As children, we grow up asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Another of the favourites is the dreaded “What is your passion?” These common questions are asked when we’re feeling indecisive about what to do with our careers.
What if instead, we started asking a different question.
What problem would you like to help solve?
Changing the question shifts us into thinking as problem solvers. We begin to see careers as tools on our journey to helping solve problems – and not as identities.
There are generally three types of problems to solve, which result in 3 types of organizations; aspirins, vitamins and jellybeans.
Aspirins. These are acute problems that are causing immediate pain. They are a throbbing pain that is affecting our day and how we interact with everyone. Moreover, we don’t want to work on anything until we deal with this pain.
Mechanics who fix cars that break down, are solving an acute pain, and thus running an aspirin business.
Vitamins. These are non-immediate problems. Their impact is so small that it can be easily neglected, but, if not addressed over time can cause pain and issues.
Auto-maintenance shops who do oil changes, detailing, cleaning and aesthetic bodywork are solving non-immediate pains, and running a vitamin business.
Jellybeans. These are not pains, but sought out gains. Sometimes known as “nice to have.” Luxuries, entertainment, and fun sought out items, or experiences that are fulfilling immediate or long-term desires.
Luxury Car dealerships are usually selling the lifestyle that one gets to live when driving their brand new top of the line, limited edition, exclusive car. This would be a jelly bean business.
What type of problem do you want to be solving?
Is it an Aspirin? A Vitamin? or a Jellybean?