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Successful Sunday, December 20th, 2020

Do you really have 99 problems? Or just one?

A picture of a city map with several map pins and red and black tags.

If you don't know what you are trying to accomplish, it isn't easy to achieve your goal. I have been trying to define "Things To Think About." For the most part, I have been figuring out what it is not. The road less traveled is fun, but it does take more time. If time is of the essence, define your journey before you set off. My previous attempts to explain my business sounded like, "you know the bouncing ball, I'm the ball!" That sounds utterly ridiculous. I have realized that what I offer is bespoke communication and conversation.

Most people are going to make New Year's resolutions. If you do not define the problem, you are trying to solve or your goal, you may waste time and effort. Vague and nebulous goals are unhelpful. "I'm trying to be healthy" provides very little guidance. Maybe your actual problem is that you have increased snacking and decreased movement. That is a problem you can quantify and, more importantly, helps you to define success.

In elementary school, they taught us to learn the who, what, when, where, and why of a story. The same is valid for defining a problem or goal. In most Six Sigma problem-solving exercises, we add one or two h's - How often or how much. It has taken me almost two years to define who I am. I am not a coach; I am a listener and a questioner. What I do is provide bespoke written communication and conversation. The when and where was easier to answer - when asked and via email, phone, chat, or video chat. Finally, why am I doing this? I am very fortunate. I enjoy my day job since it suits me. My "why" for starting a business was to become comfortable with chaos and to use my gifts.

It is much easier to market "bespoke written communication" versus "I am the ball!"

How does this work with defining a problem instead of a business? Let us return to our snacking example. What is happening is that I am snacking more. Why it is a problem is that it is making me feel uncomfortable in my clothes. It happens when I feel frustrated, usually before a conference call. Who it impacts is my loved ones and me because I am often in a bad mood. I notice it happens at home because snacks are available, whereas I would have to purchase a snack in the office. I could get fancy and add a how - how often is several times a day and is more frequent on the weekends.

Once you understand your problem or goal statement, it is essential to define success. What does your life look like if the problem is solved or the goal is adequately defined? Now that I understand what Things To Think About is, it is much easier to set up a structure and flow. I can work on a long term vision. Back to the snack example, we now understand the problem to get to the root cause and find a solution. What are you trying to accomplish? Spend time properly defining unless you prefer the scenic route.

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