One key success factor determining where you will be in terms of your progress this year, two years from now, five years from now will be the questions you ask about your problems. In other words, you will want to develop a helpful set of problem solving questions.
And a second key success factor will be how you choose to label and evaluate your problems. Every time you set a worthwhile goal, you are going to meet ‘problems,’ or roadblocks to personal and professional progress. The key between those who are successful and those who are not lies in the consistent pattern of questions you ask yourself about the challenge.
If we don’t tackle our problems systematically, we can end up caught in a tangled web of desperation!
So I’ll go first, using an example as follows:
I am going to take one of the ‘problems’ I anticipate coming up for me this week. We all need a systematic way to deal with challenges, so this is one system that I am taking from Anthony Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within.
Change The Way You Label Problems
Rather than calling them problems, call them challenges, gifts, opportunities in disguise. This will help you be in a state of welcoming versus resisting the situation before you.
Second, Use These Problem Solving Questions
So, my current opportunities in disguise is basement project that is only 50% complete. I am not a big fan of handyman projects, and I have a lot of other projects on my plate this week. I will run my thought process through the following consistent set of systematic questions, and will then discuss how I am feeling about this project once I complete my response to the following five questions.
1. What is great about this problem?
My automatic response to this question is, “You’ve got to be kidding me! There’s nothing at all great about this. However, as I think further about this, I realize that one of my goals this year is to be a more active leader and servant to my family. This is a prime opportunity for that. Also, it gives me an opportunity to do an activity that is non-sedentary. Finally, I am becoming more familiar with skills that will serve me as I work to become a better real estate investor.
2. What is not ideal yet?
This question presupposes that the situation will eventually be at least close to ideal, although not perfect. If I think about my basement: the dry wall needs to be ordered, I need to put in about 17 more strips of insulation, and I need to clear some of the stuff out of the basement to make room for the drywall.
3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
I am going to remember the answer to #1 from this list. I am going to make time this Tuesday night to order the drywall, and I will take at least one hour out of my schedule this week (believe it or not, that is all the time I have to give to the project this week! to continue insulating the basement.
4. What am I willing to no longer do to make it the way I want it?
I cannot feel sorry for myself, telling myself that I am just not a handy person, that I deserve a break after working during the day, or that I have other things I have to get done on Tuesday night.
5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?
This is my favorite question! Do you realize you can set up your situation so that you can actually enjoy solving the challenge at hand? I am going to enjoy the process by making sure I get a nutritious supper, including a delicious spinach shake. (I know, it sounds strange, but really is one of my favorite beverages, and it comes with a powerful energy punch, with ingredients of frozen spinach, soy milk, water, banana, pear, and stevia). I will then get in some aerobic exercise, which will get my endorphin level where it needs to be. Finally, I will download some motivational information onto my new MP3 player, so that I am getting some positive educational input while I am working.
Remember I told you I would reflect on how I am feeling about this opportunity in disguise once I had taken my thinking process through the above filter? I feel great! I now have a plan in place, and I can see how taking action is going to help me.photo credit: glamour schatz
Action Step: Think about a ‘problem’ you are facing this week. Run it through the five question system above, then let me know how things are going for you!