Solving a Better Problem

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I was very good at solving the 'not enough' problem.

Over and over again, monthly - if not every two weeks - I found myself filled with fear and the rush that would come with scrambling around, finding money, paying bills, shuffling debt around. Then I would reward myself with mindless spending on stuff that I didn't really want or need, perpetuating the cycle when the money would run out and the credit card bill would arrive.

Fear, panic and the question, "Why does this keep happening?" before I would dive into solving the "not enough" problem. Again.

I made a commitment to change.

One day, I decided that what was happening was ridiculous. I am a CPA, I am a smart woman AND truly, there is way more than enough money flowing to me and around me. This endless cycle of scarcity was nonsense and I committed to change. I committed to connecting with my money through tracking, paying off my debt and becoming a woman who invests.

In relatively short order, I was able to pay off all of our credit debt and my car (it took four months) to the tune of roughly $40,000 - it was so exciting! I felt so good about solving this problem of paying off debt and beginning to invest. I was vigilant with my money. I made it happen. I celebrated, it was exhilarating!

But I needed a different problem to solve.

The first month that I had no debt to pay and extra money to invest, I felt utterly deflated. Weird, huh? I felt completely let down. Restless inside my skin, I signed up for some programs and bought some clothes and, you may have guessed, I put it on my credit card.

I fell into a bit of a panic. What was wrong with me?

I took a deep breath and I sat down with myself. I felt into the feeling of being deflated. I explored the desire to run up the credit cards again.

My innate problem solving and get things done energy didn't have a job to do. I had spent so many years using my problem solving on the emergency of "not enough" that I had become addicted to the adrenaline of that particular problem. So of course I found myself drifting back into creating the same problem that I was used to solving and creating that familiar adrenaline rush.

It turns out, nothing was wrong with me - I just needed something new to put my energy toward.

Moving from fear to love, aka: a better problem.

I'm not going to lie. Transitioning from the adrenaline rush of solving the problem of not enough money felt.... weird. A little flat. It felt uncomfortable to not gnaw on my money issues like a dog with a meaty bone.

I was left with this odd sensation - a void, really, that needed to be filled with... something. But what? So I gave my inner problem solver something new to work on: building wealth. Something that had always felt way out of reach - something for other people, but not me. My new problem began as building financial wealth, but the desire and the question grew larger. How can I solve the problem of creating a life filled with riches on every level? Now that is a juicy problem to solve, yes? One with questions that are inspired by curiosity, love and enthusiasm.

Strangely, I still miss the adrenaline rush that comes with the "not enough" problem, but I will tell you, the amount of energy that I have to engage with my life in all that ways that are meaningful to me (instead of being stuck in a spin cycle around "not enough") has been astonishing in it's far reaching affects.

I've found that it's much more fun to get my adrenaline rush surfing, diving with sea turtles, hiking in jungles, working with clients that take my breath away or having deeply honest conversations with the people I love most.

Making the shift to a better problem.

So let's do this thing, okay? What's the problem that you keep bumping up against over and over? It's time to shift to a better problem, don't you think?

  • Commit, with love. Without love and compassion for yourself and the pattern you are struggling with, you may not be capable of seeing just how brilliant you are. You will likely continue judging yourself. However, you will find yourself more motivated and inspired to find a better problem to solve when you stop flogging yourself for doing the same thing over and over again.
  • The struggle is real - our bodies DO get addicted to the rush of adrenaline. So instead of assuming that you are just fucked up and can't get your shit together, step back and notice. What's really true? I'm betting you are an expert at solving the problem you keep running up against. I was really good at solving the "not enough" problem - I had practiced for years!! As you change your patterns, be prepared for the let down of success and make sure you've got a new kind of problem (the kind that opens up your world) ready.
  • New, better problems = new possibilities. Emerging from the endless cycle of not enough has opened up a whole new world of experiences and possibilities. My nervous system is so much calmer these days that I have taken up sports that I thought were crazy before (like surfing), I said HELL YES to a move to Africa with my husband (also something I never thought I would do) and I am well-versed with our investments and our long term desires for ourselves, financially. There is so much more joy, so much more adventure and so much more life that I can really live. All because of crafting a better problem to solve.

Solving a better problem lets you off the hook.

The stress of being caught in the not enough cycle is hellacious. Being caught in ANY cycle that has you constantly in a state of panic and fear decreases the life force that you have available for doing your greatest work and living your most amazing and rich life.

Byron Katie's famous question, "Who would you be without that thought?" comes to mind. Frankly, with beliefs that drive such deep patterns, I think it's hard to imagine what it could possibly be like. I will tell you though, from this side of the question, it's more amazing than I ever thought possible. It will be for you, too.

Your invitation: find a better problem to solve

Maybe you are caught solving the "not enough" problem. Or the "not charging what I'm worth" problem. Or maybe even the "running up debt" problem...

Make the commitment and take action with love. Solve the current problem, as you so brilliantly know how to do. And be ready, be set, with a better problem to solve - make it a problem driven by your desires and filled with possibility that will open up your mind, your heart and your life to a whole new level of meaning and magic.

I wonder what thrilling places your life will take you when you are solving better problems?

Ready? Let's go.

7 comments

Pleasure Reading 08.31.14 :: Mara Glatzel Aug 31, 2014 10:02am

[…] This post by Nona Jordan about your relationship with money – and committing to solving a better problem – is brilliant. […]

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Nona, it's like you stepped into my brain! I've known for a long time that I get a huge creative rush from living on the edge of 'not enough money' all the time. I love reaching that edge and then saving myself and my family from going hungry, etc. (not that we ever have gone hungry!). But here's the deal, I have never thought of it as finding a better problem to solve. I have never known how to stop this pattern. That's PERFECT. I'm still not sure what my better problem might be, but I'm going to have something to envision now. 2014 has been all about letting go of old patterns for me, but the getting myself into debt one still hangs on. We even did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University a few years ago and had tremendous success getting ourselves out of debt. But then the excitement died for me and not too much later we went right back to where we started, about $20k in debt and with no savings. We always pay the bills, never go hungry, etc. but this old crap keeps coming up.

I'm going to commit to solving this problem and then finding a much better one!

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Allison Evans Aug 27, 2014 09:02am

Oh, man, do I hear this! I love the way you put it: solve a better problem. For the past several years my problem has been around my value -- the people-will-never-pay-me-to-do-what-i-love problem. I have just recently reframed this. I am now thinking in terms of earning the trust of my people and a spot in their inbox! The focus is on doing what I love, not on waiting to be paid. It feels so much better on this side. I think the pay will come, too, but even if it doesn't, it's a lot more fun than sitting on the sidelines!

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Lisa, feel free to "steal" the problem I created for myself - building wealth. Think of all the reasons why that would be amazing, then, after you've solved the debt problem, you can shift your attention and energy to the building wealth problem. It may feel weird. And a bit flat. AND it will also feel amazing to have that energy to devote elsewhere.

Keep me posted, okay??

xoxo

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I love that new "problem" Allison! What questions and possibilities does the new problem set open up? That is what excites me. Thank you for commenting, lovely.

xoxo

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Thanks, Nona, and thanks for emailing this to me. I will 'steal' that problem, and yet I agree that it might feel flatter than this 'edgy' risk of just getting by. I'm also being more active in general, taking more physical 'risks' like you--primarily through running and biking and kayaking. That feels amazing! You've given me much food for thought, anyway. And it was good to admit to my husband that I get an adrenaline rush from our money stuff...baby steps. :)

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Celebrating baby steps with you and on your behalf Lisa!!

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