A Self-Coaching Template to Work on Your Challenges

We all have challenges in our lives. Some of our problems are small. Some of them are big. In either case, there are some actions that we can take to tackle them.

Today, I’m going to share a self-coaching template that you can use to find solutions to your challenges. Completing this template should take around one hour.

If finding a solution to your challenge takes much longer than an hour, I recommend that you divide your challenge into smaller problems. Our goal here is to find a solution, not to solve the problem altogether.

Find a solution. Apply it for a week. And evaluate the results. If the results don’t satisfy you, do the exercise again. If the problem is solved, move on to your next challenge.

The Template

The self-coaching template consists of four steps. Each step includes a principal question and auxiliary questions.

  • What’s the problem?
  • What would be the ideal situation?
  • What keeps you from creating the ideal situation?
  • What’s the solution?

Asking the rights questions is the first step of success. This is precisely what we are doing here.

The first three steps are about analyzing your situation. Don’t think about solutions in these steps.

Our minds don’t like uncertainty. We tend to jump to conclusions and come up with quick hacks to avoid the discomfort of uncertainty.

Stay with the discomfort of your situation. Write down your current situation accurately, but don’t go into unnecessary details.

We’ll spend most of our time on analyzing the problem. Once we find the root cause of the problem, the solution will be evident.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein

What’s the problem?

  • Formulate the problem.
  • What’s the current situation?
  • Don’t jump to conclusions.
  • Don’t think about solutions.

What’s the ideal situation?

  • Don’t think about limitations.
  • Imagine you have all the resources you need. Time, money, skills, mentorship, assistance, and so on.
  • What would be the ultimate you could create?

What keeps you from creating the ideal situation?

What’s the solution?

  • Which steps can you take in your current situation?

An Example from My Own Experience

What’s the problem?

  • I didn’t make sufficient progress on my blog in my first six months.
  • My stats don’t satisfy me.
  • I can’t produce content effortlessly.

What’s the ideal situation?

  • My products are in the market. They provide me with a decent income.
  • I have a robust daily schedule to work on new products, to write blog posts, and to interact with my readers.
  • My schedule also includes some downtime to enjoy my life.
  • I produce content effortlessly.

What keeps me from creating my ideal situation?

Let’s go over each bullet point and analyze it. In this example, I won’t do all the five why’s to keep the length of the post reasonable.

Why don’t I have any premium products?

I didn’t create any premium products, because I have a small audience.

Why do I have a small audience?

I was inconsistent with the topics I wrote about. I wrote posts about personal development, writing, marketing, entrepreneurship, management, investing, and cryptocurrencies.

Every time I switched between topics, I lost a portion of my audience. I also lost momentum on each subject. Even though I blogged for six months, the end effect was the same as blogging for two months on each topic.

A Mistake or a Lesson?

Blogging on different topics in my first six months wasn’t a big mistake. I learned some valuable lessons.

  • I’m inspired to write about personal development and life lessons.
  • I write effortlessly on writing, blogging, and marketing.
  • I won’t write about investing anymore, because I have a simple investing strategy.
  • I won’t write on cryptocurrencies, because I don’t get along with that community.
  • Writing on management doesn’t inspire me.

I also experimented with other platforms such as Steemit, which didn’t contribute anything to my audience.

What’s the solution?

Even though writing on personal development is hard, I’m going to stick with that topic. That topic inspires me the most and provides the most value to my readers.

Thinking and writing about personal development provide the most value to me as well.

If I mention other topics in my posts, it will be in the context of personal development. They will be used as examples only. I won’t go into the details that would only interest the hardcore followers of that topic.

Why don’t I produce content effortlessly?

I’m not sufficiently focused on personal development. I distract myself with news and YouTube throughout the day.

Even though I don’t distract myself all the time, I could invest that time to consume quality content. I can also spend that time doing nothing so that I can recuperate my mind and have more mental clarity.

Even if I distract myself for five minutes a day, that’s too much. Those five minutes break a process in my mind when my mind is processing an idea in the background.

Distractions also tend to propagate themselves throughout the day. Sometimes, I watch a three-minute funny clip. Then, that clip keeps playing in my mind for a few days. It’s amusing, but at the same time distracting.

I’m not going to analyze the daily schedule problem, because it has the same reasons as I explained in this problem.

What’s the solution?

Reading news doesn’t add any value to my daily routine. I choose to let go of that habit altogether.

I’m going to clean my YouTube feed. I’m going to keep only personal development related videos on my watch later list and only watch from that list.

Conclusion

When we face challenges in our lives, we either avoid them, complain about them, or jump to conclusions or quick hacks to circumvent them. None of those strategies provide a definite solution to our challenges.

We need to go deeper into the reasons that create our problems. To do that we need to analyze our current and ideal situation first. Once that analysis is complete, the solutions are either obvious or easy to find.

You can use the four-step template in this post do analyze your challenges, find their root causes, and come up with your own solutions.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.

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