Word Count: 417  |  Time to Read: 2 minutes  |  NOVEMBER 2013
Every Solution has a Problem
I always have to smile when I have an opportunity to remember my own coaching.

Recently, my wife and I made a big decision to fulfill an item that was on our bucket list.  

One would think that I would have been excited and happy.

I was miserable.

Rather than basking in the joy of our ability to fulfill a dream, I was overcome by the many problems that needed to be solved, as a result.  What's worse, I was consumed by fear about the bad things that could happen as collateral damage to our big decision.

"What is going on?" I thought.  "If I was coaching me, what would I say?"

After calming myself down with some quiet breathing and centering, here is what I saw:
  • Every decision or solution has a problem.  Actually big decisions tend to have many problems.  The fact that our decision presented knarly problems was a natural consequence of making a big decision.   
  • The reality that problems immediately presented themselves was not the sign of a bad decision or that something was wrong.  It simply meant that we had taken on something big and worth doing.  
  • Most of the problems I worry about never actually materialize.  It's like the Mark Twain quote "I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."  The solution is to pay attention to the problems that must be solved and
    be ready to respond to the inevitable
     unexpected surprises.  
  • As long as I resist the problems before me, I was immobilized, caught between the attraction of our decision and my inability to accept the problems that came with it.  Once I accepted the problems without resistance, I could see more clearly a way forward.
I gave myself a "mental dope slap" when I remembered these truisms that I often share with my clients who are embarking upon big, important decisions.

There is a larger story here.  Every day we make countless decisions and implement solutions to problems both big and small.  In our culture, there is a myth that somehow "good" decisions and solutions come without problems. If we do encounter problems, they are called "unintended consequences."

The truth is that every time we make a decision or implement a solution, we are also choosing to deal with problems some of which are predictable, some of which are unknowable.

By fully accepting this truth, we can take on decisions and solutions with much greater skill -and much less misery.