How to Deal With Big Problems?
I wanted to die. I wanted to run and hide. That was my initial response when I opened up the info from my accountant. I owed the IRS a LOT of money, and I didn’t have it.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!!!
After the shock wore off, I had a different thought.
“God, thanks, this is a NEW problem to solve, and I can figure this out.” Have you ever thanked God for the problems you face in life? It’s time to transform how to view your problems so you can deal with the BIG problems.
Two Ways To See A Problem:
We can see problems as something we can (or have to) get past.
We can see problems as something that can transform us and make us better for going through it.
When we look at problems as something to get past (i.e., “OMG, how am I going to pay this bill?”), we typically face the same problem again sometime down the road. I don’t want to do that.
When we look at problems as something to transform us, we go through a growth process and learn from the problem (so we don’t repeat it).
How To Address a Problem:
OUTWARD – When we first get hit with a new problem, our first mode of operation is to go out and get some help (i.e., information) about the problem. Also, it’s a time for us to be vulnerable (with safe friends) about the problem. One of the first people I shared my IRS problem with was a close friend from church. What he offered me was priceless (no, he didn’t pay my tax bill, it’s not his problem). He looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’ve been there. It took me two years to figure that out.” Those words helped me feel normal, as in, I’m not alone. I’m not an idiot. If I hadn’t been vulnerable with him, it would have taken me longer to “normalize” my problem because I would have remained stuck in a SHAME and GUILT trap.
INWARD – We also have to look inward at ourselves when trying to solve a problem. Here are some questions you can ask yourself. What are my weaknesses? What are my blindspots? Is there a skill I need to hone? Is there an area of ownership for me (related to the problem)? Am I falling into a “victim” mentality? We look inward to see where change needs to happen, where we can be transformed.
Normalize Your Problems
In order to face your problems you must normalize them. A sign in my office says, “No Problems, No Profits.” It’s a reminder that I need to make problems and problem solving a part of my standard operating procedure. I don’t always like problems, but I need to own them and realize that problems are a part of life.
How to Normalize Our Problems:
- Look for “High Level” problems to solve.
- Increase the number of problems you are solving. I love the story of Elon Musk declaring that he wants to put a man on Mars. That is not only a HIGH-LEVEL problem, but his team will also have to increase the number of problems to solve to accomplish the goal.
- Be curious about your problems. Brainstorm all the possible solutions and see what’s under the surface (the real problem). Retain a coach or consultant to help you process the problems.
Here are a few questions to consider as you start to see problems as gifts for transforming your life.
- Is there a problem I have failed to see as a gift or a way to transform my life?
- What problems are you currently avoiding because of fear or pain?
- What new skill will you learn, or what conversation will you have that could help you solve a problem in your life?