O is for Options

Mapping out your path to success.

Once Obstacles have been identified you need to find ways of dealing with them to make progress towards your Goal. We call these your Options.

Some solutions will come that solve many obstacles, all at once. Follow these up.

Others will quickly lead to a dead-end, but don’t be too quick to reject an idea just because it appears unpromising or turns up further obstacles. Sometimes these very obstacles can be turned into assets.

Get Donald Trump to help you!

Use all the sources you can think of and don’t limit your search for information to the normal sources. Some of the best breakthroughs will come from a totally fresh point of view.

An excellent way to force yourself to thnk from a fresh persepctive is to imagine what someone from a different race, sex, nationality or religion would do. Consider the advice some famous person would give you if you asked them. What would Gandhi or Churchill advise? Or Donald Trump, E.T. or Yogi Bear? You can ask anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional (and it doesn’t matter that you don’t really know the answer they would give – the aim is to get a fresh perspective, so just guess).

To create your Options take each Obstacle in turn and apply the questions below. You may not need to use all the questions for each Obstacle if it is a minor block, or you know you have established a good enough way around it.

Developing an Effective Options Statement

Explore questions to help develop your Options Statement, expand them to see the purpose of the question.

What would be my first step to get around this Obstacle?

The first step is often all that is needed

What is the simplest solution?

Sometimes the most straightforward Options are the best

If I had no limitations how would I handle this? / If I had a magic wand to use on this Obstacle what would I do? / What is the perfect solution?

These questions helps free up our thinking and allows more creative solutions to emerge

How can I create what I need?

Very often there are resources available to us but we do not recognise them unless we explicitly ask ourselves the question

Who could lend me what I need?

This question helps create Options where others can help us

How else could I get it? Could I trade or offer something in exchange?

There are often Options around trading rather than paying for something

Who could I ask to get the information or knowledge I need?

Very often there are people who might be able to help if you are willing to ask

How could I learn the skill that I need?

A good factual question

How could I create the time I need?

Unless you ask the question you cannot be sure that you do not have the time you need

Have I ever dealt with something like this in the past? What did I do then?

Sometimes we have resources when we have dealt with something similar in the past. If you recall them you can reuse the skills and knowledge you had then

What am I already doing now that works in terms of getting my Goal?

There are often elements that are working in what we already do. If we recognise them we can leverage them or do more with them

Is there a tried and tested way I can get around this obstacle? How could I find out about it?

Our minds often get stuck on trying to deal with a situation only one way. This question encourages us to think of how else we might get around the Obstacle

Who do I know who could deal with this obstacle well? How would they go about it?

We have the ability to access information about how other people would deal with a situation that is difficult for us. Even if you do not involve these people directly tapping into their way of thinking often creates new Options.

Are there any other groups or individuals who might be prepared to help me?

Many people have a tendency to ‘go it alone’ without thinking who might be willing and able to help

What would be a partial or temporary solution that would work for the moment?

As above

Do I have to solve this Obstacle at all or can I just avoid the negative consequences?

It is not always necessary to completely solve a problem. There might be another way that will give you enough of what you want

Do I have enough options to move forward?

Once you have established your Options you need to verify that you can now move past the Obstacles

How could I deal with this Obstacle in a different way from my normal approach?

Thinking about how to change your normal patterns can highlight other Options

What rules am I operating under? Am I sure they are true?

The rules could be our own, other peoples, or institutional. You need to verify that they are real and establish if there is a way around them.

How could I change my reaction to the situation or person to get a different result?

Since we are usually part of the problem changing our responses can be very useful to create Options

What would be a real risk that I would be unwilling to take?

Knowing which Options you are not willing to take is also useful

What would be a real risk that I would be willing to take?

It can be very motivating to engage with a risk that you have been avoiding

What would I do if I were more assertive? What would I do if I were less assertive?

Being more or less assertive often creates more Options

What would a change of attitude bring me?

Sometimes we limit ourselves in how we think about our Options

What would really motivate me?

If you create Options you find really motivating you are more likely to carry them out

What mistakes have I seen others make? How could I avoid making those mistakes myself?

This question asks you to think forward and avoid further potential Obstacles

Examples of Options Statements

Explore some statements ‘Less clear ones’, below and then expand them to see the clarified statement.

'I could ask some people to help'

‘I could ask Jim and Jane to explain to me how the programme works’

'I will try and behave differently'

‘Next time Jim tries and gets me to work overtime I will be prepared and suggest alternatives rather than giving in’

'Really push myself for the next few weeks'

‘Create a motivation plan to finish the project off with clear stages and rewards for completing each stage. Ask Jane and Mike to meet with me each week to give support’

'Get my finances together again'

‘Review the last time I had financial difficulties. Establish what I did to get control again and start to use those principles again’

'Create some more time for myself'

‘Ask Fiona if she would be willing to swap some cleaning and ironing for me teaching her how to use the Internet’

The “advice” that Ian received was that he would have to sell himself so well that someone would create a vacancy just for him! Who would find him so attractive as an employee that they would do that? Not the HR department for sure – they only hear about vacancies that already exist!

The first Wednesday’s results were terrible! Ian’s progress was negative in terms of his goal, but he had learned something. He found he was still getting through to the HR department (and this was indeed a total waste of time). He also found that people at work appeared to relish the interruption and not resent it, as he had expected.

Ian refined his script to steer well clear of HR departments by asking to speak to the person who manages their programmers, before mentioning recruitment!