By Howard Stanten MPT, CPCC
Problems to solve are like reporters in the White House press corps, address one and thirty others start waving their hands. Only when the Press Secretary walks away from the podium, do the hands stop waving.
Certainly, as Steven Covey teaches us, there is value in attending to problems that are “Urgent and Important.” He also taught us that getting caught up in the “Urgent and Not Important” is a barrier to success.
Like the White House Press Secretary that lingers at the podium too long, if you stay focused on solving problems, you will become consumed by them. Being caught in what I call the “problem solving trap” disconnects you from becoming what Robert Fritz calls, “the predominant creative force in your own life.”
If we spend all our time living in a problem-solving paradigm, we become reactionary slaves to outside circumstances, choosing to address “Urgent and Not Important” problems in deference to creating the life, business, or organization we really want. Fritz goes on to explain, “A person adopting this strategy does not take action to create what he or she wants…(but) takes action only to reduce the pressure that is synthetically manufactured by visions of negative consequences.” “What we really want,” gets ignored as we spend all our time working to solve problems to avoid the perceived negative consequences of not solving them.
The path forward to getting what you really want for your life, business, or organization moves through Covey’s “Not-Urgent and Important” domain. Here, the more relevant question to ask is, “Am I being the predominant creative force in my life?” And, this is about making the conscious choice to spend some time with a blank page, take a stand for what you really want, and then start filling that page with choices that lead to action around what matters most.
Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC is an Executive Leadership and Professional