I wrote about how people can’t solve problems that they are not willing to have. Yet one has to master the art of picking the right problems to work on as well. There had been times in my life when I wasn’t sure which problem to pick on dealing with and my attention became so diffused I wasn’t actually solving any problems but simply touching and going.
A lot of that life was during my previous career. We were often under a lot of pressure to do many things and deal with lots of problems with limited resources. And the result was the need to frequently and quickly get through a problem, declare it solved, and then go on to another one. There were long term issues, and shorter term ones. And one must learn to be able to prioritise them, as well as to properly trade-off resources across the long and short term challenges.
That prioritisation eventually becomes another challenge in itself. And this sort of self-referencing issue keeps popping up over my professional life. I discovered the importance of setting up buffer time for planning, to set aside budget for solutions to manage budgets and to ensure sufficient rest to be able to actually be producing more. Often times, we don’t recognise that the problems we pick naturally lend themselves to some peripheral problems that we need to deal with. That problems actually comes in a package when we are picking them.
Storytelling is a wonderful skill when it comes to communication and helping others retain information. It is also capable of influencing behaviours to a large extent. And so it has to be used and received carefully.
Stories that are attractive can be inconsistent. Just the other day, I came across this person who decided to be a career coach because he realised he had put so much time and energy into his work he neglected other important things in life. Having been a top performer at work, he now wants to work with individuals to help them perform well at work. Coaching allows his life to be more flexible and to “help” others.
Somehow, it was hard for me to receive that story. Not that I suspect it isn’t true but the difficulty is the fact that he is now teaching others strategies to progress and do well at work which had landed him outside the corporate ladder in the first place. It would seem like there is some paradox here. Surely, one would not want to lead more of others into the regret of neglecting family and life due to work having experienced the full force of that oneself?
I think it’s great more people are becoming entrepreneurs and creating value as freelancers or solopreneurs. A lot of the work to attract and market involves storytelling and positioning yourself well. At the same time, the story you tell serves as a way to align yourself and the work. An inconsistent story breaks that.