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Do you have problems? Are they the type of problems that have you scratching your head to figure them out? Or do they simply seem insurmountable? You might have problems with time, money, and relationships at home or at work (or both). Do you ever feel overwhelmed with it all? If you feel this way, you probably think that you are stuck with your problems and that try as you might, you can’t seem to get rid of them.

What if I told you that your problems aren’t what you think they are? What if it turns out you’ve been focusing on the wrong things all along? It’s true. Many people are convinced that they are a victim of their circumstances — that they have little or no control over what happens to them in life. They suffer day in and day out with their job, their bills, etc. feeling helpless to do much about it. And you know what happens? Nothing changes, because they continue to feel helpless and stuck with their problems in the same way they always have.

They say that one definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over and expect a different result. But isn’t that what many people do when it comes to their problems? They might hate their job or feel down-trodden at home, and yet they continue in the same way, hoping things will change, and they never do. What is wrong with this picture?

There needs to be a shift in the way you view your problems. You need to know that you are instrumental in whether you have a problem, and what problem you have. Problems are part of the outward expression of your life. They show you where you are not being effective at getting what you want. Problems are an essential part of the feedback you need to make adjustments in your world. Problems don’t usually just go away, they require you to do something differently to make the change happen. Sitting around waiting for someone else to change or save you is not going to work.

As a coach, I help people work with problems all the time. But before we can tackle any problem, a client needs to take ownership of that problem. Yes, ownership, as in responsibility. Until you own your problems, your problems will OWN YOU.

Until you take ownership of your problems, your problems will OWN YOU.

As soon as you own a problem you will begin to feel a positive shift. “If I contributed to this problem, then I have the power to change that.” Feel the sense of getting back on top of the problem, instead of drowning in it. Know that you are bigger than your problems. Allow yourself to open up to new possibilities to solve it. Ask yourself, “What type of person does not have this type of problem that I have? How do they manage the same type of situation? What would it take to think and act like them?”

Right now, look to see what you have allowed in your life that isn’t working for you. What do you need to change for things to be better? Do you need to talk to someone who is involved in the problem? How have you stopped yourself from taking action on your own behalf?

Get on friendly terms with your problems. Begin to see them as helpful reminders as to where you should focus your efforts to improve. Ask yourself, “How could I learn to do this better? Where can I find the support and resources I need to help me with this issue?” Begin to USE problems to show you where to focus your efforts to maximize your gain in the quickest amount of time. The better you get at taking note of your feedback (in the form of a problem) and making changes, the faster you will see results.