I guess this question is not be answered so easily. It depends on where you are in life, in business and on your current conditions. There are a lot of personal circumstances that are of influence. However let’s give it a shot if we can find a route, a roadmap to rethink reality in a way we can get the right focus.
When I ask my peers and clients what the real problems are, I get a cluster of reasons for why things are not possible yet. That can be virtually anything. It is very personal and in all cases true on an individual level. At the end of the day we all manifest what we believe. This doesn’t mean we do not see the opportunities. Most entrepreneurs do. What’s holding us back is that we don’t see or trust our own capabilities to walk the path towards change, opportunities and abundance. We stay stuck in doubt, fear and reasons for the -why not.
When I visualize it, it would look like this:
The red dots represent the cloud of problems we do have. The green dots the solutions we could have. The focus is on the red ones….The endless possible (online) solutions (green) can be as confusing as well! It can be overwhelming and make you lose focus.
At least that’s the visual when you zoom out. And don’t get stuck in the details of the why not, the problems, the red dots. Daily reality however can overshadow this zoom out. That’s the first thing we need to learn: zoom out. Do not look at the world around you from within a constraint in your mindset. Zoom out. Take a bigger perspective on things. See the patterns, not the only details (the dots). See the evolution, not the time stamps. See the bigger picture. It puts things in the right perspective.
When we zoom out and look at the evolution of our problems and solutions it tends to get less cloudy. The clouds are nothing else then a cluster of dots that blocks your bigger perspective. When you can not zoom out you can not see through it. Try to remember that, when it blocks your view.
A more zoomed out view shows this visual:
See? We can draw lines of evolution through the clusters of the red and green dots. And project a desired path in time for it. Less focus on the problems, more focus on the solutions. Does that change your perspective or doesn’t it?
Notice the gap between the level of focus on the problems, that can get you stuck (the red line), and the solutions, that will give you endless possibilities (the green line) over time. How to bridge the gap? How to evolve from the feeling of being drained, lost or frustrated, towards the feeling of being energized, free and progressing? The obvious word here is feeling. It is a feeling. Change the feeling. Feeling is an internal focus. A mindset. A conviction. As said: we manifest what we believe. A believe system. Yes we can all feel fear, frustration or have doubts. That’s life. What’s important is what to do with it, how we deal with these feelings. That can sound like the well known open door but do you have an idea how to do that? How to change it?
Luckily there are some bright minds out there. The ones that provide structure when things get cloudy. To see the bigger picture and zoom out to calm us down, get control and to allows us to have a better view on the same reality. When we want to make a change we need to identify what our problems are, what the cause behind these cluster of red dotted problems is. Most multiple problems I have experienced were often caused by just one or two deeper problems. The trigger that sets them off. We can use a grid to get clarity. This grid comes from the creators of the Blue Ocean strategy framework. And applies to business modeling, But with a bit of creativity we can make it work in our daily lives, in our own life in business.
The (adjusted) grid looks like this:
On the left side we can identify what we do NOT want: problems. What we want to eliminate or reduce in our working lives. On the right side the things we DO want. What we can raise and create to get the things we really want.
Ask yourself this question and be honest to yourself…..
I spend the majority of my time and effort on fixing the (consequences of my) problems.
I spend the majority of my time on identifying the problem behind the problem, the triggers?
Your answer is not a judgement. It is an indication of where you are right now. Zoom out!
On the left side we experience these feelings: impossible, stress, negativity, constraints and lot of noise that fuels it. How do you get out of this cycle? I do not pretend to have all the answers for all of us. I can only share how I deal with this. What I do and how I also help my mentoring clients, is to:
Identify the problems you want to eliminate.
These kind of problems are the structural ones, the ones that repeat themselves. Take a real hard look at them. Write them down. And try not to get high on your emotions, but try to figure out what the deeper problem behind these recurring problems is. Do not do this alone. Talk to your friends, peers. Ask them to help you figure it out for once and for all. It will give you a clear perspective and that is the way to zoom out of the cloud of problems that block your view. Do not try to find solutions. Just identify the real problem. Do not try to fix it. That’s for later, not now.
Identify the problems you want to reduce.
These are the kind of problems that daily life gives to us. You can not eliminate them because the are caused externally. You do have the possibility to deal with them differently. They are short term, ad hoc and spontaneous of nature but somehow seem to happen to you regularly. The problems that you seem to attract. Write them down. Again, do not look for solutions yet.
Now we can move on to the bright side of things! The stuff we want to raise and create in our working lives. That’s more fun. However it seems to be harder to identify for a lot of people….
Identify what you want to raise.
The things you DO want and are already there. The stuff that is so valuable to you. Yes, they are there but not in the volume or amount you would like to experience them. Maybe you want to travel more? It can be anything. Identify them. Write it down.
Identify what you want to create.
Creating something means it is not there yet. But you want to create it. It needs to be added into your life to get a feeling of abundance. The desires you have and dream about. You know the ones! Write them down.
When you have done this – you might want to consider to do it more than one time as multiple exercises will always make you better in it – it is time to prioritize. Select in all the four quadrants the top 3 of what you want to eliminate, reduce, raise and create.
Now here’s the trick. The top 3 of what you want to eliminate and create are in fact your long term strategy goals. They will take time.
Zoom out and realize that you are dealing with symptoms (the dots) of something you are working on step by step to eliminate and create. See? There are negative and positive ones. Red and green ones. But they are both there! It gives you a clear view on the same reality.
Finally select the top 3 of what you want to raise and reduce. The short term victories. The smaller steps. But very valuable to you. Reducing and raising can be done in a shorter period. Tactical goals.
How do you take action in this proces? By setting very small reachable goals. Imagine that you can eliminate your biggest problems by 1% every week. Does that sounds reasonable to you? If not, set a longer period of time. In this example the problem we want to eliminate is will be gone in two years. A 1% elimination per week adds up to 100% in two years. Need more time? Imagine you eliminate them in 5 years. What a victory would that be!
Exactly the same goes for what you want to reduce, raise and create. Anything suddenly seems possible with the 1% step strategy. The visual will now look like this after a period of continuous 1% improvements:
We are still looking at the same dots, the red and green. However the shift of focus completely changes our perspectives and therefore results.
In this graph the dots become your stepping stones. The small successful or not successful steps you take. It is not really important if every step of elimination, reduction, raising or creation is the right one. It is important to act on it in the right direction with a very clear objective on what you want to eliminate, reduce, raise and create! The rest is just a matter of time, persistence and the mistakes along the way teach us how to get it right.
There are so many experts out there that can help you take these steps. Select them, work with them. Ask them for help. So you get your 100% improvement.
To sum it all up for you, this is my advice to get the right focus:
- Identify. What do you want to eliminate, reduce, raise and create.
- Zoom out. Realize the dots are there, you are on a track.
- Take action. On the every step to improve 1%.
- Get help. Ask experts to help you take immediate actionable items. Ask mentors to help you get better in identifying, focussing and zooming out.
- Take time. Remember: 1% weekly means 100% in two years. And it will grow progressive.
Hope this encourages, inspires and helps you?