Your mind is just a muscle – you can train it to find creative solutions for any problem. Here’s how to turn business problems into opportunities.
Everyone has something that fuels their passion, kickstarts their day and feeds their ambition. Reach inside and you know what I mean. Something in you wants to succeed and motivates you to get there.
Successful business owners use this motivation to get to the top. But just has everyone has this inside them, everyone also comes up against roadblocks. It’s inevitable that all business people will face challenges, problems and issues. And sometimes these will seem insurmountable. But they’re not.
Business problems are opportunities in disguise
During my working life, I have also faced challenges and overcoming them feels great. Solving problems feels great. But I know that business owners can feel stuck and find themselves focusing on the problem rather than the solution.
This is why, between 2007 and 2016, more than 39,000 business in the UK failed within 12 months of launch. The good news is, this won’t be you. By identifying core problems and shift the way you work and think, seemingly insurmountable problems will be tamed and managed. It’s about reframing the problem as an amazing opportunity.
Get out of that box
The first step is to reframe the way you think about your own creative potential. Lose the notion that it’s somehow fixed and think of it like a muscle you can flex, relax and train.
Everyone has a muscle like this, but not everyone is as flexible, fit and toned as they can be. Work your creative muscle more to strengthen and hone it for maximum flexibility. To get your creativity muscle fitter, encourage everyone to ask ‘what if’ questions. Usually only the design expert or business leader asks: ‘what if’. Expand this to everyone within your team or company, and benefit from the results. We all constantly ask questions as children, but at some point, this reflex ‘need to know’ action is quashed by a parent or teacher. We’re trained to get in our box and get good at it. We’re told to stay in our lane and don’t ask difficult questions.
Flip this on its head entirely. ‘What if…?’ questions help to find the difference between beliefs and facts. They make it possible to reframe the impossible and see problems as opportunities. Practise this way of collective thinking and you’ll discover your own blind spots and negotiate your way through your personal creative barriers. By confronting these fears and overcoming the excuses we all make to stop thinking outside the box, you will find your way to a world of creativity, innovation and positivity.
Reframe by asking questions
Some problems are, of course, tougher than others. But, in theory, by reframing every problem by asking “What if…?” can help everyone find their way through. Every problem has some kind of a solution. The way to find the opportunities in challenges is by trusting your own creativity and allowing barriers to fall.
Get yourself in the appropriate frame of mind. To help you do this, below is a list of ideas to focus on. Treat it as an exercise, or simply meditate on your answers. How you get there doesn’t matter, the important thing is to begin thinking in different ways. Business leaders can often feel segregated in their own position, and that their focus should always remain narrow. This is not true – in order to really get the most out of the challenges facing you, apply these statements to your working life.
- Don’t be fooled by the ‘status quo’. Sticking to the same old thing because ‘it’s always been this way’ stifles innovative thinking.
- Job titles have no bearing on creativity. Designers, creatives and anyone else focused on visuals don’t hold the monopoly on creativity. It has a place in every job role and should be encouraged.
- Don’t limit yourself by assuming your beliefs are facts. Take them out and examine them. Ask yourself ‘what if’ these are movable theories, rather than solid facts.
- Never settle for ‘good enough’. If you really want to maintain a competitive advantage, then push for innovation at every level.
- Be honest about negative thoughts you carry. Examine them and let them go.
- Leave your excuses behind. Everyone has their own excuses. Find out yours and let them dissipate in favour of positive steps forward.
- Concentrate on how instead of If an idea seems too out there, stop and think about whether it could be feasible instead of automatically taking the easy option.
- If, deep down, you think there’s nothing new under the sun and everything’s been done before, you’re wrong.
Your next major business idea could be reached by holding these statements while you plan. Let your creativity shine through your practicality, and you will be on an upward trajectory.
Experienced lawyer and international corporate consultant, Mary-Rose McLean is Head of Corporate, Legal and Yachting Services at Moores Rowland, Monaco. Mary-Rose has been based in Monaco since 2007, and she specialises in leadership, consultancy and managing international transactions for high net worth clients.