Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

What’s your focus?

May 22nd, 2018

An infectious laugh does miracles (pintrest photo)

Joy, Hope and Beauty

My life is quite full and busy with positiveactivities — full of joy hope and beauty.  Focusing on the good can help you through tough times.  What’s your focus?  Here’s what I’ve been contemplating:

A toddler’s belly laugh

Sunday I was eating with a friend of mine at a restaurant and the toddler at the next table was being teased and joked with by her grandpa.  The infectious belly laugh of a delighted toddler should be canned and sent to every world leader.  Maybe we might move towards world peace, at least there would be a lot of happy hearts. Just thinking of this little girl and her laugh makes me smile.

Meetings meetings meetings, but good (some coaching) ones!

May and June are meeting (and coaching meeting) months for me.  I enjoy the change from (mostly) teaching to mostly coaching.  Meetings can be good.

Holidays, short and long

Switzerland celebrates the moveable feasts.  Over Ascension we went camping along Lake Constance and into Germany in a VW bus. What fun!  I was also able to take a week and “go home” to visit family and friends, too.

Blooming Garden!

Going into the garden and enjoying all the colors and blossoms can really change my day. Everything smells so good, too!

Books!

I have been reading, as usual.  I have enjoyed quite a number of books late, but my reading list is as long as ever. Besides still working through Henry Cloud’s Integrity, and Boundaries for Leaders I am reading Tribe of Mentorsby Timothy Ferr– and some novels to keep me entertained…  What are you reading?

Art and Museums

One of my new friends and I have a tradition of attending art museums together. I enjoy the exhibits, and my friend is adept in modern art and can help me enjoy and understand it better.  We will be attending a Picasso exhibit this week, and I am so looking forward to it, and to the piggy-back visit to the Hermann Hesse Museum the same day.

Coffee and meals with family and friends

Finally, I’ve been taking time to spend with family and friends.  It is great to connect with people and to have important discussions with them.  I recently remarked that my view of success has changed to how I am doing with my important relationships.  This has become more and more important to me in the past few years.

What makes your life full and joyful?  What have you been up to?  What are you focusing on?  I wish you a positive week full of joy, hope and beauty!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

Take off your shoes and pay attention

May 16th, 2018

Time to get away – and reflect

Reflecting

Doing Something for Myself—Enjoying a short break and remembering to take off my shoes at the end of the day and think

Sometimes we have to do something for ourselves, like going to the spa, eating chocolate ice cream, or sitting in the sun.

Self-care is rather individual, unique to each person.  Last weekend I went camping in a VW bus because of the looong Ascension weekend in Switzerland; it was a “we weekend” with my husband and some good “old” friends. I was really tired Sunday night when we returned, but the time, money and energy spent were well- spent on relationships and on fun!

I have my unique set of work and fun passions:  business start-ups and leadership, writing, teaching, meeting with people (“old” friends and gaining new ones) and learning new ideas and concepts.  What are yours?

Now I am taking another short break before a heavy season of correction and meetings, but not in Europe.

What is in it for me:

Friends and family- relationships are key, and we need to care for them. Also, a little “me” time  and downtime is involved, of course.

Taking of my shoes and reflecting on each day:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Aurora Leigh

Take time to reflect

Each day I try to allow myself the luxury of going “home” and relaxing, taking off my shoes and putting my feet up and reflecting on the day, on the things I’ve heard and seen, and the people I have met, and how all this might all change me and give me new perspectives.  Seeing, as in the poem, brings new perspectives.  I – we all – need to take that time to see.  In the movie I saw on the airplane yesterday (“Lady Bird”), it was said that love and paying attention are basically synonymous.  I can agreed.  Let’s love more.  Let’s pay attention more.  Let’s reflect.

It’s not that I will ever have finished reflecting on my life; in fact, I have much more thinking to do – every day.  But short times in the evenings are a way to begin that process which must continue into the future.

So, what about you?  What are you doing for yourself, to grow, to be encouraged, and when are you going to take off your shoes and reflect on your daily experiences?

Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

 

 

 

DON’T do it!

May 9th, 2018

Feeling uneasy about something? Just DON’T do it!  Don’t be like Nike, for once.

