Here’s how to take the problems you have and turn them into new ventures that are complimentary.
Many entrepreneurs are great at spotting problems, but very few have mastered the skill of turning their problems into fulfilling, impactful opportunities. It’s most likely not because you’re a negative person — but because your brain is actually wired to identify and focus on problems. In an effort to protect you, your brain is constantly on the lookout for threats, issues and obstacles that need to be avoided or overcome. We’ve been wired this way since the beginning of time.
In theory, this doesn’t sound like a problem, but in reality (especially the reality of an entrepreneur) this way of approaching life can blind us from the life-changing opportunities right in front of us. Here are six steps to avoid that, and ultimately, allow your obstacles to help you become more resilient and relentless in the pursuit of your goals. Do this the next time your life or business presents you with a challenge or curveball you didn’t see coming:
1. Get to the truth of the obstacle
Oftentimes when we’re experiencing a problem, we’re too close to it to see it for what it truly is. Before you attempt to solve anything, give yourself time and space to assess the obstacle for what it is. Do this by looking at the obstacle objectively and removing emotion and any bias. This can definitely be harder for some, but it’s critical to make sure you’re clear on what the actual problem is before diving head-first into creating a solution. Too many entrepreneurs approach their problems heavily blinded by emotion, causing them to either freeze and do nothing at all or run full speed ahead with dozens of ineffective solutions and unaligned ideas.
Ask yourself: What’s the real problem here? What’s the actual severity of the problem? Is this something that can actually be solved right now, or do I need to allocate more time and space to assess it and brainstorm solutions?
2. Choose a new perspective
As simple as this sounds, it’s not so simple in application. The first step to creating something great out of a less-than-ideal situation is choosing to see it differently. Instead of dwelling on the problem and focusing all your energy on the fact that a problem exists, challenge yourself to look at it from a new angle.
For example, if a big client falls through, does that ultimately mean you won’t meet your monthly or yearly revenue goal? No. What if, instead, you chose to see it as an opportunity to raise your prices or pitch that new offer you haven’t stopped thinking about? What if that client backing out was actually a blessing in disguise and saved you from months’ worth of headaches?
Turning your obstacles into opportunities starts with getting intentional with the way you view them — and calling yourself out when you’re being negative. What you focus on grows, so if you focus on your problems, your problems will subconsciously grow. The key is to train your brain to think positively and look for solutions.
3. Remove “failure” from your vocabulary
If you didn’t believe failure was possible, what would you do? Your perception of your problems will instantly change if you decide to adopt one of my favorite beliefs: Failure doesn’t exist. There are lessons to be learned in every trying time, but that’s it. Failure doesn’t have to be an option in your life if you don’t allow it to be.
When you move through life believing it is truly impossible to fail, suddenly your obstacles don’t seem so impossible. You’re able to move through the hard chapters reminding yourself you are learning your life-changing lessons, rather than “failing”.
Next time you find yourself facing an obstacle and feeling afraid to fail, simply ask yourself what you would do right now if failure wasn’t an option. You’ll find yourself moving forward faster, with more confidence and less fear.
4. Focus on what you can do — not what you can’t
Complementary to step one, this is the next step to training your brain to be resilient and solution-oriented. It’s no coincidence that the most successful entrepreneurs in the world have the ability to spot a problem and quickly come up with a solution to fix it.
Instead of letting your brain focus on the things beyond your control, first get clear on everything that is within your control. Make a list of everything you can control right now. You’ll be surprised as opportunities you hadn’t even thought of naturally start to present themselves — and you feel confident in your ability to overcome your obstacle.
5. Take your power back
Think back to a time in your life when you were the answer to a problem. The truth is, we often become blinded and forget that we hold all the power needed to launch that new business or grow to the next level at any given moment. Knowing that alone should empower you to stand up, remember how capable you are and take the next step toward overcoming your obstacle and creating something incredible out of it.
6. Think “people first”
If you’ve ever had a mentor or colleague tell you how important it is to design your business with your customer first, they’re correct. Businesses that take a customer-centric approach have a near-guarantee pass to succeeding and standing out in the marketplace for years and years to come. So, when you face your next problem as an entrepreneur, challenge yourself to consider how you might be able to come up with a solution that not only helps you but helps your clients as well. Keeping your ideal customer at the forefront of your mind is a guaranteed way to create a great experience your customers want to keep coming back to — and come up with creative ways to move through your obstacles.
Bottom line: Facing problems is inevitable as an entrepreneur. Reaching your version of success isn’t about wishing your problems away, but approaching them from a new perspective. We all have obstacles — it’s what you do with yours that counts.