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Problems Aren’t Always What They Seem

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Problems, obstacles or roadblocks of some kind inevitably pop up on the way to our goals. I was recently reminded of a story about a dog and rabbit that exemplifies that oftentimes, problems may not be exactly what they seem to be on the surface. It takes courage to look deeper, even though it might be uncomfortable, to address what’s really at the root cause.

The story goes… after a long day at the office, a man comes home to find his dog with his neighbor’s beloved pet rabbit, Fluffy, dangling limp from his mouth. Covered in dirt, the rabbit is clearly dead. Horrified, the man panics because he knows the neighbors so cherish Fluffy, and he thinks to himself, that if they ever find out his dog killed their pet they’ll hate him forever!

The problem seems clear cut and straightforward, right? The consequences the man imagines seem realistic and just as clear, right? And that’s how most problems show up, don’t they? Unfavorable circumstances are presented to us, almost always when we least want to see them, and in that moment of decision it crystallizes in our thoughts exactly why the circumstance is a problem and what the implications will be. You might not even need time to think about it since it may seem so obvious what needs to be done.

In the story, the man takes the dead, dirty rabbit into his house and gives it a bath and blows it’s fur dry to “perfection”, concealing any possibility that his dog had anything to do with the rabbit’s death. The man then sneaks into the neighbor’s yard and places the perfectly groomed rabbit back in the hutch with a partially eaten carrot, suggesting the rabbit died from choking on the carrot.

How easy is it for us to jump straight into action on our assumptions when there’s a problem needing to be solved?

(As a side note, by the way, I’m not advocating for covering up problems, and I hope you’re not acting out a lie because in business that would be called fraud and in court, perjury.)

Stay with me here because the story gets more interesting and demonstrates how, if we just jump straight into action without looking deeper; to be willing to have hard conversations or admit guilt, our perception of circumstances may not be accurate. Decisions made impulsively may lead us astray, in an effort to cover up an issue or circumstance because of our fear, anger and/or guilt

The next morning the man hears his neighbors screaming while gathered around Fluffy’s cage. Trying to look innocent enough, he walks over to ask what happened.

Shocked beyond all belief, his neighbor bewilderedly replies, they really don’t know. Fluffy died in our daughter’s arms last night from tick bite fever, and we buried him in the backyard!

It turns out, the problem the man immediately saw and proceeded to solve wasn't the real problem at all. Had he had the perspective to question the circumstances, the strength to address his neighbors and the resolve to make things right, his set of actions would have been completely different —and I’m sure more appropriate.

This story reminds us to take that extra step to be authentic. To dig deeper, to look harder, to have more conversations when things are difficult, not less. Maybe take a moment right now to reflect on a situation in your business or life —where you feel “sure” you have a problem you “know” or where there’s something in your way. Why is it a problem? Examine your perspective. Who can you talk to or where can you find more information that might enable you see the problem another way? How can you see different points of view to foster a better understanding of the whole picture?

If you’re not part of the #NoMatterWhat Community on Facebook yet, you should be. It’s specifically designed to support you in working through whatever is in your way. It’s a group of people committed to breakthroughs regardless of circumstances. And it’s the perfect place to share what you’re dealing with to get a fresh perspective to make sure you’re not the one proverbially “bringing the rabbit back to life”.

This kind of work isn’t easy. It takes work. It takes courage. It takes exploring the unknown. It’s those that embody these traits and move forward #NoMatterWhat that achieves breakthrough results. The easy way out usually isn’t the best way out. The question is, what path will you take? Will you dig deeper to reveal your own authenticity?

Being unafraid to bring all the light into a circumstance liberates us from the darkness of fear, guilt and anger and sets us free to be “more”. And the world is calling us to be more, to unlock our dreams and discover our human potential.

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