Finding solutions to problems shouldn’t be easy. It’s a bittersweet paradox of frustration, stress, and mentally and emotionally draining work paired with the thrill of excitement, inspiration, courage, and satisfaction that comes with success.

Oftentimes, leaders think they lead by removing barriers and obstacles for their teammates. They claim, “I’m supporting my team by…” E.g. A principal might say, “I support my teachers by removing misbehaving students from the classroom.” We know that removing a student for disruptive behaviors doesn’t provide a long-term solution and furthermore damages the teacher-student relationship.

We also know struggle can produce growth if leveraged in a way that effectively utilizes problem solving and reflection. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell the butterfly-chrysalis story you’ve heard a billion times.

But I will tell you another story. Actually, my son, Clayton, will tell you a story. One day, he walked in the room and declared, “Sam was the real hero.” Huh…?“Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you.-2

Written by Clayton Lang:

Samwise was the real hero. He was strong, brave, and intuitive (he knew Smeagol was up to no good). He saved the food and carried most of the supplies. He even carried his friend up a volcano. He defeated some ugly orcs to save his friend’s life. He was the only ringbearer to resist temptation to wear the One Ring. 

Samwise Gamgee led not by carrying or removing the burden from Frodo, but carrying his friend and the burden. Relentlessly pushing, encouraging, leading, problem-solving, and venturing through the “impossible” together.
Instead of focusing on minimizing problems, let’s focus on how we leverage and conceptualize problems. Commit to transforming problems into micro-thrills, group thinks, and opportunities to create something new… together.

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