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A Proven Creative Problem-Solving Technique In Business


Are the things that bother you holding you back from getting things done?

I believe that 90% of any problem you have is that you’re bothered and not doing anything about it. The simple creative problem-solving technique in business (and life) that I’ll share in this post has helped me move past roadblocks in seconds, and I think it’ll help you too.

The problem isn’t what you think it is.

Whatever problem you have that needs to be solved isn’t the actual problem. The problem is the bother you feel—the irritation, frustration, or maybe even anger—that paralyzes your mind. See, when you allow yourself to be bothered, your brain is flooded with emotion, and this blocks your ability to access your brain’s problem-solving abilities.

That’s the real problem.

Think about it. As an entrepreneur, you’ve built a business around solving what bothers other people. Those bothers paralyze them, which is why they need you and the solution you offer. Their situation doesn’t bother you. You like addressing their issue because your business has the solution for it.

This creative problem-solving technique is helpful for the way you communicate with your clients. Do they know their actual problem?

Acknowledge your real problem.

The first step of my simple creative problem-solving technique is to say, “This bothers me.” Yes, it’s that easy (or hard, if you can’t admit to being bothered in the first place!). When you acknowledge your emotion around the problem, it immediately loses its vise grip around your mind and allows you to think clearly and get into problem-solving mode.

The next thing I’ll do is ask myself, “If this didn’t bother me, how would I handle it?” A solution comes to mind almost instantly, every single time.

For example, I have a business game plan called the Breakthrough Booklet that I complete every quarter. In it, I identify my progress for the last quarter, what I’m up to now, and what’s ahead in the next quarter.

For years, completing this booklet would take five or six hours of my time at the close of each quarter. And every quarter, I would angst over getting it done. I just didn’t like doing it. Simple as that.

It bothered me.

But it wasn’t until I was honest with myself about the bother that a solution came to mind: to use, a transcription service, talk through each section of the booklet, and send the transcription to my team to edit and polish.

Problem solved!

Understand what’s bothering you—in detail.

To be clear, I don’t hate expressing the things that go into the booklet. If you know me, you know that I could talk about business progress, strategy, and goals forever! What bothered me was sitting down and typing it up. And although transcription solutions have been available for years, I didn’t recognize them as a simple solution because my brain wouldn’t admit that the process bothered me in the first place.

In most cases, when using this creative problem-solving technique in business, the solution is to find the Who to do the How that you hate.

I hate typing things up, but the business loves providing a transcription service. I’m not a fan of polishing up transcriptions, but someone on my team loves the careful attention to detail and precision that the editing process requires.

Your business provides solutions for what bothers your customers. You are the Who. When your clients realize that they’re bothered in the first place, they’ll see your offering as the solution to their problem.

Just like you, if your clients don’t acknowledge their bother, they won’t be able to see solutions, including your business offering. This is why highlighting your clients’ bother—their “pain point” in marketing terms—is so important to helping them through this powerful creative problem-solving technique.

Your bother isn’t significant.

Although your bother makes up 90% of your actual problem, it’s not significant. And it’s especially not practical for business problem solving. Let me explain what I mean. See, there’s no meaning in angst, annoyance, or frustration except for the sheer fact that you’re bothered. It’s just a feeling, a state, that you can get out of quickly when you come to terms with what it is.

So, tell the truth.

Say what bothers you in your business, and be specific! The brain loves specifics and will use them in problem-solving mode.

This creative problem-solving technique in business, where you address the bother first, is wildly effective. It simply requires a mindset shift to acknowledge the emotion and then swiftly move past it to find a solution.

In most cases, you’ll be amazed at how obvious the solution seems.

Five takeaways about bother.

  1. Anything can be a bother.
  2. Bother breeds more bother.
  3. Bothered people attract one another.
  4. You can’t resolve a bother, only acknowledge it.
  5. Bother has no significance.

All degrees of bother are bound to find their way into your life and your mind at some point. Use this creative problem-solving technique in business to acknowledge it faster so you can stop wasting time and get to a solution.

My book Who Not How, co-authored by Ben Hardy, goes deeper into ways to leverage yourself by teaming up with the right “Whos” to do the “Hows” to achieve your goals. Get your copy to level up your problem-solving skills as your business grows.

About the Author

Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.

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