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.

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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Be Clear if You Want Employees to Perform

You know what you want to happen in the workplace and with your employees. But how do you ensure that your employees have the same understanding and are able to deliver in the way you are expecting? Clear communication.

The goal of communication is to be understood. Remember that all communication has a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes a message and the receiver decodes that message. Because everyone is different, what is the likelihood that the receiver will decode the message in the exact way the sender sent it and meant it? Not likely. Add to that the increasing use of digital messages in the workplace – emails, texts, IMs – in lieu of face-to-face interaction and the intended message can easily be misconstrued simply as a result of the receiver’s own interpretation of tone.

All of this can be avoided, however, if the sender takes great care to ensure that the message is fully understood by both parties. This may require clearly defining terms the organization uses without any real intention.

For example, consider the word that shows in many performance reviews – “better” – “do better.” Improvement is important, but it is more valuable when the word “better” is defined. It could mean improve your sales by 5% or your collections by 10%. It could mean arriving on time for work every day or completing all projects by their due date. Without a metric or greater clarity, the employee may think they are doing what is expected, but the manager may not see the required improvement.

Another example: consider the word “excellence.” Doing things well is indeed important, but it is more likely to happen when it is clearly defined. It could mean provide exactly what the customer wants or it could mean provide what the customer wants, AND do something more to activate their loyalty. It could mean build supportive and collaborative relationships with your colleagues, or it could mean focus on your job and get it done well and on time. To strive for excellence is a great goal to have, as long as everyone knows what it means and how it looks when it is done.

This approach applies at home, as well. Consider the term “clean room.” How you define it and how your kids define it may be two very different things so, when asked if their room is clean, in their mind, it may be. But it does not meet your expectation based on your interpretation of a clean room. A battle ensues.

In each of these examples, clear communication is important. And beyond that, clarity matters.

Take Action
Choose your words wisely and carefully. Take ownership of ensuring that your words or the concepts supported by the words, are understood by others. They may show in words like productivity, performance, service, engagement, development, results, teamwork, entrepreneurial, collaboration or even success. Define them in a way that everyone understands. From there, you can rally the teams to achieve your goals.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Help Your Employees Become More Mindful

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Are you a good or a bad meditator?

By Kristin Allaben

I’ll be the first to admit it. When I was initially told to be mindful, to take time to meditate, it made my eyes glaze.

“I’m too much of a busy-body to meditate.”

“I can’t quiet my mind enough to do that the right way.”

“What do you even meditate about?”

 “I don’t know how to do it the right way.”

Just a few excuses I’d use over and over until they became my truth, my limiting belief – I started to believe I wasn’t able to meditate because I just couldn’t do it.

But then I had an enlightened moment. Mindful meditation is not just about quieting the mind and sitting in complete silence. It’s about tuning in to each feeling, emotion, sensation and thought, recognizing them and, when appropriate, asking “how curious I should be feeling/thinking/responding this way.” You start to pay attention, on purpose, to you and your world, with no judgement. Just acknowledgment.

It is in these moments of mindful meditation that you begin to realize how you react vs. respond to various events in your life. Just noticing gives you the opportunity to improve your next moment. For example, mindful meditation could help you become more intentional and thoughtful vs. emotional and judgmental with anything that happens on a daily basis.

The way I started mindful meditation and focused attention was to write down one thing at the end of every day that made me feel happy. Sometimes, it was something funny one of my kids did or a big milestone they reached. Sometimes, it was acknowledging that I had the chance to go for a long, uninterrupted run. Sometimes, it was stopping and noticing that my husband and I watched an entire movie after the kids were in bed and we both made it through without dozing off (little victories!).

Doing this helped me reflect on the day and acknowledge each event without judgement. I choose to write down the happy moments because it lets me go to bed feeling happy, ready to wake up with a positive outlook for the next day.

This is my form of mindful meditation. I’m tuning in, reflecting on my day, and writing it down. It’s helping me realize how often I react vs. respond, which in turn is hhelping me tune in to reactions so I can be more intentional in the next moment.

There’s no right or wrong way to meditate; you have to find what works for you. Whether it’s meditation (in the traditional definition), focused attention or something else, do what delivers the best experience for you.

So the next time you come up with an excuse for why you can’t meditate, ask yourself, if meditation isn’t for me, then what is?

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. If you find meditation to be a challenge, ask yourself why that is. Is it a limiting belief? Or rooted in truth?
  2. What is one thing you can start to do today to begin to incorporate mindful meditation or focused attention into your daily routine?
  3. How can you leverage mindful meditation or focused attention to help you become more intentional in each moment?


Consider reading Experience Isn’t Your Enemy

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