“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
This quote popped up in my browser today with a background of Diamondhead Mountain on Oahu Hawaii. Being that I just went there, I took this as a sign to listen up. This quote certainly applies to me and, if you have recently complained about where you are in life, it might apply to you too.
I am blessed with having been given just about everything I could ask for. I have incredible parents; a wonderful boyfriend; a home that I absolutely adore; and my own business, where I make my own hours doing work that I more than tolerate, and some days even love.
So what’s’ the problem? The problem is that dissatisfaction can often creep in when so much freedom and opportunity abounds. When not accomplishing or taking advantage of every single thing, I feel terrible about myself, shrouded in a veil of restlessness and disappointment. This is not uncommon, especially for the type of people who have the guts (or senselessness, some days) to decide to start their own businesses. If anything, we are more prone to these feelings than most people. And, because no one is giving us parameters within which to work, no one is telling us to speed up or slow down, so nothing we do ever feels adequate enough.
Here are a few tips to getting over “the problem” and living your most successful life (this is a topic that I love… so bear with me, this is a two-parter):
Be your most positive self: I won’t belabor this point. How would you achieve success any other way? Any other approach would be like REALLY wanting a blueberry and picking up every single raspberry along the way and considering it, mulling over it, analyzing it and OBSESSING over it until the store closed or something else came along to distract you. Okay, I belabored it a little bit. But seriously, have the most encouraging vision of your life... for yourself, and for everyone around you.
Understand your habits: Getting over problems and achieving life’s goals requires good, strong habits. I learn so much about habits from Gretchen Rubin’s blog and podcasts (check them out here). We all respond to things very differently. Some people like to get up early and start the day by tackling the task that’s most weighing them down. Others like to take their time in the morning and start out with a task they enjoy or are really passionate about. Which do you prefer? How do you build habits? Figure this out for yourself and don’t force yourself into someone else’s method. You’ll only create frustration and discouragement.
Realize your (and the situation’s) capacity for change: Accept the things you cannot change, and have the vigor to change the things you can. You need to assess if your situation is one that requires or even has the capacity for change. If it doesn’t, move on and don’t dwell on it (more on this next post.) If it does, try to better understand how you experience change best. How do you start new things? Do you take big steps, like tearing the band aid off all at once, throwing all the cookies in the trash and bringing it straight to the garbage shoot? Or do you take small steps, weaning yourself off the cookies over a significant period of time? Personally, I would rather make a huge irreversible shift to force myself to make change, like firing a big but obnoxious client and then getting the great, amazing, well-paying work to replace him or her. I like the idea of doing it all at once, no opportunity to turn back.
Maintain a bright and open mind: This might seem strange, but think about your capacity to find solutions or alternatives to demanding problems if you your mind is hell-bent on staying in a storm cloud of frustration over them… probably not very good. Alternatively, imagine your mind open and receptive, like a bright blue sky welcoming in thoughts, people, ideas and solutions; engaging in conversation and partnership with the ideas around you that might just be… aha!... exactly what you need to solve the problem. You do the math here.
Relax: You’ve had problems before right? Have you ever gotten rid of any of those problems or are they all sitting at your feet piled in a shrine of failure all around you? I highly doubt it. Relax and have the capacity to realize that you’ll get over this one too.
Take yourself seriously: If you don’t who else will? Your mom? Your cat, as long as you’re feeding him regularly? That probably won’t do much good. If there is something you want to accomplish and you set out to achieve it, YOU better believe you can do it… or else the people you need to believe you won’t.
Q FOR YOU: What’s a problem that’s been plaguing you lately and how can you apply the methods above to address it?