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Becoming a Master Problem Solver

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Being a problem solver means accepting the situation or problem for what it is. Just name the problem. Don’t sugar coat it, toss it in glitter or roll it in fluff – just name it, own it, accept it. And then, start throwing solutions at it.

I became dubbed the contagiously positive girl after practicing being a problem solver instead of always being a part of the problem. This was pre-contagiously positive days when I was working in the construction industry. My co-worker was in a frizzy over a problem, and I decided not to go down the rabbit hole where we didn’t think we could ever solve this, and I started to throw out every random solution I could think of at him. I even said things that I knew we would never do because they were so silly, but it defused his frustration (which is what I wanted) and he said, “you are so f**king contagiously positive.” Then we sat down to have a conversation, rationally, and started to really plan out what we had to do. We did so with way less stress and way more ease because we were not in reaction mode, we were in problem solving mode.

Everything is a practice. We practice so we can master something. Whether it be practicing to learn an instrument, or running a marathon, or learning how to create beautiful art. It all starts with a daily practice of learning, doing, learning, doing, learning, doing. And there may be “failure” in there, but it really isn’t failure, it is a part of learning and practicing something so much until you master it. The same is true for strengthening our spiritual, emotional, mental and attitudinal muscles. We practice, we learn, we do, and repeat.


I want to share with you two ways you can practice building up problem solving resilience and begin to master taking on any challenge that gets thrown your way.

1. If you can’t change the external situation, especially when it comes to overcoming a challenge with someone else, it is important to shift your focus back to your internal world. Meaning, change your mind about it. You simply say, “I cannot control the external situation/problem/challenge I’m facing, so I am going to work on changing my perspective about it so that I don’t take up permanent residence in Negative-Ville.”

What do you have control over?

  • Your attitude, your reaction, your response, and what you do next.

What don’t you have control over?

  • Other people, for example, what they believe, do, say, think, react and how they respond.

  • External circumstances that happen outside of your control, like weather, a pipe bursting, or your car breaking down.

Where should your focus go to build up resilience to solving the problem you are in?

  • The things you have full control over. That short, yet powerful list right above.

2. Changing your mind about something isn’t always easy, I totally get that. Trying not to control the uncontrollable and staying in our own lane is also difficult. I get this as well. This is a practice all on its own. One that I’m still working on mastering.

Begin this practice by accepting the situation or problem for what it is. Just name the problem. Don’t sugar coat it, toss it in glitter or roll it in fluff – just name it, own it, accept it. By accept I don’t mean be a push over and let it happen over and over and over again. I mean, don’t ignore that you have a problem. Call it out and get yourself into problem solving mode.

If you are going to through any pixie dust around, make it solution glitter. “This is the problem {name it]. I can’t fix the problem with another problem, so I accept that I have this problem and now I’m going to shift my mind towards being a problem solver and start to think of all the solutions that I can take action on to be the solver of the problem, not be more of a problem to the problem.”

Make a list of all the potential solutions, and start working down the list until one solves it. Maybe it will be the first one, maybe it will be the tenth, but eventually you will find the solution. “My solutions, even the ones that sound like they could never work are this…”

And that is how we begin to practice unleashing our problem solving resiliency power.

All love,

Laurie-ann Sheldrick

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© 2014 Contagiously Positive
All rights reserved
Website by Monolith Digital