Everybody has problems. That is so not true

Dear reader,

I’m sure you disagree with the above title of today’s blog post. Sure there is not a single person on this planet, who would be completely without any problems. There is pain, hatred, misery, injustice, fraud, violence everywhere. It is impossible to not call that problems, sometimes even world’s problems. Trump and the like if you will.

I disagree to call these problems. Ahhhh. Let me explain (and no, I’m not a Trump fan).

Everybody experiences tough life situations. In fact, some of the most brilliant people have had it pretty tough. Yeah, shit happens to everyone. And some people make problems out of it. Others don’t. There is a profound difference between life situations and problematic situations. For example, I crash in a car accident and end up in a wheelchair. This a serious and difficult life situation. Now, there are (at least) two options:

  • I can cling onto this misery and expand it so that it will seriously damage and affect my relationships, my wellbeing, my job, even my explanatory style and cognition.
  • I can deal with it simply for what it is: shit that happened and cannot be undone or reversed. In this case with profound and lasting consequences. Yet this doesn’t have to mean that I’m having a problem and that my whole life will have to suffer because of it. My relationships might still be something worth living for. I might adjust to my job or change it if it can’t be adjusted. And about my wellbeing, there is no external factor that could influence it. It is my decision on which only I decide how to go about it.

Want to hear a secret? The choice which way to go, lies entirely within your hands. John Weakland, Steve de Shazer’s predecessor with whom the roots of the Solution Focused Approach first began, was such a wise man, for he said the following:

“Life is one thing after another, problems are the same damn thing over and over again”

When something unexpected and unpleasant happens, it becomes a problem if you handle it in a way that doesn’t work, namely by repeating or applying some of the strategies leading you nowhere, such as mourning, hiding, performing bad habits, blaming others or yourself, fighting, attacking, or else. You name it, you know exactly what you are doing that doesn’t work. Yet do you know what does work? Not in theory but in practice?

If your answer is no, here’s some good news: you can learn. People are not born with this, people develop these skills to reckon what is useful in a certain situation and what is not. There are myriads of resources available on the web and dozens of trainings where you can learn how to do it and discover it in a way that is right for you. I’m not saying it will be easy – it took me about 3 years and I’m still not where I feel I ought to be, but my life has dramatically changed ever since. And it hasn’t changed because the circumstances have changed. It has changed because I chose to take it into my own hands.

You’ve got all the power you need to be a person without problems. No matter what shitty situations life brings you.

Biba

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Picture borrowed. Can’t remember where from.

Wake Up, Butterfly!

Dear reader,

Happy goat’s 2015! The Chinese know, what they are talking about.

I hate computers. This time it’s happened to me and I didn’t save my draft, so I had a perfect post written for you and I’ve lost it because my computer went down on me. Really hate computers now for a while.

And yet, guess the previous post wasn’t good enough, so maybe it was a sign I could do better. So I’ll try. Hope you’ve entered 2015 with a few pounds more, because it is predicted, the winter will be long and cold 🙂 anyway, welcome to January. I’ve got news for you. It’s time, to go real. It’s time to open my own practice.

You’ve probably noticed by now the cautiousness and perfectionism. Both not so good when trying something new or making a big step forward. But you know, you want to be sure and you wait for the perfect moment. It is actually similar to when you have sympathies for someone and you don’t know when and how you can let them know that. You plan and wait for the right moment, but you are too afraid for what if he/she says no. Then, when you are courageous enough, suddenly you get ill. When you are healthy and courageous, your significant person goes out of town and you don’t have their contacts. When you collect the contacts, you are healthy and courageous and you try to compose that breaking point email, your computer dies (like mine did just minutes ago). You don’t give up and try over your phone, but then it’s already too late hours and you don’t want to disturb of course. You write in the morning. But it’s too early. So you plan to meet them in person. You have the courage, are healthy, with your phone fully charged, yet a huge pimple grows right in the middle of your face! So the pimple goes away and you are ready and everything looks ok. And then you are told that he/she found someone else in the meanwhile. You go home, throw away your new jacket that you bought for that special occasion and give up.

Sounds somehow familiar?

How many times have you been waiting for the perfect moment until it slipped away from you? Right in front of your eyes? To be honest, a perfect moment never comes. It is indeed never perfect. No matter how many times you try to improve this and that, there will almost always be some room for improvement. Now what you can do:

  1. a) wait a bit more, for your perfect moment to come or
  2. b) take the “good enough” moment.

It’s that simple. And because it’s simple, it’s, as you know, very difficult. How can you tell whether the timing is right? You might not notice. It might never come and you’ll spend your life waiting. When choosing option b and it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know the timing wasn’t right. And if you stick with a, you might never find out. The time will pass in both cases and it will heal wounds in both cases.

From my experience, option b eventually after some time passes and you look back, suddenly I realise that a “good enough” moment actually was perfect timing. What is good enough? You might notice from signs. If it helps, I’d like to share what signs told me that timing for me was right:

– I’ve reviewed edited a SF book and the author suggested I should think about my professional webpage so that she could mention me in the impressum;

– my first international scientific SF article is about to be published (yay for me!) and the publishers wanted to know my organization’s name;

– there are many international Solution Focused therapists, coaches, trainers and practitioners who are interested in collaboration;

– clients ask about my company and I’ve been invited to deliver a workshop where they wanted to know my prices;

– I feel it inside.

It may not be perfect timing, but it feels right. There’s a proverb that goes something like: “yes, no or wait”. I’d add “and look for signs if the answer is wait”. So maybe “good enough” is good enough. And when you start to pay attention and look for the signs, you might be surprised how many there actually are and you haven’t noticed. January is good for a fresh start. So go, fly, butterfly! Let me know how it goes.

first office

My first Office. A friend gave that huge mug.