Leading Ideas: Challenges Drive Creativity

“”The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.” — Margaret J. Wheatley (author, organizational consultant)

Consider This:


One of the most misunderstood gifts that life gives a person or organization is a set of challenges. While rarely welcome, they serve the invaluable purpose of throwing you off of your game – usually when you need it most. They force you to stop – reflect – dig down – and get creative in order survive and thrive. You need challenges. They are the seeds of your greatest ideas.

The biggest mistake you can make when you come face-to-face with a challenge is to resist it. To beat yourself up for having gotten into the situation in the first place. When you do, you’re putting your energy in the wrong place. Instead, get curious about how you got there. See it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Talk it out with others. Don’t stay in your own head. Challenges themselves don’t determine your quality of life – your relationship to them does.

Try This:

1. Think about something you’re feeling bad about right now.
2. When you think about this situation, what are you most afraid of?
3. Find someone to share your fears with. Make it someone you trust and who you can be honest with (This is an important step as your fears have a way of dissipating when they hit the light of day).
4. As you move past the fear, what do you see on the other side? (hint, your creative mind will re-engage and you’ll begin to see possibilities that the fear was hiding).
5. Pursue those creative possibilities.
6. Repeat frequently as new challenges arise.

Doug Sundheim • Executive Coach & Consultant • New York, NY •