Saturday, May 29, 2010

Overwhelmed by Problems? Read on and Feel Better

By Julie Marie Rahm

In my last blog entry I mentioned a client who feels like he is in quicksand, overwhelmed by life’s challenges. If your metaphorical level is tilting from being overwhelmed by problems, read on to find out what to do about it.

Step one: Write down every problem you have. List them all. If you want to call them by a gentler term like “issues” or “challenges” feel free. Sometimes they really just feel like problems. If that’s the case refer to them accordingly. You can work your way up to better-feeling nouns. In the process, understand that you are not your problems. And, you can handle them. "Life is what happens while we're making other plans." (John Lennon)

Step two: Read each problem and decide if it is really your responsibility to solve. For instance, are you giving your adult kids money to pay their mortgages with no end in sight? Is that your responsibility, or are you depriving them of an experience the universe is providing to prepare them for something in the future?

Step three: Take out your metaphorical plumb bob and let it point to the heart of the matter. Identify which problem is the most important one to tackle first.

Step four: Use your metaphorical utility knife to cut your thought connection to the other problems on your list. Relieve yourself of the thought burden and confusion they create. Set the remaining problems aside so you can come back to them once the first problem is solved.

Step five: Use the Plumb Bob Priority Quiz below to prioritize issues in solving the problem.

Answer the question: What is the end result you can’t live without?

Get to the heart of the matter and determine your priorities by answering these questions.

1. Is there a physical safety risk?

2. Is there a financial safety risk?

3. Is there a relationship risk?

4. Is there an emotional/mental/spiritual risk?

5. Is there an integrity risk?

6. Is there a values risk?

Repeat this process until your problems are solved.

Whatever legal, moral and ethical path you take in problem-solving, know that no path is right or wrong. Each path simply provides different experiences. Some experiences feel better than others. You can handle it.

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