How to start focusing on a solution
Please notice that the title is “How to start focusing on A solution, rather than THE solution. That is because there is very rarely one right solution. We are all unique, what is a potential solution for you could be a “no go” for someone else which is why advice from others often sucks! And we all change, develop, grow so what may have been a “no go” for you last year could become a “maybe I could” this year, as long as you don’t limit your thinking.
“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions”
I posted this Anthony Robbins quote on Facebook recently. You have probably come across Anthony Robbins before, if you haven’t he is an American coach, self-help author and motivational speaker.
I love Anthony Robbins, if I’m feeling sorry for myself then I always listen to “Lessons in Mastery” on my iPhone while I go for a long walk. It’s guaranteed to start to make me feel much more positive very quickly (yes, coaches feel sorry for themselves too sometimes, everyone does, the important thing is to have strategies to change that feeling)
I truly believe that it is important to focus on the solution or the way forward rather than dwelling on the problem or the past. But I know it’s not always that easy, sometimes you are just plain stuck, too close to the problem and can’t see a solution. What then? Well you can’t always control or even influence a situation but you can control your feelings, actions and behaviours. The following steps will help you to get back into the driving seat of your own life:
Step 1 Name the situation
The best way to get unstuck is to get all of those thoughts out of your head and onto paper so that you can step back and look at the problem. Take a sheet of paper or blank word document and title it SITUATION. Simply writing things down helps you look more objectively at the situation. It doesn’t matter whether you write a 10 page essay, a page of bullet points or even do a mind map, whatever works for you but just get the problem / issue / challenge down on to paper.
Step 2 Identify your thoughts, feelings and beliefs
Take a second piece of paper titled THOUGHTS, FEELINGS & BELIEFS and answer the following:
- What have I tried to do so far to improve this situation?
- What is within my control regarding this situation?
- What is not within my control regarding this situation?
Then write down all of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs regarding the situation. Spend plenty of time on this step; make sure you get ALL of your thoughts, feeling and beliefs because these are the things that are keeping you stuck.
Keep asking yourself “what else?” Eg:
- I can’t A…
- I don’t know how to B…
- I have to C…
- I feel D…
- What else?
Often the thing that stops us taking action is that we are looking at the big picture, the end result. But the dream or outcome can seem so big and scary than we don’t take the first steps. Or we can’t see the end picture or don’t know what the dream or outcome is, we just know that we desperately want things to be different. Both scenarios stop us taking those small steps, but those small steps are vital.
If you don’t know where you are heading that’s OK, it doesn’t matter. Those small steps will either tell you that you are going in the right direction or you will learn that a different path is better suited to you. Either way you will learn from the experience and be a step closer to living a life you have chosen rather than drifted into.
Step 3 Brainstorm your options
Take a third piece of paper and title it OPTIONS. Make a list of everything that you COULD do to take a step forward. Be creative, this isn’t what you are going to do this is just to get your mind to stop being stuck and open up to new ideas. Ask yourself:
- What’s the easiest thing I could do?
- What’s the bravest thing I could do?
- What’s the stupidest thing I could do?
- What would my best friend tell me to do?
Now challenge the things you wrote down in the last step by asking:
- What could I do if I didn’t believe that I couldn’t A?
- What could I do if I did know how to B?
- What if I didn’t have to C?
- What would I do if it didn’t feel D?
- What else could I do?
Put 3 more things on the list, remember be creative, don’t censor any ideas at this stage.
Step 4 Work out your first step
If you spent enough time on step 3 you will have generated some options that you hadn’t previously considered, so now it’s time to commit to what you WILL do next. Take a look at the OPTIONS you wrote down in step 3 and ask yourself which one (or more) of those options would take you just one step closer to improving the situation you documented in step 1. Depending on your circumstances or the situation it could be a big step or a very small step, but you know Rome wasn’t built in a day and taking some sort of proactive action WILL make you feel better and more in control of the situation
- What will you do?
- When will you do it?
- What have you learned by working through these steps?
If you need some accountability leave a comment or join my private Facebook group for likeminded working mums and share your first steps in a safe and supportive environment. I’d love to hear from you and how you get on and I always reply.
TIME TO TAKE ACTION
What are you waiting for, go and find a pen and paper