Don’t think just outside the box – build one!

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Think outside the box.” It’s a great statement…a challenge really, to expand your thinking, to consider new options, new possibilities, new ways to approach a problem or opportunity.

But there is a massive difference between a person who can think outside the box and one who can build a new box.

New ideas, even good ones, are a dime a dozen. Now, I’m an idea person, a possibility thinker. So I’m always coming up with new ideas, new ways to do things, new priorities to add to my already bursting-at-the-seems to-do list – or worse, add to someone else’s to-do list. But for all the great ideas you and I have, how many do we actually follow through on and accomplish? Ouch! Some ideas don’t require a new box. They simply need your focus, your time and attention to achieve them. But other ideas require a new approach, an original method. They require building a new box.

Recently we’ve had to change the way we do team meetings. We needed a new box. Due to the coronavirus, the world has had to rethink how we communicate and connect with each other. I wish I had bought stock in Zoom a month ago!

An example of someone who built a new box from an old method is Katie Ring. Katie is a Food and Product Photographer. She recently turned her minivan into a mini-photography studio to show how takeout meals can still look tasty. She built a new box. Maybe you’ve been coaching people through seminars – and now it’s time to turn that compelling event presentation into an online course that can reach thousands more people without them having to get together.

Take some time this week to ask yourself, what systems, what ways am I doing business that needs to be rethought? What am I doing now that I can stop doing – or perhaps could be doing in a completely different way? Find at least one box that you can toss.  If you get into it, you may find several boxes that can be taken to the curb on trash day. But in your box cleaning, make room to invent at least one new box.

What have you been throwing away that can be repurposed into something valuable? What is something you’ve been doing that isn’t productive anymore? Toss the old box to make room for a new one.

As you enter this new quarter, set a goal to invent at least one original box that didn’t exist before. Don’t just think about it, do it!

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