How to Reinvent Your Relationship with Problems and Opportunities

Problems call for response.

  1. Stress narrows your focus and makes you stupid.
  2. Disappointment invites introspection, blame, or both.
  3. Threats call you to fight, fly, or freeze.
Tree growing out of rubble.

The way you define something determines your relationship with it.

The way you define something determines your relationship with it.

Redefining relationships:

When you redefine a problem, you reinvent your relationship with it.


Problems stand cross-armed blocking the path ahead.

Problems need to be defeated, solved, overcome, or driven out.

Leaders facing problems define themselves as warriors driven to defeat adversaries.


The only fear in opportunity is missing it.

Opportunities stand open-armed in a doorway. Opportunities create a path ahead.

Problems become opportunities when you redefine your relationship with them.

Opportunities call for creativity, vision, enthusiasm, and boldness.

Leaders facing opportunities must become courageous innovators shaping their world.


Response to the external world reflects who you are and shapes who you become.  

Will Durant summarized Aristotle when he wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.” (Pg. 98) Aristotle originally said, “… these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions.”

Action is formative.

Your best self emerges when you define problems as opportunities. This isn’t hocus pocus.

You are still accountable. The path forward is yet to be defined. And most importantly, you are fully responsible for your actions and attitudes.

Problem as opportunity:

  1. Reach beyond elimination to creation.
  2. Include starting. Opportunities are seized by starting something.
  3. Reflect on long-term transformation rather than stop-gap reactions.

The question:

How is this problem an opportunity?

Opportunity to…

  1. Better serve customers.
  2. Improve processes and create efficiencies.
  3. Deepen communication and connection.
  4. Develop yourself and others. The first opportunity every problem presents is self-development.
  5. Shape the future.

Problems concern the past. Opportunities define your relationship with the present and shape your future.

Every time you shift the way you define yourself, you shift the environment you create.

How might leaders shift from problem-thinking to opportunity-thinking?

Bonus material:

How to Change Your Mindset to See Problems as Opportunities |

4 Ways to Turn Problems into Opportunities | Leadership Freak