5 Tips to Thrive Within Constraints

In New Zealand we talk about good old fashioned Kiwi ingenuity. It’s that ability to make do with what you have and ‘have a crack’ at trying to fix anything because really ‘how hard can it be?’
Like when my roasting rack broke and I didn’t have access to a welder so I fixed it with butchers string. It’s a bit wobbly but it does the job.
It’s constraints that make us look at old things in new ways and often that leads to something even more amazing. So while this whole pandemic has been completely crap I do think it might inspire us and here are my top 5 tips to help.

1. Remember or discover your Why

Your why is your driving force, the reason you get up in the morning, the vision that people will go above and beyond for. It’s not position, power or money, it’s the thing that leads to those things.
Mine is:
People, potential and positive impact.
When I get blocked I come back to this and ask myself:

How else might I bring my purpose to life?

If you’re uncertain what I mean by Why check out Simon Sinek.
Also right now your purpose may be to provide for your family, your why does not need to be some world changing vision.

2. Take time to say goodbye to what was

Clinging onto hope that things will go back to the way they were before shuts you off from the possibilities that are in front of you.
So take some time to write a list of everything you are going to leave behind and if you’re a Marie Kondo fan, perhaps take a silent moment to thank those things for what they bought into your life  to help you let them go.
Then make a list of the things you want to keep hold of.
I for one want to keep having zoom birthday parties with my friends from all over the world and continue catch-ups online instead of waiting for the stars to align so we can be in London at the same time.

3. Focus on what is within your control or influence

You can drive yourself crazy worrying about things that you have no control or influence over.
In the early days I was very worried about the global situation, checking the news minutely to keep up with what was going on. Eye’s glued to the briefings, watching with horror as the inflection and death rates continued to rise.
In the end it was lockdown that saved me.
I felt safe cocooned in my bubble of two, where we could control our contact with the outside world. Once I’d overcome the hurdles of getting food, toilet paper and yeast I began to see the benefits of lockdown.
I realised how awesome it was to have a ‘co-worker’ I could share wins with, someone to have lunch with everyday if I wanted to and most importantly spontaneous hugs when we bumped into each other in the hallway.
This prompted me to focus on other things I could control like sending a weekly letter, being active on LinkedIn and asking people I haven’t seen in years for a virtual catch up. All things which also help me influence my network to think of me when then need a coach.

4. How do you know your assumptions are true?

We all do it, make assumptions about a situation that we believe to be true without actually testing them. We know what others are really think… Oh wait, do we?
Take a moment to think about the assumptions you are making that mean a constraint is stopping you from/blocking/making you ….
Pick the one that is stopping you from/blocking/making you …. the most and ask yourself if that assumption is really true.
If it isn’t, then ask yourself what might be true instead.

5. Who could you talk this through with?

This is a tip for all the times and not just during a crisis. Something in your thinking changes when you say things out loud. Ask someone to be your sounding board, to bounce some ideas around with, to think with you. A fresh brain may spot something you’ve missed or challenge an assumption that felt true.
It would also be a great opportunity for them if they want to practice the three simple coaching techniques I’ve written about before.
I hope that one of these is useful in helping you thrive within the constraints we find ourselves within. I reply to all messages and emails and would love to hear your stories of how you’re thriving in this crazy world, [email protected]
Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash
Looking for advice and inspiration on how to thrive in your career in your inbox each Sunday?
My thinking for this letter was inspired by research I did for a webinar I delivered for Kiwi’s in Property including:
I also owe a big thank-you to Christina and Verity from Intelligent Ink for helping me put my Why into a beautiful statement. If you need a content writer I highly recommend these Kiwis.
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