Problem Solving for When You’re Stumped

There’s a saying that when you’re unhappy or distraught or just plain in a funk, go help someone else. By serving that person, you step outside of yourself and find your happiness again, pulling yourself out of the muck. 

The very same principle applies to getting unstuck. 

Maybe you aren’t sure why your launch isn’t producing the results you projected. 

Or, you can’t see what your next business priority is.

Or, a long-term client unexpectedly wraps up with you. 

The answer – go solve another problem. Yours or another’s. 

I was watching an episode of Game of Thrones, where two main characters met, hoping one could help the other out of their specific bind, whether it’s conquering a continent or fighting off an army of the dead. 

They’re both lamenting what to do next because they can’t see the path forward, what that very next step is. 

So one humorously says to the other, and I’m going to paraphrase this a bit, “you want to solve my problem and I’ll solve yours.” 

And all I could do was laugh out loud to myself and the dogs. 

The characters were, of course, half-joking.

But it’s the truth. 

Sometimes we’re so close to what’s going on, so invested in a specific outcome, that we need to pull way back and focus our energies on something else, somewhere else. 

Maybe that’s figuring out what’s for dinner. 

Or, thinking about what to write your next blog post about. 

Or, asking to help your friend plan her baby shower. 

Stepping back and not giving deliberate, focused attention to what’s right in front of us allows our brains to relax on that specific problem.

The creativity flares in our brains start to spark and come to life for another.

It’s almost as if the engines need to recharge in order to start up again. 

It isn’t magic, but our mind’s desire to rest in order to regroup. 

Sounds so simple. 

And yet, we’re always striving for now, now, now, faster, faster, faster. 


Stop trying to force a less-than-great solution. 

Go solve another problem instead.

Feeling stumped on a business problem? 

Try figuring out the solution to another one instead. 

Then come back. 

Give it a go with your latest conundrum and post below to let me know how it goes for you.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


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