Challenges and New Ideas.

From Challenges Come Not Just Answers, But New Ideas

We all face challenges every day.  Some deal with them better than others.  Click the link and take a look.

When you’ve hit a roadblock.

I have a friend who has the uncanny ability to find ways to solve mechanical problems with the simplest of common assets.  Be it a conventional tool or something he manages to whip up, he almost always finds a way around or through a roadblock.  He’s young, so unless he was born to the MacGyver clan there’s no way this comes to him through past experiences.  It just comes naturally.

There are those among us that can visualize the answer and make it happen with little fanfare.  The task simply gets done; no fuss, no muss.

I get there, but it takes time.  I’m an intelligent person, but at times I can focus on the outcome and not the journey.  Wait!  Here’s an opportunity to create New Ideas and build strength for myself and my clients!  This is a good thing.

There is joy in the journey, pleasure in the process and New Ideas can be born when we step back and look at the roadblock from a different angle.

In the past week, my wife and I were told that an idea we’d developed wasn’t what the client had in mind.  It needed to be “80% different” than what we’d offered. How can that be?  That means only 20% of what we had worked on was acceptable, right?

Being no stranger to challenges, I told my wife to not take it personally nor concentrate on what we’d done wrong or the 20% we’d apparently done right.  Instead, step completely away from it and think about what the client really said.  They were attempting to put into words what they liked, didn’t like and their global thoughts.  What they didn’t do was share their vision with us.

We could have looked at the project from a dozen different angles, yet still missed the target.  How?  Because we weren’t awarded the opportunity to do the cursory Client Needs Analysis. 

     I whole-heartedly believe that you need to fully understand the problem to solve it.  Otherwise a lot of time and efforts are wasted.  A Client Needs Analysis gives us the control to take the proper arrow from the quiver and sight it precisely toward the bullseye.  In this case, the client wanted a more abstract answer, thus no question was posed.  No problem was presented so we were shooting in the dark.

Since we missed the mark, what can we learn from the “good” 20%?

Step back, re-examine the landscape and see how you can build on it.  Does it fit at all?  Most of all, pay attention to the process.  Look around you during the journey.  There are lessons to be learned.

Our second effort truly is 80% different from the first.  (We were given an important piece of information that indirectly lead us to a path that resulted in success.)  But, it looked nothing like the prior effort.  It wasn’t just an answer, but an entirely New Idea.  It happened because conventional tools and problem-solving methods weren’t working.  We stepped way back and looked at the task in a completely different manner.  We considered the signs we saw along our journey and used them to guide us in this second effort.

In a second scenario in the same week, I was presented with a challenge while working on my personal car.  Upon hitting a roadblock, I stepped completely back….accessed my resources (friends, manufacturers, and specialists) and quickly moved forward with a great answer that solved my problems.  The answer most certainly was not the one I would have seen had I been focused on the result.  This time, I embraced the journey. I worked the process.

So, while I’m not the one that can look at any mechanical challenge and immediately know how to fix it with duct tape and a road flare, I do find myself enjoying the experiences of learning along the way, so I can remember how it worked the last time.  When I focus solely upon the result I often don’t learn enough through the process.  Nothing that I can “bank” and  use the next time.

Are you embracing the process?  Or allowing life’s pressures to force you into focusing only on the result?

Slow down.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point.  We all reach it and at the point in which we do, we initiate change. Think about the times you’ve reached The Tipping Point in your life. Did it cause a shift in lifestyle, a job or perhaps a relationship?

Thinking about those times, can you identify the signs that you’d reached your personal Tipping Point?  More importantly, did you see it coming?  In hindsight, it’s generally clear to us as to when things got to the point where change had to happen.  But, how can we take more control and respond more proactively?

There is the theory that The Tipping Point occurs when the pain of the status quo becomes greater than the feared potential pain from change. Let’s briefly examine a couple of examples-

Sadly, it sometimes comes at a life or death moment such as a heart attack.  If the habits leading up to The Tipping Point included the eating the wrong foods, a lack of exercise and a stressful lifestyle, it is not hard for us to draw the line from A to B.

Now, let’s look at another widespread habit, procrastination.  To some, procrastination can be used as a catalyst.  You’ve given your task marginal thought, been sidetracked by more pressing matters and you’ve known about the deadline.  However, you’ve not made any strides toward completion of the project.  Suddenly, The Tipping Point arrives.  You know in an instant that you must accomplish the task immediately. The pain and discomfort of doing it are far less the consequences of not doing so.

Unfortunately, in both cases, your best work isn’t being done.  You can’t completely un-do the effects of a poor lifestyle. You may live through The Tipping Point and go on to lead a long life, but it won’t be all that it could have been.  In the example of procrastination, The Tipping Point may well have lighted a fire under your tail, but did you give the task the thought and consideration that it really deserved?  Did you consider alternatives?  Is your plan the best it can be?

If you only consider today, I suppose simply making it through The Tipping Point is enough.  After all, you survived a heart attack.  You met your task deadline and the boss never knew that you could have possibly done much better work. Isn’t that enough?

Isn’t that what they tell us to do?  Carpe Diem?  If we worry about tomorrow, how can we live life to its fullest today?  Right there, my friends, is the fly in the ointment.

If your life, love, or business feels good today why should you consider change for tomorrow? Why make the effort and face the uncertainties of change?  Because you haven’t reached The Tipping Point. But you will. 

Just because things seem wonderful today doesn’t mean that they will be tomorrow or in the more distant future.  So, I am going to propose is something to you that is incredibly difficult.  I propose that you step back and take a granular look at your status quo.

Whether you like it or not, examine the factors that have been in play and helped get you where you are today.  It’s hard work.  It will take some time and guidance, otherwise you will likely get off track and will not find what you are seeking.  Identify those forces and situations and consider how you can build on or eliminate them.

You can be responsive and delay your Tipping Point or you can be reactive and play ‘’catch up’’ after the fact.

Do the hard work, even though it doesn’t look necessary.  After all, if the status quo feels good and you are living “for the day”, imagine how amazing the next days could be if you had prepared for and expected them to be even better.

What is your Tipping Point and how are you preparing for it?

Venomous Consulting can help guide you through all these processes.  We are specialists in examining today, uncovering a greater tomorrow and assisting you in building your own road map toward your future.   Call us today and let’s talk about your Tipping Point.

(352) 800-4407

Thanks for reading.



-For additional resources and thoughts, I suggest picking up a copy of Malcom Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.  I read it nearly 20 years ago and while many of the examples may seem dated, the basics will always hold true.

ISBN 0-316-31696-2