WORDS OF WISDOM: PROBLEM SOLVING
Put it down to the energy-sapping effects of the season, Mercury Retrograde (my new favourite blame-all), or simply the challenges of running a business, but 2016 has been a difficult professional year so far. Lots of sticky problems, slow starts, and stressful moments - and we’re barely a month in. Yikes.
In my quest to deal with these challenges as calmly and gracefully as possible, I’ve come to realise that putting out fires is an inevitable aspect of trying to make shit happen, and that I need to learn to deal with - even embrace - some pretty big problems if I’m going to bring my (pretty big) ideas to life. In this quest, I’ve been inspired by two fellow New York-based businesswomen, whose words I discovered when I need to read them most:
Best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t complain. There’s a great chapter in Ben Horowitz’s book called The Hard Thing About Hard Things called “Nobody Cares” and he talks about how he was running Netscape and one of his investors looks at him one day and tells him, “Ben, nobody cares—just do your job.” You can make a million excuses for why something didn’t go well, but ultimately, just fix it and get on with it. Be a solutions person.
And another nugget from Sarah Law, founder of KARA a.k.a. the woman who designs the bags of my dreams.
Over the course of the two years you’ve been working on your own, what are 5 things that you’ve learned from mistakes you’ve made?
1. My dad always says “if you don’t feel the heat, you aren’t in the kitchen.” Problems and problem solving are part of running a business.
Indeed. In the spirit of being a 'solutions person' in 2016, here are a few more problem-solving quotes to keep you going through January and beyond.
P.S. Mercury Retrograde ends January 25th. I'm just sayin'.
"If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient." - Hilary Mantel
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." - Theodore Rubin
“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” - Adrienne Rich
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” - Tina Fey
“The world loves to tell you how difficult things are, and the world’s not exaggerating. And that’s a real bummer. But, here’s the real shit: You can’t have it all, and nothing comes easy. You will make sacrifices and compromises, get let down and let other people down, fail and start over, break some hearts, take some names, and learn to pick up and continue when your own heart gets broken. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible, and out of the bajillions of things in this universe that you can’t control, what you can control is how hard you try, and if or when to pack it in.” - Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS
“A problem well put is half solved.” - John Dewey
"As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." - Amy Poehler