Problem Solving (a series) – Beginning

I’m beginning a series of workshop classes that will span over the coming months.  I really enjoyed working through a previous series (Heart-to-Heart), and drawing parallels to my ABDL life.  While I’m sitting here with CEOs, directors, and other leaders talking about their expectations of the coursework I am also drawing links in my own mind to the journey of discovery and acceptance of my life in diapers.  

This class focuses on the Toyota approach to problem solving method commonly called A3.  During the first working sessions I began taking notes, and had a lot of thoughts regarding the LEAN process come to mind.  So often the problem we see might not actually be a problem, or possibly not the problem.  Growing up with diapers is such an internal and personal experience.  So many of us grow up feeling isolated and alone, and we can hone in on a specific part of our “problem” and miss either a larger issue, or an issue that can be addressed before we attack the problem at the forefront of our minds.  

Seldom do we take the proper time to clearly identify a problem that is in front of us.  We then take a shotgun approach in our attempt to fix the problem because we haven’t dialied in effectively enough on what our problem actually is.

I just realized that I have typed the word problem a lot in the loft few paragraphs.  I do not want you to correlate you wearing diapers as a problem.  We grow up trying to solve our diaper wearing, and it can feel like a problem.  It presents hurdles and obstacles in our lives which we learn to cope with and overcome.  I have looked past diapers as a problem, and have tooled them to be part of the solution in my life.  The problem statement is located at the point where we find what diapers are to us, and what role they will play in our own lives.  

What is a problem? A “problem” must contain two parts:

It must present an issue of work performance:  In place of work put your life, or a part of your life.  How are diapers, or your urge to wear diapers presenting an issue in your ability to function in your own life?  Again, this is not just one problem to be solved once.  There are many layers to our lives in diapers.  We need to take specific, consumable problems into consideration to be solved.  When we solve one aspect of our life in diapers we will be able to dig deeper into our own “why” in our connection with diapers and the ABDL lifestyle.

It must be defined as a clear gap (ideally measurable) between a specific work condition or event and agreed performance.  This often happens organically for us.  We feel a disparity in our lives.  That gap presents itself in the form of a thought or emotion.  We feel that something is off, and begin to search for the quick fix to remove that emotion or feeling from our lives.  Growth is often painful, and we don’t always approach solutions in the most constructive manner.

All too often we think right past the situation to a solution.  The problem solving process in the A3 process involves PDCA or Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust.  People often skip two very important steps and bounce between plan and do.  

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

This method of problem solving leads to frustration and concern because we don’t take the time to adjust and account for why we continue to fail.  Finding 2000 ways not to make a lightbulb is fine, but if we can reflect and adjust on the failure we can become more efficient in our problem solving.  If we adopt a mentality of rapid cycles of change we can learn that failure is part of the experience and more quickly find solutions to these micro problems in our lives.  Wait, did I just say that failure is part of the experience (and that failure is OKAY)?!  Yes I did.  

We have to choose to embrace our mortality and our imperfection.  Choose to learn from failure and the opportunity it can provide.  I have found in my life in diapers I have failed myself many, many times.  Much of this was not approaching the issue at hand in a healthy way.  I have learned more in the last 18 months, amidst people I now call my friends, than I did the previous three decades before that time.  Through self acceptance, spousal acceptance, and opportunity for growth I have found how to better manage myself in diapers and continue to dig deeper into my life surrounding ABDL.

Looking back to improperly approaching problem solving by bouncing between plan and do we must all recognize that with diapers we all find ourselves in different places.  While we share similarities we are all at a different place in our own journey/process.

Some ABDLs may presently feel:

  • Diapers ARE a problem
  • My spouse doesn’t accept me in diapers
  • I don’t understand myself and my quirk/affinity/connection/urge to wear diapers
  • I MUST quit diapers (enter binge/purge)
  • I need to talk to my spouse about how I feel about wearing a diaper.

Whatever you feel your current “problem” is please also factor in the current conditions in your own life.  What are underlying issues that could be affecting what you are experiencing as well as other issues that might be hiding under the thin layer of what you are currently experiencing?  Be prepared to feel overwhelmed.  I was, and still am at times.  I have found one of my best avenues is my writing.  My journal and blog help me focus and learn about where I presently am.  

So much about problem solving is focusing on the customer.  This is something I am not good at when the problem is about me.  I am the customer.  I need to worry and care about myself more than I do.  Also, you are trying to improve yourself so you can help your “customers.”  Those people are most often your spouse and children.  Put them first, and then work back to what you currently see as your issue.  It will help provide perspective in your problem solving efforts.

“A problem clearly stated, is half solved”

In wrapping up this post I hope you can see the value in the statement above.  When we are able to truly see what the problem is in front of us, we are halfway to a solution.  Proper planning, followed by checks and adjustments along the way, will help us set ourselves up for success.  They will help us minimize the times where we feel self loathing and shame.  For me, this is standing in front of a mirror and seeing myself in a diaper.  When I am already down on myself this moment is where I really begin to berate myself mentally.  I see nothing good in the mirror, and can’t see how anyone possibly could either.  

I have found this path is best traveled with help.  Please know you are not alone in your journey.  There are others like you, experiencing what you are, who also do not want to feel alone.  Please reach out, and know you have a padded friend in your corner.  We can crinkle together!

I completely feel this post is disjointed, and all over the place.  I don’t feel I was able to dial in on certain topics enough, and my hope is the posts in this series following will help shed some light on my thoughts.  If not, please let me know what questions you may have so I can further explain where I am coming from.

Keep your head up.  

Take life on one day, and one diaper, at a time.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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