Sunday, December 02, 2012

Do you tackle problems or anticipate challenges?

Problems-  be it with boss, wife, work, or with life -  have to be addressed in life. But tackling problems is a time consuming way of dealing with life. It is rectifying the situation to bring back the status to normal. Nothing more. Tackling problems therefore often wastes lot of productive time.

Why do problems happen? They happen because you missed to do something that you should have done. They happen because you did not foresee something in advance, and therefore were not prepared to deal with the situation in the right manner. Problems happen because you were surprised with something emerging and were not ready to counter it quickly enough. In short, problems happen because you missed doing something yesterday. Problems are the result of yesterday's work not done well. It is far more productive to prevent problems, instead of dealing with them after they happen.

But to move away from tackling problems, you have to anticipate the challenges coming ahead, and prepare in advance. If you do not take this simple preventive action, you keep on spending time on fire-fighting on the yesterday's issues, instead of creating your future.

For instance, when you are unable to persuade boss to give you a raise, it is because you did not anticipate the challenge that the boss is facing in giving you the raise! When you are unable to deal with wife's over-reaction to your refusal to go for sunday movie, you did not notice and observe the build up of her frustration and therefore did not deal with it proactively. When you are stuck up in a job that is not giving you any satisfaction, you have not done enough to understand what gives you satisfaction. 

Why anticipating a challenge is so difficult for a professional? Anticipating challenges is not a rocket science. It is simply pressing a pause button once a while and taking stock of the events to anticipate what is coming. Professionals can take this step easily. But they falter at the next step. They do not know 'how to tackle the impending questions'.

For instance, they do not how to tackle of the questions of boss if he starts sharing them? Or how to tackle the growing frustration of your wife of which you are also a source? Or how to find 'what gives satisfaction in the job? Unable to deal with these questions, professionals push these questions under the carpet and hope that they will get resolved by themselves.

Average Professionals, i found in my coaching, dodge such difficult questions, hoping that the questions will go away, if they do not look at them for a long time. On the other hand, successful professionals deal with this questions proactively. They actively seek a Mentor ( an elder, a relative, ex boss, or even a Guru) who can help them 'resolve' these questions. Resolving such questions about people and self is a critical thinking skill that every professional has to learn. Today, professionals have another option. They find a coach to learn this skill of anticipating and dealing with these questions before they become big.

In my coaching, i have observed that this is a key difference between average and successful professionals. While average professionals spend far too much time on dealing with yesterday's problems, successful professionals spend all their time in creating their future.

How are you tackling your problems? In advance or after the event? 

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