Are you facing a seemingly unsolvable problem? Are you stuck, spinning, not knowing what action to take?

You may need a Reframe.

If you have been losing sleep over the same problem for a long time, you may be trying to solve the wrong problem. Try this simple exercise to reframe your problem into something you can solve:

1. Make sure you are solving for the right problem.

A good way to know if you are working on the wrong problem is to ask yourself, “What would your life look like if you solved the problem?”

Let’s take the age-old problem of not having enough money to go on vacation. Common sense tells us that we need to generate alternative sources of revenue or try a stay-cation (disclaimer: most people still end up spending quite a lot of money on their stay-cation).

Reframing the problem brings us to another place entirely. Try asking yourself what your life would look like if you could go on vacation? Here is my answer, “If I had enough money, I could go on vacation and refresh my mind and body.” As I answer this simple question, I identify my real problem which is, “How do I refresh my mind and body?”

My problem is not about money, it’s about refreshing my mind and body.

Okay, so I know many ways to refresh my mind and body that are free or low-cost and do not require getting on a plane. Do I still want to go on vacation? Of course, but now I can see that there is something to do to solve the problem of feeling run down and tired and perhaps when I am taking good care of myself I will feel energized to make more money to go on vacation!

2. Consider if you just need to take action.

Stop thinking and start doing. We get stuck trying to think our way through the problem, when often the answer lies in actions around, over, or under the problem.

Recent research shows us that 95% of our daily thoughts are the same thoughts. Like the classic hamster on a wheel, we get stuck strategizing about the problem. At a very basic level, we need to get away from staring our problem in the face and start taking baby action steps. These actions will generate more information and different solutions to our problem.

As soon as you take an action, any action, you are no longer stuck…you are literally set free!


Read more of Laura’s articles:

Finding Your Passion is Tricky Business

How to Own Your Ask

Making a Change? Find an Accountability Partner

A version of this post originally appeared on

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