Many times in life, we face challenges that we perceive as very BIG problems. The reality, in almost every case, is that the challenge consists of little problems we have “gobbed” together to make one gigantic problem.
Even if your challenge is cancer – it’s not just one problem, but many. It’s obviously a health problem, but it’s also a time problem, a job problem, an extra income problem, a on-going health care problem, a second opinion problem, a working from home problem, a driving solo problem, a taking care of the kids problem and so on.
My point – it is a lot of little problems. Like all obstacles in our lives, they can be addressed. You can come up with a solution, or at least a new found perception of the challenge you face. Ultimately, what you learn in the pursuit to fix these little problems can make your life better than when the big problem first beset you.
I have been lucky to spend time with amazing people who have survived cancer. They have shared with me how having the disease forced them to fix so many problems in their lives. They actually said to me that it was truly the best thing that ever happened to them.
For me, the early failures in starting small businesses have allowed me the tools to break down every obstacle I now face. My previous downfall – I repeatedly looked at each setback as one enormous problem. Now, I help others as a coach, consultant and advisor by teaching them how to “Go Simple.”
Bigger is Not Better
Simplify the big problem into a lot of small problems. Create a list. Start by writing down the big-picture. Then, begin to grow your list by adding the small stressors that may arise from the initial problem. Next, start addressing each of them – one by one. What happens next? You begin to scratch one problem, after the other off your list. You catch a break, obtain some momentum and then as the smaller problems begin to disappear what seemed impossible at first now seems almost trivial.
Here is a great illustration of this “Go Simple” approach utilized during the Delta and Northwest merger.
Included in the article below is a photograph of the master guide used by Delta – created by thousands of colored post-it notes.
How to Merge Two Airlines
…Delta and Northwest announced their merger in April 2008. They immediately began planning for what turned out to be an 18-month sprint to integrate 1,200 systems across the two airlines…Read more.
Empowered with your checklist, the most important step is analyzing the answers to one very important question:
How can I make this the best thing that has ever happened to me, my business and my family?
This is a game-changing question. It immediately changes your focus from “making the problem bigger” to perceiving the “overcoming of the problem” as the catapult that sends you toward the greatest breakthroughs of your life.
If you can ask yourself this tough question, come up with one or two answers, then execute one or two “fixes” to your list of tiny problems – you will suddenly see the light at the end of the tunnel. Consistent action. Steady progress. Inevitable growth.
The trick is to derive a system that allows your mind and your life to be simplified. Take the BIG problem and dissect it into a lot of little, tiny, miniscule hiccups.
How can your current challenge become the best thing that has ever happened to you?