Six Tips On Being Solution Focused

My approach to working with clients is to be always solution focused because strictly focusing on a problem tends to only amplify it.

Using a Band-Aid when needed to “stop the bleeding” will only go so far. Unless a client focuses on a solution, they will always be coming back with the same problem and the same cause.

To put it simply, don’t focus on getting cut, focus on staying away from sharp objects first. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Life will always present challenges in one form or the other and the key to living a successful life is in finding solutions to those challenges.

Here are six steps to help you in becoming more capable when it comes to finding solutions to any problems that might you might face in your business, finances, relationships or any other part of your life.

Don’t blow the problem out of proportion. It is common for you and everyone else when focused on a problem to make that problem larger in his or her mind than it really is. There are things that are huge in life such as divorce, death of a family member, illness or injury, losing a job, etc. Most problems in life are not a dramatic and as impacting as we make them out to be.

Put your problems into context and grade them according to severity on a scale of one to five. If you have many problems that rank a one or two, then that is just life. Other problems, the major ones that would score as a four or a five require more focus and attention. By putting your problems in perspective, they become easier to manage and to find solutions for solving them.

Stay positive. A problem cannot be solved with the same thought patterns that created it. If you think that you cannot solve the problem then it will not happen. As Henry Ford said, “If you think that you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right!”

A great way to stay positive it to look at your situation honestly, assess it, and ask yourself if the problem is unique to you or if others have gone through it too. The chances are when you think about it, you will realize that others have gone through the same thing and if they can do it, you can too!

The next time a problem comes your way; don’t just assume that it is unsolvable. Keep a positive mental attitude and find a solution.

Take It One Step At A Time. When it comes to problem solving the most common approach is to either throw money at it or time. Time is often the most useful commodity.

The majority of life’s problems do not just happen overnight. They took time to grow and develop before staring you square in the face. Think of weight gain as an example. You generally do not gain weight in the range of 30-50 pounds overnight. It usually takes a few years and a few holiday seasons of binging to get there. Once you decide to lose the weight, it won’t take a month or just a few weeks to do it. It will take time.

How do you walk 1000 miles? You do it one step at a time and each step takes time.

Take out a pen and paper, start writing out potential solutions, and break things down into more manageable pieces and parts. Start with small steps and actions while giving yourself the time to do so. Once you do that you will be surprised at just how solvable an issue can become.

Talk about the solution… not the problem.m When you stop discussing the problem and speak solely about possible solutions your focus instantly shifts. If someone comes to you with a problem ask what they think should be done to solve it and not, “What happened?” You can figure out the root-cause, and who or what is to blame later.

Gain focus on finding a solution and you can minimize the impact and damage that the problem has caused in a timely manner.

If you find yourself stuck in the problem, be mindful of the words you are using and the questions that you are asking. Are you still talking about the problem or are you talking about a solution?

Take time to think. Taking time to think when presented with a problem is one of your greatest assets. Too often people are in reaction mode as opposed to response mode. In reaction mode anything and everything is tried to be done in that instant to solve the problem. Without thinking of the ramifications of those actions, a problem can actually become worse!

Take the time to think about the solution for the issue and respond to it rather than react. A well thought out plan may just stop more problems from popping up in the future.

Take time to read and research if needed. This gives the brain more time to think and to be creatively engaged. You might be surprised to discover where the inspiration for your solution might come from. Give yourself time to think.

Honor your victory!  This does not mean to just give a sigh of relief or pat yourself on the back. By celebrating your success in solving an issue you reinforce the idea to yourself that focusing on the solution and finding it instead of focusing completely on the problem works.

Hopefully these six tips have helped you in some way to become more solutions focused than not. Do you have any other solution based approaches that you can share?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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