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Mindshift for Professional Growth - How To Be a Better Problem-Solver

Hello everyone! Well, I'm wearing my readers, so we're pretty sure it's story time. What I'm going to talk about today is more about professional growth than personal growth. That doesn't mean it's for people just earlier in their careers, because I have certainly seen people go decades self-sabotaging themselves with a certain behavior. There is a mind shift that can happen and be life changing in your career. I'm going to read it to you: “one type of person approaches a situation with the mindset of ‘how can I make this work?’ Another type seems to approach each circumstance with the mindset of, ‘what are all the reasons this won't work?’”

Both people-- and this is the important part-- both people will be forced to deal with reality. No matter what your thoughts are going into any situation, you're going to be confronted by reality. It could be a reality you've worried about; it could be a reality you've never thought about. Reality is going to happen, something's going to happen. We're going to try to get you to a place where you can live with that, okay? So, both people will be forced to deal with reality, but the first person, the one who said, “how can I make this work,” will only have to solve problems that actually occur. The second person will often avoid acting entirely because of the potential problems they have dreamt up before starting. I think we can liken this to anxiety. When I was studying anxiety disorders in school, and I'm sure you've all heard this as well, a person with anxiety is looking at, is fearing the future, right? They're fearing what could potentially happen. And because of that, they're fighting problems (by the way, I’ve been super guilty of this, by a lot) that have not yet occurred. I can speak for myself here and say, basically, nothing I ever feared ever actually happened. So that was a huge waste of time and energy. On the other hand, lots of stuff happened good and bad that I never dreamt of <laugh>.

I think our abilities, and research will show this as well, is that foretelling the future are very, very slim. And it doesn't really help to fight it, to fight against it, to find all the problems. So, how to be a better problem-solver? You might as well, if you must go into reality from any direction, go in from a place of openness, go in from a place of potential, like it could all turn out great. It might not, but I'm neutral to it. I think if you go into something neutral, that would even be a plus. There will always be reasons not to do something. Be a problem-solver, not a problem-adder. You can think about the anxiety part on your own-- is worrying or focusing on negatives really going to make the job easier? Is it going to improve your life or your company's life? I would say that having supervised people for the past couple of decades, that someone who says to me right off the bat, “oh no, we can't do that. Oh no, that won't work,” --it's going to be a little bit harder for me to think that person is going to be a great manager. They're not feeling good with change. They're not seeing the vision of what is possible. And it's also a lot closed off. I'm trying to be diplomatic.

So, there are two ways that you can improve here, if you're thinking about career growth or maybe you're stuck in your career. One is the sentence, “be a problem solver.” When I'm spending time with someone who solves problems, bonus points, right? I'm feeling good about hanging out with that person. They're a problem solver. Separately, don't be a problem-adder. It's a completely separate thing. You can solve problems and that's great, but what if you also add problems? That's not great. This person, the problem-adder, is bringing down the system. They're hampering the company's growth. They're hampering the vision.

What if you're not good at solving problems? Don't worry about it, just don't add problems. Ask, how can I make this work? That's what people really want from you. For example, going to a party and you think, “I don't want to talk to anyone. They won't like me.” How about, “how can I have a good time? How can I make this work?” I said, it couldn't be a, I said, this was professional conversation, but I can make anything personal. Also, you can go into anything. If you watch the Jim Carey movie, Yes Man, he says yes to everything! That's a terrifying thought. But how can I make it work? How can I say yes to this? Think about it. Please ask me questions in the comments, too. Happy to talk about it. Bye.


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