How to Solve Any Challenge You Face (Really!)

It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were all struggling with how to make the right decision about what to do come the Fall. Do we send the kids back to school? Do we attempt a hybrid approach? Do we keep education 100% remote?

And the questions didn’t stop with our kids, either. Questions about whether or not it was safe to return to work, whether our jobs would still be there, if it was possible to shift to entirely remote work (or if a hybrid approach was an option), if we’d end up facing unemployment again, if we could afford to make a change, if now was the right time to make a job/career change.

So many questions. So much uncertainty.

So, if you’re laying awake at night trying to decide what will be the best and safest option for you and you’re your family, this post is for you.

Let me introduce you to our Solve Anything Process. We built the Solve Anything Process, a step-by-step guide, to help our clients expand their awareness of what they want and where they are so they can intentionally and wisely close the gap between the two. We find it works so well that we wanted to share it to help everyone better deal with the challenges and issues of the moment.

The Process Described
First, you start by identifying the focus of your Solve Anything Process. Call it a challenge, an issue, a situation – whatever you want to identify as the focus, write it down. Visualize it. Make it real. This is meant to be broad because the focus is the overall thing you are discussing. For example, the focus could be addressing decisions about school.

Second, you identify your goal. The goal is what you want to achieve. It needs to be very specific so you can easily determine whether or not it was achieved. For this example, let’s say the goal you want to solve in the decision about school is your child’s(ren’s) safety. So, the goal could be: to create a plan to ensure the safety of your son or daughter to/from and at school.

The differentiation is important. The focus is the issue, challenge or situation you’re facing. The goal helps you get clear on what you want to happen.

The reason to do this is to create a clear understanding of what currently exists – the things that are working (so you can do more of them) and the things that are not working (that are preventing you from achieving your goal – so you can address them and achieve your goal).

Here’s what this could look like:

What’s WorkingWhat’s Not Working
– Good at social distancing when given the ability to remain socially distant
– Doesn’t share school supplies
– Doesn’t share lunch or snacks
– Good communication about what happens during the day so you’re in the know
– Social distancing efforts aren’t always an option in school setting
– Doesn’t always keep a mask on
– Unsure what other parents are doing to protect their kids when they’re not at school
– Before/After school routine is unknown

Stop for a moment. You have just created a clear inventory of your situation. You can see where you are (what’s working and not working) and you can see what you want (be safe to/from and at school).

Notice: a clear, calm mind will be able to look at this in a productive way, allowing for the creation of options to solve how to move forward. If your thoughts are anxious and fear-based, however, you use your energy to stay afraid and not develop a sound solution.

The Solve Anything Process is designed to help you respond instead of react to what it is you want to solve.

Next, you’ll tackle the items on the “What’s Not Working” list. These are things that are stopping you from reaching your goal of safety to/from and at school. Don’t try to take care of all of them at once; pick one item from the list and brainstorm ways to make this better. For this example, consider brainstorming how to be better about wearing a mask. No idea should be dismissed; consider everything and get others involved, including your kid(s). Some ideas could include:

  • Identify a specific mask to wear to and from school and one to wear at school
  • Create/buy a custom mask that your kid(s) is/are excited to wear and show off to their friends
  • Create/buy a mask that is comfortable and easy to use

Don’t stop at 3. Keep going until all ideas are exhausted. Then pick one and make it happen.

Recap
The Solve Anything Process helps you calmly and intentionally take a look at a challenge, issue or situation and find a solution that makes sense for you. You gather information, you figure out where you are and where you want to be, you identify what’s working and not working and you pick one thing to make better and go do it.

Scroll down to see an example of how to complete the Solve Anything Process Worksheet.

Take Action
Give the Solve Anything Process a try. For it to be most successful, make your goal extremely specific. This approach can help you figure out how to answer a question or overcome a challenge that has been bothering you or frustrating you because it forces you to think and respond instead of react. Taking that intentional step back helps remove some of the emotions so you can think more clearly to use your energy to solve instead of being aggravated, frustrated, irritated or anxious.

This is how to solve anything.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Identifying Your End Goal Can Make It Happen

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