May20

June 2013 – To Fix Or Not To Fix

The easiest thing in the world is to settle for the easy way out, while the hardest thing is to realize that easy isn’t always easy. As a matter of fact, how often is “easy” actually the long way around? A recent conversation I had made me think about this.

The conversation was about “fixers”. You‘ve run into fixers around the water cooler; the  parking lot after work; or elbow to elbow at the bar. Although fixers aren’t much good at fixing, they are very good at telling you everything that is wrong! At the same time, they do a good job of convincing (at least themselves) that it’s everyone else’s fault. Fixers are in fact blamers, but don’t tell them that without bracing for a good fight.

Viktor E. Frankl, Austrian Psychologist, once said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Charles Rosner, renowned advertiser and marketer from the 60s through the 90s wrote, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” This was used as a recruitment slogan, in 1967, for AmeriCorps VISTA.

Isn’t life pretty simple when you think about it? Many times each day we hit the fork in the road that offers us the choice between being part of the solution or being part of the problem. When we’re standing at the fork, we really do have the choice to be one or the other, it’s that easy.  Identifying “fixers” who are really part of the problem is easy too. If it’s100% someone else’s fault, you’re a “fixer”. If you find yourself standing by critiquing rather than helping, you’re a “fixer”. If you find yourself dissecting the situation, after the fact, rather than working on it while it’s going on, you guessed it…you’re acting like a fixer.

Let’s face it, to some extent we’re all fixers. It’s a matter of degree and choice of action. Being a fixer doesn’t mean you’re a bad soul, it just means you’re making some bad choices. Although you might get people to agree with you, they won’t be sympathetic toward you.  Picking everyone else apart requires no care and maintenance and certainly no responsibility, but when you get down to it who respects a “fixer”?

We all own at least some part of every situation, even if it’s only a sliver. Fix your sliver, even if it’s only 5% of the total, you’ll set an example for others to follow in fixing the rest. Challenge other fixers with, “I hear what you’re saying, but what are you going to do about it?” Lastly, you can help “fixers” and yourself by remembering a favorite quote of mine by Henry Ford: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right” . Try fixing more than blaming!

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