There are three ways to deal with a problem, I think.
- Lean into it.
- Lean away from it.
- Run away.
You lean into a problem, especially a long-term or difficult one, by sitting with it, reveling in it, embracing it and breathing it in. The problem becomes part of you, at least until you solve it. You try one approach and then another, and when nothing works, you stick with it and work around it as you build your organization and your life. [I don’t mean you just bully the problem, or attack it. I mean that you accept it, live with it, breathe it and whittle it until you’ve achieved your goal. Once you start looking forward to your interactions with the problem, then you’re leaning into it.]
Some people choose to lean away from the problems that nag them at home or at work. They avoid them, minimize them or criticize the cause. Put as little into it as possible and maybe it will go away.
And sometimes, a problem is so nasty or overwhelming that you just run away.
I’m a big fan of the first approach. And sometimes, quitting isn’t such a bad idea. The second approach, alas, is the one that many of us end up with by default, and the one that’s least likely to pay off.
If that helps with this year’s resolutions, it was worth thinking about…