In listening to colleagues or family members describe a problem; have you ever caught yourself thinking of a solution for them? How you would ‘fix’ it for them? And, when you explain your ‘fix’ it solution, it’s not an option they would have chosen; subsequently, you feel unappreciated? How do we get out of this endless cycle of resolving other people’s troubles and relieve our own stack of problem solving?
Let’s explore the interpretations we process when we listen to someone else’s problem. Since childhood, many of us have been conditioned to assign a degree of drama over items as simple as spilled milk. We were trained to take charge of the problem immediately; and, expect a hefty level of appreciation for doing so. When the resulting gratitude does not occur for them they find themselves resentful.
Before you begin your ‘fix it’ process, ask yourself:
• Are you truly listening to your colleague or friend? Even if you suggest a solution, would it be in their accepted realm of possibilities or would you be forcing a prescribed set of actions?
• If you fix the problem, are you letting the other person continue their learning about cause & effect, resulting consequences, the ability to reason?
• What else will you own by fixing the situation, such as, will you own this situation forever? Are you setting yourself up to resolve this repeatedly?
• How will you be seen in your career, family, or community after you, only, resolve this problem? Will it be fulfilling for you to be the hero, the saint, the martyr, the philanthropist, the fixer? How will your ‘fixed’ friend be seen?