I’m pretty sure every business owner and manager has them. Some more frequently than others. Do you? I know I’ve had them – more times than I can count probably. And it doesn’t matter how successful we are in business, we have those business problem times when we wake up and go, “Holy Moly, what the hell am I gonna do?!”
Now, sometimes these business problem moments aren’t necessarily a panic – although some sure are!
And isn’t it funny that we always know what others should do? Oh, yes, we have all the answers for others, don’t we? Because it’s sooo obvious what they should be doing!
Why is it so easy to see answers for everyone else and not always ourselves?
Because we are emotionally involved in our own situations. And, quite simply, emotion makes us ineffective in business problem-solving.
When we’re emotional – whether we’re feeling angry, sad, hurt, defensive, whatever, our minds go to work trying to ‘defend’ us and keep us safe. And I don’t know about you – but, wow, my mind can make things pretty damn big in the middle of the night!
What often starts as a small business problem can end up so big that the only solution we may be able to see is to quit and run away to the other side of the world, never to be heard from again! By morning, of course, we know this solution is not our best option as we wake feeling drained and possibly even more confused.
So, what can we do?
We’ve got to lose the emotion. Because as long as we’re feeling those emotions, we have little chance of coming up with the best outcome for all. And if we ponder on the problem for too long in our emotive state, our mind will render our problem-solving self absolutely useless.
“Great,” I hear you say, “but how on earth do we do that?”
In all my years in business, and as a leader, I have come to truly believe that sometimes our amazing brain has woken us up at that time the night because it’s a great, undisturbed time to find an answer within ourselves.
Here’s what I’ve found helps me in these moments and maybe it might help you too.
But first, let me use the disclaimer right here that I am human. So, I’m not going to pretend, even for a minute, that this works single every time. Nope. Sometimes I stay in my emotional state – hell, I can even fluctuate from angry to sad to desperate and defeated all within a few minutes!
But most of the time, it works.
It’s important to realise that we all have a ‘thinking self’ and an ‘observing self’. The idea here, is to summons up our observing self. The thinking self just gets too carried away on its own and just can’t be trusted at this stage!
So, when I wake up with a focus on the ‘business problem’ – and before my thinking self goes to work and manages to render me totally useless and ineffective – I grab the problem and take a good look at it as if I was an observer of the situation. Like I’m looking in – not a part of it at all. A witness. I look at the situation as I would when solving a problem for someone else.
From this space, we can then use our thinking selves effectively by asking it a question – a good question, though. Like the old saying goes, ask a silly question, get a silly answer!
So I create an effective question to get an effective answer, such as; “How can I resolve this situation in a way that has a good outcome for all?”
I then picture the outcome I want, in detail, and then ask my thinking self, “How can I achieve this outcome?”
If my mind starts throwing up any scary thoughts (it can do this out of habit) I just tell it, “It’s okay,” and I focus on repeating the question over and over until my brain decides its an instruction, changes it’s tack and gets to work solving it. Sometimes, I fall back to sleep and wake up with the answer, sometimes I have no answer until the next day, but sometimes… Pop! The answer comes in as if I’ve channeled it from a knowledge pool in the universe. And maybe I have, but who cares why or where it comes from – it works.
This is how our brains are wired. And if we use them the way they’re designed – as an incredible instrument to serve us, we can live our lives at a higher level, coming up with creative solutions to business problems, rather than be a slave to our mind’s wild and random thoughts.
Sounds good, right?
Try it. It just might work for you too.
I’d love to hear how you get on!
You might like to read last weeks blog: The Number One Social Media Strategy You’ve Just Gotta Have