Yesterday my phone app put on a random podcast I had never heard before. It was this episode from Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Co-host Russ Laraway was sharing a story about giving an interview for a new Google hire- he asked her “How many dimples are on a golf ball?” The question was to gauge her problem solving attitude and response to a challenge, and the woman burst into tears under the pressure. She was extremely qualified, had worked so hard, but in the moment just didn't have what it takes.
For the next day, I thought about how terrifying that would be- to be in a room, so close to a prestigious dream job, and asked a question like that. Out of the blue, no answer in sight, eyes watching and pens poised. Complete horror. A day after hearing this, I couldn't get it out of my mind.
So I tried it.
I drew a circle, cut it into 4 parts, and drew dimples down a line. I multiplied by an estimate- 6- then again by 4. It took me about 45 seconds, and I Googled the answer to see how close mine was.
It was exact. My answer, 336 dimples, exactly matched the average number of dimples on a golf ball: 336.
I gasped, I goofed, I called my most beloved nerd friend and gushed, and then I got back to work.
Lately I’ve been wallowing in some uncertainty– how do I keep my freelance career profitable and above water while also looking towards growth and progress, how can I push myself forward in this new place while continuing to pay all the bills, should I go get myself a ‘real’ job for a while to find out what I’m missing? It’s scary to live with these questions every single day, but now I have a secret weapon.
That golf ball reminded me that where I currently am has nothing to do with where I could be. What I currently know has nothing to do with what I'm made of.
It would take a lifetime of experience and work and luck to reach something as mammoth as a job at Google, but for now I have proof, and a little vote of confidence in my pocket, telling me that there's at least one question in that interview I could totally rock. I have this little cheerleader in my mind telling me if I really, really wanted it, I could work at Google. Ya know, if I wanted to.
Challenge yourselves, friends. In a thousand, tiny ways, as much as you can stand it. We'll all get to where we're going.