Fall in love with the problem, not your solution

I love solving problems.

Sometimes I even have answers and solutions that can solve problems for clients, friends and family and it feels great knowing stuff and being able to share it.

Often though we can misfire and solve a similar but potentially different problem.

Or we can solve the problem with our solution that may not work for the other person’s situation.

If we always solve the problems of others, they don’t have the chance to think, solve and act on working through their challenges themselves.

I think it’s so easy to forget that building up our own confidence in ourselves is often through overcoming challenges rather than avoiding them through having others solving the challenges for us.

We are also all individual and have different environments and situations.

One size doesn’t always fit all.

This is the reason falling in love with your challenges and working through these ourselves is so useful for our own development.

Ask different and better questions to shift your attention and perspective:

  • If this was a friend of mine, what advice would I give the person?
  • What variables are at play here and how are they interrelated?
  • Who could add a useful perspective to help me think better about this problem?
  • What would I do next if this was easy?

External help is always something useful to connect with, but focus on pushing yourself a little harder before you do – you may realise you have more than you realise to solve the problem.

An example from a coaching client is an amazing leader I was lucky to work with, who is looking to achieve better work-life balance.

The solution I could’ve made when it came to me – spend more time at home being present and turn off your email.

And this may absolutely be the wrong answer for this individual.

Instead, falling in love with the problem, we might uncover the below for this specific individual:

Balance doesn’t mean every weekend off work.

Balance doesn’t mean more time at home.

Balance means finishing work at a committed time.

The solution instead becomes using the car / train journey to create space in between work and home, and then being present when home before the kids go to bed. Emails for one hour and then time being present with the persons partner.

Solving the problem first would’ve been a misfire and created more tension.

Balance is individually defined.

This is one of the reasons I love coaching.

The space to think about problems / challenges and thinking it through together is so powerful.

The bias is always to act. Pausing and sitting with the challenge is often a good use of a defined time period.

Then it’s time to act. Don’t forget the action piece!

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