This post is a collection of thoughts I had after listening to an episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership podcast the other day. Here is the link to the episode in case you want to listen.
What do you think when you see a problem? Does your mind go into worry mode, or do you get excited about the opportunity to get creative and help solve it? We add value when we are able to come up with solutions. Personally, I am very fulfilled by helping to troubleshoot creatively in order to solve problems, serve others, and help advance the greater cause.
It takes time to see things from this perspective. It’s human nature to go into ‘preservation mode’ and to react with fear (or any other emotion that presents itself in the moment). Keep in mind that emotions come and go relatively quickly. Only when we choose to hold onto them do they become feelings. Feelings linger much longer and are much more difficult to release.
Where to start? The best thing you can do is to go into self-observation mode. Just start by paying attention to your emotions and reactions over the course of your day. The idea is to become self-aware and recognize any time an emotion comes up. Evaluate it clinically, but don’t pass judgment on it, or on yourself. Remember, this is just a time for understanding how this process works.
Once you are able to recognize things more easily, then you can start going to work on changes. Use your trigger (catching the emotions as they come) and choose not to act in accordance with it if it does not serve you well. With diligent practice you can overcome emotions and choose to respond (rather than react). It will eventually reset the way your brain sees “problems.” It will also result in a much more peaceful version of you in the process.
Using a reference point of problems as opportunities, our minds are better able to think creatively and come up with solutions. This results in an upward spiral or progress and growth, rather than negativity and worry.
My absolute favorite way to solve problems is to use the two to cancel each other out, but this is only possible when you are able to really thinking creatively. To give you an example, my husband and I were trying to come up with a way to carve out time on the weekends to do some training/teaching together for when I begin to work with him more in his business. He is a used auto dealer which is not something I know much about! We decided to spend time each weekend where he could teach me something I needed to know in order to hit the ground running when I do start working with him. Problem #1 appeared—we would have to find time in a jam packed schedule to do this, and most likely it would have to be on Sunday afternoon after church. That could only be done if we take time from something else, which we didn’t really have to spare. We started thinking, but really weren’t coming up with good solutions. We set it aside for the time being. I prayed about how to best fit the new project in.
Then last weekend at church, they announced that the service times were going to change. We go to the 11am service, mostly so that I can sleep in a bit. We both get up so early on weekdays, but it tends to catch up with me much more quickly due to health related issues. The downside is that we get out of church later than my hubby and I both prefer, because it limits the amount of the day we have left to get chores done and still relax. He would rather go to the earlier service, but has been amazing to let me sleep in instead. With the service time changes though, we would have to choose between 10am or 11:30 am. Arrrg! Either I would have to get up an hour earlier, or we would both have to push back the time we had remaining after church by another 30 minutes. Problem #2 appeared. Again, we were thinking about it and what we wanted to do. I asked the Lord to show me what was the best option.
It dawned on me this morning (I believe as an answer to my prayers) that we could use the two problems to solve one another. Lets trick ourselves into “creating” 30 minutes of time for the training we needed by getting up at the same time we would for the 11am service, but use the extra 30 minutes before the new service time would start to do our training! That way we wouldn’t have to squeeze it in to the afternoon, which will still be pushed back by 30 minutes, but won’t be as big of a deal as if we also tried to add the training to it. Hubby agreed it seemed like the best solution, all things taken into account.
I never would have come up with this if I had been in a negative state of mind. I never would have been creative if I had not been looking for ways to use the “problems” as opportunities. Instead I would have spent a lot of time frustrated and worrying, and I do far too much of that already!
Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I hope you found some valuable tidbits of information!
1/ Are you a worrier? If so, how do you manage your worry?
2/ Do you get excited about solving problems?