Do you know what kind of problems you like to solve?

Knowing what kind of problems you LIKE to solve will put you in the position of doing work that you love.

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Things have been mighty busy in my world. 200 one-on-one “Do you know how to articulate your value?” sessions were on my calendar for October and November. I had some eleven-session days. And I’ve honestly loved every minute of it.

You might be surprised to hear this, but doing such a high volume of calls is helping to make each experience more personalized for my clients. I’ve dialed in on the common concerns almost everyone faces and the best ways to zoom through them. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing the most impactful ideas from my client calls (just in time for you to start thinking about 2019)! 

Let’s start with this question:

Do you know what kind of problems you like to solve?

We all want to solve problems. It’s what makes us human. From fire to computational solutions, humans are continually creating what look like magical things from their brains. 

What I’ve found, though, is that while we all like solving problems, the kinds of problems we want to solve are pretty different. I, for example, love hacking technology to solve problems they weren’t originally designed to address. It’s fun for me. It’s play. I have a client who loves creating experiences that allow the attendees to tell a story. But she doesn’t stop there—she also helps them figure out how to live their version of the story.

Both of us are perfectly fine solving lots of other kinds of problems. But give us THIS kind of problem, and our hands rub together with glee. Give us THIS kind of problem, and we’ll give you a solution having enjoyed the process of coming up with it, too.

So how can you go about finding out what kind of problems you like to solve? Start paying attention to what you’re doing. Become aware of what you do and don’t like about the work you’re doing. Notice when people say “better you than me” to a problem you’re tackling. Also, take note of when you find yourself in the weeds.

And no, “really hard problems” isn’t your answer. Go deeper. Ask why tough problems are fun to solve. Distracted into doing while you’re thinking about your problems? Stop and keep digging for the answers. You’ll be rewarded for your hard work, I promise.

If you get stuck and need inspiration, listen to the Ron Johnson episode on Without Fail. He’s the person charged with developing the iconic Apple stores. I can tell that his entire career has been about looking for the problems he likes solving.

Asking a fan is another great way to get unstuck. There are no doubt people who are super fans of you and what you do.* Ask them, “What unique problems do you think I enjoy solving?” Ask them to get specific, to give you concrete examples.

Both my storytelling-experience-expert client and I are super fortunate. While we both work our tails off, we get to do what we love the most. Each of us thinks we have the BEST JOB EVER. And we get to do this work because we’ve thought about—and shared with others—what kind of problems we love to tackle. 

So go find out what kinds of problems you like to solve. Because if you do, you, too, could be gleefully solving those problems all day, every day in 2019.

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