2 min read

It's Just Work: Perspective on your problems

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On Sunday night, I went to check my calendar for the week. I knew I had a bit on, but I wasn't too worried. Until I got to Thursday.

At that point, my stomach dropped. According to my calendar, I was to be in two places at once: a full-day online training for Meetings that Matter, and a strategic leadership session with a new client. Yep, not a client that already knew me - but a brand new one, in Australia.


I didn't sleep particularly well Sunday night, and on Monday, we sprung into action. We knew it wasn't good - we'd made a mistake, inside a week that was already extremely busy. On top of a big admin project we have on the go, and planning for an almost-full 2022, we have seven workshops across Not An MBA, Meetings that Matter, Countdown and our new client. Not the ideal time to mess up.

You know what, though? It's OK. It's a problem, but it's a quality one, as far as problems go.

1. You'll always have problems.

Problems are like cockroaches and glitter - they're always going to be there, even after the apocalypse. Solve these ones, and you'll get new ones. Also, your solutions will create problems you didn't foresee. Fun, eh?

2. Not all problems are created equally

While we can't aim for a problem-free life, we can pay attention to the quality of the problems we face. If we cultivate problems we're proud of, they're more likely to feel like privileges.3. 

We want problems that 3-Years-Ago-You, 5-Years-Ago-You, 10-Years-Ago-You, would be impressed by.

Problems worth solving.
Problems worth being frustrated by.
Problems worth sacrificing for.

In my case, I got some perspective while I was out walking the dog on Monday morning. Yes, we'd stuffed up - but we'd stuffed up because our week is full of sessions where I'm reaching hundreds of incredible, committed leaders who are out there doing amazing things.

Where I'm working with dream clients and running awesome programmes that I'm proud of, and I'm doing all of it from the comfort of my home or virtual office.

Mate, Five Years Ago Alicia would be gobsmacked.

3. It's just work

Many of the big problems we battle during our days are work-related. At the time, they feel catastrophic. But in a week, month or year's time, we won't even remember them, much less why we were so upset.

Yes, problems happen. Yes, they're annoying. But most of the stuff we do isn't life or death... it's just work. There are so many other things to worry about that have a far greater impact on the quality of our lives and the contribution we make to the world.

Our families, our friends. Our homes. Our goals. Our dreams. Our health. Inequality. Society. Media. Love. Politics. Pandemics. Food. Death. Ideas. Books. Music. Art. Work is just one column, and it's not the most important one, so don't let it swallow you up.

TL;DR You'll always have problems - so you may as well pick good ones. Also: it's just work.