Something unexpected happens, what’s your first move?
Do you react or respond? Do you get focused on fixing the problem or finding a solution?
There’s a big difference in what you potentially queue up if you’re reactive.
Whether it is responding to an email that really pissed you off in the heat of the moment, only to find out you misunderstood the intent of the email – oops! Or letting your temper fly at someone in a meeting, or face-to-face conversation. Both can put you in a situation you may later regret.
If you’re a responder, perhaps (like me) you analyze and think before you respond.
Maybe you check the facts, ask questions and even wait until the next day to address the issue.
This is typically a less emotional infused way to handle those unexpected, upsetting, frustrating things that happen during your day. It takes practice to shift to being a responder, yet it is completely doable.
Let’s take it a step further.
When something happens do you have the “fixer” mentality?
Is your immediate response to get it fixed as quickly as you can to make it go away?
If you’re in a rush to “fix” things, you might be giving away too much in the process.
Not everything needs your intervention, right away.
And not every issue requires that you fixate on it, until you’re able to find a path to push through and make it go away.
But problems need to be fixed, right?
Well a problem, or situation requires a solution.
When you’re fixated on the problem, you’ll often miss the opportunity for a solution that’s right in front of you.
Let’s consider some examples.
1 – You’re stuck in traffic, again. Every time you head out, there is some fool driving to slow, or someone riding your bumper for miles (take your pick).
The more you stress about it, the more frustrated you get, and the more irritated you are.
Then with all this focus on these “idiots,” you notice that they are out every stinking time you leave the house! To “fix” it, you attempt to pass them or you slow down and slam on your brakes…your blood is boiling! By the time you reach your destination, you’ll all worked up and stressed out.
2 – You just had a fight with your significant other. You are furious!
You don’t get why they don’t understand your point of view.
All you can think about is how you can get them to see it your way.
You are right and you know it.
So you analyze, get on the hamster wheel and spin with ideas, frustration and irritation on how to “fix” this issue. You know you won’t sleep until this is fixed. Because this is what “always” happens. You know the outcome, you’ve seen the movie before.
3 – You are surrounded by incompetence. (Got to add a touch of humor!)
Why can’t your employee or co-worker get it right?
Why do you have to play mom, or dad and give them a play-by-play to execute a task?
They seem totally unable or unwilling to figure anything out on their own. And it happens over and over.
This leads to more fixer behavior.
You’ve got to make this issue go away.
You feel stuck, frustrated and all you can hear in your head is 15 angles about this PROBLEM!
FACT: The more you focus on the problem…
the more you’ll see, hear and experience…the problem.
You have another option.
You can focus on finding a solution instead of being micro-focused on the problem.
Ever notice that when you decide something isn’t a big deal, it just goes away?
The dog peed on the carpet, the kid spilled on the car seat, there’s an accident and you’ll be late.
It’s out of your control.
No reason to stress.
And then, things just seem to magically work out.
The carpet stain isn’t as big as you thought it was. And carpet cleaner dude was able to completely steam out and destroy the evidence.
Your kid has an epiphany and realizes they aren’t good with fries and catsup in the car.
The thick clouds part and the sun shines though!
When you get to your appointment, 10 minutes late, the person you’re meeting with is just now ready for you and relieved you weren’t waiting on them!
It starts in your head.
You have a choice to focus on what is irritating you to death or to shift your focus to finding a solution. By letting go of the obsession to fix something, you’ll find things often fix themselves, and maybe in a much better way than you had in mind to begin with.
Result? Less stress, reduced frustration, more positive energy, thoughts and outcomes.
Which all lead to more satisfaction. How nice would it be to enjoy more satisfaction every day?
Feeling satisfied is a small, yet very powerful shift you can make that will dramatically improve your quality of life. Give it a shot. You really have nothing to lose.