Are you trying to make a decision about something and just can’t get past some of the “ish” factors? Or are you talking yourself into something that maybe you (or your trusted network) might not feel so right about- maybe you are wanting to just get that first deal?

Wait.  Look for red flagsand ask these questions:

Don’t do it! Why?

  • Do you feel it’s right, do you feel totallygood about it? It’s moral and good activity/partnership?
  • Do you feel comfortable agreeing to the terms and conditions, allof them?
  • Do you see all the outcomes and want all of them to come pass?
  • Does your body, mind and spirit agree to the total package?
  • Are there any (important) values being violated in this?
  • Are your going to resent the decision, the people you might be with- do you already resent it?
  • Are you worried about the possible consequences?
  • Is this a “repeat performance” of a similar (bad) experience that you had? How or why?

If you can answer these questions in a positive and wholehearted way, go ahead.  But otherwise, it’s probably best to turn the opportunity down.

Dr. Henry Cloud, Leadership Coach and renowned author and speaker says the above in his book, “Integrity”.  He also writes, “people deny the negative just because they want what there is so much and they cannot delay gratificationuntil the right deal or situation comes along.” (my italics)

Here are some things we can do too fast and then must deal with the bad consequences:

  • Hiring too fast
  • Getting engaged too fast
  • Starting a partnership too fast (any kind of partnership)
  • Buy a house too fast
  • Buy a business or a business property too fast
  • Make a business deal too fast

Remember, listen to your “inner voice” and do not push it away.  Do not make excuses for the downsides.  Pay attention to the negatives.

We don’t want to choose too fast and then have to use a fire escape.

Face those negatives, even if it’s hard because, really, there is no shortcut to success.  Beware of fast tips and “tricks”.  They usually have poor “payment” plans.  If it’s really worth it, like our parents said, whatever it is, it’s worth the wait.  Wait for the “right one”.  Otherwise, we may spend a lot of wasted time and energy repairing the poor (fast) decision.

So, do it, when it is right. Or, maybe better when you have a little “gut-feeling”,  just don’t do it.

Have a great (rest of the) week, in Switzerland tonight is the beginning of a looong Ascension weekend – enjoy!

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com      patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Resolve your conflicts

April 23rd, 2018

GOT CONFLICT? ASK QUESTIONS!

Got conflict?

Are you trying to figure out how to work with that other (maybe difficult) person in the room?

Knowing your team, knowing your client, knowing yourself is key for your job.

Knowing how you and the other person ticks can really help reduce conflict, as well.

Here are some ideas using the Harvard Negotiation Model to help you resolve the conflict:

  • Relationships First
  • Focus on the WHY
  • Generate(win-win) options

Relationships are key

With that, I mean you need to be able to feel some level of trust with the person.  Also, the conflict issue needs to be separated from the person/personality.

You need to know your – and their WHY

To find a positive solution you must focus on why you want something and why the other person wants something.  By doing this, you take away the feeling that the “pie is only so big” and can find creative ways to solve the problem.  What you are doing is focusing on what both of you need in this instance.

Options galore

When you generate as many options as possible, you will find an amazing solution, especially when all those options are beneficial to both parties.

When you focus on the relationships and trying to reach everyone’s needs, you may find the conflict disappearing.

Try Nonviolent communication, too:

“I see, I observe that…”

“When I see/observe this phenomenon, I feel…”

“I need this to happen because of the situation…”

“Would you please…”

This may help you to communicate the issue better.  But no matter what, start some good communication!

Patricia Jehle             www.jehle-coaching.com     patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Stuck? Do what you CAN!

April 2nd, 2018

I have a big coaching test next week and I am reviewing like crazy.

Studying can be stressful

At one point this past week I considered doing something to augment my (already enough) training, but way to last-minute to accomplish well.  But then I remembered a good saying for this instance:

Do what you can, and then turn your focus away from what you can’t.

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure you focus on what you can do

This works for most instances, especially for work.  You can also think about how to work when things seem stuck:

Business or work not going well?  Or maybe you have all your ducks in a row, but something seems to be stopping you?  Is something intangible slowing down your business?  Maybe you have inner some conflicts with yourself that need addressing so you can start moving forward again.

