Spinning your wheels

Photo courtesy of Ed Hunsinger (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Ed Hunsinger (Creative Commons)

The other day at work, I was asked to check on someone in the database, and I was given the name – I spent way more time than I needed to searching without finding them, even though they assured us they had been in recently.

I later found the file – I had been given the wrong name, so I had been looking at the listing all along without realizing it. I got so focused on doing everything I could to find that information based on what they gave me, that I forgot that the information might be incorrect or inaccurate.

I wish I had asked for clarification on the name sooner instead of spinning my wheels like I was stuck in mud.

When you are stuck in the mud, just spinning your wheels in the same spot is pointless. You have to get help whether that is in the form of something under the tires to give you traction or help pushing the vehicle to gain a grip on more solid ground.

Getting answers should be approached in the same way. If the solution is not clear right away, asking better questions and seeking additional information need to be the first things you do to gain traction.

In the case of the person I was asked to check in the database, I should have asked things like clarification on the spelling of their name, whether a family member had come in (and the file was under that name), whether they changed their last name since the last visit, or what had they requested when they were here before (occasionally a difficult case will be diverted while we seek a solution).

All of these questions would have helped us find the person’s file more quickly, and avoided the frustration and annoyance of having them basically fill out the information again and start from scratch.

Asking better questions is almost always the solution no matter what kind of situation you are stuck in. Whether it is work, relationships, or health issues, asking different questions helps you get the information you need to make an informed decision and get unstuck. The broader your knowledge of the situation, the easier it is to find a solution and get moving again.

What questions can you ask so you can quit spinning your wheels?