April 02, 2006

Good day team,

This week’s challenge is about the opportunities that lie in each problem.

I’ve been reading a book recently about the 1918 flu pandemic. The doctors and scientists who struggled to find a cure had to spend many years studying the problems that caused the disease. Most failed. Some of the doctors who worked on finding the cure became frustrated by their lack of success and quit their search early on claiming that the flu was actually a form of pneumonia, a disease they thought they understood. But, the doctors who didn’t become discouraged by failure after failure and continued to study the problems created by the disease, discovered many new opportunities. These opportunities led to numerous breakthroughs in medicine that eventually changed the way all doctors understand bacterias and viruses and how to treat them. And, one doctor actually discovered DNA, the foundation of our genetic design. This doctor was never discouraged by any problem he confronted. A problem would arise, he would try to solve it, and inherent in that exercise, he would discover more problems and try to solve them. This went on and on for 40 years! Eventually, in his 70’s he discovered what he never anticipated finding, and changed the course of history.

This teaches me how powerful opportunities are that arise out of problems. It’s in our ability to perservere when we can’t find easy solutions that we are empowered to make new discoveries. In visiting a client last week, I saw this quote on the wall near her desk. It expresses this thought so well;

“Every problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity. You’ll find that every situation, properly perceived, offers opportunity. As fast as each opportunity presents itself, use it. No matter how tiny an opportunity it may be, use it. You’ll find new frontiers when you have an open mind and a willing hand.”

This week, consider the problems confronting you. Don’t be afraid to investigate them. Try considering new solutions
or ask another team member for some suggestions. If you’re becoming discouraged, look at the problem from a different perspective. Remember the doctor who kept looking for solutions and didn’t give up in the face of more problems.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

* Many thanks to Lanette Bailey from Wells Fargo Bank for sharing this quote with me.

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