Improve Your Perspective With This One Question

Having middle schoolers and being in sales, I know a thing or two about having a rough day (in the suburban American version of having a rough day).

On any given day, I can encounter a moody young teen, a customer frustrated with their insurance costs (my particular area of biz), or a weed problem in my backyard. I’m keeping the problems tame, but there are times when the world as I know it is turned on its head and I’m somewhat at a loss on exactly how to tackle the situation.

So what do I do?

First, I’ve learned to take a moment, and identify two things:

  1. What can I control?
  2. What is out of my control?

That’s a good first step. A lot of times, we fret more about the things we have no direct influence over. That’s wasted energy.

Instead, we have to fix our focus on the thing that we can do.

And that brings me to the question I’m talking about in the blog post title.

What is the One Thing….

After separating the ‘circle of influence’ from the ‘circle of concern’ (thanks Stephen Covey), ask this:

What is the one thing I can do to make this better?

– Jason Selk from Relentless Solution Focus

I’ve been trying this question on over the last couple days. And it’s extremely helpful.

It’s a refocusing question, taking my mind off of the problem and onto solutions to that problem.

There is a little brain jiu jitsu going on with myself. I’m still tackling the problem, but it reinforces the effort to move myself from the position of worry and concern over things out of my control to focusing in on one thing that I can take action on.

It doesn’t have to be the best thing to take action on. It just has to be something actionable.

I had a short abrasive encounter with my son that frustrated me. I didn’t like how I responded to him.

So I asked myself, “What’s one thing I can do to make this better?”

The answer? Go talk to him. Apologize for your tone. Encourage him.

It helped. It removed the worry and gave me something to do to build relationship with him.

Pull the question out some time over the next few days:

What’s the one thing I can do to make this better?

Regardless of what the ‘this’ is, It should, at the very least, give you a bit of pause and create helpful thoughts vs. the stewing and mulling that most of us tend to do.

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