By Joy W. Goldman RN, MS, PCC: A recovering fixer!
We continue our post stress management strategies for those of us who identify as “I’m a fixer!—I fix things!”
Fixing, also known as problem-solving, is a valuable skill, until we approach everything in our work and personal lives as problems to fix. Here we’ve adapted the time-tested 12-step program from Alcoholics Anonymous to habitual problem solvers/ fixers for steps 7-9.
7. We humbly asked our higher power to supplement our fixing habit with a healthy alternative. We bravely acknowledged that we didn’t have all the answers and could allow ourselves the opportunity to learn and expand our toolbox, while also providing an opportunity for others to develop their skills. We also realized that we didn’t have to abandon our “fixing” high but that we could complement it with something called polarity thinking- both/and thinking.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to be transparent about our steps to recovery. In our haste to be the one with the one right answer, we acknowledge that we dismissed other’s perspectives, often making them feel devalued. At this time of “the great resignation,” we know we can’t afford to do that and we need every talented resource we can get to be successful. During our 1:1’s and team meetings, we fessed up and apologized for our previous dismissive behavior and committed to change. We asked our peers and team members to provide us feedback when they noticed positive changes and when they also noticed our inevitable remissions.
9. We made direct amends to people we had harmed unless doing so would injure them or others. For those whose perspectives had been dismissed, we now purposefully asked for their perspective as we were challenged by complex issues. Instead of trying to surface one right answer, we purposefully looked for numerous perspectives and seeming contradictions. Our goal became more about getting several voices and perspectives in the room, often from those who generally had opposite preferences from the majority.