Are you a problem seeker?
I’ll answer for you. The answer is yes—at some point or another you totally are. I’ve just outed you and I’m choosing this venue to come out as well (for the second time in my life), this time as a problem seeker. Let’s all let out a collective gasp. I feel lighter and more free already. But what could the fall out be?
First, let’s define the problem seeker: (n) one who seeks a problem where there is not one to find and thus creates one in order to waste time trying to solve it and/or stay stuck in it.
That sounds totally ridiculous but humans are excellent problem seekers by nature. If we were to liken our problem seeking to the finger paintings of toddlers we would find some really plain, kind of boring ones, and we would also find some really loud and bright eye catching ones too. When we’re not aware of what our minds are up to we get hooked quickly and easily by the juicy stories it creates, as you will see next..
Last week I launched my coaching website to share with people that I am a coach and want to change lives through this work and through my words. This site was completed in early March but I couldn’t share it with anyone cause I had amassed a stock pile of evidence that it wasn’t good enough (and to clarify I’ve always loved the layout and design, it’s my words that I’m referring to).
By last Wednesday I had sought out enough evidence to throw myself into the peak of the problem that I had been unconsciously seeking and creating. It was brilliant. I found myself sitting on the couch in a pile of suffering, staring at the computer screen, and no not at my site, just aimlessly looking stuff up to pass the time and numb the anger, disappointment, and fear I was feeling ABOUT A WEBSITE THAT DIDN'T EVEN REALLY EXIST YET. I was on edge and being super cranky and short, I had a tightness in my chest and had a really uneasy feeling ABOUT A WEBSITE and all that it's terribleness and non-existence meant about me.
That was it. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I reached out for support, for an ear so someone could listen to how BAAAADD I was feeling. I really wanted to share all the evidence I had gathered so they could see the insurmountable problem too. My beautiful coaching teammate, Kat, listened to my problem and all the evidence. There was a lot of stuff I got out about how I was never going to have the career I wanted, or connect with the souls I wanted to reach, I wasn’t going to empower people because I didn’t have the ‘right’ words on my website, and because I was being such a whiny wimp how could I hold people accountable to anything if I can’t even do what I say I want to do. The emotions were SOOO real, I was so in this problem. I WAS THE PROBLEM. And then she said “send me the link and show me that thing.” It took a little convincing but I did. She took a few minutes and then said “Heidi, this is amazing..it’s so you”. Immediately I felt relief. “Really?” I said. So I logged on to my site and started laughing and said "this actually is pretty awesome." (I hadn’t actually looked at the site for days). 12 hours later my website went live.
I spent nearly 2 months in that problem and one week really deep in it. I had a ‘serious’ breakdown about a website that wasn’t. When you’re feeling stressy about something, anything, step back for a minute, and take a breath. Ask yourself “what am I doing to make this experience worse for myself right now”? Look for the problem you’re seeking, what the evidence is that you’re collecting and the story your mind is creating.
So to answer the question that I posed at the beginning, what’s the fallout from outing myself as a problem seeker? Nothing. Sometimes I am a creative, talented unconscious storyteller and that’s okay. I practice recognizing the fake stories that my mind has made up so I can have space in there to create the real ones. Oh, and by the way, there's no such thing as a problem seeker-- you're a soul on a journey, so write the stories you want to write and practice letting go of the bullshit ones.
Give it a whirl. It’s way more fun.