The surprising place to find answers to your most vexing problems

As matter of professional course, I love to collect tools, frameworks and examples to help my clients solve their problems while building their businesses.

When I consulted for large organizations, I would geek out about all kinds of models and assessments to help groups and leaders function effectively.

But a few years ago, I began to notice something really, really interesting.

I would be coaching a business owner on a vexing issue, then suddenly realize that the solution to the issue they faced was often their own area of expertise.

So I started to pay attention to their ongoing challenges while listening deeply to the advice they dispersed in their own body of work.

And I found things like:

  • A coach who helped people love themselves needed to apply self love in liberal doses to the creation of her brand and marketing plan.
  • A consultant who specializes in helping people define their brands needed to use her own genius to define her own brand.
  • A therapist with expertise on boundary setting needed to set more boundaries in her own life.

And on and on.

I was not exempt. After a 3-week process of agony, trying to get a sales letter completed for a new program, I finally called my best friend Desiree out of exasperation.

She asked a few questions, and as I started to explain the program to her, all of a sudden, I saw how the pieces fit together. I got the sales letter done in an hour.

What had I done? Reached out to a supportive peer mentor to help me through a problem, which is exactly what I have been advising entrepreneurs to do for the last 10 years.

It was so obvious! Once I could see myself through the eyes of another.

Sometimes we just need an ear

When we are stuck in our own heads trying to solve our own problems, confusion mixes with emotion and logic, to make a big tangled mess of ideas. We add others’ ideas, models, frameworks, blueprints and tips, and suddenly we are paralyzed.

Things start to feel hopeless.

It feels like you will never get over your current challenges.

Until you reach out to someone for help. By explaining what you are going through, and properly framing the problem, suddenly, you can apply your own advice.

By using and believing in your craft as a tool to solve your own problems, it makes you better, stronger and more capable to solve problems for others.

There must be brain science behind this

I am fascinated by the brain science behind this. Over and over again, I have heard from really smart and competent professionals that they cannot coach themselves in their areas of expertise, even when they are paid handsome sums of money to do it for others.

A science article in the New York Times says that being open and amused can lead to better problem solving — might that be part of what happens in a focused and supportive conversation, such as on a coaching call?

(Have you ever come across scientific research to explain this phenomenon? I would seriously love to hear about it!)

Look in the mirror

The next time you are stuck with what feels like a vexing problem (“My brand feels confusing!” “I have no motivation!” “I am stressed out and frazzled!” “I don’t have enough clients!”)

Ask yourself:

  • What would I tell a customer or a client if they came to me with this problem?
  • What is the core promise of my brand, and how might this help solve my problem?
  • What are my deepest values, and how might I apply them to solving this problem?
  • What are my best tools that I use with others to solve this problem?

You may be surprised at how quickly your vexing problem goes away.

Reader Interactions


  1. Brandy Lawson says

    Yes!! I too have seen and experienced over and over that sometimes the things we do the best for others we have the hardest time doing for ourselves.

    Having a “Biz” BFF to reach out to is priceless in getting out of our own way.

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