One of the biggest challenges I see amongst many leaders, especially those who are trying to move the needle on something important, is an overwhelming desire to make the process problem-free. 

Make no mistake: Success doesn’t come from a lack of problems. The achievement of any goal is dependent on how well you manage through adversity.

Most people underestimate the amount of adversity they will have to overcome to achieve a goal.

Let me ask: How would you approach adversity if you knew ahead of time that the challenging situation you are experiencing was sent your way to help you become better?

Many of us get so caught up in the “THING” that is frustrating us. It may be a:

  • demanding client,
  • challenging employee who is a negative influence on the team,
  • difficult project you’ve been assigned,
  • technology that isn’t working properly. 

The list is endless. What if these situations are gracing your path to make you better? 

Here’s the truth: A problem by itself is not the problem. The problem is how we look at the problem. 

Here are three suggestions:

  1. When you reframe challenging times as opportunities, you discover that there is more to gain than what you imagine is lost.
  2. It’s not an individual that is causing your frustration. It’s your lack of skills in dealing with a specific character type (i.e. passive aggressive). Any challenging situation you are faced with is an opportunity to master those skills.
  3. Pick your battles. Not every battle is worth fighting. Don’t lose site of the bigger goal.

Intellectually, we know we need to redirect our energy when engulfed in a problem, but that isn’t always easy to do. As humans, our minds like to wander toward the negative. Our ego loves to magnify a problem instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it. 

Here’s another truth: You have the power of choice. You can choose to respond or react to complicated situations. 

Consciously or unconsciously, we are forever giving everything meaning, but we have the power to attach the meaning that is most helpful. 

When you focus only on a problem, the problem has a way of multiplying.

If you redirect your energy towards finding a solution, you will eventually discover things you can experiment with. And that is where the real learning occurs.

For a deeper dive on this, I invite you to listen to this week’s episode of the Getting Results podcast: How to Sustain Momentum When Challenged.