A while ago I read a wonderful book by negotiation expert Professor Dr. William Ury of Harvard Business School called Getting to Yes with Yourself and I found some treasures to help us out of those stuck places in business and in life.

Here’s Ury’s 6-Step Model:

  1. Put yourself in your shoes
  2. Develop your inner BATNA
  3. Reframe your picture
  4. Stay in the Zone
  5. Respect them, even if
  6. Give and Receive

What this means, step-by-step:

  • Put yourself in your own shoes means you need to understand your own feelings and needs before you can go anywhere near the business negotiation/ the other person you are dealing with. Ask yourself questions regarding your feelings and your deepest needs.
  • Develop your inner BATNA refers to the famous Fisher/Ury negotiation concept Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement- what are you going to do if the deal doesn’t work out? In other words for yourself, take care of the deepest needs you have in this (and every) situation, no matter what happens.  You are not a victim, take responsibility for your own needs.
  • Reframe your picture is about how you see the world, and even the universe. See it as working for your and “the” good, and you will not live in the trap of scarcity.  Remember, scarcity leads to decisions made out of fear, which is to be avoided.  Take decisions from a place of trust and abundance instead.
  • Stay in the Zone refers to being in the present, not focusing on the past or future. It means letting go of the past and its problems and freeing yourself from anxiety about the future.  Staying in the zone allows you to succeed.  Hanging on to past regrets and hurts or worrying about tomorrow are not going to help in any way, and in fact, they hinder you from moving forward.  Avoid all those “should” statements. That show you are either judging yourself or someone else, instead ask yourself, “what is the smallest thing I (or someone else) can do now to make a change?”
  • Respect them even if is about how we treat each person with the respect due every human being. I don’t have to approve of the persons actions or beliefs.  I don’t need to like the person.  I just need to make a decision to treat the person with respect.  I also can try and understand the person by “walking in their shoes” and trying to see the issue from their experiences and background.
  • Give and Receive means that the most successful business people are givers and not takers, and that is according to research (Wharton Business School).

When you understand this concept you are very likely to become unstuck and move forward in business, in negotiation, and in life.  There are good questions I as a coach can ask you about each step in Ury’s model to help you along your way to success.

Reboot: take time and think, and then do what you can about the situation

Remember, do what you can (and don’t focus on what you can’t),  and then to get to yes with yourself so you are more likely to move forward in business and in life.

Have a successful week!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Presentations and Messy Middles

March 27th, 2018

As I prepare to teach an upcoming four-hour course on Presentation, I am thinking about fear, and how messy (and how scary) it is to present yourself and your message to the world.  Public Speaking brings up all sorts of questions like, am worthy of the message, who am I, anyway, and is this presentation really worth all the fear and anxiety I am and will continue to go through?

Presenting is scary, but worth the time, nerve and effort

The key is this, whether a presentation or whatever the goal:  To get from point A to point B, we all have to go through a very messy middle.

Questions to help with the “MESSY MIDDLE”

Sometimes we are way too impatient with ourselves – and others – and expect to set a goal such as giving a presentation and reach it easily, in record time.

The Messy Middle is where the Magic happens

But, in any real situation, unless that goal is very simple “life ain’t that easy, babe”.  Even a five minute presentation takes a lot of time to prepare.

In fact, it may be that the space I am calling the “messy middle” is where we grow and learn about life.  After all, why would we have learned such phrases as “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” as children?  Ah, that gets us back to presentation and practice.  To help with the angst of public speaking, practice is one of the key solutions.

Lessons learned and Magic

Maybe we are actually supposed to learn something about the process itself, about ourselves, and about life in that messy middle part between the beginning and the goal.  Brené Brown says that the messy middle is where the magic happens; what magic?  I think that magical process could be called transformation.  We need to think about what we want the future to be like and then plan for it, and act like it, even when we don’t see anything happening.

The same is for a presentation.  We need to plan, prepare and practice the message, not knowing if the message will be well-received, or if I, in effect, will be well-received.

