April 7, 2021 Fadela Hilali

Are you focusing on the wrong problem?

Have you ever had a eureka moment, only to find out you completely missed the point? You see, when we start talking about problems we have, be it with a trusted friend or a coach, the issue is rarely the one we think it is. Often, what we’ve identified as the problem is: a symptom, a byproduct of another challenge or even the remnant of an old issue that we ended up identifying with (“that’s just the way I am”). I’ll put my hand up, I’ve had that happen more times than I care to remember! Heck, for the better part of two decades I was convinced that the reason I was overweight was because of a slow metabolism! I was completely oblivious to the fact that I used food as a coping mechanism to deal with…everything! Instead of working on ways to deal with my emotions, I spent my precious energy and resources going on every diet under the sun (and failing miserably).

So how do you make sure you’re focusing on the right problem?

1. It’s tempting to bring up the entire cast of your life to the discussion, but stay focused on YOU. Yes, that means using “I” (no royal “we” ) when describing the situation. 2. Get specific and stay away from generalisations: “I’ve been reading on my Myers Briggs personality type and it reminded me of this video I watched on the impact of being the second born, blah blah”. What’s the real challenge for you right now? So the next time you’re tempted to jump to “fixing” things, take a few moments to slow down, ground yourself, and make sure that you are focusing on the right problem. I promise, with a little of practice, this can be a game changer.

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