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The Business of Problems

There are three ways to deal with a problem, as near as I can figure.

Lean into it.

Lean away from it.

Run away from it.

You lean into a problem, especially a big serious scary one, by sitting with it. Reveling in it. Wearing it if you can. The problem becomes a part of you, until you solve it. You try one approach, then another, then another. When you start looking forward to your interactions with the problem (the clunky onboarding, the lousy supplier, the too-complicated whatever), then you’re leaning into it.

I remember leaning into solving moguls on a ski hill. I was in Mexico, barefoot, with a ski magazine in my hand, reading about how to ski moguls better, visualizing being on a mountain. Right there, that was the moment I became a real skier, leaning into it.

Some people opt to lean away from the problems that nag them. They avoid them, minimize them or find fault somewhere else. “It wouldn’t even be a problem if …” Leaning away from a problem means that you believe if you put as little into it as possible, it might go away.

Sometimes a problem is so awful that you just run away.

I’m most in favor of the first approach, and frankly sometime quitting (running away) isn’t such a terrible idea.

The second approach is the one that too many people end up with by default, and the one that is least likely to pay off.



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