• Angelica Alam

Focus Less On The Problem & More On The Solution.

(That is easier said than done) but I've done it, which means you can too!

I was gearing up to go on the most exciting business trip of my career — a client tour across Europe. I was going to visit four countries, eight cities, and 15+ clients.


I had my flights booked, hotels booked, meetings scheduled. I was beyond excited.


As I wrapped up my day at the office and prepared to walk out, a co-worker reminded me not to forget my passport, which I had left on my desk. As she grabbed it to hand it to me, she made a complementing comment. "Nice passport picture Angie, but this isn't the passport you're using right!?"


I was confused because I thought, What passport should I be using? so I ask, "whatever do you mean, co-worker?" She kindly reminded me that most European countries wouldn't allow you entry if your passport expires within six months.


Of course, my passport was due to expire in 5 months and 29 days. Why would my dream business trip go as planned?


I had 24 hours to renew my passport and had no idea where to start. If I didn't figure this out I would have had to cancel my trips with no refunds, cancel my client meetings, and explain to my boss why my lack of attention to detail caused thousands of dollars and disappointed clients. Not only that, imagine I would have found this out when I got to the airport. Talk about divine intervention!


Did I freak out? Oh, you bet I did. Mild hyperventilation, brain fog, the whole nine. Did it solve my problem? No.


Why is it that when we find ourselves in stressful situations, we forget our superpowers? We forget that we are natural-born problem solvers. We underestimate our ability to create solutions that are greater than our problems. Who are we? We are Me, You, Us.


When I called my boss to tell him the news, he changed a very daunting situation into a business problem that needed a solution. He said, "If there is anyone that can solve this, it is you, that is what you do, you solve problems." He told me to focus more on the solution and less on the problem and get it done. That is what I did.


It was painful, but it got accomplished. It turns out I needed to wake up at 3:30 am, wait in line until 7 am and be the first person at the passport office. They take only a handful of same-day passport renewals, at a premium cost. I took a book with me, waited in line, and had my passport by noon. I rushed to the airport and made my 4 pm flight.


I had the most memorable experience on the trip that made me forget about all the trouble it took. Sometimes, all we need is a friendly reminder that we are natural-born problem solvers in those stressful situations.


So always remember:


1. You are stronger than your problem.


2. Save your energy for the solution. Don't expend it all on the problem.


3. The growth is in the journey, not in the destination.


4. Encouragement is motivating, but only you can show up and do the work.


5. Learn your superpowers so that you can use them in stressful situations.


In hindsight, sometimes, our problems today provide solutions for problems to come. I would later move to Singapore and had all of my passport issues out of the way. Silverlining.


"Know, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37


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Angelica Alam | Los Angeles | New York | Connect@angelicaalam.com

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