How to Handle Problems

Here’s a great article from my dear friend and coach Karen from Canada. She has been my coach through thick and thin for over 14 years now and I can assure she has the magic touch. I loved this article because it provides wonderful wisdom at just the right time for me. I hope it strikes a chord for you too!

How to Handle Problems

by Karen Hood-Caddy

Everyone who hires me has a problem. Sometimes that problem is big, sometimes it’s small and sometimes, it’s gnarly, or frightening.

Needless to say, over 30 years of coaching, I’ve learned a great deal about how to help people solve problems. I want to share with you some of the skills that will help you address the tough situations in your life with greater ease and efficiency.

Because if there’s one thing that differentiates happy people from unhappy people, it’s how they address the hard parts of life.

Here are the best tips I know to handle problems like a pro.

  • To be blunt, the only people that don’t have problems are dead people. So, accept your problems and trust that they beat the alternative.
  • Get bigger than your problem. People who are living a great life aren’t as affected by their problems as people who aren’t living a great life. It’s like this: If you only have one cookie and mud gets splattered on it, it’s going to feel way more significant than if you have a whole box of cookies. Most people find that the moment they begin to live juicy lives, their problems seem to diminish in size and ferocity.
  • Plan for problems.  I have found this a HUGE help in my own life. I used to live as if everything would go smoothly, now I give lots of room for snags and actually look for problematic areas in advance so I’m not so put out when they appear.
  • Trust that solving a problem will evolve you. We often have to grow or change our attitudes to deal with a problem and that’s a good thing. I had a great teacher in Switzerland say to me, “What just about breaks you, makes you.” It’s so true.
  • Ask for help.  There is always someone else who knows the answer to what’s problematic for us. Involve them. It will move you through the problem SO much faster.
  • Start by chipping away at the problem: write down 5 small baby steps you can do to start taking the problem on. (You’ll be surprised how effective this is.)
  • Know that everyone has problems, and many, many people in the world have exactly the same problem as you. This will help you feel less hard done by and less alone.
  • Containerize the problem.  Yesterday I woke up feeling a little down about an issue in my life. Then I realized that even though I don’t have this situation handled in the way I might like, I can still have a great day and still believe I’m a wonderful person.  This thought gave me an immediate feeling of lightness. Yes, I still had the problem, but it wasn’t leaking into other areas of my life.
  • Write down 5 crazy, outside the box solutions. It’s amazing how creative thinking can sometimes give us fresh ideas.
  • Journal 5 ways your ‘Best Self’ might benefit from this problem. A communication problem with a child could give you greater empathy skills, a financial issue might make you more clear on monetary goals, a health problem could make you more committed to your physical wellbeing.  Life is continually trying to evolve us. Don’t argue─grow!

I hope these suggestions were helpful. Please contact me if you’d like a complimentary idea session on how you can handle your own problems better and live YOUR BEST LIFE.


Karen Hood-Caddy

Personal Best Coaching

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You cannot get it done, ever, and you cannot get it wrong.

“You cannot get it done, ever, and you cannot get it wrong. So you might as well relax and start having fun with this.”   Abraham-Hicks


I find this thought very liberating. I often hamper myself by getting hung up on doing things “right”. Sometimes “good enough” is kinder. Sometimes allowing ourselves to fail is very smart.

We, like all of nature, are programmed to grow. It’s innate and impossible to fight. We will grow to the day we die – the learning never stops, the capacity to feel and do more never wanes. It’s because of this that we will never get ‘it’ done. We cannot get it wrong because there are always more depths we can explore.

When we understand this we can forgive ourselves if our natural expansion has caused us to hit a bump in the road. We can welcome the ‘wrong’ things and seek the growth in them. We can start to relax into the journey, be a little silly, take a few risks and have fun!


