Too Much Problem Solving

I am a great problem solver. I am such a great problem solver that my skill caused a problem that wasn’t so easy to address.

I was handed so many problems over an extended period that I mentally shut down. I started believing nothing ever goes right! I started to feel like the players in my industry were all hostile or lazy. I grew frustrated with my team for always leaning too hard. I got irritated with my boss for having too high expectations. I did not care about my work anymore.

At home I was livid with my pre-teen for her inability to clean her room without strict monitoring or being able to remember her own assignments. Even the dog was on my short list for most hated problem causers. I started to watch for problems. I started to expect problems. I started to pick until there was a problem.

I was exhausted before the start of each day. I was angry and I felt disrespected before I even spoke to anyone. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t address my own legitimate problems because I was too tired and too dejected. I let it get too far.

I know how it happened. I am an enabler. I like to solve people’s problems. I like to feel useful. I like to feel needed. I like to meet goals and deadlines. I do not like saying no. I do not like leaving people frustrated. I do not like seeing people struggle. I do not like setting boundaries.

So, what is the solution?

Long term:  Address that enabler attitude that is seeking self-worth through sacrifice. It is time to start living with the discomfort of setting boundaries and leaving people feeling less than super-pleased.

Short term:  Take meaningful breaks.

Communicate that my expectation is always thoughtful action over paralysis. Give my team a chance to speak first when they have a problem. Encourage them to lean on each other. Empower my team members to super-please me.

Allow my personal connections to struggle. Before swooping in for a rescue, I should consider if the problem has a connection to me and if my input is appropriate. Do not commit to activities that aren’t meaningful or bring pleasure.

Don’t prioritize anyone’s problems over regular exercise and eating healthy.

Carrie Stephenson
Carrie Stephenson is an indirect tax specialist and audit firm manager. She combines her experience in the field of auditing with her interest in personal growth in order to serve as an “audit mom” for her team. Carrie is passionate about bringing fresh perspective and creativity to problem solving both at home and in the office.

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