Do You Have a Problem or an Opportunity?

Every Problem is an Opportunity to Grow and Learn

In today’s episode: We discuss two lessons that I learned when I discovered the importance of learning  that you don't have a problem but rather an opportunity.


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Episode 87:  Do You Have a Problem or an Opportunity?

Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast. I am your coach, Tammy Adams.

Today we are going to take a look at two lessons I learned when I figured out that you don't have a problem, but an opportunity. 



If you listened to our last episode, we discussed why it was important for you to empower your employees, today I want to expand on that a little. Today’s topic ties in well with empowering your people. However, you don’t have to have employees to learn from this lesson. I touched on this topic in the past, but I’ve been wanting to dive in deeper.



When I was a young department head, I had this drilled into my head. The first time I learned this lesson I was running the ceiling fan department. Not only was I in charge of the ceiling fan inventory, but also the regular oscillating fans. Being in southern California where we don’t always have air conditioning, we sold the crap out of these fans.

Now keep in mind, I was in a department of 4 people. Myself, an older gentleman, this young girl and a guy who felt he was always stuck doing the heavy work. LOL. The problem was, with so few people, we rarely overlapped and often worked alone. Normally, I knew what freight was coming, so I could plan and schedule accordingly.


So one day, I’m working and all of a sudden pallet after pallet of oscillating fans starts to show up. Big ones, little ones, square ones, you name it. The entire area was being over taken by these fans. If I recall, it was something like 46 pallets of fans.  All I could think about was what the heck was I going to do with all of these fans.

My assistant manager just happened to be there walking the plumbing department with that department supervisor. Now, keep in mind, I think I was 21 or 22 at the time, so in a panic I go up to him and tell him we have a HUGE problem. I’m sure I was rattling off how horrible it was, and how I had no idea where to put all this stuff and I was by myself, and going on and on and on. He just stood there staring at me.

Then calmly goes, Tammy, you don’t have a problem. You have an opportunity. Now, this wasn’t the first time he had told me this. I also remember thinking, you may think it is an opportunity, but to me it is a big F-ing problem. LOL



While I had no belief there was solution to this huge, crazy 40 pallet problem, what happened next, taught me two valuable lessons that day. My assistant manager, gathered a few other employees from around the store, came up with a gameplan on where all the fans would go and then we all built some end caps, changed out the seasonal swing area and made a few other homes throughout the store. Needless to say, by the end of the day every single pallet was taken care of.


So, what were those two lessons?


Lesson #1- A Problem is Like a Puzzle to Be Solved

Even after hearing my assistant manager say many times that we didn’t have a problem, but we had an opportunity, I never quite believed in my heart that this was true. However, after seeing how this huge problem went away, I started to realize there was something to his saying. Each problem really was just a puzzle to be solved.

Now, when I’m faced with a problem, both personally or professionally, I look at them differently. Since I love puzzles, I start to think of the various solutions and how they might play out. I’ve been doing this for the past 30 years now and I realize, how critical this skill has been to my success through the years.

So, what was the second lesson that I learned that day?


Lesson #2 – Always Remain Calm During a Crisis

Remember how I was saying I was freaking out when I was talking to my manager and he just stood there calmly and helped me realize that we had an opportunity to solve this problem? His calmness and his certainty helped me calm down and believe that we would fix the problem.

I realized that in order for me to become a better leader, I needed to learn that skill. I needed to always remain calm during any storm that might present itself. And you know what? I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job on this one as well. Want to know what the trick is? Realizing that every problem was an opportunity. It gives you a calmness that everything will be ok.



So let me ask you? When confronted with problem, how do you see it? When your employees come to you with problems, how to handle their emotional request for help? When a loved one calls you up in a panic and doesn’t know how to handle a problem they have, are you the calm one that helps them realize everything will be ok?

Do you believe in your heart that you will find a solution?  Do you see it as a puzzle to be solved? If the answer is no to any of these questions, don’t you think it is time that you changed your approach to problems?

Trust me, once you make that switch to seeing every problem as an opportunity, you will make better decisions. They are more thought out and they aren’t emotional decisions.  You might not always like the solution but you will have the most well thought out answer.

So my challenge to each of you is to step back and next time you are faced with a problem situation, pay attention to how you not only view the problem, but how you are handling it. Are you calm, cool and collected? Are you looking at the problem as something to be solved?

By the way, if you do see problems as opportunities, that is freaking awesome. Hopefully you are making it your mission, just like I have, to help others master this same skill just like my old mentor, Tim did all those years ago.


And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.

By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.

Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!

Bye for now…..


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Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:

Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.


The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.