Problem Solving 101

Sometimes problems appear as something that is broken that you need to fix. Other times problems present as needing to learn something new. Or the problem may be an interaction with another person that is challenging. I don't claim to be an expert in solving problems, but I work in IT so I've faced my fair share of problems that need to be solved. When I have a difficult problem I'm faced with I usually run the gambit of emotions most people go through at one point or another: frustration, anger, apathy, sadness, passion, focus and determination. I often have to remind myself that I need to step back, put my emotions aside and put a plan in place to solve the problem. Rarely do problems just go away, (though sometimes they do because God does give us miracles we can't explain) and rarely does someone else just solve my problems for me (though sometimes you have people to help you find a solution). Once I accept I'm stuck with my problems, what do I do next? I was f…

Having Passion And Not Forgetting Why

When you look up the word passion in the dictionary there are a few definitions, but the one I'm thinking about is, "an intense desire or enthusiasm for something." It seems that few people feel passionate about their job or about school if you are a kid. You know these people, the ones that seem to go to work to do as little as possible to get by, to not get fired, to show up to class just enough to pass so they can ultimately graduate and be done. There probably aren't as many of them as you think, the problem is that they are the loudest, the vocal minority. They are passionate about telling others how they have no passion for their job.

One of the things I'm trying to teach my daughters is to find something to do in life that they love and truly understand why they love it. No matter what job or career they choose there will always be difficult people to work with. There will always be those coworkers that have no passion. There will always be challenging day…

Watching Others Fail

Man do we love watching others fail. Usually it isn't a good day for your team to win, you also need the team you don't like to lose. You are happy, excited even, when someone who wasn't nice to you gets what they deserve. We watch hours of videos where people fall down or crash into something.

When we relish in the failures of others all we are doing is trying to feel better about ourselves and the fact we fail too. We seem to think that there is a limited amount of success that is available in the world. Every time someone succeeds we think that lowers the chance of our success.

In reality, success and failure are both something that there is an infinite supply of. We are stronger when we build off of each others success, even the success of people we don't like that much. How we react to someone else's failure tells us far more about our own character than the other person.

Stop Being Afraid Of Your Failures

We hate to fail, don't we? Things go poorly and we beat ourselves up and assume everyone around us is laughing at our stumbles. Failure isn't the problem, the problem is when we assume our setbacks are who we are and we want to give up. We quit.

Here are the facts:

Everyone makes mistakes.We learn more from our failures than from our successes.The judgement you feel for your mistakes is more about you and hardly anything to do with others.Judgment of our failures speaks more about someone's insecurities than it does about our actual failures. When a child is first learning to walk, they fall down more times than the number of steps they take. If they stop trying after the first fall they would never be able to walk or run. Next time you fail, think of it as a learning opportunity that just gets you closer to figuring it out.

Each Win Is A Step

There is a debate that rages, probably inside most companies as they look to move forward in their industry. Balancing the celebration of past successes with the need to focus on preparing to face tomorrow's challenges. It often seems like it is management versus employees. Managers are never satisfied, nothing is ever enough for them. Employees just want to feel appreciated for past efforts and to see the light at the end of the tunnel that some day there will be a reprieve.

The fact is things never slow down. They never get easier. The competition never lets up so neither can you. You need to have a desire and focus on how you get better. If you are an athlete, dancer, artist, employee, teacher, student or coach you have a similar pressure to always be improving. Everyone wants to take a day off now and then, but that is what vacation days and the off season are for. When it is time to work, time to train, time to practice - give it everything you've got. The thing that sepa…

Examine The Labels We Use

Have you ever gotten labeled something that you aren't? Has someone said you are lazy? Selfish? Rude? A jerk? Whatever the label is you just can't understand why it was applied to you. Have you ever given up and just accepted a label, that maybe you aren't as good as you think you are?

Why do we let labels define us? Things get mislabeled all of the time, it doesn't change what it actually is. If you go to the hardware store and the label said it was a hammer but the item was actually a screwdriver it doesn't make the screwdriver wrong, the label is wrong. We treat inanimate objects better than we treat others and ourselves. Too often we apply a label and let that define a person.

We label generations and try to define millions of people by a basic set of qualities. I hate the label millennial and the way it is used to define a concept of a generation of people that are lazy and selfish. I know plenty of people at any age that work hard and energize me and I know p…

First Step To Winning Is Believing That You Can

My latest read is Tribal Leadership and two words jumped out at me reading it, entrenched mediocrity. It was worth reading the book for those two words alone. Two words that speak volumes about many issues in our teams, organizations and ourselves. It is so easy to start believing something about yourself because it has always been the case. This is the same concept when a team in any sport starts to lose and they continue to lose. Just like good teams find ways to win, bad teams find a way to lose. More often than not it isn't about talent, coaching or scheme, it is about the mindset of the team.

Do you believe you are great and can accomplish great things? Or do you think that this is just the way things are? Do you believe that there are forces at work against you that will never allow you to rise above where you are at?

If you think you can't win because of whatever reason, you won't. Instead think about how you can win in spite of it. People have overcome a lot harder…