We have all had times in life when we’ve felt stuck in a rut. We know what we want to achieve but we just can’t seem to figure out how to overcome the obstacle we’re facing. It might be that time, money or some other resource is an issue, or maybe you feel something or someone else is getting in the way for you. Things can quickly start to feel frustrating, and ultimately, for many people, this might be the time when it’s far easier and more comfortable to give up on the goal altogether.
I’ve put together three of my top tips to help you think outside the box and generate creative possibilities and bring new perspectives to overcome your obstacle. There is the saying of “if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”.
These tips are to help you do some divergent thinking, to let your imagination run free and move your head away from the same old ways of thinking; it’s not about finding the right answer straight away but about coming up with as many different possible ways forward as possible:
1. Understanding yourself and your situation
Firstly, check-in with yourself to see if it’s your own negative thoughts getting in the way. Is there a little self-limiting belief lurking behind the scenes telling you’re not good enough, not smart enough, too old or too young, not experienced enough, or you just know it’ll never work?
Spend some time with this, notice what you feel and how you speak about yourself – these negative assumptions are one of the factors which will restrict your creativity when thinking about new options to get things done. If you notice that you may hold some limiting beliefs ask yourself “what evidence do I have which supports this belief?” More importantly, if you have some evidence to support it, ask yourself how old that evidence is? The likelihood is… it’s pretty ancient.
2. Reach for a new point of view
Get your pen and paper and write down what the obstacle is. Once you have done this, it’s time to get ready to try on some different hats and scribble down all the answers you come up with to the following, no matter how crazy.
- What advice would your best friend give you to overcome this obstacle?
- What advice would you give your best friend?
- What would Richard Branson do in your situation?
- What would Mother Theresa do to work her way around the problem?
- What would a 10-year-old do to move things forward?
- What advice would [insert name of favourite famous person] give you?
- What advice would [insert name of someone you find inspirational] give you?
You get the idea. You should now have a big list of things to do that probably haven’t popped into your head before! They’re all possible options, even if some of them seem a bit wild, keep them and consider them.
3. Use some self-coaching techniques
Ask yourself these four thought-provoking ‘what if’ questions:
- What if I knew I couldn’t fail, what could I do?
- What if money was no option, what could I do?
- What if time was no option, what could I do?
- What if I held all the power, what could I do?
A bonus tip for the road… ask yourself – “what colour is my bedroom door?”
I can guarantee, all you can now think about is the colour of your bedroom door. Your brain is programmed to answer the questions you give it, so give some time to the ones above and see if it opens any new ideas for you, because they all invite your brain to think outside of the box.
“We cannot solve our problems by thinking on the same level that we used to create them” – Einstein