I used to work with a woman we will call Jane. That is not her real name, but the story I will tell you about Jane is as real as it gets. You see, Jane was born in abject poverty to a single mom and had four other brothers and sisters. Right from the start, she was dealt what you might call a bad hand.
Pulled from school to school while her mother tried to find work, she was on the road from a young age. She endured countless cities coming and going all while watching her mother bounce in and out of meaningless relationships. She was partially raised by her grandparents. And I am not doing justice to her full story with this description! Yet, you would think that her story ends as a sad one – but it does not. You see, after leaving the military, Jane earned an entry-level job in the advertising business and worked her way up. I hired her with zero ad experience, but I saw in her a relentless drive. She is now a successful businesswoman.
We in business can learn a lot from Jane. I often find myself wishing that the hand I was dealt was better when I’m at work. I wish I had more cash flow. Less turnaround. More new opportunities. More publicity. The list goes on and on. Do you wish that you had a new piece of machinery that could increase production by 15%? Do you wish that you had more market share in a particular area? Do you wish that you were a better writer? (I know I do.)
You can wish all you want, but what is most important is how you deal with the cards you have in front of you. How do you utilize what you do have and make the best of it? You need creativity because analytics alone cannot get you there.
By maximizing what you do have to its utmost potential, you will find success if you look at it creatively no matter how small that success seems at first. Because eventually a bunch of little wins adds up to a big win, and focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have is essential to get one foot in front of the other. It is literally the stuff that wakes you up in the morning and gives you purpose. But only if you will it. Jane is living proof of this. Countless times, she could have given up. Or given out. Or compared herself to others and gotten derailed. But she built on each success creatively, no matter how small, and eventually made her own luck and opportunities.
And seeing what can be – not what is at the time – is one of the cornerstone creative outlooks of The Creator Mindset. It shifts your perspective. You can start this shift by refusing to see any problem as binding and crippling. Instead, see problems as opportunities to solve them creatively and in ways no one has before. In doing so, problems you thought were monsters turn into lambs. Issues that were once unsolvable become manageable. All you have to do is believe in a creative ability to solve problems.
I am sure that you know some people like Jane who have likewise risen above peril. Not sitting idly by or accepting mediocrity and failure, regardless of how bad your situation seems, is a critical step in The Creator Mindset to actually manufacture your own triumphs. Taking it step by step, no matter how small the steps, builds momentum. This is the manufacturing part, and you will get to the next level this way in slow but measured increments. Perhaps you will be dealt a new hand to play at some point by earning it. Still, nothing will happen until you set the cycle in motion.
You can spend a lifetime comparing yourself with others, to what someone else is doing, or what they have and what you don’t, be it professionally or personally. I know I have. Embarrassingly, perhaps too many times. But by playing the hand you were dealt and making the most of your creative way of seeing things, the walls and obstacles to your success will begin to crumble.
Nir Bashan is an executive creative director/managing director with over 19 years of advertising, entertainment and business development experience. He helps teach folks in non-creative fields how to think creatively to solve problems. He leads workshops and lectures on topics relating to The Creator Mindset. McGraw/Hill is publishing a book on The Creator Mindset that will be released in 2020. http://www.nirbashan.com/.