Have you ever talked to someone who seems to have it all..health, looks, personality, success..? Yet when you look in their face you see worry and pain? And when you listen to the tone and pattern of their communication you hear only problems? (ie. “My wrist hurts”, “the economy is bad…”)
Well the problem may simply be that…there’s a problem. And here’s the bad news… there’s always going to be a problem!
Our society seems to have a collective ‘Problem Agreement’. In other words, it’s not the norm to be excited, inspired, perpetually grateful or awed by life. Our norm is to complain, blame and criticize. Of course it’s not possible to complain, blame and criticize unless, that’s right, there’s a problem! ‘Problems’ fuel our conversations.
Am I saying we should pretend to be happy and carefree if we’re not? No! That would just be ignoring or denying the fact that unexpected things happen in life that we don’t know how to cope with.
Instead I propose that we collectively decide to have a ‘Better Problem Agreement’. Instead of the usual problems, (ie. “I’m having trouble with my employee, spouse, kid, pet…” fill in the blank here) we decide to have bigger, more inspiring problems.
For example, the other day I sat down with a client for her coaching session and she immediately said, “I can tell you I’m not going to light up about anything today because I have a bad migraine.” Well that’s what she thought! Before I showed up, her migraine was her biggest problem.
During the coaching session we checked in about the movement and action steps she’d taken in growing her business. In that session what came up unexpectedly (from using the coaching tools that are specifically designed to create such revelations) is that in her dog grooming business she continuously gets the feedback that she is a dog-whisperer. Even her husband and daughter have told her that.
“The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes says a good business practice when selling is to give value (or education) to your clients, rather than just trying to sell them. “When you sell, you break rapport, but when you educate, you build it.”
So I immediately challenged her to create a free event where she would give a demonstration of her basic dog disciplining techniques. Her face changed completely. The pain disappeared and was replaced by excitement. Her communication went from “ouch” to “HOW???”
After that, our dialogue went in the direction of where to put the people? who to invite? what to say? We agreed it would be an easy sell to her existing clients who already are fans and who we know have dogs. But it would also be an easy sell to just about anyone else in the community who has a dog!
Kelli, owner of Kanine Kuts, now has a better problem. Her problem is her new project which will: give her business more exposure, build rapport with her new and existing clients, introduce people to a new branch of her business (her dog grooming school), and give her an opportunity to share her decades-worth of experience in dealing with animals.
Now THAT is a GOOD problem.