It used to be that when I had a problem, I talked to everyone about it. I hashed it and rehashed it, and asked everyone’s advice. What should I do?
Often, people would want me to do things that I really didn’t want to do, which created even more stress and struggle. Sometimes even making small decisions—like where to go to dinner—was laborious and emotionally draining. Typically when the time would come to make a decision, I still wouldn’t make one—which is in itself making a decision—and I would just let events and situations play out.
Talk about giving up all my personal power! It was a painful and unhappy way to live.
Part of the process of taking back my power was to stop talking about the problem. Talking about the problem can feel like we are looking for a solution, but truly it is just making that problem seem more stubborn and feel more insurmountable. You cannot see the solution while you are so intensely focused on the problem.
Shifting your focus to finding the solution takes energy away from the problem and opens your mind to possibilities that you would otherwise be blind to.
So how do you shift from focusing on the problem to focusing on the solution?
Being solution-focused is really being future-focused. You have to look away from “What was” and “What is,” and instead look towards “What will be,” and even more powerful, “How you would like it to be.”
Part of it is also trusting, believing, and knowing that there is always a solution to every problem. This is one of those Universal Truths that people don’t always believe because they are so problem-focused that they often miss the solutions, so they think there wasn’t one. Being solution-focused does take a certain amount of faith or confidence that the solution is there and that you will find it.
Taking responsibility for the choices and decisions you are making is another piece. For instance, if you want to reduce your weight, you have to take responsibility for the food you eat. While your eating can feel out of your control, it isn’t. No one else is forcing you to eat anything. Whether you are conscious of it or not, there is always a thought and emotion behind that action. Until you take responsibility for it, you give up your personal power.
And finally—and probably most challenging—is you have to stop looking outside of yourself for the answer. Sure you want to analyze data, understand the problem, and do your research, but people often get stuck in that analysis phase thinking the solution will magically appear. That’s still being focused on the problem. Once you have a good grip on it, turn your focus towards looking for the future-solution. This is when you want to stop asking other people for their opinions of what you should do.
Other people don’t know who you are, what your experiences have been, where you are on your path, and where you want to go. They know what they want and that is not the same thing.
This is where a coach is helpful. A well-trained coach is not going to give you advice, but instead is keenly aware that you have the answers for you, and helps you find them.
Your path is your path. No one else can walk it. When you take your focus off the problem and instead look for the solution, the absolute best step for you will become clear.
Together we can do it!
Photo by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net