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Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential

Living Your Potential

A High Quality Problem

When Options Look Like Problems

A few years ago, my husband was discussing a business issue with a friend and anxious to decide the best course of action.  After Jess described what was perplexing him, Bill said, “Well, you have a decision to make.  But remember, what you’ve got here is a high quality problem.”  Jess appreciated Bill’s reminder that his problem wasn’t in the category of something to worry over.  It simply called for his creativity and either way, he couldn’t lose.

Why It's Important To Recognize HQPs

Stephen Covey once said, "The way we see the problem is the problem.”  Sometimes a high quality problem isn’t immediately recognized as such.  It’s easy to go into automatic oh-no-I’ve-got-a-problem-mode.  Allow me to provide three recent examples:
A few weeks ago I took my first visit back to New York/Connecticut since moving to Arizona last October.  As I was planning the trip, I started worrying about having too many people to visit…family and friends I wanted to see, but without feeling overscheduled or rushed.  When I caught myself thinking this way, I remembered Bill’s words and lightened up.

Frank, an e-marketing executive who is managing a new initiative, was feeling stressed.  It was eight months since his proposal was approved and now it was apparent that he needed more staff to respond to the increasing demand for the new services his area provides.  When he reframed this as an indication that his project was going well, the problem seemed more like a huge opportunity, and in fact was even a cause for celebration.

Jennifer was getting just what she had been hoping for: a solid job offer as well as two other companies that had indicated their interest.  When these two additional interviews arose, however, it felt like a predicament.  Part of her just wanted to accept the first offer and have the job search be over.  Yet when she saw it has an HQP, she realized she would make a better decision (and have more negotiating power) by allowing all three scenarios to play out without rushing them.

In the examples above, reframing the dilemma as a high quality problem did more than put a positive spin on the situation.  It helped each person solve the problem from the perspective of first being grateful for what was going right.  

Call It What It Is

When it comes to problems, it’s important to frame them accurately.  This week, as you encounter situations that qualify as high quality problems, remember first to view them this way.  Notice how it changes the energy you bring to solving them.

“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy,
for it means pushing back a boundary-line
and adding to one’s liberty.”
– Henri Frederic Amiel

Here's to you,
Ginny's signature

P.S. My thanks go to our friend, Bill, for teaching us about high quality problems.  He has a knack for providing wise perspective and has also inspired another issue of Living Your Potential, published in 2004.  You can read That’s History by clicking here .

© 2007, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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