Four Steps in Problem Solving - Lessons from the Honey Bee
Bees need a laying queen to be a happy and healthy hive. I summarize their habits, then turn them into 4 steps you can take to help problem-solve
Bees are amazing, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. They literally amaze me on a regular basis. I’m starting my second year of keeping and am continually astounded with every new piece of information I learn about these wonderful creatures.
In addition to constantly falling more in love with bees and this hobby, I am also continually being made aware of “life lessons” that bees can teach us (the Life Coach in me never stops). Take the queen supersedure cell, for instance.
Supersedure cells are created when a Queen is sick, at the end of her life, or simply under-performing to a level that is bad for the hive. When the hive feels the Queen is no longer serving the hive, they create queen cells to have a usurper, for the betterment of the whole colony. If the bees fail in this endeavor, and the queen is indeed sick and no longer laying eggs, they will have complete hive failure unless human intervention occurs. It is crucial for a healthy hive to have a healthy queen laying eggs at all times.
Typically, bees make multiple cells as a kind-of insurance policy. They also place these cells near the center of the frame as a way to help hide the new royal highness from the current ruler. If the queen notices the potential coup, she may destroy her potential replacement.
How do the workers know to do this? The bees and their hive mind are masterful at noticing the warning signs of queen failure. Upon noticing, they make preparations to correct the issue (and keep the young’uns safe from the current queen as best as they can), and then they watch the fruits of their labor succeed into raising a new leader to keep their hive thriving.
Now let’s think about that in terms of a healthy life where you are able to identify problems and then fix them. Below are four steps for problem solving from the honey bee
Step 1: Be observant of warning signs
A good hive takes notice of problems in the hive, and does so early. It is as important for us to notice the warning signs in our own lives. Bees have evolved to sense this within their hives. Humans are not so lucky. Our warning signs also differ from one human to the other. For example, I personally know something is wrong with my stress levels when I begin crying for no reason, or when I am avoiding looking at my budget.
It’s important in our own journeys toward greater self-fulfillment to notice our warning signs – and the sooner the better.
Step 2: Immediately begin making preparations to solve the problem
Once the warning signs are observed, it is time to act! Don’t wait around for it to get worse before doing anything. If you are adept at noticing your warning signs – trust them, and take action to correct the problem. 9 out of 10 times, the problem will not go away on its own. Problems are always so much harder to correct the longer they persist (they’re usually more expensive, too).
DO NOT hold on to something that isn’t working! We always hear “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” However, if it IS broke, fix it!
Step 3: Have contingencies
Bees never only make one supersedure cell. There are always multiples. They have contingencies and do not put their eggs in one basket (pun intended!). Similarly, you should also have contingencies on problem-correction in case your first attempt does not work. Visualizing what can go wrong with your solution can help with this. Think “What if this doesn’t work?” and then make sure you find an answer to that question. I recommend doing that a few times (depending on the severity of the problem), to have a few back-up plans in place.
Step 4: Reap the rewards of having the problem solved, and the dawn of the new era
Once you’re certain that your plan (whether it was plan A, B, or C) has worked, you get to reap the rewards! It’s just as important to relish in the victories as it is to correct the problems. All too soon you’ll need to be back on the lookout for warning signs. Take the time to luxuriate in your accomplishment and your good habits that allowed you to handle a problem before it reached catastrophic proportions!