“Every blade of grass has it’s angel that leans over it and whispers, ‘grow’, ‘grow'” –  The Talmud


(With deep and loving gratitude to my friends and coaches extraordinaire, Kelly Cowan and Karen Hood-Caddy)



Wonder Woman I aint

Last week I got unusually busy with 8 extra one-on-one coaching calls and write ups to do on top of my normal workload, two workshops, a couple of parents evenings and sick children at home. At first I was super-proud of myself: Look at me, I can do this easy-peasy. See, people, what a mega-efficient person I am! (Yes, I actually boasted to my friends along these lines. Embarrasing).


Well it took about 4 days to discover what rocky ground I was on. This blithe disregard for what I needed to keep on top of my energy came back to bite me and I was reminded (once again) that I am a mere mortal!

So I’ve been on the road to ‘filling my well’ again. First of all lots of rest. Then delicious snatched moments with my book (Cloud Atlas – loving it). Movie-nights at home with the children and Guy. Then going on a day-trip to Gloucester on Saturday (these family moments always feed me). Then today I did a lot of collaging which I love. Tomorrow I will take myself off for a solo date (a walk, cafe and writing probably). I wouldn’t have to do so much normally but I’m in catch-up mode!

Making sure you fill your well is vital. Neglecting yourself is like trying to drive your car on empty. What lovely thing have you done for yourself today? Make sure you do at least one thing to treat yourself – give yourself some space (even if it’s just 10 minutes) to spend quality time with you and you. It’s worth its weight in gold and ensures you won’t crash in the way I did this week.




The power of vulnerability

This Thursday evening I’m giving a talk at Hawkwood College in Stroud entitled “Loving What is Whilst Reaching for More – The Law of Attraction explained”. I’m looking forward to it and at the same time it feels quite a vulnerable things to do. What if I’ve pitched it wrong? What if it doesn’t make sense? What if I freeze?!

Many thanks then, to fellow blogger Beyourdreamself for putting me on to this great talk by Brene Brown who talks about the power of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. She discovered in her research that successful people are not only willing to be vulnerable but also they strongly believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. Great stuff.

This is just a 5 minute clip but it’s well worth watching the longer versions of this talk too.

‘Abundance is our Future’

As you know, I’m on an information detox at the moment. Everyday I unsubscribe from approximately 4 newsletter/email shots. (Wow – they really did build up over the years!). I have moved all my inspirational books away from my bedside table and down to the sitting room, (thanks for that advice, Lesley). I can’t recommend this enough. It has been wonderful to regain some head-space.

When I ran workshops based on Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’ I knew that week 4 of the 12-week course would always be the most challenging. Why? Because that was the week that participants were asked to cut out all outside input in the form of TV, Radio, books etc. It was such a picture to see everyone’s faces when I announced this: “You mean, I can’t even read the newspaper in the morning? I HAVE to do that. How else will I keep informed?” Yet, if people trusted the exercise and did banish all reading and watching, it proved to be huge. Suddenly they only had themselves to listen to. Suddenly they could hear what their heart was really saying. Suddenly those cupboards that they had been meaning to clear out for years, finally got cleared out!

It’s not that all media input is bad – of course not. It’s just that we can so easily lose perspective when we are surrounded by these outside voices. In this ever-expanding, increasingly open world of ours, I personally think this is going to be one of our biggest personal challenges in the future.

In the video below, Peter Diamandis gives a stirring speech about why we can expect abundance in the future. It’s well worth a watch – especially if anyone is of the mindset that we’re ‘going to the dogs’. But what I’m also interested in is the question: How do we equip our souls to deal with this kind of abundance? Will we develop increased powers of Presence to go with the explosion of opportunities and choices available to us? We’re talking about the need, here, for a whole new spiritual abundance to go alongside the physical and technological explosion. I’m optimistic because, so far, spiritual awareness and practice has expanded exponentially. It’s very exciting to think what this could mean for spiritual innovation in the future.

A surfeit of wisdom

On my bedside table there lies a secret hazard. Not pills, not booze, not false teeth – self-help books.

Oh what a lot of amazing stuff there is out there! So much insight and wisdom. It seems the inspirational gold is coming in thicker and faster than ever before. The downside is that I find myself drowning in it all.

