Have you ever experienced rejection? Have you ever heard a big resounding, NO? Have you ever hit a wall or a barrier when trying to accomplish something? Life is filled with these obstacles and issues that we seem to have to constantly deal with. Some, of course, are handleable. For example, dealing with an automated system when calling customer service. This can be extremely frustrating, but we all know if we just push the buttons, we'll get to a real person.
Some problems can seem almost impossible to resolve or a goal unachievable. Climbing 100 stories of a building because the elevator broke for example. A mountain of bills. A child failing in school. Failing health. Or a boss that is too tough to deal with. There are individual solutions for each of these problems, but how does one solve a problem one finds impossible?
When one finds a problem unsolvable one has two choices:
1. Decide whether the problem is unsolvable or a solution unachievable and give up or
2. find a solution that will work and simply persist until it is solved.
This sounds so simple, but the real difference is one's own attitude and decisions about the problems one faces. If one decides that this problem is unsolvable, one will find that problem smacking them in the head like a chandelier hung too low.
For example, if you are in a toxic relationship, you can stay in it or you can confront the fact head-on and create a plan to get out of that situation with the least drama possible. Or, if you work with someone who has been incredibly draining or impossible to co-create with, you can stay there and continue like that or you can figure out exactly what type of work environment and situation you would like to be in. Then create a plan and make that happen.
Or how about having a situation where two of your employees are at odds with each other. You can ignore the problem but, in my experience, this tends to lead to an eventual blow-up of some kind and at the very least, lost productivity and efficiency with one or both and even those around them being affected by it.
The anatomy of a problem consists of two opposing forces hitting up against each other. For example, your sales manager decides he wants to run a promotion giving a 20% discount on all services for the month. He runs it by the CFO who gives a resounding “NO!”. The two of them go back and forth and end up exchanging heated words. This results in a standoff and no promotion or communication going out to your public at all which further results in lowered sales.
You as the executive over these two are now receiving an abundance of not-so-pleasant communications regarding this. They are unresponsive to each other in committee meetings and business matters and are not getting along or able to be productive together. This then results in lowered productivity, sales, and revenues.
These opposing forces can then influence you. Stress is a great word for this. You can end up feeling the pressure physically as well. One might even find as they try to continue life not solving this problem, one might get sick, one might see their performance dip. It can feel like you are having to walk around an elephant in a thin hallway!
Instead of ignoring problems, I recommend you look right at them and take the following steps:
1. Inspect the problem fully. What is the actual problem? If someone comes to me and says they know what the problem is, but they are not solving it, then it can’t be the actual problem. Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. I always try to LOOK at the situation and really get to the actual problem.
2. Once you know the problem, look a bit further to find the root of it. What’s causing this problem. Not a symptom of the problem or just the tip of the problem, but the actual root of it. This could involve looking into several different areas or things. Asking questions, reviewing statistics, or more.
3. Once you have the root of the problem, decide how you can fully solve it. A real solution that ends the problem from here on out. A great way to do this is to imagine what the real solution would look like implemented. The actual view of it is like a movie scene. You want to visualize what it looks like in an ideal moment.
4. Then look at what the current situation is.
5. Notice the difference between the current situation and an ideal scene or situation.
6. Create a list of the action items that will need to be done to take you from where you are now (current situation) to where you want to be (ideal situation).
7. Start doing the items on the list.
TIPS for successful handling:
Start DOING. Take action! Get active. DO.
You don’t need to do everything on the list all at once or become overwhelmed.
Gain agreement through communication. More communication is better than less.
Don’t “try” to do something. Just DO it. Try = try. Do = done!
Take wins along the way. It’s ok to pat yourself on the back.
Keep in mind that you are a successful problem solver! You have probably been faced with thousands and thousands of problems over your life span. Odds are you solved A LOT of problems during that time! Look at it as a game. Just a series of obstacles on a road to success.
Every time you solve a problem or overcome a barrier you will find that life and these problems can be quite fun! It can be quite exciting and enjoyable to achieve the “unachievable.” If the problems are not difficult to overcome, then what’s the fun in achieving them?
Have fun with this. Seek out problems! Follow the steps above to help you solve them. Take wins on each little problem you overcome. Those series of problems solved will add up to more and more success! This may sound silly or simple at first. But some problems just are that simple to solve, and this one is within you.