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Why me? So That!

By Dr. Steven Steinberg

Jim is a 45-year-old CEO in downtown Chicago recently diagnosed with skin cancer. Of course, like many of us, his business is going through a rough period. If that isn't enough, his 14-year-old son is getting psychiatric help and Jim is wondering whether he should join his son. Jim keeps asking himself, "Why me, why me, why me?" At some point, each of us has asked the question: "Why me?" The real question being asked is: "Why do I suffer with so many problems in my work and life?"

Albert Einstein can help here. He said, "The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." In other words, the biggest problems facing people in business and in their lives does not come from the problems themselves, rather they are caused by the way one thinks about those problems.

There are two ways to think about problems that lead to two different responses to the pain of those problems. The ordinary response is to ask why me-and answer "Because___." We want to fill in the blank with blame. Blame makes us feel better. It turns us into a victim. As a victim we feel that problems are not our fault and we are not responsible. Our expectation is that we are entitled; we have a right, to a life without suffering or unanswered questions. This does not solve our problems. The only path to inner peace and success is to shift the focus of our thinking from "What caused my problem?" to "How can I solve my problem?" We must shift our focus from feelings to values, from rights to responsibilities. We must change the focus of our thinking about the question why me from "Why do I suffer?" to "Why do I exist?"

If the ordinary answer to why me-is "Because___" the extraordinary answer is: "So That___!" You fill in the blank with something purposeful, something of meaning, and/or something of value. Our purpose in life is to become something special, to become extraordinary. We exist for some purpose. We are here on earth to do something special.

Here is the key point: in business as in life one can focus on problems or purpose. Both exist together in paradox. Focusing on problems causes pain and suffering. However, when the focus is on purpose, then the power of purpose overrides the pain of problems! The power of purpose, your "So That___!", overrides the pain of problems.

Pain and problems exist so that we can solve those problems and deal with that suffering. Our purpose is to solve each other's problems leading to extraordinary levels of success, joy and inner peace. Purpose is the flipside of problems. Without problems there would be no purpose. Business people must be very clear about their focus. Is the focus on problems or purpose? Changing the focus from problems to purpose requires a paradigm shift, changing the existing way of thinking.

Here are some tools for changing your focus to thinking and acting on purpose:

  • Whenever you have problems remember it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Most of us think that in life we either Win or we Lose. If, instead, we Learn from every situation then we never lose.

  • Suffering and problems are messengers whose message is: please stay on purpose. When you have pain, that pain is a signal for you to change. You have gone off purpose. You must bring your thinking and/or your behavior back on purpose. If you do not yet have a purpose, that pain is a signal to find one.

  • Discover your personal purpose. It should be something that serves others that gives you joy, you find meaningful, you do well, connects and aligns with higher values and timeless truths, and others value (you solve a problem they have or create an opportunity for them)

  • Create purpose and vision statements for yourself and for your business.

  • Our purpose in business is to create a unique systematic solution to a particular problem that people face. Create that unique systematic solution.

  • Create a USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition (the answer to the question why should I use your product or service?)

o     Your unique and special purpose (answer to the question why were you put on earth?)

o     Your unique solution to your customer’s problem.

▪   What is the problem that your company solves?

▪   What is your solution to that problem?

▪   What makes your company unique and different from other businesses?

▪   What is your extraordinary business story?

▪   Every extraordinary story has an extraordinary theme- an extraordinary purpose.

  • The extraordinary business or life is all about discovering a purpose that is so meaningful that-the power of that purpose overrides the pain of problems.

No matter what your circumstances are, or how painful and difficult they are, you're completely free to choose your response to those conditions. Choose a response that is extraordinary. Choose to live on purpose. In business and in life our job is to transform this world from what it is, a world filled with suffering pain and problems, into a world that ought to be, an extraordinary world filled with success, joy and inner peace. Each of us has an extraordinary purpose for which we were put here on Earth. Each of us has a responsibility to discover that purpose. If we all focus on our purpose there is no limit to the problems we can solve, to the healing we can bring, or to the extraordinary harmony that we can create.

Why me? "So That___!"

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Steven Steinberg.

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