 

We are all in a process of transformation, always

Each one of us is in process, on a journey towards where we want to go, who we want to be.  We want to be there now, or even better, yesterday.  It’s true though that we know that’s not a reasonable expectation, yet we still want it.  But transformational magic takes time, and depending on the goal, it could even take a lifetime.

Each change starts with small steps, like spending fifteen minutes each day practicing your upcoming speech.  It means putting aside the “tyranny of the urgent” for the time being and focusing on the most important future transformational goals (such as becoming a better pubic speaker), and spending time on making the steps to reach them.

Take your time, you will get there in there in the end

We also need to spend time focusing on ourselves as worthwhile human beings (worthy of being listened to, regarding our presentation) focusing on our thoughts, feelings, and actions.  We need to find a way to integrate our lives and our life goals with what we are doing every day, and make them whole, not compartmentalized, but really integrated.

Who am I, really?  What are my goals?  Do they fit my value system (what are my values, anyway?)?  What can I do for myself today to help make me the person I want to be tomorrow?

These kinds of reflective questions can actually help you become a better speaker, and an integrated person.

More Questions

What do I want my life to be like today, next year, in five years?  What three things, tangible or intangible, do I value most?  Am I spending my time in a way that focuses on those values today?  What do I need to change in my life, and activities to reflect my values?

The Magic!

Brené Brown says that this messy time where “nothing seems to have changed” and nothing seems to be happening is where the (real) magic happens.  Maybe this messy time is where seeds are planted in that dark dirt which, in turn become the trees and crops to feed you for the rest of your life.

Maybe this time feels more like a winter season where all the leaves have fallen off your tree and you think it is dead, but actually your roots have reached even deeper and the tree is stronger after a restful winter where nothing seems to have happened.

Maybe focusing on practicing who you really are and how to present yourself and your message without fear is more like three steps forward and two back…  But you are slowly moving.

Whatever the metaphor you choose, mixed or not, the messy middle is part of a process that is unseen, and that can be frustrating for those of us who need to “see immediate results”. The process calls for patience, with ourselves, with the situation, and with others.  None of that is easy.  So, keep on working at and I will keep on preparing for my presentation course in July.

What are you going to do today to start yourself in the direction you want to end up in?

Happy messing around! 

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com                 patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Reinvent yourself for Success!

March 20th, 2018

Re-inventing Yourself – a necessity for many, especially for those over 50, but it’s vital for others, too.

 

For many people facing job-cuts and company reorganization, reinvention is key for continuing in the work force.  Unemployment is the catalyst for many changes.

It just may not be possible, especially if you are at the top, to  do exactly what you have been doing at same level of seniority (and pay, at least in Switzerland).

You will have to reinvent yourself.  This kind of change is possible, but also can be difficult.

Yes, we ALL can change

Based on research, I believe every person is able to change until their life on this earth ends.  So, my answer would be a qualified yes.  I will tell you a story about myself that illustrates this qualified yes.

An example from my teenage years

When I was about 14 years old I was a typically shy teen: bookish, reserved, pretty good at school and pretty uninterested in (most) sports.  But I wanted to be more “popular”, to “have more fun” the way I saw others enjoying themselves.  So, for a while I observed those who I considered more popular that were having fun, and thought about what they did differently than I.  I came to a simple conclusion:

They put themselves forward and volunteered more, for one thing.  They offered to do things.

So, as of that day of realization I began to volunteer to do things for others, starting with easy things and then gradually getting bolder so that, now at this point some five decades later, I volunteer to do the hard things, like pitching at startup weekends (last weekend).

This change simply began by raising my hand and offering my opinion, my time, my voice, my energy, and my creativity.  It actually began at a youth camp with my offering to organize a skit for everyone to watch and playing the “lead speaking” role in it.  Each little success led to another trial of something a little bit harder.

But not every attempt was successful.  Some of them were, of course, failures. Yet, when I tell most people who know me socially that I am an introvert, they are surprised because I have learned to act extroverted, I have learned to put myself forward and the risk involved has become less difficult for me.

I really do enjoy parties and being with people nowadays, but I still love time alone and books more. It took time to learn how to deal with the energy output, to coach myself on how to “do” these kinds of relatively unnatural activities.

