What do you do with these? I have had a variety of responses to problems throughout my life. I have avoided conflict completely, attempted to make peace at all costs, and everything in between.
What is your first thought when you discover a problem or conflict in your office, between your children, with your spouse, parents, or a neighbor? Avoid? Make peace? Call a friend and tell them? Stress? Panic? Anger? Eye roll and a long sigh? Annoyed? ______?
Now that you have that answer and feeling in your mind, I have another question before you continue: Do you want to live an extraordinary life? If the answer is no that’s fine, but you don’t need to finish reading this post. If the answer is yes, then consider with me a new (or renewed) view of the problems in your life and business.
First, if you are living an extraordinary life, there better be problems.
I’ve heard this phrase said a number of different ways, but my favorite is by Brian Klemmer, “Great leaders eat problems for breakfast!” What does that mean? It means that extraordinary people (aka leaders) go after problems. The extraordinary move towards problems. The extraordinary wake up ready to tackle the problems and challenges of the day. The extraordinary are willing to develop and practice the skills to solve big problems. The more extraordinary, the better the skills, and the bigger the problems. Problems grow us and when we take them head on we become the people better able to handle the bigger problems in the future.
Avoidance of problems = Avoidance of progress
If you think that your business is good or your relationships are good because there are no problems, I encourage you to look again. This is not about creating problems, but facing conflict as it comes up. I have had this opportunity with one of my kids. This child and I went through a season of “peace”. This peace was really an avoidance of conflict. It seemed easier to avoid than to go through the mess of getting to the source of the problem. Who wants to hear their child say how they are not measuring up as a parent? I didn’t want to hear it and the false peace was better to this child than having to say it. We had no “problems” and we made no progress in our relationship until I was willing to go after and move toward the problem. Through the process I developed more skills to help me better handle more problems.
It actually takes more energy to avoid problems than it does to solve them. I can find an answer to most problems I face if I simply take fifteen quiet minutes to brainstorm the solution. Sometimes this requires the counsel of my husband, coach, or mastermind team, but the point is that I have the energy for the solution if I don’t waste that energy trying to avoid the problem.
What about you? Are you eating problems for breakfast? Is there a work problem that you need to eat for breakfast? Do you need to snack on a solution for a conflict in your family? Would it serve you to seek council and find a solution for a long-term, unresolved issue?
Know problems . . . Know progress!
It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.