Why This Unusual Step Will Help Solve Your Problems

Chest infections.

If you have one, you go to and see your Doctor, right?

Not if you are me.

Playing the typical man I shunned the advice of friends and family ( ‘I ain’t going to no Dr’s, fools’). I decided I was fit enough to ride it out and would be back to normal in no time.

Six weeks later and there are still remnants of the infection hanging around.

I won’t go into detail but think Slimer in Ghostbusters.


I could handle expelling the gunk from my body. This told me I was getting better if I was coughing it up (wrong). Who needed a Doctor?

My wife has a background in respiratory disease. She taught me breathing exercises to help get rid of the green stuff.

I was sceptical but they really work.

If you are interested in the technique then drop me a message – I’m happy to share.

I could also handle feeling a bit under the weather. I knew this would improve in time and my temperature and fever would clear up.

What I could not handle was the cough.

The infuriating, persistent, nagging, violent (at times wretch inducing) cough.

It was with me all day, torturing me about my great decision to not see a Doctor. I know. I know. My fault.

Solve your problems

Spittle and Splutter

The two most violent coughing fits took place on public transport.

One took place on a bus during my commute to work and one on the way home.

I crave a quiet commute.

I use the time to reflect, read or just zone out.

Many of my fellow travellers also like to do the same thing.

People initially looked at me with sympathy.

After a few minutes of coughing, wheezing and hacking the sympathy turned into hatred.

If you have commuted for any length of time ill people are the worst.

I was the worst.

In reality I should have seen the Doctor and swallowed my medicine – literally.

Self Medicate

We can be our own worst enemy at times and often make things harder than they need to be.

At work  we experience our own metaphorical coughs.

We have an issue that is nagging, persistent, putting us under the weather.

It might be a colleague you work with.

It could be an approaching deadline.

Hell, it could be your Boss..

Frequently we ignore the signs and think it will get better given time. Sometimes we get lucky and the issue will pass, but this rarely happens.

Solve Your Problems

Bring it Closer

Some of the best advice I have been given is when faced with a problem, bring it closer to you.

This sounds counter intuitive.

‘Why would I want to bring the problem closer to me and increase my chance of infection?’

Well, think of it as a trip to the Doctors and taking your medication in one go.

Bringing the problem closer allows means you limit the chance of further infection. You look at what is causing the issue and you work out a way of applying your own medication, working with others, to improve the health of the situation.

A few years ago I led a sales team during a new product launch. It was not our product, we were selling it for another company.

The early sales numbers were not great, although we were starting to build up a good set of leads for potential future sales.

The relationship manager was twitchy due to low sales numbers. She would visit myself and the team several times a day. Improvements were slow, although progress was being made.

Solve Your Problems

The presence of the relationship manager was not helping. The team experienced unnecessary pressure. The process was new to them and they still needed time to adjust. She was my cough.

Irritated by the visits the advice popped into my head ‘bring the problem closer.’

How could I treat the cough and prescribe medication to get us back to full fitness?

Rather than waiting for the relationship manager to find a reason to be ‘just in the area’ I invited them to attend our daily morning sales meeting.

We also set up a working group then met once a week to check the previous week’s performance.

I wanted to show how hard we were working, how passionate we were to get it right and it also allowed them the opportunity to input ideas and suggestions.

The ad-hoc visits stopped and the team were able to concentrate on the task of selling.

The cough was cured.

Cure the Cough

What cough(s) do you have at the moment?

Are you hoping they are just going to get better with time?

Could you be doing something different?

How could you bring the problem closer to you?

What treatment are you going to apply?

I would love to hear about your cough and how you went about curing it.

Believe and take action

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Ian Ruane

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One Comment

  1. June 12, 2015

    Great blog. I agree that it can seem odd to bring things (mainly people) that annoy you closer, but when you do you often find that you both want the same things. The annoyance comes out of misunderstanding, the more you try to push people away the greater the misunderstanding, which leads to greater annoyance on both sides. Thanks for sharing.

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