I warned my dad that this Post-It story was a blog post in the making (it happens sometimes. Sorry, Dad).
But it’s too good not to share.
My dad has spent the past six weeks developing a business leadership program and has been driving my mum a little nuts with the over-enthusiastic supply of Post-It Notes stuck to one of the walls in their living room. For weeks he’d been trying to work out the right structure and how it would all come together until finally, one day last week, he decided to take them down and stick them in a notebook.
And then the magic happened.
It’s like my favourite Einstein quote right now:
“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”
The seemingly insignificant gesture of relocating the Post-Its shifted something in his mind and BAM! The solution and the framework instantly fell into place.
And that got me thinking about ideas and problems that we’re all working on every day. Some small and some much bigger and more pressing in our lives. It might be at home, in our job or business, in our relationships but I’d be surprised if at some point during the week, you’re not finding yourself staring at a metaphorical (or real) wall of Post-Its, desperately seeking an answer.
If we’ve been staring at the Post-Its for too long, maybe it’s time to move them around.
Think about it. You’re trying to remember the name of an actor from that movie, but the more you try to force the answer, the more that it eludes you. Or the same with finding your keys. Or the solution to a problem at work that you just can’t put your finger on. Or your new business plan.
The second you stop forcing it and move your conscious mind onto something else, you allow a shift in your thinking and, without explanation, the solution comes.
Let the answer come to you
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t see the woods for the trees, step back. Go outside, rearrange your Post-Its, talk to someone about it, or focus your attention elsewhere. Your mind will go to work for you and the new environment or external stimulus could inadvertently trigger something in your brain to connect the dots.
Just above I was stumped on a word that would best describe my point. My mind kept drawing a blank or sending me synonyms that just weren’t quite right. I got up, walked around, and stopped thinking about it and, suddenly, the word I wanted just appeared in my thoughts.
Try it sometime – even if it’s something simple that you’re trying to recall from the depths of your mind – it’s incredible how well our subconscious works when we stop pressuring it to do so.
Re-shuffle your Post-Its
If something just isn’t lining up, it could be that you’re focusing on the wrong thing, or you’re not asking the right questions.
So often we get caught up in the minor details, or we’re determined to make one thing work and if we just shake things up a bit, we’ll find ourselves presented with a host of new options and alternatives.
When I was desperately trying to work out what I wanted to do with my life, I was so focused on my work history, I didn’t pay attention to my personal experience and self education. The second I stopped thinking about what would or wouldn’t make me ‘employable’, a whole new set of choices came to light.
What a relief that was!
Trust that a solution is there
I’m one of those ‘everything will work out’ types. Call me an optimist. Call me naive. But I honestly believe that when you know the solution is right at your fingertips, there’s no doubt that it will find you. Put the question out there and the answer will follow. But you’ve gotta believe it’s coming.
Something I’ve learned, working with my clients, is that I don’t necessarily have all the answers in the moment, but if I trust that the answers are there, they seem to come along precisely when they’re needed. I’m learning to leave a gap and believe that they will come. A client will blurt something out that hits the nail on the hear or, suddenly, the perfect question will appear in my mind and we’ll be moving forward again.
I don’t even know where that comes from, it just does because I trust that it will.
Sometimes it is difficult to see the answers when you’re sitting in them and, it’s quite likely always going to be that way – especially if it’s something you’re emotionally invested in. But, instead of letting frustration take over, stepping back every once in a while from your ideas, moving them around a little bit, and seeing them from a different angle can make all the difference.
When you reshuffle your thoughts, your ideas, or your post-its, that’s when the magic happens and suddenly an answer springs forth.
Tell me, has this happened to you before? I love to hear stories like this!
Leave me a comment below or share this with someone you think could do with a reminder to move their Post Its around!