There is no doubt that life can be hard at times. You don’t always have the money that you need. You don’t always get the job that you want. You don’t always have the relationships you desire. You don’t always get the respect you feel you deserve. You sometimes have health issues scare you, slow you down or make you feel bad. All of these situations can sometimes be hard.
As hard as some of those situations can be it is even harder for many of us to take responsibility for them occurring. It is much easier to point the finger outside than it is to look inside. It’s easy to say you don’t have money because the people with money are keeping it from you. It’s easy to say you didn’t get the job because they gave it to a friend or someone who was better at faking their abilities. It’s easy to say you don’t have the relationship you want because something is wrong with the other person in the relationship.
The reason that it is easier to look outside is because your mind is always trying to protect you. That is the job your mind was given at birth. You are here reading this so there is proof that your mind has done a good job so far. Yet it is your mind so thinking about protecting you from yourself is not a natural thought. You believe you are good. You don’t need protection from yourself, you need to be more concerned about what’s happening around you. This makes logical sense.
Yet, what if you decided to take responsibility for everything that happens in your life regardless of how clear it is that someone or something else was at fault? This is hard but it is a game changer. It is a game changer because it makes you better. It makes you better because it makes you the ultimate problem solver.
The reason you become an ultimate problem solver because many times you will have to work to find something you can take responsibility for in the situation. You will have to look deeper than the actions that others have taken. You will have to study your actions. Many times, those actions will have occurred in the past and led up to what has just occurred. Since you are focusing on the current situation you will have to work to analyze the past. That analysis could uncover the real root cause to why you ended up in this situation.
If you are familiar with problem solving, you know the goal is to find the root cause and eliminate it. If you don’t you will continue to incur the symptoms from that root cause. You can solve the current symptom but because you didn’t solve the root cause, more symptoms will eventually appear.
Have you ever thought about taking something from work and using it in life? There are many problem-solving tools you use at work and here is one you can adapt for your life. This problem-solving tool first was made popular by Jack Welch when he was at General Electric. It’s called Six Sigma and it uses the DMAICmethod. In the DMAIC method the D stands for Define the problem, the M stands for Measure the problem, the A stands for Analyze the problem, the I is for Improve the problem and finally the C stands for Control.
The key to using the method successfully is found in the Analyze phase. In this phase you analyze all the possible causes and use your measurements from the measure phase to narrow in on the root cause. Once you identify the root cause you develop a solution to remove it in the Improve phase and then you put in a process to let you know if it is returning in the Control phase.
Let’s walk through an example. Let’s say you were let go by your company after a restructuring of the organization. It’s not your fault the company needed to restructure. You just are unlucky because you were in a job that was easy to eliminate. You could easily move on and just be comfortable knowing it wasn’t your fault. However, what if you tried to take responsibility for being eliminated?
Here are some examples of using the DMAIC method to help you become the ultimate problem solver:
DEFINE - The problem; you were easily expendable by the company.
MEASURE - Look at your job reviews, the time you spent working vs providing value, successfully completing items on your development plan, face-time with decision makers in the company
ANALYZE - Based on all the factors under your control you determine the root cause is you didn’t make yourself valuable enough for the company to find a way to keep you
IMPROVE - In your next job you find a way to provide value not only in your job but in many other ways. Volunteer for committees, teach classes, mentor and coach other employees
CONTROL - Schedule a quarterly review with yourself to measure the value you are providing the company.
DEFINE - The problem; you were not prepared to be unemployed.
MEASURE - Look at where you spent your time when you were employed
ANALYZE - Based on all the factors under your control you identified as potential causes you determine the root case as being you didn’t spend enough of your free time working on your side gig.
IMPROVE - After you acquire a new job replace some the time you spent watching tv, scrolling through social media or doing nothing with scheduled time to work on your side gig.
CONTROL - Schedule a quarterly review with yourself to measure whether your side gig was mature enough to allow you to work it full time until you found new employment if needed.
These are some small examples of how using this method could help you improve your own life. The beauty of going through this method is that nothing bad can happen from it. You can only get better. The solutions you put in place will help you be a better person. How great would it be to achieve that goal with every situation you run into during your life? A game changing way to accomplish that task is to take responsibility for everything that happens in your life.
As stated, life can be hard sometimes. Yet it is often also hard for many of us to take responsibility for life being hard. Because of the difficulty many of you won’t do it. However, those of you that do will stand out above the rest. You will become the ultimate problem-solver because you will look for root causes you can control that could solve the problem. It may be hard but it will be well worth the effort. Try the method above or adapt another. Your best life is depending on you to take responsibility. As always, I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.