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  What's the longest amount of time you've ever spent trying to solve an unsolvable problem? It could be weeks. It could be months. Maybe even longer. When it has happened to me and I discovered that what I was dealing with was a problem that had to be managed, not solved, I was both furious and relieved. Furious at the time wasted, but relieved because I could stop wasting time on it. It's also possible that while we might conjure up a solution to a problem that is causing us fits we could also discover that the problem doesn't even require a solution. It is, in fact, a situation with differences of opinion. Not a problem, but a conflict. Not every conflict can be resolved, but those that can behave differently than problems. There are differences in the perspective. Differences of opinion among the stakeholders. Different ideas of what an ideal solution should look like. What if the problem doesn't need a solution? What if it needs something else? Unthinkable? Onl
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Not So Easy?

Have you ever struggled with a change? Struggled to adapt to someone else's change? Struggled to influence others to follow your change? Change can be tough. Balance may be the key. Balancing stability and change, so that you avoid being overwhelmed, seems like such a great idea. Shouldn't it be easy? Balancing stability and change is the easiest thing in the world -- just like riding a bike in a hurricane. No, it's not so easy. If discouragement sets in, remember all those times you've changed before and roll with it. Change isn't hard -- it's unavoidable.   -- doug smith

Show You Care

Goals are important. So is how your goals affect other people. Did you consult anyone your goal will impact? Did you look for help from others? Did you help anyone else achieve their goals this week? People will care more about your goals when you care more about people. Show you care by listening, by helping, and even by laughing at their bad jokes. People are worth it. -- doug smith  

Interesting How That Works...

  If you want to sell something, you need at least two things: a really great product, and a really great you. People will care much more about what you have to offer when they care more about you. Products, goals, careers... People will care more about your goals when you care more about people. -- doug smith

Define Yourself

  The size of your goals does not define you, but your ability to achieve them does. What you define is secondary to what you do. Set meaningful goals, of course. Then, work them until you achieve them.  Sometimes you will fail. Try again. Sometimes you will succeed. Set a new goal. It's the work that gives you the juice you need to keep working. When people see that when you set a goal you mean business -- you mean to do what it takes to achieve that goal -- that sets a sharp definition you can live with. You do want to be known as someone who works to get what you want, don't you? -- doug smith

Manage the Goal

  Do you manage your goals? Setting the goal is important. Working the goal is essential. Powering up the goal with a path of high energy discipline is empowering. Also important: managing the goal. Like a project, with the discipline of steady effort and constant communication, each goal is managed to success. Each goal is a project. To get the most of your goal, you've got to manage that project. It does not happen on its own. -- doug smith

Where Does The Power Come From?

  Great goals need great power. They need the power to keep going thru resistance. They need the power to innovate when the temptation is to stagnate.  Where does that power come from? You know this! The power comes from you. Hard as it may sometimes seem, you do have the power to achieve your own goals. Power for your goals comes from what you're already good at -- or plan to get good at -- and are willing to work for, Set the goal, do the work, and feel the power. -- doug smith

More Than The Goal

It's not the goal that makes you happy -- it's the work you do to achieve the goal that does. If it's too easy, it hardly matters. If it's too hard, you might not reach it. Calibrate your goals correctly and then do your relentless best to get the work done. That's where you'll measure success. -- doug smith  

Find the Opportunity

Every conversation contains at least one opportunity.  Getting to know someone, clarifying expectations, resolving conflict, helping achieve a goal...the opportunities are rich with possibility once we recognize them. It's easy to miss that opportunity and waste the time, but when we understand the opportunity and do our best to communicate clearly and effectively, we can enjoy the benefits of those opportunities through productive conversations.  Find the opportunity.  -- doug smith  

Change Delayed

Have you ever procrastinated on changing something that you knew needed to be changed? I sure have. I once worked with some producers who were consistently late in paying their premiums. I knew they were late, but for several months could not figure out how to remedy the situation. What if I upset the producer and they took their business someplace else. I wasn't happy about it, and neither was my boss. It was not the time to wait and see, it was the time to change the process. We did eventually, but not before the issue became a problem. Every problem points to a change that's been missed. Change delayed just gets in the way. -- doug smith

Wisdom Applied

If you're at all like me, there have been times when you thought you learned something but then didn't put it to use. By the time we get around to putting that new skill to use, it's gone.  The key is to put that skill to use right away. That day if possible and certainly within a week. Practice makes the skill stick. It won't be perfect at first (or ever!) but practice makes it better. Wisdom forgotten is not on your side. Wisdom applied is a trustworthy guide. -- doug smith  

Multiple Choice When Possible

  If you miss the deadline on your goal, what should you do? Should you... a) extend the deadline b) break the goal down into smaller goals c) double your attention time on the goal d) all of the above If it matters the choice could be: all of the above. When the goal is important you do what you need to do to achieve that goal. Missing the deadline is not the end of the world. It should definitely up the urgency, though. -- doug smith