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Showing posts from September, 2015

Drop The Anger

Do problems make you angry?

Sometimes I get so angry at a problem that I get sloppy with that anger and it spills over at people. That's not good. That's not useful. That's not centered problem solving.

It doesn't help me to be angry with someone for not solving my problem.

My problems are up to me.

Other people can help, but I shouldn't assume that they will.

Other people can be great resources, but I shouldn't take them for granted.

And when other people make mistakes, getting angry won't make them smarter or better. It just makes them mad

I'm going to work on getting angry less often at unsolved problems because the side-effects are too dangerous. That feeling of anger is a sign, just not the sign I've been reading. Don't get angry, I'll tell myself, get active.

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Grow With It

Do you think that life has an inner sense of humor?

I do. It seems like some of my biggest problems are the points of leverage I need to get where I need to go. I would not choose to make it that way (who likes big problems?) and yet when I can clearly see the goal in the problem it moves me where I need to go.

Do you have a big problem that's driving you crazy? Are you challenged more than ever before? Is there a big problem that is on your mind all the time?

That big problem may be your best platform to grow.

Grow with it.

-- Doug Smith

Let Go Of That Personal Agenda

Does your personal agenda ever get in the way of solving a problem?

To my surprise, I've discovered that sometimes it does for me. Sometimes I'm so focused on achieving another goal that I lose track of the problem in front of me. My goal might be to reach a certain sales number, for instance, while losing track of building the relationship with the one person in front of me (sales or not!).

When we can suspend our personal agendas and see the true goal in the moment, it is much easier to center ourselves and prepare for true problem solving. What is the best solution? What do we all want and need in the situation? What is our best path forward?

Centered problem solvers let go of their personal agenda when it gets in the way.

I'm working on that these days. How about you?

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

My Problems Are Part of My Day

Do you ever have days when it seems like the whole day is one big problem? The problems add up little and big until all you can focus on is your problems?

It doesn't usually need to be that way. We can center ourselves around other blessings, other gifts, other circumstances. We can see everything that is going on and not just the turmoil.

I'm working on that today. Rather than having a big problem define my day I am working on letting the fun in, too. I am staying open to newness, to freshness, to kindness, and more. My problems are just part of what's going on and they are certainly not who I am. When I center myself, I can get closer to who I really am and detach from what is pulling my spirit down.

Please excuse me if I don't let my problems spoil my day.

There's so much else to experience.

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Who Is Number 2?

Who do you count on the most for help with problems? It's probably you. You, fully centered and alert, are you most valuable problem solving ally. Most of the time, it is all up to you.

Do you feel like you need help sometimes?

Of course! It may not always be the same person, but we all occasionally need help with the problems that we are working to solve. I've been blessed with some wonderful allies recently in solving some tough problems. They aren't yet solved, but the help that I'm getting from close allies is making the problem solving not only easier, not only more centered, but also more life affirming.

You are your most valuable problem solver you know. Who's number two?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Take Charge of Your Problems

Who's the boss, your problems or you?

As we center ourselves and calm that center so that it can be at its best, we do not surrender any assertiveness. We remain alert. We remain ready. We take charge of the situation creating our problem and focus on the goal that we plan to achieve.

Sometimes a problem is so troubling that it changes our center and sends us wobbling toward uncertainty. Some problems can infect us with unwanted negative thinking. Even when we know better, it takes discipline to redirect our misdirection.

Feeling negative about a problem won't solve the problem. Stay positive, focus, and take charge.

You are bigger than any problem in front of you.

What negative notion should you drop today? Are you ready to drop it?

-- Doug Smith

Avoid Neglect

What happens when we neglect a problem?

Would you agree that the problem gets worse? Problems are not good at fixing themselves. They need our help. They need our ability to center ourselves and focus on fixing what causes us (and others) grief.

We shouldn't neglect our problems. We can't neglect neglect (avoid neglecting by neglecting it). We should take action.

Problems get worse with neglect.

They don't stay the same and they don't get better. Problems ignored are problems spinning out of control. We can do better than that.

What positive action will you take today toward solving one of your previously neglected problems?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Embrace The Possibilities!

Stay with me for a moment on this - are you happy about your problems?

If you're like me, "Yes" would not be your first answer. What makes them problems is what makes them aggravating. And while it may sound like a cliche, problems really are both a pain AND an opportunity.

Each problem represents a very real opportunity to make something better. Each problem means that have a field to play and grow in. It's a lumpy field, a gnarly field, a field where we may fall and skin our knees, but it's a place to grow.

More problems just means more possibilities.

Not that we want to create more problems. Life will present us with all the problems we need without us looking for them. But those problems are gifts. Those problems are possibilities. Centered problem solvers embrace those possibilities.

Centered problem solvers know that their problems do not define them, but they do provide doorways to fascinating changes and sometimes those changes can change who they are.


Understand Your Problem

Have you ever tried to solve a problem that you didn't fully understand?

How did that turn out? Whenever I try to solve a problem that I don't fully understand I'm not happy with the results. I solve the wrong problem. Or I solve a symptom of the problem but not the root cause.

We need to go deeper. We need to take the time to understand what's going on. We need to understand our problem before we solve it.

It's counter-productive to solve a problem we don't understand.

Let's take the time to figure out what's going on. Let's understand our problem first, and then set about coming up with possible solutions.

Do you understand your biggest problem today?

-- Doug Smith
Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training
doug smith training: helping people communicate more effectively

What have you learned today?

Fix The Process

Do you ever try to fix your problem by fixing people?

Many leaders have asked me to help them with that over the years. They want to fix their people. They think that training will do it. Or that coaching will straighten it out. Or a new job.

Sometimes people do need help. We each have the responsibility of continuing to learn and to grow. Our development largely determines our future.

But when it's a process that's broken, trying to fix people will only frustrate them. The process doesn't care. Fix it. Solve that part of the problem first.

It won't solve your problem trying to fix people if the process is broken.

We all endure broken or partially broken processes. What process could you be fixing right now?

-- Doug Smith
Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training
doug smith training: helping people communicate more effectively

What have you learned today?

Manage Your Constraints

Do you have a constraint that's bossing you around?

Maybe it's a budget that's too small. Maybe it's a lack of time. Maybe it's a process that isn't optimized and keeps slowing you down.

Manage that constraint.

Give it attention, but not surrender. Give it focus but not control.

Centered problem solvers manage their constraints rather than letting their constraints do the managing.

A constraint is asking for attention, not giving you a command.

You're still in charge.

Now, what constraint is pushing you around today? How will you deal with it?

-- Doug Smith

More Than Brainstorming

Do you brainstorm to develop solutions?

Most of us do. Brainstorming is a useful tool, even if many people do it incorrectly or incompletely. They do it incompletely because they stop too soon, as soon as they reach that awkward silence.

That awkward silence doesn't mean that we're done - it means that the best ideas are yet to come - if we give them time and space to develop.

Brainstorming a solution to your problem is not always enough. It helps to know your criteria for success.

How will you decide? How will you narrow your choices? Who will you be or become as the result of your choices?

Problem solving is more than brainstorming. And it starts by figuring out who we are, and who we want to be.

Who do you want to be?

What do you want your problem solutions to show about you?

-- Doug Smith