The problem is drawing a line between that which serves us and the loss of our own self-trust. It’s all too easy to relinquish our power to other’s advice and stop listening to ourselves.

So for my own sanity right now I’m putting it all to one side: the books, the emails, the audio downloads, the knock-em-dead online courses. Just temporarily, mind, because it IS all great stuff. But it’s time to listen more deeply to myself for a while and to regain my perspective.

The fact that I’m needing this head space in order to write my own book at the moment is an irony that is not lost on me. I can only hope that my eventual addition to the positive psychology soup is one that clarifies rather than muddies!

Beware the expert!

Since my last post, (find it here), thankfully, things have turned around. The trouble, I discovered, was that I’d got caught in a web of ‘out-there-ness’. I was paying too much attention to what I thought others wanted me to do and had projected myself outwards. The present moment, my sense of Me and my body were lost in the ether.

I know this is not uncommon. It’s happened to clients of mine who, usually in a flush of enthusiasm about a new project end up drowning in ill-fitting advice. One client, keen to set up a website for his business, for instance, found himself confused by the myriad of experts available to him and ended up with a product that in no way reflected who he is.

Beware! Many a great plan has died a death under the kosh of the perceived expertise of others. Don’t subsume your unique way of doing things to someone who may have different motivations and values to you.

The secret is to look at what’s out there, (lots of great stuff now we have the Internet of course), and take it with a pinch of salt! Look at it and ask yourself “how much of this can I ‘own’ or adapt as mine and what should be discarded?

Celebrate and nurture your You-ness. Because there will only ever be one of you, no-one will have the answers that are the exact right fit for you – except YOU of course!

Coming back to home and heart

We’ve had a lovely time with family and dear friends this weekend but in between times Guy, the kids and I have all been a bit snappy with each other. Roll on the Christmas holidays – I think we’re all in need of slowing down.

I don’t know what it is about this time of year but I always feel that we’re not alone in pushing ourselves too hard in November and early December. I think June is like this too – lots of push-push and outward focus. But then comes late December and July/August – times when we more naturally take a breath and come back to ourselves.

Our tree is now up and tonight a fire is burning in the hearth. “Come”, they say, “time to focus on family, home and heart”.

Dealing with festive fever

After my last post Kelly left this comment:

…would love a happiness post on dealing with Christmas, I feel very mixed about the whole business, and the pressure of “presents’ and expectations, real or imagined.

Ah yes, Christmas! ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Jolly busy.

I sympathise with Kelly who lives in Canada because, it has to be said, many North Americans do go a bit bonkers with it all.

It can all get a bit frenzied. As Kelly says, expectations can be so high. So here’s my top tip for dealing with things at this time of year:

Do the festivities on your own terms

If you want to skip sending out Christmas cards this year – by all means!

If you want to go to the Bahamas and forget it all – spread your wings and fly.

If you want to visit family in the spring rather than dashing around like a mad thing now – that’s OK too.

It’s far better that you do what really appeals to you than to spend your time scowling over the fatted turkey. Your relatives will have a much better time without you, to be frank!

What I love about my family is that we all do our own thing with the present buying. Some go lavish, some buy in second hand shops, some buy online, some make things by hand, some don’t buy anything at all. (We’re a big family!) I remember one year we all received presents  from the ancient contents of my brother-in-law’s mother’s attic. She’d recently had a clear out and saw an opportunity. Wonderful!

So what do you REALLY want to do this festive season? Claim it as your own. It’s much kinder to everyone involved to have a happy version of you participating (or not!) – than to expect them to deal with you feeling all bitter and twisted about it.

Choose your version of things and have a jolly good time doing it!

Grounding through bread

New moon yesterday – oww-woooo!

I notice that I’ve been trying to cram a lot in this week and this is having me lose myself a little. It seems to me it’s a sure sign that I’m over-dosing on ‘stuff’ and getting into my head about things when I cease to make my own bread. What a great measure for the future:

no homemade bread = time to quieten down and get grounded!