Cheryl's Blog

Week 49 – Purposeful Problems – Release the drama of the details


There’s still time to enjoy a Caribbean cruise in late January aboard the Holland America cruise ship.  I’m looking forward to it and there are a variety of programs to choose from.  You can read all about it here.

There are lots of great holiday specials in our webstore – BUY ONE GET ONE FREE special on card decks, 30% off of books and CDs, and $100 off of our Practice Building Workshop. You can find them all here.

Have a wonderful week…



p.s. – Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.

Topic of the Week

Purposeful Problems

“Bad times have a scientific value.  These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”    

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love the above quote and today, as I was searching for a newsletter to rerun this week while I travel back from LA, I came across this one.  It’s about what I learned from encountering problems while finishing up the building of our home.  So, think about something that’s challenging you right now, sit back and get ready for a new perspective…

After hitting a stumbling block while getting ready to move into our new home, I had a chance to see how my approach to dealing with problems has changed dramatically over the course of the building process.  When the carpet installers began laying carpet, they discovered that the color of one large piece of rug was completely different than the rest.  I learned about the problem from the installer when we first met in the driveway.  His introduction was exactly what you don’t want to hear when moving in two weeks:  “Hi Cheryl, nice to meet you. Boy do we have a big problem here!”

Now, I’ve learned a thing or two about problems.  First, very few are life threatening.  Very few.  Yes, a problem may cause a setback, hurt feelings, enormous amounts of frustration and stress, or feelings that are so overwhelming that it makes the situation appear insurmountable, but in the larger scheme of life, if you handle them right, they rarely cause irreparable damage.  This little bit of wisdom always reminds me to step back, breathe, and engage my sense of humor.  I actually chuckled to myself when the carpet installer gave me the bad news.

Second, I’ve learned that where “things” are concerned, I’m better off spending my time and energy on the solution rather than rehashing the specifics of what happened.  Too often we get caught up in the drama of the details.  For example, I don’t need to debate how the carpet got damaged or why they delivered it to us in such poor shape.  It is what it is.   The carpet is defective and needs to be replaced.  Once you shift your attention to what has to happen next to get the job done, you’ll feel more empowered.  And believe me, that’s a good thing for everyone involved ☺.

Finally, the most important lesson of all has to do with finding the power in the problem – an opportunity for growth.  When Michael and I decided to build a home, we heard everything from, “You must be out of your mind,” to “Build a house, lose a spouse.”  One person, however, had a very different perspective.  My friend Kelly said, “This could be an amazing opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.”  Little did I know how right Kelly would turn out to be.  Our decision to take on such a big, soul-inspired project would challenge us in ways we never could have imagined.  And, we’ve grown a lot both individually and together as a result.

If you’re faced with a problem right now, remember this:  There’s gold hiding somewhere and it has to do with the growth of your soul. Building our home has given me this gift.  Every problem carries a possibility for us to become better people – great listeners, more compassionate, resourceful, or decisive, for example.  Surrender to the gift and let it lead you to an even better life!

Take Action Challenge

This week, when faced with a problem, use this simple recipe:

1.  Stop!  Take a step back and enjoy a deep breath.  Remind yourself that your sanity and character are far more important than the situation at hand.  Rant and rave if need be, stomp your feet, or vent to someone who cares, but do so for only five minutes.  Then, move on to #2…

2.  Ask yourself “What needs to happen to straighten this situation out with the least amount of damage to anyone?”  If you’re not sure of the answer, ask for feedback or ideas from others (even those not involved).  Then, stay focused on dealing with the solution rather than the symptoms of the problem.  What can you change?

3.  Finally, look for the gold.  What are you being challenged to learn or practice.  Does your current problem require you to use a whole new level of creativity?  Are you being given a chance to practice patience?  Is there an opportunity for you to care more about people than getting the job done?  How is this problem providing you with the perfect opportunity for the evolution of your soul?

This week’s video was posted on my Facebook page by Kim and it’s hysterical. You’ll find it here.  Thanks for the joy, Kim!

Life Makeover For The Year 2010 (sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson. If you have any questions or comments, or for reprint permission of this newsletter, please email: © Copyright 1999-2010. Cheryl Richardson, P.O. Box 13, Newburyport, MA 01950. All rights reserved.