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The nature of problem-solving in business

I remember 1998 for a variety of reasons but one of them was it was when I first hired a business coach.

This, in turn, lead to me more than doubling my income in 3 months.

Something that had not previously not seemed possible in such a short space of time.

So, how did it happen?

Back then I had been working hard to build my financial advice practice and I had acquired quite a number of what I thought of as clients.

I was running around, constantly busy, and my business had hit a plateau. How it seemed to me at the time was that I simply did not have any more time, so how could I do more?

I had already invested in skills development, tried to improve my processes and done lots of goal-setting type of work, but to be honest none of it had made much difference.

My coach helped me see what had been invisible to me.

Rather than giving me strategies to change things on the outside, it turned out far more useful to have a deeper understanding of what was driving my behaviour.

I was a people pleaser. This made sense to me at the time because I wanted to keep everyone happy, but it was also what kept me on this plateau and why I spent so much time spinning my wheels.

You cannot reverse engineer change

I have often seen people invest in skills development programmes, process-improvement initiatives and motivational speakers but with a meagre return.

The problem with behavioural solutions is that behaviour is after the fact of state of mind.

If we try to change our outside world but our inner state remains the same, then change does not stick. We might see a short-term spike but then we regress.

All the key aspects of business performance – client acquisition, delivering high-quality service, building systems, innovation, teamwork – are deeply affected by the quality of mind we bring to them.

The mind works one way only – inside-out

Our experience of life comes from only one place – thought in the moment. This is a 100% reliable fact. You can nail your colours to the mast on it.

Realising this truth has a great deal in it for people because it takes a lot of thinking off their minds – the kind of thinking that holds them back.

The caveat is that on hearing this truth most people hear it just as an idea or concept.

But this is like saying gravity is an interesting idea when, in fact, it is a universal force that applies to you regardless of what you think about it.

The inside-out understanding is the same – you are either aligned with the nature of how the mind works or in the misunderstanding that circumstances are the cause of your experience.

It is this misunderstanding that is usually at the root of our problems.

The nature of problem solving

Albert Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.’

Whenever you look back and notice the times you made genuine progress, I’m sure you’ll also notice that it was pre-empted by you seeing something differently than before.

When we naturally reside in a quieter state of mind and get comfortable with not knowing we are at our most receptive to new thinking.

Back in ’98 the insight I had was that I was stuck on the plateau because of my insecure thinking. But the moment I saw the illusion then change was easy because I was no longer holding myself back.

Think of a recurring challenge or problem in your own business where progress has seemed slow or difficult.

In a better state of mind it would seem completely different.

John Dashfield
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.

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