Una's Blog


39 Transforming obstacles and limiting beliefs

graphic-2by Una Hearne.

A problem or obstacle is the initial condition necessary to provoke a creative solution, and progress.

Human being are hard wired to solve problems. It’s how our brain’s work. Something comes up and we sort it out. Different people are naturally good at different types of problem solving.

Look at this list, you won’t feel competent in all of these areas, there will be a few you feel ‘yes, I do that sort of thing well’ – and for the purposes of this blog ‘problem’ is just something that requires a thinking response, it is not necessarily something wrong.

  • Relationship
  • Technical
  • Logistics
  • Strategy
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Creative
  • Learning and development

This is a quick arbitrary list of different types of situational thinking – it’s just to provoke thought. I am sure you can think of more. If you study successful people you will realise one of the keys to success is in their response to obstacles / problems. Lots of different responses, plenty of success, plenty of failure and all finding a way forward.

The problem with problems is where we focus. Frequently we get stuck because we focus on the problem – I’ve no money, no time, don’t know the right people, too old, too young, it didn’t work, I’m no good at… etc.

If we shift our focus to the solution we are in a far more powerful position.  It is a brilliant practice to write down the problem and then a question which moves you forward and hints at or shows blatantly what action you need to take next. To show you what I mean I’m going to set out some examples below. Note the statements are shut down statements that leave you feeling stuck with no options. Notice that the questions all provoke you into thinking about the solution, not the problem.


1   Statement: I don’t know what I want to do.

How could I explore what I am interested in?

How can I find out what work I would enjoy?

Who could I talk to, to help me figure out what I want?


2 There are no jobs.

How can I stand out from the crowd and make myself more attractive to an employer?

How can I connect more effectively with potential employers?

How can I create work for myself?


3 I don’t have the confidence to start a business.

What could I do to build my confidence in my abilities?

What exactly do I need to be able to do to start a business?

What research could I do that will give me enough information to know I can start a business?


Challenge – Watch for shut down statements in your own thinking and talking and try writing them with a transforming question. Go on, I dare you.

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