Why You Need a Vision to Solve a Problem
Want to try a little experiment?
Think about a problem you want to solve, and write your answers to the following questions:
- What are three things you could do to fix it?
- What will your life be like once your problem is solved?
Now check in with yourself: How did you feel as you wrote each answer?
Most people feel more energized while answering the second question. If you start out by listing the steps you’re going to take to fix a problem, it can feel like you’ve just added a pile of to-dos to your already full plate.
On the other hand, if you imagine what your future state will be like once your problem is solved, you’ll generate more positive energy that you can put towards brainstorming and implementing creative ideas. When we have a vision for what success might look like, our challenges simply become minor speed bumps rather than major roadblocks.
For example, let’s say two people on your team are having an issue with each other. Before diving in to figure out how they can work together, help them to create a vision of what working well together might look like. Ask them to describe times they:
- Worked extremely well together, or
- Had a good time together (e.g. on a business trip to a fun locale)
By beginning with a vision for success, you’ve created the possibility that they can work together. You’ve moved them from, “This isn’t working, “ to, “This is what I want and the issues we’re having are temporary.” They’re able to see that their conflict isn’t permanent and they will have hope that a solution is possible.
Problem solving often makes us look inward and narrows our focus, but in order to find creative, productive solutions, we actually want to do the opposite. We need to look forward towards a positive vision for the future, and then focus on the needed steps to get there.
The next time you’re in a meeting, notice how you’re sitting. Are your shoulders slumped? Are you looking down at your paper, or computer?
Try sitting up in your chair, pulling your shoulders back, and looking upwards. Changing your body’s position to be more open and forward-looking can actually shift your perspective and help you generate more ideas.
Onward and keep tapping your talent,
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