When challenges come down the line, you respond.  You’re intelligent, thoughtful and balanced.  This is your outside persona at its best – the persona that’s supported your success. You’re trusted with responsibility, the company’s bottom line and a team of direct reports to mentor and manage because of this outside persona.

But what’s going on inside, while that outside persona is taking care of business?  Do you ever feel a lump in your throat, a small stomach ache coming on or a splitting headache erupting, when those challenges come down the pike?

Fix-it Mode vs. Solving Mode

We can often get into a “fix-it” mode instead of a “solution” mode when simple and complex issues show up in the workplace.  In the “fix-it” mode, all of our attention is on finding the fix as quickly as possible, so that we can feel better again – less anxious about the challenge we are facing. 

We may throw everything we have at a problem before taking a moment to assess the best way to respond. Or, we may become so overwhelmed, we retreat and give up, making the issue worse.

In addition, when we’re in “fix-it” mode, we could be worried, afraid, focusing on the worst-case scenario and seeing lots of trees but no forest.  At our core, when we are in this mode, we don’t trust that ultimately all will be O.K.  

With our adrenal system maxed out and our anxiety thoughts projected into a scary future where this problem doesn’t get solved, we are in no shape to find a solution.  So, the faster we can get out of “fix-it” mode, the better for everyone involved.

Coach Me Quick Steps to Get out of Fix It Mode:

Stop: Catch yourself moving too fast.  Notice how you feel.  Are you worried?  Are you expecting the worst?  Maybe your heart is beating a bit faster?  Stop.  Take yourself out of the situation – even momentarily.  Just a short respite, is an acknowledgement in itself and will change the way you address these challenges.

Observe: How are the people around you responding to this situation? Ask yourself; if this wasn’t your problem to solve, what would you do?

Listen: Ask for advice and listen.  What are the ideas that are coming from your team? What are some new ideas that might be coming from inside you if they are given a moment to percolate?

Vision: Create a vision for a win-win solution. You don’t need to know how you will get there.  But focus on the day after the solution happens and all is well.  Use that vision to guide your way.

Engage: Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and address the situation.  Brainstorm, be creative, make it as easy as possible.  You might even have fun.  

If necessary, you can work through these steps in under 15 minutes.  This isn’t about taking a big time out.  This is about putting the time in, so that you can respond effectively to the endless series of “opportunities” coming your way!

Solving in L.A.,