"There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one's errors. It not only clears up the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error."
--- Dale Carnegie
The excitement of having a new year is almost too good to be true. The possibilities for improving our businesses, relationships, and our health can make one giddy with anticipation. The future definitely looks brighter than yesterday!
But, (and there is always a but), this not being a perfect world, we are still going to encounter problems. You can count on that. Regardless of what rumors you may have heard, that business loan will still be there, your kids or you will still have to pay for college, you will still step in dog poo when you go for your morning jog, and that chronic back pain will not go away when the new president takes office.
"Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists."
--- Edward de Bono
There are many ways to handle problems, but as a business owner, a simple four (as suggested by John Maxwell) should help.
The first step is to accept that problems are an unavoidable part of doing business. As Zig Ziglar once said, "The elevator to the floor of success is broken, but the stairs are always open."
"The entrepreneur in us sees opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere they look. The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities."
--- Michael Gerber
Second, putting the problem in the right perspective increases your chances for success over it. Look for the opportunities in every problem. 3M is known for creating successful products out of failing in attempts to create other products. Out of their failures, they create, and sometimes stumble, upon greatness.
"I now know that I learn by solving problems as they arise. Rarely do we learn significant lessons, or significantly improve, any other way."
--- Bob Parsons
Third, problem spotting and problem solving are two different things. Don't point out a problem until you have a recommendation for solving it and are willing to take action to solve it.
"I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life...it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true."
--- Walt Disney
Lastly, the size of the problem is not near as important as the size of the person. Stretching yourself beyond your abilities exposes problem-solving skills you didn't know you had. Don't be afraid to reach beyond your limits.
As John Maxwell noted recently, "You can tell the caliber of a person by the amount of opposition it takes to discourage him or her. Joke writer Robert Orben says that he once saw an ad from an entertainer that read, 'Lion tamer - wants tamer lion.' Clearly, this performer wasn't looking for greatness but merely for something manageable. To lead at the highest level requires wrestling with problems seemingly beyond our ability to apprehend.
"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds."
--- Norman Vincent Peale