Imagine your alarm going off in the morning.
For the first time in weeks, you slept like a log, unlike just days ago when you woke up around 3 am plagued by worry, which turned into stress, which turned into anxiety, before wearing you out and letting you drift off into a light sleep – just in time for your alarm to go off!
But not today. Today, when your alarm went off something was different. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but there is something different about last night.
Was it something you dreamt?
No. You dreamt your usual weird dreams that you’d rather not share with the world. No, that’s not it.
Is it the weekend?
Nope, it feels like it, but it’s Thursday – probably the worst of all the days!
What’s different is that you didn’t wake up at 3am, anxious, unable to get back to sleep for hours.
What’s different is that you slept, not like a baby (who wakes up every two hours) but like a log.
What’s different is… yesterday, while faced with a really challenging situation that would typically leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed and unable to sleep at night, you reacted calmly and confidently. And best of all, you didn’t take the challenge to bed with you.
Well, you can do more than just imagine it!
By tackling problems with our Black Belt in Thinking (BBIT) framework, you could have the feeling of calm and confidence that come with seeing a problem clearly and enabling yourself to work on a solution without the pressure and the overwhelm that usually accompany tricky situations.
You can start thinking the BBIT way right now by doing this one thing the next time a situation makes you feel flustered and frustrated – identify and name the challenge you are facing. Naming the beast makes it less scary, it gives it boundaries, and it makes it seem more manageable. As a result, the way to deal with the challenge is more apparent too.
The three most common challenges I have seen people come up against are:
Symptomitis: when you’re experiencing frustrating symptoms but are unclear on the root cause problem.
Problemitis: when you are clear on the problem but can’t come up with any solutions that will address it effectively.
Solutionitis – when you pinned down the right solution, but it seems impossible to implement.
Which one of these sounds like the monster under your bed?
Next time you wake up worrying about a problem, instead of grappling with it in the middle of the night, grab a pen and paper and identify your challenge. Then, in the morning you can come up with a way to tackle it.
For Symptomitis, pick a root-cause analysis framework to get to the root cause of the issue.
For Problemitis, pick a solution-design framework to brainstorm possible solutions.
And for Solutionitis, pick an obstacle-removing framework to work your challenge through so you can design a viable implementation plan.
No matter which of these issues is present for you there are tools in the BBIT tool kit to overcome them reliably… so you can sleep like a log.
Mirta is a Director of ViAGO Limited, a behavioral science enthusiast, and a mum to three boisterous boys.