The journey to doing what you love and getting paid for it is rarely a smooth one. It is in fact littered with obstacles – some, minor that you can bound in one leap, some, much larger completely blocking your path.
But none of them need halt your progress for long when you know how to get around them.
What have you got stuck on?
Getting that book deal? Reaching that essential contact you need? Making that business idea happen without lots of money? Launching that great website idea when your job takes up most of your time and energy?
Whatever it is for you, here’s a technique I learned from the wonderful Barbara Sher that can get you answers quickly. It’s called wish/obstacle brainstorming and it relies on framing your challenge in a very particular way that enables others to help you get around it.
State your challenge in this form:
“My wish is: [name your idea, dream, project or goal in one or two sentences],
and my obstacle is: [state as specifically as possible what's getting in the way for you]“
Here are some examples:
- “My wish is to write for the Guardian and my obstacle is that I don’t have any contacts to help me get in there”
- “My wish is to make money from my blog and my obstacle is that I only get 10 visitors a day”
The human brain is a problem solving machine and this particular way of framing a problem seems to instantly unlock our creativity in a way that the more usual kind of “How can I do X?” question does not. And it also tends to improve the quality of the responses you get towards being more immediately applicable and useful.
Need some help?
Sometimes just phrasing your challenge in this form results in your own answer dropping out of nowhere! More usually, however, you will need some help. Here’s how to get it in what Barbara calls an Idea Party:
- Get a bunch of creative, helpful and open-minded people together (if that sounds like an obstacle in itself, I have already done it for you! See below)
- State your challenge in the wish/obstacle format as above – try to be as succinct and specific as possible.
- Everyone present gets to suggest solutions for 5 minutes while you take notes.
- When your 5 minutes is up, move on to the next person with their wish and obstacle and see how many you can do in one go.
- Go home and take action on the best suggestions you’ve received!
Join the Global Idea Party this Wednesday
To experience the power, possibility, and sheer fun of this process, join my Global Idea Party this Wednesday night. We’re running this as a special ‘virtual’ Scanners Night event on a teleconference line so that people all over the world can get involved in.
(So if you’ve always wanted to come to Scanners Night but are nowhere near London, this is your chance to take part!)
Let us help you beat the obstacles to doing what you love. And if you’re not clear what you want to do or what your obstacle is, do join us anyway; I guarantee you will find it inspiring as you witness just how easy it can be to make seemingly impossible dreams possible.
Click the button below to read the details and
grab your place at the Global Idea Party