I am here to help you with problem solving. To tackle the things that are overwhelming.
Crazy. Busy. Frustrating. Chaotic. Not enough. Stuck.
Notice, these are all adjectives. They give us clues into our minds. They help break a problem down.
Do you remember the parts of speech? (Urgh! A grade-school English lesson? Really?! I know. Bear with me. It will only take a minute.)
- Adjective – Describes a noun
- Adverb – Describes a verb, adverb, or other adjective
- Nouns – A person, place or thing
- Pronoun – Substitute for nouns. She/Her. He/Him. They/Them. Also: It, That, I, Me, We, Us, Who
- Verb – An action (or inaction)
- Preposition – Tells you the relationship between other words
- Conjunction – A connecting word (and, but, or)
- Articles – The, this, a, an
- and a bonus Interjection – To express emotion (Oh! Wow! Oops!)
Who cares? When you have a problem, YOU do.
When you have a problem, get paper and pen and write the problem out in detail. Next, go back and underline ONLY the facts. (Hint: you will never underline an adjective, adverb, or interjection.)
Definition of fact? – Noun. Known or proved to be true.
Our description of facts is what makes something a problem, AND they are totally OPTIONAL. Always. Your mind is offering thoughts (adjectives), and those thoughts create emotion for you. You might decide to keep them, but you don’t have to.
Let’s look at a problem I have right now.
My kitchen counter is a disgusting mess. There are dirty dishes everywhere. It is so embarrassing!
The facts? Kitchen counter. Dishes.
Adjectives? Disgusting. Mess. Dirty. Everywhere. Embarrassing.
Notice: Not everyone agrees that the counter is disgusting, or a mess. My dog wouldn’t think of the dishes as dirty. Technically, the dishes aren’t EVERYWHERE and only I feel embarrassed.
Just knowing that the adjectives are optional gives me space to decide how I want to think about the kitchen counter and dishes. I can instead decide to think: “There are dishes on my kitchen counter. I am going to load the dishwasher and wash them”. No problem. No drama. Done.
Watch out! Those pesky adjectives create so much DRAMA. You can choose your adjectives.
If you choose poorly, you create negativity. If you choose wisely, you create positivity.
Here is one I hear often when I am coaching. I bolded the facts. Notice how different adjectives create different feelings:
This project is very complex and impossible to complete on this timeline. (Creates a feeling of being overwhelmed and drives a lack of action.)
This is an important project that I want to complete on this timeline. (Creates feelings of commitment and drives problem solving.)
This is a fun project, like a puzzle, that together we can complete on this timeline. (Creates feelings of curiosity and drives activity.)
This week, spend some time noticing the adjectives your brain offers you. Don’t try to change them. Do not judge them. Get curious about them. Just notice them and ask yourself what emotion they are creating and what action that drives.
It is surprisingly powerful.
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