Finding the solution is all about knowing where to look


Last week while spending some time on a sandy beach with my wife and a couple of friends, I had lost my wedding ring in the sand. It was the middle of the day, fairly hot and very sunny out, and I had just reapplied a little more sunblock. No sooner had I done so when a large horsefly landed on the back of my left hand. In one quick motion I shook the fly from my hand, unknowingly at the time that my wedding ring had gone flying from my finger as well.

We left the beach and went to a restaurant that offers outdoor dining along the water. As is my habit, I tend to lightly tap my ring on the table, trying to keep time with any music that might be playing. In a moment of panic, I had realized that my wedding ring was no longer on my finger. Just a tan line in the space my ring used to occupy.

Now I know I am not the first person to ever lose something of value, sentimental value or monetary value. It was just what happened next and the speed at which my ring was discovered and returned to me was what I found so incredible. After thinking about it, I realized that, yes it was incredible, but with today’s instant communication channels and technology, the odds were greater than I had initially hoped.

After the first few moments of disbelief and sadness, my wife quickly decided to post the story on a locals’ message board on Facebook. She didn’t know if there would be someone nearby with a metal detector, or if by chance someone came upon it in the future, they could possibly one day find and return the ring.

Shortly after she posted the situation, another woman had seen the post and she did know someone who helped people find lost jewelry. Within minutes, a gentleman replied and before we knew it, we were communicating with him. We gave our best description of the area, he sent photos using Google Earth, and after a few exchanges, we were able to pinpoint the area where we were sitting for the day. And within 10 minutes, my wife received a picture of my wedding ring in the guy’s hand. And within 15 minutes, we met with him as he returned the ring. He refused to take any money, refused the offer of a drink, he said he was just happy that someone tagged him and gave him the opportunity to help. We did finally settle on some free ice cream.

Sometimes in life we can get lucky as we did here, but I don’t think it was just about luck.

Whenever we have a problem or need to find a solution, part of it is knowing where to look. Finding a small ring on a large sandy beach could be an impossible task. However, using the power of community, coupled with imagery and technology, and infused with the goodwill of someone with a kind heart, the impossible was made possible.

When we are faced with a challenge, it could become very easy to get focused only on the problem instead of the solution. And when we are looking for a solution, we just need to know where to start looking. For me, sometimes I get so focused on thinking that I am the only one who can fix the problem that I have blinders on, and I either can’t solve the problem, or it takes me much longer than it should have, because I didn’t know where to begin looking. Luckily for me, my wife has much better problem solving and critical thinking skills than I do. She knew where to look first.

How about you? Have you ever lost anything and didn’t know where to find it? Do you typically get more focused on the problem or on the solution? I would love to hear your lost and found story at, and when we know where to look first, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.


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