Q. I'm in a stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off mood. I have had problem after problem this year. As the year comes to a close, I really wish things at work would just smooth out. I really do try to be proactive but can't seem to escape issues. What is the point of learning people skills if you still have problems?
A. Advanced people skills don't negate problems, but you do end up not having the same problems over and over again.
When I begin working with clients, I find many of them think that the fact that they have any problems at all is proof they are defective human beings. Over time, they clients learn that everyone has problems. Some people pretend they don't have issues, some people always look mowed over by their issues, and some people actually learn to use their issues.
Problems, with the right tools, can be ridden like a perfect wave to the beach of your choice if you just learn the skills of surfing challenges. Consider following a new approach to problem solving.
--Stop beating yourself up for having problems. Having problems is just proof that you're on planet Earth.
--Ask yourself what your worst-case scenario is with your current problem.
--Notice your worst-case scenario (e.g., being homeless) is more about emotions than likely expectations, and validate your emotions about your fears.
--Ask yourself what outcome you want.
--Figure out what power you have to create this outcome and do this.
--Define what you can't control and don't do this.
When we have a problem, the universe has generously handed us a puzzle that does have an answer but it will take patience, resourcefulness and creativity to discover. Answers to really tough problems may even take us years to find. And, if the Buddhists are right about reincarnation, then really, really good problems could perhaps take lifetimes.
The point is to try to be patient with hanging out in the shadow of a good problem. In certain societies that valued being a warrior, there was a value attached to having a worthy opponent in a fight. A good life will present you with many problems that oppose your peace of mind and happiness. If you treat these problems like worthy opponents, rather than feeling like a victim, you'll be more likely to find an answer.
In your workplace, once you solve a problem you will be free. Celebrate ... and then discover a new problem. As you solve problem after problem, you'll have more celebrations, more freedom ... and then more problems.
Develop a warrior mindset, and move beyond the same old boring problems in 2013. Start having problems that are "worthy opponents."
The last word(s)
Q. I'm from the South, and I find many people I talk to speak so fast. Is there a tool to connect with people who speak faster or slower than I do?
A. Yes, communication is about matching the style of whomever you engage. Develop the ability to speed up with New Yorkers and slow down with your Southern friends, and you'll connect to everyone.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
Problems are doorways to freedom
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