There were four of us.

We shared titles, responsibilities and stress. We shared deadlines, assignments and power struggles. We shared supervisors and, sometimes, file folders.

Like heroines on a supernatural quest, we each possessed one super-human ability. With our powers combined, we were uniquely poised to be effective, creative leaders… on a bridge to nowhere.

Throughout the assignment, we did what we could to motivate each other. We mailed cards and candy via Interoffice envelopes. We left thank you notes sandwiched between test scores and lesson plans. We sent motivational texts.

Donuts. Group pictures. Beer. We tried it all.

In less than three years we disbanded, most of us fleeing out-of-state in the aftermath.

About a year ago, a few years after our divine resignations, I received an unexpected, but welcome surprise in the mail. It was a children’s book, addressed from one of the other Power Rangers. It was aptly titled, What Do You Do With a Problem?

I laughed.

I like solving problems.

I like finding the roots.

I like examining solutions and picking fights with the bad ones.

I like bringing people together who are equally invested in solving the problem. I like bringing people together who have the desire and means to solve the problem.

More than anything, I like making sure that the problem will be solved once and for all. It is finished.

I like helping people solve difficult problems. I like pooling resources. I like thinking through the cause. I like cutting out the roots. Thinking outside the box.

What do you do with a problem?

I’m better at solving other people’s problems.
If it’s my own, I rank order, color code and highlight.

I have a strategy for problems that are too big.
I have one for messy, ugly, convoluted problems.
I have one for opportunity-problems, the cutesy ones that can yield unimaginable, positive results.

I have a strategy for small problems that, left untreated, can fester and grow.
I have a strategy for problems I didn’t create, but that have become my own.
I have a strategy for solving problems that I made (most likely, due to negligence).

I even have a strategy for solving problems that have no solution. (I do nothing.)

When I believe a problem can be solved, I act swiftly and efficiently.
When I believe a problem is too big, I break it into bite-sized pieces I can digest.
When I believe a problem is beyond solving, I will go down with this ship. And I won’t put my hands up and surrender. There will be no white flag above my… Wait, nevermind. That’s Dido.

I lose patience if a problem takes too long to solve. I can get re-motivated, but only after a series of starts and stops.

I lose patience if the problem grows and swells via someone else’s negligence.

Regardless of the size or type, I reward myself once the problem is solved.

What do you do with a problem?


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