The check bounced – Now what?
A former client of mine is also a business consultant. He has a very narrow specialty, or as they say in marketing, a niche.
It was after the ‘crash” in 2008 and he’d just suffered a huge financial loss. His biggest client, an up and coming marketing company, bounced his latest check. It might have been weeks before they could make it good. He was out of cash and had been depending on that check to get him through the month.
That was the problem. A big problem and seemingly insurmountable, at least for the short term. His own checks were now about bounce too. More problems.
His entire focus was on his problems. He came to me almost in tears. While I could loan him some money, that really wasn’t his best solution at that moment. In fact, he wasn’t thinking about a solution, just his problems.
In my book, “How To Take No For An Answer And Still Succeed” I get into creative problem solving with this suggestion:
Think of your problem like the palm of your hand. First, you know the problem as well as the proverbial palm of your hand. So, take your palm (the problem) and place it right in front of your eyes. What else can you see now? Right. Nothing. Just the problem. That’s a problem consciousness.
Problem Conscious Or Solution Conscious?
This is how many people deal with serious issues, by concentrating on the problem and not the solutions. It’s a mental freeze that stops creativity and increases stress.
He’d consulted with many companies within his specialty over the years. His level of knowledge was deep, far beyond his niche. While some people don’t know what they don’t know, he didn’t know or appreciate what he knew.
I urged him to set the problem aside. His most immediate solution was the same as the problem, money! The problem was not enough, the solution was getting enough to more than enough money.
I asked him how many former clients he had who were happy with his work? His reply was that most of them had been quite happy. But, he quickly added, they were no longer in need of his services because he’d done “all they needed already.”
His creativity was both stifled by his problem as well as his failure to see the possibilities of expansion and to go beyond his circumstances. Unfortunately, this is how too many handle urgent problems.
I suggested that he think of a company he’d worked with that had had multiple problems that he could readily see even though it was outside of his niche. His most recent client came to mind. I asked him if he’d considered what some of their solutions might be. He nodded his head and said, “Sure, I had some thoughts on that, but it was outside my area of consultation.”
I said if he were running that company would he be confident enough to implement his ideas for those solutions? He thought a moment and said, yes, he would.
Could he possibly put himself in the position of a knowledge master about the corporate conditions he’d seen in the past and the solutions he’d watched others implement and pass those along to other clients? He looked at me, at first confused.
AHA Or Oh Oh?
Suddenly his eyebrows raised up, his eyes got bigger and his face lit up in his AHA moment. He grabbed a sheet of paper and began writing, mumbling to himself excitedly.
After a few minutes he stopped and looked up. “I know a hell of a lot about a lot of things.” he said. “I didn’t really think of that until now.” Then his eyes wandered down and a look of confusion faded in. His mouth formed the classic look of disgust. “So what! What good does that do me now, with all this crap I have to deal with today?” Problem conscious again.
Realization is the most important part of this process. At least he now appreciated that he had a body of knowledge far more vast than he’d previously considered. Possibilities had crept into his mind.
Expanding The Possibilities
I suggested he reach out to his contacts, beginning with his most satisfied clients. First, put a brief description of his “new services” and make his offer. He just shook his head and said, “What offer?”
I showed him how I use a “fire extinguisher” consolation approach. Being on call for review, coaching/consulting as needed with three specific fee structures. I won’t go into details, but for consultants with a track record, it can be a very effective tool.
He agreed, and put a quick page together and began calling old clients. The result? He got 50% more income in 24 hours from four new/old clients than he’d just lost with the bounced check. He would also be working far fewer hours, and from his home office. With this approach there’s an extra fee if you have go to their office, something he’d never done before.
The question you have to ask when faced with a challenge is this; “Am I being problem conscious or solution conscious?
When I work with clients that’s the primary element I look for, problem or solution consciousness. When it’s the former, bringing them to solution thinking can create some quick and amazing results.
Your Inner Wizard, when you actualize it, has amazing and wonderful information that’s readily available when you learn how to consistently activate it.
You can look like a problem solving genius when you use this simple technique for yourself or others.
You can get our Special Report on Your Inner Wizard at no cost. Just Click Here.
I was also reminded of a technique that I’ve taught in my seminars and used with other clients through the years.
Basic problem solving is a 3-step process.
Of course, we want instant results and that won’t always happen. However, the eventual result for a successful outcome will always begin immediately, even if we don’t see it when beginning this process.
Everyone has the first step down. The challenge is they may not go to number 2 for a long time, if ever. First the 3 steps, then how to implement them.
1. Acknowledge the problem.
2. Acknowledge that there is a solution to it.
3. T.A.N Take Action NOW.
1. Acknowledge the problem. Magnify it, inspect it. Attempt to understand it better and how it may have come about. If you feel blame towards any third party, fine, but then come back to yourself. What was your part in it? We are always a part of the problems we have.
Don’t berate yourself over it. Pledge to learn from it, even if it’s as simple as increasing your awareness. Which is something worthwhile to tune in to daily, regardless of how well things are going.
2. Acknowledge that there is a solution for it. Yes, there is a solution, somewhere, somehow. People at any given moment are either problem conscious or solution conscious. As long as you’re the former, the problem can’t possibly be solved. Shift!
Don’t worry about what it isn’t, pledge to find the clues to a solution. Great inventions, chemistry, and philosophies have been discovered because of individuals who were confronted with the impossible, so they had to make them possible.
3. T.A.N Take Action NOW. People with problems can only have two outcomes, victim or victorious. There is no middle ground.
Impatience will be your greatest enemy if it brings you to quitting. Sometimes your solution may be to go another way, join with another person, remove yourself from certain people who may be a party in the causes of your problems. Quitting a job is not the same as quitting. Quitting a project may not be either.
In fact, the phrase giving up, may be more apt. As Winston Churchill said in a famous speech, “Never, never, never, give up!”
Find another way.
This is always where a discussion with my coaching clients ensues. How do you know you’re not quitting? What does giving up or not giving up mean? These are the mini or sub-problems before many a solution is discovered.
The process for solving these sub-problems is the same. Sometimes you need assistance from a trusted friend, advisor, psychologist or coach. These are all a part of the tools of life to keep in mind.
The Human Potential.
You are a live solution creating mechanism. Activate Your “Inner Wizard,” it’s always there, waiting for your command.
Keep searching. Answers exist, sometimes in the most unlikely places.
Never give up.
Shift, change, reexamine, improve, seek help, prioritize, make it real in your mind. Whatever you seek and not yet achieve is synonymous with a desire you have. For example, let’s say you’re goal is a particular job or position and nothing is happening. What’s wrong?
Another client of mine was seeking a high level position in her company. She was well thought of, highly competent, but still she was bypassed by others who seemed less competent or experienced. She decided to go to a conference that would give a continuing education credit she thought might add to her portfolio.
I urged her to start thinking outside her corporate “box.” List other possibilities, other desires. Ask herself why she wanted that particular position, what it would mean to her life? She did. It wasn’t the position, it was what it would mean in her financial life and professional life. She realized there would be other ways to achieve this.
At the conference she met a group that ultimately funded a new company where she became president and within two years outdistance her previous salary along with significant ownership, which she didn’t have with her previous employer.
So, she quit, (the job) but she didn’t give up!
Failure isn’t the problem. Quitting your dream is.