What You’ll Learn Today:

  • A great tool for figuring out the real or “root cause” of a problem in your relationship or life

Top Take-A-Ways:

In the business world we have lots of great tools for what we call “Root Cause Analysis” or RCA. This is usually part of quality management in a company. 

Root Cause Analysis is just what it sounds like: you’re trying to break down what seems like a big problem into its underlying causes so you can tackle it. 

With RCA, you’re identifying 4 specific things:

  1. What happened
  2. How it happened
  3. Why it happened…so that (and here’s the really important part)
  4. You can identify specific actions to prevent this issue from happening again in the future.

What I want to do today is something different. We all know that there are times when situations go well and times when that same situation goes poorly. 

I want to work back from something that went well, to see what happened. But, we’re not looking back so we can prevent it, but so that we can repeat it again in the future!

The tool I’m going to teach you today I call the Was or Was Not Tool. It’s adapted from something called the “Is or Is Not” method that’s most often used in quality management in organizations, especially in manufacturing.


There are three main reasons why doing this exercise is great for your relationship and your happiness level:

First, you can identify key factors needed to make certain recurring situations successful (everything from vacations, to dinner to homework times). 

When you know what the requirements are for success it’s MUCH easier to replicate and make happen more often. You can change systems, add resources, or take away obstacles so things can consistently run more smoothly.

Second, I can pretty much guarantee that, if you do this enough, you’ll notice you need a lot of the same things, you have many of the same requirements, to make situations work. Maybe you always need to be self-aware, focus on patience or start things 10 minutes earlier than you think. 

You’ll definitely notice themes and be able to simplify your life by focusing on these strength pieces.  

Lastly, you’ll be able to identify the positive pieces that work for your relationship. These are your relationship strengths.

Resources and Links:

019 Make Your Relationship Awesome by Focusing on the Bright Spots

Get your FREE copy of the Was/Was Not Tool by signing up below!

Subscribe & Review in iTunes
Are you subscribed to my podcast yet? Well, what are you waiting for? You know you want to make your relationship awesome and getting a weekly reminder on specific ways to do just that is a perfect way to get there! Click here to subscribe in iTunes
If you’re up for giving me some extra love, I’d be so very grateful if you’d leave me a review over on iTunes too (make iTunes a link). Reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you so much!

Get your weekly newsletter with all things Abby and life

Subscribe today to get my weekly thoughts, best practices and funny stories (you won’t believe my life!). This weekly reminder will keep you on the path to creating connected, happy relationships (especially the one with yourself)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!