The qualification to the “yes, you can”

You can re-invent yourself with a qualified yes.  We all have our general personality traits and we work from a starting point of where we are at.  Yet, we need to challenge ourselves and not use the excuse, “I am introverted and can’t do parties or “I am extroverted and can’t work/be alone.”

We are all able to do a lot of activities we don’t think we can, if we try and learn and try again, and keep trying until we make it.  But those activities may very well be out of our “normal arena of comfort”.  These new activities may drain us more than other more typical to our personality activities do.

Change is hard.  Change will not be easy for you, that is true, but if you want to keep working after being made redundant (especially after he age of 50 in Switzerland), change will be necessary for your success.

Re-inventing your career

When dealing with joblessness over 50, it is vital to re-invent your career, instead of working only within ones’ experience, training and/or personality borders, you will need a “Career Swing” of some sort.  Lately this topic has become more important for my friends and colleagues as the business and the economic reality of Switzerland’s landscape has been changing.

Essentially what the issue is, is that you need a good change process plan, based on the environment, your (realistic) expectations, and your abilities and boundaries.

You may change your type of work, the way you work (perhaps as a consultant), or maybe you will start your own business.  This will, then start even more change processes.  Of course, you may have to learn new things such as more about networking and using social media, too.

And what about your business, if you have one?

Finally, sometimes you need to re-invent or re-vamp your business or business strategies.  This kind of inventory taking for business should be done quarterly or twice a year at the least —depending on the business results from the last quarter and/or semester.

I would love to have an email (or otherwise, perhaps a Skype or coffee) dialog about this kind of re-invention.  Maybe you are anticipating a big change, or are in the middle of it.  No matter what, though, when dealing with this difficult change process, remember to start by asking yourself what works for others, what has worked for you in the past, and what might work in the future, based on the present situation.

You will then be on your way to a different future, and maybe even in a different place!

Have a great rest of the week!

Patricia Jehle                    patricia@jehle-coaching.com and www.jehle-coaching.com 

Also, should you be interested in joining my LinkedIn Group, SMEs Grow Together, go here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402  or like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jehle.Coaching/

Passion!

February 20th, 2018

Wow!  They started with a bang, those nineteen-year-olds, setting up their office in an empty “office space” that had no frills, none at all.  They begged and borrowed desks, chairs, a flip chart from family, and got started.  Boom!

When you’re in the flow, you feel like you can do anything

Yesterday they were in a flow, so much so that they stayed at their new office all night.  The five young men are starting their own business, and what they lack in experience they more than make up for in passion, energy, and creativity.

And I get to coach them, what an honor.  I am passionate because they are so passionate.

Bending over backwards to get things done can be difficult, but when you are passionate, it may work out great

They already have a few jobs, and contracts and they have hopes of making money next year.  I haven’t met with them as their startup coach yet, but it seems like they are on their way to success, and that is great!

Over to you

What about you?  What’s getting you excited about your life?  Your work?

You need a passionate why

Where’s your passion?  What do you always have energy for?

Or, where do you always get hung up?  What irritates you?  What can you do about it, or what can someone else do to help you with it?

A wise man once wrote that there is a time for everything– in Switzerland this is the time to go skiing, at least for some.  For these men, it’s time to start a business. This can also be a time for you to reflect on what’s happened so far in 2018, to reflect, refocus and redirect, and then move.  Maybe you’ve lost your passion.  Maybe you are stuck.  Or maybe you are doing a good thing, but not the right thing.

Time to reflect, refocus, redirect and move on your goals

The PROCESS-

Reflect:  What’s been accomplished, so far.  What still needs to be done?  What am I feeling about this?  What do I need to do to become more efficient?  The questions are myriad.  I love this stage.  I get to do this at my first meeting with this new company.

Refocus and Redirect:  If you are not going in the right direction, or if you are focusing too much on one thing to the detriment of the best thing, it’s time to redirect and refocus.  Make a plan to get your priorities in your activities.

Finally, move.  When you have a plan, whether it be for the week, month, quarter or year, you have to move on that plan.  Sometimes it is easy, because you are so passionate and have the energy of a nineteen-year-old.  But sometimes you are scared, or tired, or burnt out.  What then?

