Stop! Go back and read the title again. It’s true, problems get in the way of your commitments, and therefore they validate what you are committed to. Otherwise it isn’t a problem. It’s that simple.
Everyone has problems now and then. Sometimes we deny that anything is wrong, but that doesn’t work. Networkers sometimes complain that networking is not working for them. However, most don’t do anything constructive to get themselves out of the hole they are in.
It’s pretty easy to get sucked into a problem. Our nature is to analyze it, worry over it, wonder what people think about us being in it and generally stay hooked to the problem. We have our own little “pity party.” We celebrate our problems by telling everyone we meet about them. We look for sympathy from anyone who will listen. Do we ever stop to wonder if they care?
While it is important to have someone with whom you can share “the good, the bad and the ugly,” to continually talk about the problem doesn’t get it solved. How do you feel when friends only call you when they have a problem? I tend to distance myself from people who consistently only talk about problems, especially those who return with the same problem several days or weeks later. Problems don’t just go away by talking about them. You have to do something about them. I am attracted to people who talk solutions and then do.
Problems keep you stuck! Look at your problems. Don’t dwell on them, but look at them. Learn to look at difficult times as invitations to transformation. Are your problems the same ones you have always been having? Werner Erhard once said that when you look at your concerns, you look at what has your feet nailed to the floor. How does it feel to be stationary? Going nowhere.
Part of the problem with being stuck is that we make it mean something bad. Everyone gets stuck in his or her problems once in a while. It only means we are stuck! It is important to understand that problems are only problems and only have the meaning we give them.
There is a lesson in every problem. Problems are not to break us; they are there to make us strong. Look for them and learn from them.
It is infinitely more wise to experience problems as those situations which lure you on to self-discovery than to be stopped by the unpleasantness of the circumstances and be shut down to the possibilities the problem presents. There are no accidents. Problems occur for a reason. It is sometimes difficult to find the good in what appears to be all bad. There are important lessons to be learned in every circumstance. Remember, problems by design are repetitive. They come back if you don’t learn from them and do something to prevent their reoccurrence.
Many people go into denial when a problem occurs. They think that if they pretend it isn’t there, it will go away. Do problems go away? No! Problems only go away when you invent solutions and then take specific actions intended to move you through the problem.
Step one – Acknowledge you have a problem
Step two – Ask yourself, “What am I committed to that has this be a problem?” If you determine that there is a commitment that the problem is getting in the way of, you know you have a problem.
Step three – Study your options. Look at all of the possibilities. Consider many solutions not just one. Do this quickly.
Step four – Do something that is consistent with your commitment. Focus on the solution.
EXAMPLE: Let’s say that you have a flat tire on the way to an important meeting. Most of us would call a flat tire a problem. Kick the tire if it will make you feel better, and immediately acknowledge that you have a problem. What is your commitment that has a flat tire be a problem? It could be that you are committed to keeping your word about being on time. Or it could be that you are committed to not getting your hands dirty. Regardless of the commitment, the quicker you begin to work on a solution, the better off you will be. Study your options. Get on your cell phone and call to let your appointment know you will be running a little late. Reschedule if you must, but get started on fixing the problem. Next, get the tire fixed. Call AAA. Whatever. Don’t anguish over it, do something about it.
Doing something brings possibility to the situation. You can’t expect the situation to present the possibility, although the situation can, with a high degree of reliability, point in the direction of the solution. And you have to look for it. You create your own possibilities. You alone are responsible.
Refuse to allow the problem to affect you for very long. It won’t when you know the secret of how to get unstuck. Don’t get mad; be glad you have an opportunity to demonstrate who you are. Anger stops you in your tracks. Anger is natural when challenges come. Staying angry about a problem is not good for your mental health. Someone once said, “Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.”
You can’t think straight when you are angry. Allow a cooling off period before you delve into solving the problem. The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” When you lose your temper, you lose the ability to think sensibly and to make balanced decisions. Give up being angry. Being angry is a choice. Who you are, is someone that is bigger than the problem.
Are you truly committed to business networking? If so, then go back over the four steps and focus on Step Four! Use your imagination! If you focus… you WILL find the solution. Most likely it’s more networking training!
Learning to get unstuck from your problems with this four-step method could be one of the most important lessons you could learn from reading this blog. Use this method and it will help bring you peace of mind. Now that you have discovered a way to give yourself more time to focus on the things you want, doesn’t it make sense to implement the idea immediately? If you want to shorten your “bounce-back” time, begin working on solutions to your problem now!
What are YOU committed to?
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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