Do You Have a Problem?

Last last couple of weeks I have had the privilige to meet a number of inspirational people. New ideas have been popping up like mushrooms in autumn and I feel as if there are no problems, only solutions.

dices_optical_illusionIt’s not always like that of course, but it helps me to believe,, in times when the sky does seem the limit, that: “Problems are there to be solved and not to keep me from reaching my goals”.

In consultancy, workshops and coachings I use a certain approach to help people overcome the feeling of being paralysed by problems while working on their goals. It is not that I want them to forget about these problems, I only want to not let them get in the way of reaching a need or a want that is important to them.

There are at least two ways to avoid not even getting started on achieving goals or being side-tracked.

1: Make the goal smaller, easier to achieve, closer by.

By lowering the hurdles you at least start moving. Reaching goals, even small ones, will help and motivate you to keep going for more and before you know it, you are close to what you want.

An example: a friend hates cleaning up and making the house tidy, but also hates it when it is a mess. The effect is that she lives in an untidy house where she cannot fully relax. But getting started has become more and more difficult as the house gets more and more messy. The goal now feels like this huge mountain, which he does not even dare start to climb anymore.

I have asked him to limit his goal to one room at first and one corner of the room in particular. He found out that tidying up that part of that room only, takes him 15 minutes, which is acceptable to him. In that part of the house he can now relax and that gives him the motivation to take on more small parts of the house in every time 15 minutes.

2: Use the “Rating scale”

There are a couple of steps to follow. The aim is to concentrate on what is it what you want and what will help you to get there. Problems do not come in the equation.

Step 1:

Determine your goal. What is it that you want to achieve? Getting that job? Making better presentations? Discuss a difficult topic at work?

As long as you are clear on what you goal is and how the situation is going to be when you have reached that goal, you are doing OK. Be as specific as possible. The clearer the goal, the easier to know how to reach it.

Step 2:

Draw a horizontal line. Add the numbers “0” on the left extreme and “10” on the right extreme. This is your “Rating Scale”.

0 ————————————————————————————————————10

Above the “10”, write your goal/objective. That is on the “scale” 0 to 10 the goal to reach.

Step 3:

Determine on that same “rating Scale”, what you have already done/reached towards reaching that goal. Give that achievement a number on the scale and list what it is you already done/reached.

For example: my goal is making excellent and lively presentations in powerpoint. I give myself on the scale a “4”, as I do know already how powerpoint works, have some examples of how a presentation should look and have found somebody who knows to operate powerpoint very well.


It may surprise you that you do not start from “0” and that you have done some things that are helping reaching your goal already. It is good to see the positive things. They will help you to remain positive and think about what will help you even more.

Step 4:

Determine what the next step on the “Rating Scale” should be. Do not make it giant steps. Now think of what can help you to go this small step forward. What or who can help you, or has information you need. How will you recognise that you have reached this stage? What is it that you can do more/better than before?

In my example for instance, a “6”. What should I know or be able to do to “be a “6” on my scale? For instance: have a draft presentation that should later include the transitions.

What actions should I take to reach that “6” on my scale, coming from my 4? For instance: make an appointment with the “teacher”, have practices two or three slides with transitions and make a draft presentation which should include the tricks. 


Step 5:

Determine the next step you want to take. When you have reached your “6” state on your scale you determine the next step you want to reach and you find out what you need to get there and you take action.Continue till you have reached the step that feels good to you. Sometimes you will not even get till “10”. As you may find out that another level is what you really needed.

With this methode you concentrate on what you need and what helps you to reach your goals and helps you to not focus on problems anymore. You also see what you already have done and what you at least can start doing.

It is not often that you really start at point “0” on the scale. The fact that you got stuck in “problem-thinking”, often means that you where on your way already, but just got overcome by some hurdles. It helps to see that in a sort of measurable way.

What methods do you use to stay out of” problem-thinking” instead of “forward-thinking”?  Help us with your insights and knowledge via the comments.

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Esther Celosse




This entry was posted in Coaching on by .

About Esther Celosse

Esther Celosse has 20 years of experience in Trust and Banking. Since 2009 she works independently as a passionate executive coach, leadership trainer and consultant.She lived and worked in the Netherlands, Curaçao, Chile, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

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