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Posts Categorized: Developing a New Focus

Thanksgiving Psalm of Blessings

giving thanks

Blessings – they are there in the everyday routines of life. But we seldom see them because we are so caught up in our work and worries.

Sometimes in our tragedies and sorrows we think there is nothing for which to be thankful. Yet I have found it is precisely in my tragedies and sorrows where I have found God waiting to provide comfort, strength, and hope.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll share some things I’m grateful for.

How Purpose, Optimism, Values, and Beliefs Work Together

optimistic women

Beliefs and values are very powerful. We will die for them. We will kill others for them. We will give up comfort and safety for them. We need them.

Today on my blog and podcast, you’ll discover examples of healthy vs. unhealthy values and beliefs, and you’ll get tips for developing the skills of optimism and purpose.

Problem-Solving, Step 4: Try It On For Size

When I go through department stores, I am constantly on alert for that good bargain or unique pair of pants or top I might enjoy wearing.

If something grabs my attention, I hold it up in front of me in a nearby mirror to do a quick assessment. Does the color look good? Do I like the lines of the garment? What draws my attention to it from all the others on the rack?

If I still like it after a quick evaluation, I will try it on. Only after I have tried it on will I know whether it is right for me.

Problem solving works that way, too. When we choose an option we think will be the solution to our problem, we “try it on” to discover whether it is the right choice for us.

Read on for ideas about how to productively “try on” and assess solutions.

Problem-Solving, Step 3: Evaluate, Prioritize, and Choose

brainstorming

In step one of this series, you identified the problem, looked at it from different perspectives and expanded it to include all possible contributing factors.

In step two, you listed potential solutions. As you brainstormed and generated possibilities, fresh ideas were added to your list without preliminary judgment or comparisons.

Now, in step three, it is time to evaluate, prioritize and choose.

Which solutions are relevant and helpful? Which might point to another possibility you hadn’t thought of yet?

Problem-Solving, Step 2: Brainstorm Possible Solutions

family discussing a problem

Once a problem has been identified, we can start looking for solutions. In this step, we begin brainstorming all the ways we can find a solution. Be as creative as you can. Don’t dismiss any possibilities even if they seem bizarre or impossible. Writing them down often helps us see alternatives we wouldn’t have thought of without this free flowing of ideas.

There are so many variables, both to our problems and their potential outcomes. Ask friends and others you know to help you brainstorm. You want as many suggestions as possible.

Continue reading for more tips on creatively generating solutions to problems.

Problem-Solving, Step 1: Identify the Problem and Define the Conflict

glass of water

Most decisions we make are so insignificant we rarely think about them, such as, “What will I wear to work today?” or “What shall I plan for dinner?” But other decisions are more complicated, demanding thoughtful consideration.

When symptoms keep us edgy and anxious, it may take a while to separate and identify the problem from the symptoms it is creating.

Today on my blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the importance of recognizing when a problem is a problem and clearly defining the conflict.

Work on Problems, Not Symptoms

Woman looking into cracked mirror

We often confuse our initial emotional responses as the problem itself. However, our emotional reaction is the byproduct of problems.

For example, you find yourself reacting with anger whenever your spouse suggests something. Before you even take time to consider the request, you have already identified the problem as your spouse.

The real problem – unresolved conflicts between the two of you and inability to communicate appropriately – hasn’t been identified.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’ll give you five tips for rationally identifying a problem, and we’ll dive deeper into the basic components of problem-solving.

Problem Solving: 5 Basic Components

rubix cube

“You think you’ve got problems – you should hear what happened to me last week…”

And on and on it goes – we cannot wait to get together and share our stories of what new disaster we encountered.

Problems usually require a decision of some kind. Most decisions are small, but even small ones have consequences.

Today on my blog and podcast, I’m starting a new series on problem-solving. This week, we’ll examine decision-making and I’ll introduce you to five basic problem-solving steps.

Step 9 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

Throughout this 9-part series on my blog and podcast, you’ve been learning that any transitional period can create a sense of confusion, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Sometimes a crisis or loss will trigger feelings of anxiety and even panic. Sometimes there is an underlying discontent that has gone unchecked for a long time, and you ask, “Is this all there is?”

But it is precisely at such times that you have the opportunity to gain a new perspective – develop a new focus.

Today I’ll share an example of two siblings who grew up in the same household, but whose lives took dramatically different directions based on how they framed their circumstances.

Step 8 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Celebrate and Affirm Your Work

garden watering can and trowel

Gardens are never complete. Sometimes new dirt is needed, fertilizer spread, gravel replaced, old plants and bushes removed, trees trimmed, and new plants planted.

But to the gardener, once the initial design is in place, it is a joy to continue to build, refine and maintain their garden. It is an ongoing labor of love.

Your life, too, is constantly evolving. You take a vision, develop a design, and work it out with goals. You may want to alter parts of your design or add more to it. But it all becomes an exciting project because you already know where you want to go.

Today on my blog and podcast, you’ll get a toolbox of 10 essential life skills you can apply anytime, anywhere.