The more senior you become, the older you become, the more complex things seem to become – problems just seem to get more wicked!. More stakeholders to satisfy. Greater consequences of failure. Higher expectations. Shorter time frames. Etc, etc.
As a committed human being, what options do you have beyond hiding under the duvet? You can try and be clever – look for causes of problems – ask WHY? However, when you look into problems, you find more problems, you become “problem saturated.”
The lines between real, perceived and completely made up problems become obscure – helplessness can become a close companion. A different option, rather than to look backwards into problems, is to look forwards into possibilities.
Ask: What does success look like? How would I know things were moving forward? What would life look like if problems were absent? Suspend your judgement and answer these questions – coming up with at least 30 bullet points (50 if you’re up for a challenge). Then step back – what you’ll start discovering are the clues and signposts to make progress – possibilities around which you can design your own ways forward.
The morale of this blog? Thinking problems makes you an expert in problems; thinking possibilities makes you an expert in progress. Sit with this sentiment for a while and see if it makes sense. Better still, experiment with it and see what happens. You’ve got nothing to lose.
(Thanks to Evan George at for the quote: “Thinking problems makes you an expert in problems; thinking possibilities makes you an expert in progress”)