Jun
30
 

The problem with looking for problems

The problem with looking for problems
“Maybe this year we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws but looking for potential.”
~Ellen Goodman

So many of us seem to have a habit of looking for what’s wrong – what’s wrong with our situation, what’s wrong with our surroundings, what’s wrong with the people we encounter and work with and live with, and what’s wrong with ourselves. We look for flaws, often with the admirable goal of fixing the flaws. But we look for flaws.

The problem, I’ve found, with looking for flaws is that we run the risk of getting caught in the flaws. We look for the mistakes that the people who work for us make, so that we can help them correct their errors and be more successful…but all they seem to notice is that all we seem to notice are their mistakes. And sometimes, all we really are noticing are their mistakes. We notice the imperfections of the world we’re in or the office we work in or the team we’re on or the family we live with, and we get understandably frustrated and disheartened.

We look for shortcomings in our children – for things they could be better at — so that we can help them overcome them. By doing that, however, we run the risk of missing what they’re really good at. We don’t call it out and celebrate it, and as a result, they may never really know their strengths nor gain confidence based on all the things they do well.

What would life be like if we looked for the potential? If, in noticing what could be improved, we saw it not as a defect, but as an opportunity, or a place of possibility. What if we walked through the rooms of our lives looking for potential – so that we could get excited about it? So that we could move towards it and fulfill our potential, and help others fulfill theirs.

Where and how do you look for potential?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For supporting in seeing potential, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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