In his book ‘The Path to Less Stupid’, business guru Keith Cunningham talks about business problems as simply questions left unasked or unanswered.
Basically, the issue is we’re often trying to solve the wrong problem.
For instance, we might look at an issue and think we have a problem with profit, or revenue, or sales, and we jump in to solve that problem.
But what we think the problem is, is actually only a symptom of the REAL problem.
Then we design a new system, process, tactic or strategy around solving that particular problem.
But we’re actually just complicating things.
Putting Band-Aids on a crack in the dam.
And we still have that same problem, because we didn’t actually diagnose it correctly in the first place.
So, how do we look further than the symptom, and find the true cause?
It often requires stepping back for a better view.
Some of the greatest business minds in the world talk about the importance of thinking time.
Many of us - especially if our business is relatively new - don’t take the time to step out of our business and just think.
I totally get why - we’re faced with so many competing priorities all the time.
We have business commitments, family commitments, health commitments, kid commitments, social commitments, life commitments, and so on.
How can we take time out to just think?
Well, consider this -
How many of your great ideas have come to you on the toilet?
(Maybe you’re sitting there reading this email right now *wink*)
Or in the shower? Or driving on a long rural road?
Things are only a problem when we have constraints on our thinking.
When we’re so focused on the problem, and feeling the pressure of solving it, we don’t have the mental space to consider the other factors around us.
And when our vision is so limited, we don’t see where the solution lies.
Over the past year or so, I’ve taken more time out of my business to just stop and think.
This has allowed me to have an expanded awareness.
I can find solutions faster than when I stay stuck in the details.
And I enjoy my journey in business a lot more, too.
So try and find at least half an hour a week to just stop.
To go out and sit in a park, on a beach, at a cafe, somewhere outside your home or office that helps you ‘unplug’.
No computers. No phones. No audiobooks.
No kids. No partner. No employees.
Just you in distraction-free time where you can sit and think.
Think about what’s actually going on.
Challenge yourself to think about your problem differently.
Ask yourself - do I actually have a lead problem? Or is it a conversion problem?
Look further down the path of the problem to find the leak at its source.
At the end of the day, our perception of reality is what we make of it.
Give yourself space and time to decide how you see yours.