Freedom from Constraints

Freedom from Constraints

“Nighttime is when I brainstorm; last thing, when the family’s asleep and I’m alone, I think about the next day’s writing and plan a strategy for my assault on the blank page.” ~ Athol Fugard

Freedom from Constraints

An adage used in college economics classes is, “economics is driving a car looking in the rearview mirror,” meaning that business analysis is heavily weighted by historical data. There is undoubtedly merit in examining past performance; however, being shackled by bar charts on PowerPoints seldom produces an original thought. Inspiration comes when we consider what is possible in the future, not how we did in the past.

 

Turn off your monitor and put the reports away. Take a blank sheet of paper from your desk and do some old-school brainstorming. Create an all-out assault on the blank page. Write down single words that apply to your current problem, innovation, or project. Don’t think about what you can do—write down what you would do without having to justify expenses or man-hours. Spend no more than five or ten minutes on this portion of the exercise. After you’ve exhausted those single words, go back and review the list detailing why those words were present. For example, if you wrote down “long term,” define what time parameters the project entails. 

 

You’ve just created a dream on paper free of historical data or preconceived notions about what is “possible.” Those possibilities may never happen in the manner you’ve envisioned, but you’ve started a process that asks, “Why not?” or “How can I?” One might think of this as the stone a sculptor starts with before chipping away to release a statue’s true form. If you begin any thought process with the cannots and should nots, you limit your imagination and creativity. Only when those two elements are unleashed can true innovations happen.

 

Consider this …

1. About your business, your current project, innovation, or business problem, complete this question: “Wouldn’t it be great if … ?”

2. What three things might you do this week to enable this vision to become a reality?

3. What three things might you do consistently and repeatedly to bring this vision to reality over the coming days, weeks, or months?

For more, check out The Top Performer’s Field Guide, The Innovator’s Field Guide, or visit www.JeffStandridge.com.

(Originally published in The Innovator’s Field Guide.)

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