At any moment in time, things can happen that will disrupt our day. But we can learn valuable insights during such times. Disruptions can become profound teachable moments. Such an event occurred to me.
I was washing clothes, preparing for our family to leave the following day on a camping trip. The water flow going into my washing machine was exceedingly slow. I had been improvising by attaching a hose from my laundry tub faucet to my washing machine to fill it.
When the phone rang in our office, I didn’t bother to shut off the faucet, thinking I would only be a minute.
As I begin this Threads of Life series, I would like to give some background on why FOCUS is so important and why it is the name I chose for my company, my motto, and my website.
When my husband and I took early retirement from teaching in Oregon, we moved to northern Washington to build our dream home and spend time sailing in the San Juan Islands.
My husband joined a group of talented musicians who played in a local rehearsal band and I returned to teaching part time at Chapman University Extension Center. However, long evening class hours prompted me to leave the formal classroom for good and start giving workshops and classes in ADHD parenting, pain management, stress management and communication.
When we meet someone new, we say, Hi, my name is_____________, and start a conversation.
As that conversation continues, we gradually get to know one another. So, for those who are new followers of my blog and podcast, I would like to formally introduce myself.
Hi, I am Marlene Anderson and I write and speak on how you can take advantage of any challenge, turning it into something positive and meaningful. (You can learn more about me on my website About page and Speaking & Workshops page.)
As a former licensed counselor and college teacher, I share my training and life experiences, offering strategies to help you tackle life’s challenges. These become a toolbox of approaches that can be used to combat fear and anxiety, recognize and solve problems, and take charge of your life.
Healing from a major loss is not easy and isn’t accomplished in a few months or even a year. It is a process that involves coming to terms with something you had not expected or wanted.
Taking charge of rebuilding your life will empower you to step out in confidence.
You have completed and applied the suggestions given in the last six month’s posts on recovery and rebuilding. Losses can be tricky and difficult to process, and you can become discouraged. But when you recognize your progress, you will have confidence to keep marching forward.
Last week we addressed conflicts and problems that exist between more than one person, and how you can properly identify the problem, given two different perspectives.
This week I share a major problem I faced and how I was able to resolve it.
After the death of my husband, I was faced with a huge financial decline along with a house we had just built, a small mortgage and lack of immediate resources.
My basic problem: What do I do now? What are my options?
When you learn the basics of problem-solving it will be a skill that you use automatically.
In last week’s post, I outlined five basic components of problem solving; questions you need to ask to find the solution you want. Today you will set the criteria to resolve your problem and learn how to identify exactly what the main problem is.
Identify the problem – define the conflict
Whether the question is how to advance beyond basic survival, how to prepare for your financial future, or how to better communicate with your spouse, it is crucial that the problem be correctly defined.
Unless the problem is correctly defined, you will be trying to rid yourself of emotional distress rather than resolving the actual problem.
We experience problems every day that require some kind of action. Most are insignificant, or require little thought, such as, What will I wear today? Do I want to take the weekend off and get away? We make a decision and move on.
But other problems are more complex with more serious outcomes, such as, How can I make enough money to support my family or care for an aging parent? How do I survive this pandemic?
One problem often has a multitude of other problems attached, each requiring thought and consideration. An aging spouse with health issues may require additional care.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
We live in an age when information is available 24/7. Just install the right app and push the right button and you have anything and everything you want.
But do we?
We sign up for interesting and exciting courses online thinking when we have completed them, we will be able to bake a cake, take apart a car engine or know the best ways to travel. While all of this is wonderful and exciting, there is one step missing. Application.
Throughout this year, my blog posts have offered information, tools and strategies to meet the everyday challenges of life. But that information is just that – information – until it is used. Until we personally apply the information that can help us, it will simply remain good ideas.
“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 faced.
Life is ongoing problem solving.
And as much as we hate to have yet another unexpected intrusion in our well-laid plans, life would be pretty dull without them.
Problems of any kind demand some kind of resolution. 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 others are more complicated and demand more thoughtful consideration. While symptoms keep us edgy and anxious, it may take a while to actually identify the problem that is creating those symptoms.