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5 questions that help me during difficult times in business

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Looking to get clarity and overcome challenges in business? Reflection can be a powerful weapon to support us in our growth and solving problems.

Here’s the deal. I am terribly impatient.

I guess it’s the curse of an (humble) genius. Only kidding – at least on the genius part.

Yet again, I am very fast. I have always more ideas flying through my head than I’d like to admit, and I can quickly pick up new softwares, systems, programs and frameworks. 

Sadly, I am equally impatient. If something does not work, I huff and puff. I get heated very quickly – my mum seems to be blaming my Italian blood, or (to be precise) my dad’s Sicilian blood.

I realised that this is my biggest shortcoming. Which makes problem solving a tricking subject for me.

Lessons from merging two companies

Recently, I have been facing one of the biggest challenges of my career: closing one of my companies in order to merge two of them together, saying goodbye to Creative Impact.

After eight years (and a rebranding in between), Creative Impact has given the community and me so much. It has been a lifeline in more than one way, and for that, I will forever be grateful.

I can still remember the day I was standing on top of a wooden box in a gym, welcoming the Health Bloggers Community (the HBC ) to the world. It has been an incredible and rewarding journey that I will cherish forever.

However, the last two years have been hard for us, like they have been for many. It has been massive struggle for us to balance the hard work with the direction we needed to make Creative Impact sustainable. I believe in transparency above all, and despite being hella tough, vulnerability can teach you so much. 

As our further launches did not go as planned, confidence took a hit, and I started to question if I knew to serve people best. In the meantime, I started working weekends and evenings as we launched our new certification for our other project, Alt Marketing School.

I started feeling the weight of working 40+ hour weeks. I will not lie. My major imposter syndrome kicked in. I wrote a book called Reclaim Your Time Off, yet I have been more burned out than ever.

Coming to this decision was not something I have taken lightly. After the pandemic really hit us by taking out a whole side of the business, we pivoted and adapted. We tweaked and experimented.

Yet, as more variables entered the picture (including personal life, which sometimes we forget plays a major part in our lives, the irony!), we kept struggling to grow back to a healthy balance and sustainable business. 

I needed a way to help me take the next steps, when I discovered these five key questions to solving problems (straight from Tony Robbins), I decided to give them a go.

Questions to help you overcome challenges

You see, the biggest issue with business (and life) challenges is the feeling of overwhelm. This is truly what we want to avoid when looking at the challenges life throws at us. Why?

Overwhelm is a draining feeling which leads to more pain we’d like to admit to.

Regardless how you may feel about Tony Robbins (and I wholeheartedly respect that), I suggest you give these questions a try because, quite honestly, they completely changed my relationship with challenges and helped me turn them into lessons.

The thing that stuck most with me from theses question is that Robbins suggests we’d spend no more than 20% of the time defining it and 80% of the time should be spent on the solution.

Obvious, right? Yet, we do not do this nearly enough.

First up, write the problem on paper in order to come up with your best plan for handling the challenge and act upon it as quickly as possible.

Notice what you’re getting from your current actions by answering the following questions:

What is great about this problem?

Okay, bear with me on this. Some problems will suck – actually, most challenges may do at first.

Yet, you need to prime your mindset to find the motivation to make the changes you want to make. Let’s take the recent merger with Creative Impact and Alt Marketing School as an example of a challenge.

There are been a lot to process around this big change, and has brought up a lot of action steps to take.

However, combining the two companies is allowing me to work smarter and have the right energy to show up to grow Alt Marketing School in the way that I see it to make a real difference in the industry.

What is not perfect (yet)?

The yet is a key part of the question. Continuing with my example, we may have not perfected every step of the merger, yet again, we now know what we need to do to make life easier for ourselves.

We know what the challenge is, and we can be proactive about a solution.

By being aware of the issue, and knowing that by fixing it we’d be able to create a better system, we’re implying that perfection can be reached, if focusing on what we can do to improve the situation.

What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?

This stems from the idea that it may suck having to map out every single area of the business and identify what needs to change for each one of them. Yet, it’s what needs to be done and it’s going to cut a lot of unnecessary work, move away from what has not been driving results and focus on the big goals ahead.

This question dives even deeper into getting a clear idea of the solution to your current challenge, and allows you to brainstorm ideas.

What am I willing to no longer do in order to change my situation?

This is where you decide to acknowledge the challenge, and make sure you follow through with your solution. It’s great to find a way to turn things around, but without taking action, nothing will change.

By protecting my time more and down-sizing to focus on one thing and doing it well, I’ll be able to see the results I want in the work I do to make the world a better place, instead of working 40+ hours to keep us afloat.

Lasting change is what needs to happen to avoid incurring in the same problem – and it’s the solution we’re willing to work towards.

How can I enjoy the process while I tackle this challenge?

Can you make solving this problem fun? My husband may have planned a few extra special dinner meals over the next 4 weeks, and he regularly checks in with me to make sure I am okay.

He works with me to create pockets of fun and joy during what has been a really hard time.

Maybe you want to have a special “date” with yourself to look at the problem at hand – or if you are dealing with another person, you can apply the same principle.

When it comes to approaching challenges in life, you have to work on your mindset first. Change your beliefs about what problems are, call them challenges and see them as opportunities for you to grow over obstacles life is presenting you.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, change your approach.

TL;DR

Develop more flexibility by asking yourself, these key questions:

  1. What is great about this problem?
  2. What is not perfect (yet)?
  3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
  4. What am I willing to no longer do to change my situation?
  5. How can I enjoy the process while I tackle this challenge?

There is a mix of excitement, nervousness, and a few tears as we look at starting this transition and saying goodbye to a huge part of what I consider being my life.

I am forever grateful for the understanding, support and patience our audience has shown as we are moving through this time and gear up to merge our audiences into the Alt Marketing School vision.