October 27, 2018

Is your work-life filled with problems?

“You are paid a salary to solve problems.” “If you are creating more problems than you are solving for me, why am I paying?” I was at a meeting a few weeks ago where a client was sharing an update on his team restructuring and why he was making some changes. Among a host of things that were discussed, this thought that he aired has stayed with me.

It really is that simple. We earn our salaries by solving problems for our customers and our bosses and our teams. So, we should be grateful for the problems that we have. It means we are gainfully employed. But sometimes we spend too much of our time on the wrong problems and that is a problem.

Don’t let petty, perennial, every-day, garden variety problems define your day. Deal with those swiftly and without too much fuss. Off course that variety of problem falls in the spectrum of earning your salary, but it can’t be all you focus on. Finish off with them fast and furiously so that you can move on to a worthy problem. Then there are ‘pig like problems’. Deal with them deftly. Decisively. Sometimes sides step them. Or your only reward at the end of the day will be getting covered in mud.

It’s important to choose your challenges. Challenges to me is a nicer word than problem with a more positive ring to it. Problems seem dreary. Challenges seem exciting.

Find a big juicy challenge to chew on. For example, I recently sank my teeth into the very real problem of fake news. It’s fascinating, it’s scary and it is a challenge worth attacking every day. I won’t solve it single handed, but I will be one who lends a hand to solving it. I will squeeze in an hour or two every week to gnaw at it. Sometimes more. Each of us has different professional proficiencies. In our respective domains we must search for the big juicy problems that challenge us and attack them.

Challenges of choice. Those are the ones you wrestle with. Roll around for hours enjoy the fight. Sometimes even if you don’t emerge victorious you feel good for a fight well fought. And you can always go back and attack it another day. These are the big juicy challenges like cracking a new campaign idea. Making a personal breakthrough towards living a healthier happy life. Creating a new habit. Breaking a bad one.

Problems are aplenty. Find your challenge of choice. Most of us don’t have to look too far. Personal challenge. Professional challenge. Family challenge. Societal challenge. Take your pick, do some blue skies thinking and choose one or choose a few and start to chew.

On that optimistic note, a song from ‘The Sound of Music’ comes to mind…. For those of you who know it “How do you solve a problem called Maria?” For those of you who don’t, have a listen http://bit.do/eydQ6… How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand? How do you hold a mermaid in your hand? How do you keep a wave upon the sand? So many wonderful problems to solve and challenges to chase.