Adopt a problem-solving mentality

If you’re confronted with a problem, treat it as a puzzle that you must piece together. Whether your boss assigns you to clean up a messy personnel situation or you decide to take on a tough challenge on your own, strive to be specific and solution-oriented in how you contemplate the issue. Begin by drafting a list of to-do steps (such as gathering data, confirming facts, identifying secondary problems) and then implementing them promptly. Constantly think in terms of solutions by asking yourself, “What do I conclude from this?” and “How can I fix this?” Beware of lapsing into a resistanceoriented mind-set in which you fight the problem or overreact to it rather than addressing it decisively. If you dwell on its magnitude or complexity, you may become immobilized.