A simple word change leading to a mindset and perception shift.

You might have heard of the saying "There are no problems, only solutions".

When the solution is not obvious (yet) though, this can be a discouraging statement to hear.

The saying I have been using A LOT, and which changed my choice of words is "There are no problems, only challenges.".

I learned this a decade ago from one of my mentors and leader, Ben Sullivan.

Back then, I was using the word "problem" a lot in my interactions.

"We have a problem...."

"The problem is..."

Perhaps that was my French side ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‰

In any case, while my mindset was to put the issues forward in a straightforward way, so as to be able to address them, using the word "problem" conveyed a sense of negativity.

This is particularly strong depending on the culture. Perhaps it was a French-American clash of cultures.

Using the word "challenge" instead of "problem" shifts the perception from a negative, to one that conveys the fact that it's just a hurdle, that needs to be overcome.

Personally, I love challenges - they are the ones who make you learn, grow and evolve, pushing you out of your comfort zone.

When you lead a team, tackling a challenge together can be inspiring. Solving a problem is scarier.

In startups, especially in the early years, there are A LOT of challenges, on a daily basis.

So when there are no problems, only challenges, the road ahead is more exciting than depressing.

In my startups now, I even have a Slackbot in our Slack workspace to correct anyone using the word problem ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค“

What similar word change have you experienced improving mindset and perception?