Weeeell, then maybe the reflection time needs a different lens, maybe a different viewpoint would be needed.  Maybe help would be in order.  But for today, I want to stick with the passion and the energy that I gain vicariously from those young men.  It’s catchy!

Have a week full of passion and energy!

Patricia Jehle   patricia@jehle-coaching.com             www.jehle-coaching.com

 

 

Healthy Work

February 5th, 2018

A heathy work environment can make you a very productive person

Are you working “healthy”?

January is a month where we turn away from eating and turn to healthy living.  We often take on new exercise regimes, maybe we change our eating patterns, we often do not drink much (or any) alcohol, and so on.  But what about at work?  Are we working “healthy”?  There are at least four aspects of work that can be heathy – or not, and here are some things you can do about each aspect:

A Healthy work environment?

How is the light in your workspace?  Can you add a daylight desk lamp to give you more energy?   Can you take a break and walk outside in the daylight for ten to fifteen minutes each day?

How is the eating situation?  Do you have access to healthy fresh lunches and snacks?  Do you need to make a plan to bring food from home?  Are you drinking enough water or healthy drinks, and avoiding sodas?

Are you able to get fresh air into your office space?  Can you “air” the room a couple of times a day to regenerate the oxygen levels?  If not, go take that walk!

Are you moving enough?  Research says you are more productive if you work in shorter bursts and then move a bit in between.  So, do you work for 45-50 minutes and then go get a drink at the water cooler, or go up and down a couple of flights of stairs?  Can you walk to where you eat lunch, if you eat out?  What else can you do?

Unhealthy work relationships?

How are your work relationships?  I have a friend who when one part-time colleague shows up, her environment changes so much that she feels very uncomfortable.  She has decided to avoid working when that colleague is there, if at all possible. I have another friend who was being used against her will for “office politics”.  She finally left that company, because she could not easily change the situation.  So, are you in a relatively good relational environment at work?  Yes?  Good!  If not:

  • Can you change the situation- either work at home more, work in another office space, or something else?
  • Can you talk to somebody about it who can help you change the situation?
  • Can you live with it?

If not, maybe you should start looking for a new situation, especially if the situation is making you feel unsafe, making you have sleepless nights, or making you ill.  My friend chose this route, maybe you should, too.

Are you working too much?

Some people may have to put in a long week every month or two, but if you are doing this consistently, you may be heading towards burnout.  Think about what you consider normal working hours.  Think about this, and then google the normal work-week for your country.  Are you within 10-15% of that “normal” amount most of the time?  Then I would not worry too much.  But when you are working 50+ hours a week consistently, most months of the year, consider what you can change, and do it fast!  Maybe you need a coach to help you find ways of optimizing your way of working, maybe you need to delegate more.

No vacations?

There are many people who really do not take their vacations.  Maybe it’s from fear of not getting everything done in time, or fear of getting too far behind while gone, or fear missing out on an opportunity.  When people make decisions based on fear, there is usually something negative (and possibly unhealthy) going on.  Watch out!  This can be a red flag!  Maybe you need to talk about those fears and find ways of getting around those issues.

We all need time away.  I have a friend who is (finally) taking 16 days to go away with her husband and leaving their business to be run by the team.  This is a first and she is hopeful it will become a more routine (at least once a year) activity. My friend really needs a break, as most business owners do.

When was your last vacation?  Did you take all your vacation days last year?  If not, why not?  Vacations are healthy ways of getting back not only energy, but also your creativity, which is needed for your work.  We usually come back from with fresh perspectives after a good holiday.

So, how are you doing at work, health-wise?  What do you need to change?  How are you going to do it?

Have a healthy work week!

Patricia Jehle   www.jehle-coaching.com patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

Solutions to our problems

January 29th, 2018

Got problems? We all have, but what’s there to do?

We need to see the big picture and understand the problem before finding a solution

My January has had its ups and downs, especially regarding hearing bad news about family and friends, especially about their health.

But I have to balance that with new clients and new beginnings. Maybe your day, week or month has been like that, too. – full of decisions, full of positives and negatives. Life is usually a balance of good and bad, in the end.

