I Had Known: Lessons from Gifted Adults” Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
“The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything”, September 7, 2011
Judy Galbraith M.A. (Author), Ph.D. Jim Delisle (Author)