Feeling You Are Without Options? Let’s Create Some…

March 29th, 2013 by Kelly Kienzle

Pull.Gifted School Door
Our frustration at work usually comes as a result of feeling we have no options. We hear ourselves and our colleagues say: “This is the only result that will please the client.” “We don’t have the resources to do anything else.” “We simply don’t have any other options.”

And so we trudge forward, inwardly knowing that this path is not optimal, but feeling handcuffed to our fate. So, how do we get more options?

The answer is to notice. Better yet, notice differently. If we see an issue differently and notice more information about it, then we can create more options.

Here are a few suggestions on how to examine stale problems to create fresh options:

  • Look at the issue intensely for 5 minutes. If an old assumption or roadblock creeps into your mind, note it and put the thought aside. What is different about this issue now compared to when it first arose? How has the surrounding environment changed? By focusing only on the present circumstances, we keep old mindsets at bay.
  • Notice which piece of the issue seems most critical. Which piece of the problem makes you want to turn away from it? That’s your linchpin.
  • Once you’ve identified this linchpin, look at it from a different perspective. How would your boss look at it? How would your intern, or your supplier or your client look at it?
  • If you can’t imagine how they would look at it, ask them. In as few words as possible, ask them what they see in this issue. Have they seen this issue before? What does it remind them of? How would they define it? Most people love to give their advice. Ask them for it and you’ll get the added benefit of showing them that you value their input.
  • Take a break and do something physical. Walk around your office, stretch, breathe some fresh air, or close your eyes.
  • Rejuvenate yourself emotionally. Think of a difficult challenge you once overcame. What skills did you use? Who helped you? What is one word you would use to describe how you felt afterwards? Write down that word.

Come back to your desk as if you’re starting this project for the first time. What do you notice now? What else do you notice?

Options not only allow us to choose the best path, but they also restore our freedom. We are no longer confined by our situations, but at liberty to choose. Having other options invigorates us and propels us forward with greater gusto.

How many options can you dream up?

“This is the best bad idea we have, sir… by far.”

Bryan Cranston as Jack O’Donnell, Argo

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