Reflect:

At the end of the day the question is always what am I going to do about what has happened? How am I going to process my morning, my day, my week…? Personally, I do two things: I go through the problem-solving set of steps I have made for myself and then remember my “3-a-day”. I bet you have problems and hard days, too, so maybe my steps will help you!

Wrestling with the problems

What about the hard issues at work, at home, etc?   First ask yourself: Is it really a problem? Do I let the issue go? Do I fix it, or can I find someone else to fix it? Or must I continue working with the problem for a longer time, working on finding an answer or someone who can solve it?

Question one: Is it really a problem? (Evaluate the issue)

First things first, after all. Sometimes our issues are only perceived as problems, but when looked at from another angle, they are actually not problems at all. I had one of those recently. Because I could realize that it wasn’t a problem, I slept well last night. Sometimes it is a little problem, too, and not worth my energy, at least at the time.

Question two: Can I solve it? And how?

Some issues are worth my time (and saving money on a professional); some are not. Some problems are best left to my friends and family to help me solve them.

Some issues are, for the moment, “unsolvable” and then what am I going to do? Steven Covey reminds us to focus on our circle of control. What can I do about it? I may have to let the issue lie, do some research on it, or let it go. Last week I let something go. At least for the time being, it is “not in my radar”, anymore.

There is an upside of not “fixing one problem: because I could let one problem go, I was able to focus on and solve another problem. That solution went on my gratitude list for the day. What a great feeling to have solved a rather complicated issue, and all by myself! I had a great feeling of accomplishment.

Here is a step-by step way of dealing with your problem:

So, if it is a real problem and I have to solve it now, there is a first step of finding out as much as you can about the problem by asking even more questions, for example, the 5 Whys, or using What, Why, How, Where, Who and When:

  • What do I want to achieve, what are the facts, what would happen if no decision were made? Or no solution found? What do I need in order to find the solution?
  • Why do I want to have a solution? Why did the problem happen? Why do I need a solution?
  • How will the situation be different with a solution? How relevant is the information I am gathering? How can I involve others? How can I find out more about the problem and the solution?
  • Where did the problem begin? Where is the impact? IS the “where” important, and if so, why so?
  • Who is involved? Who cares about the situation? Who is affected? Who needs to be informed? Who am I trying to please, if anyone?
  • When did the problem arise? By when does there need to be a solution? When is the deadline for (any) action?
  • The 5 Whys: is a technique to find out the cause – and effect – of a problem. Why is asked 5 times, each time using the answer as the base for the next why. The car isn’t starting: why? The battery is dead: why? The alternator is broken: why? It’s belt has broken: why? It was old and had not been replaced: why? The owner had not followed the schedule for part replacement. (this is the root cause)

Then it’s time to identify solutions. That is a great place to be at, as then you can decide if you do it, do some of it, or delegate it. Then you choose the best solution and break it into manageable steps. Then you try out the solution and evaluate it, refining it. Repeat ad infinitum.

Questions that are well-placed can gain great insights

Finally:

Keep on Problem-solving, remember FLEXIBILITY and Gratitude!

Keep trying the solutions, and keep working on the questions. Because more than one of my problems is large and on-going, as they are something almost totally out of my control, I work on other problems that are more “solvable”, and then do what I can, waiting until it’s the right time to address the other issues.

Thus, flexibility helps a lot with bigger problems, try this, try that. Wait. Then try again another way. Ad infinitum.

My 3-a-day Gratitude List

The three a day gratitude list is a “to do” I not only do myself, but tell everyone I know to do it, as well: friends, clients, and colleagues alike. So ask yourself: “What am I grateful for today?” Then write it down on paper. Some people even keep a gratitude journal. The writing by hand is important, trust me. This will help you focus on the positive at the end of your day.

Still got problems? Me, too!

But don’t worry, if your problem is to be fixed, it will be. By me? By you? By friends, colleagues family? By another? Be assured it will be fixed, one day. Then you can put the answer on your 3-a-day list.

Enjoy the rest of your week, despite your issues!

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com patricia@jehle-coaching.com