Problems. We all have them. We all dwell on them at times…well, I dwell on mine quite a lot! They drag us down. We struggle to see any light at the end of the tunnel. So what the heck can we do to move away from a problem towards a solution?
I have often heard managers telling their team members to bring them solutions, not problems. I also heard one particularly cringeworthy and David Brent-esque manager say, “A problem is not a problem, it’s a solution opportunity.” I somehow managed to avoid stabbing him in the eye with my Bic biro…although I am sure that my facial expression gave him an idea as to my thoughts…I still need to work on my poker face! As much as I found these things a bit cheesy at the time, I started to believe that they were right. Hell, I even used to tell my team members that I was happy to hear about problems, but that I also wanted solutions…I guess I was trying to get them to grow and develop and to become more accountable…they were intelligent, and I trusted them, so I wanted to give them credit for that
One big issue with problems and solutions is that a problem is easy to spot, a solution is harder to find! Problem-spotting can be a solo activity. You start a new job and right away you spot things that don’t work well…they are a problem. Yet how on earth do you find a solution to that problem? You are new, you couldn’t possibly know what has been tried before. Maybe this is a problem that twenty-seven of your colleagues have already tried to solve. So what do you do? Do you give up? Or do you try and work with someone else, as a team, to create a solution?
Collective problem-solving is a great way of addressing issues in the workplace. It means that you get the ideas of more than one person…people spot different issues and will always have a different approach to solving them. So that’s the work side – collectivity is the way to go! Unless of course you love hogging the limelight…you can go it alone, and then watch someone pick apart your fantastic solution a few months down the line!
And if you are a manager who keeps telling your staff to bring you solutions and not problems…what do you think they will do if they notice a problem but don’t have the solution? Nothing is what they will do…so you won’t be aware of the problem, and won’t have time to work on a solution before the problem becomes a major fecking issue. So cut your team some slack – ask them to bring you problems and then get the team to work on the solution!
Yet when it comes to matters of the heart, I strongly feel that we have the answers within to our own problems. You know you better than anyone else does, so why would anyone else have the answer to your problem? It always amazes me when I see people asking questions of ‘professionals’ and then running off and doing exactly what they say, giving the professional the credit for solving their problem…when they already knew the answer – in fact, I have seen people giving professionals the credit when they were already well on their way to success! Crazy!
One of the biggest things we – I, you, me! – need to learn is to trust ourselves.
As I said before, you already know what the best course of action for you is. I have made the mistake of offering advice to people on many occasions. I have then heard from people a few weeks later and have asked them how they are getting on…wondering if they had taken my advice on board…and they bloody hadn’t – and I would get fed-up and wonder why on earth this eejit was ignoring my fantastically educated and experienced advice!
Then I started to think back to the times that I was given advice by people. These people were always well-meaning, loved me, cared for me…yet when they started with the advice, my mind would shut off and all I could do was focus on the magnitude of the problem…and it was almost as if I would do everything in my power to ignore their advice, doing the exact opposite in most cases. For me it was always, “How they hell do I get from 43st+ down to 11st?” A serious and pretty major problem. All I could think about was that end goal and how life would be rubbish until I reached it. So all of the advice I was getting was ignored, because I was too focused on that end goal and the mammoth problem I had.
Yet if you look at me today – on a scale of 1 to 10 I feel like a 10 in terms of my happiness…I feel fantastic! On a scale of 1 to 10 though in terms of that massive problem I had, and the progress I have made…I am clearly a 5 moving towards a 6…I am over halfway there, but not where I want to be.
So that focus I had on the end goal, and the problem, was stopping me from making progress. At that point in time I believed that I would have to reach my goal before I felt good. I could not see a way forward.
What I should have asked myself was, “How can I move up that scale?” If I am at a 1, what do I need to do to get to a 2. And once I am at 2, what do I need to get to a 3…and so on. This relates a great deal to our goals. Our goals tend to be massive, and we link this goal to the solution. “If only I could be 11st, then life would be great…therefore my goal is to be 11st.” How fecking silly is this…it is overwhelmingly huge (and I am not referring to my arse, but to the size of the challenge ahead!)…it is so huge that it felt impossible.
What do we do when things feel impossible? I know what I do…I don’t even bloody attempt to do anything! I sit and I moan about how rubbish life is, how I can’t do anything. I used to sit and eat, knowing that it was no good for me, but I didn’t really know what I should be doing instead. Of course I knew the difference between healthy and unhealthy food – I will argue with anyone who says that they don’t, as we are more educated today than ever in terms of health and nutrition…yet we are fatter…so education is not the issue! I will get off that soapbox quickly though!
Solutions need to be identified. You have the solutions within. You might not realise it, but you do. You might need someone to help you coax those solutions to the forefront of your foggy mind…as mind that is so focused on the problem that the solution is getting lost in there…but you definitely know what is best for you.
I promised yesterday that I would talk about what I learnt at university yesterday. If I am being honest, I didn’t learn anything. What did happen though is a ‘lightbulb’ moment…a moment that reaffirmed my commitment to helping others achieve their goal and find their own solutions. We were discussing solution-focused coaching…for me it was just common sense and the stuff that I do on a daily basis. For some it seemed like a revelation. I was slightly scared by that in a way – if this common-sense approach to making progress is that alien to people…goodness knows how fabulous their lives will become – that is why I am scared for them…have they any idea how fabulous they will feel? And if they go on and start coaching others, are they prepared for the amazing differences they could make to people?!
So there we have it – I genuinely believe that you do have the solutions. You may definitely believe that you don’t. Try me! I am ready to prove you wrong!
Today has been a good day. I was given an extra hour in bed this morning – which was bliss! I then worked for a while before heading off to the gym for an aqua class. This time is was AquaNatal…no, I am not preggers…neither were the other ladies, apart from one! Apparently it is switching to standard aquafit in the New Year, so my other half can join in then – although I was told that he can come and join in with us anyway. After the class had finished I had a bit of a swim. We then went and checked on the horses. They were in fine fettle – I could see hooves and manes flying along in the air – they were having a good hoon! After this we popped to Asda for supplies and then it was home to warm up. I love the aqua stuff, but I can never get my hair dry after it which is a pain as my head gets freezing! Tonight will be some TV and a nice relaxing evening of not much at all.
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).
A lovely food day! Brekkie was the usual – my porridge made with water. Lunch was a combo of spinach, tomatoes and button mushrooms all cooked with FryLight, then some scrambled egg, all put on top of toasted wholemeal rolls. Dinner was lush! I cooked the Quorn meatballs in the oven as they taste great that way. Whilst they were cooking, I rustled up a sauce with red onion, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms, pepper, spinach, chilli, mixed herbs, Worcester sauce and a stock cube. The meatballs and sauce were added to some wholemeal pasta and then topped with my melted cheese…just delicious! I quite like the rice cakes…they are really filling and crunchy…a nice alternative to crisps.
Exercise: 45 minutes aquafit and a 15 minute swim.
Thank you for reading my ramblings,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx