Creating a solution: where to focus your energy when a problem shows up

  • Evidence-Based

When a problem arises, for example, at work, with your children, your partner, do you feel that at that moment you are overwhelmed by various emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, insecurity, despair and embarrassment? Do you feel confused or unsure about what your next step should be in order to solve the problem? The truth is that we cannot avoid problems. They appear and affect our lives in unexpected ways. First of all, let me tell you that you are not alone. I know exactly what it is like to feel deadlocked and completely confused about what to do and where to focus. While you want to find a solution but you do not know how to proceed because everything seems confused.

I do not want anyone to feel this way, so I will talk about the five key areas you need to focus on when you want to solve a problem in your daily life.

Where to start? What should I watch out for? I’m so confused and overwhelmed! These are the questions and the words of my coachee. It’s the most common type of questions I get from people who have a problem in their life.

The good news is that the answer is simple. The not so good news is that it takes work and determination to stay focused when you want to create a solution.

Focus area # 1: Focus on the solution, not the problem

Identify these moments when the problem occurred less. Recognize what has already worked as a solution and do not focus on glitches. Although we tend to consider a problem as permanent, if we look carefully at the exceptions that exist, we will see there is hope. Pay attention to what works for you and not what worked for others.

Focus area # 2: Answer the “what” and not the “why”

Our discussions should not focus on why something happened. Instead, try to figure out what needs to be done. In other words, shift your attention to the solution. This principle helps us to avoid giving fictitious explanations to a problem and attributing wrong intention to people. Identify what will make you understand that the problem is solved.

Focus area # 3: Pay attention to what is and not what is not

We can start talking about shortcomings and things that did not happen. But the debate is useless. Instead, focus on what resources and strengths you have and may use to create a viable solution.

Focus area # 4: Use positive language

Express your desired outcomes in a positive language, that is, as a reflection of what you want to achieve and not what you do not want. It is difficult to imagine something that does not happen. It is counterproductive to set solutions that start with “I do not want to ..” because the solution is not measurable. Express the solution with “I want to …” and imagine how to implement it and what resources you will employ to that end.

Focus area # 5: Stop repeating solutions that do not work

If something does not work the first time, stop it! It makes no sense to repeat a resolution that has not brought any results so far. This helps us to reconstruct our thinking that we are incompetent and to focus on creating new solutions.


By focusing on these five key areas each time you have a problem, you will gain the ability to create solutions without confusion or stress. Remember that your ability to solve problems will improve over time if you stay dedicated and practice these skills.



PS: If you need help discovering your inner potential, discovering who you are, your purpose in life and what principles and values guide you, my signature self-awareness 1: 1 coaching program was created for you to help you finally feel whole and grateful in your life.

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O’Connell, B. & Palmer, S. (2007). Solution-Focused Coaching. Palmer S. & WhybrowA., (eds) Handbook of Coaching Psychology: A Guide for Practitioners. Routledge.


PhotoCredit: iStockPhoto


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