How can we use constraints to our advantage for creative progress instead of roadblocks? I share three tips for creative problem solving. Grant Writing Simplified Episode 76 - Teresa Huff

Using Constraints as Containers for Creative Progress Instead of Roadblocks [Episode 76]

Constraints bring us to a crossroads, a crisis of decision. We can give up and walk away, give in to the status quo, or step up imperfectly and find a creative way to a better solution.

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The Challenges of Growth

The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about challenge questions to ask yourself and also some things to consider before you set any goals. 

A recent Fast Company article by Simone Ahuja got me to thinking about these challenges. The article is called, “Rethinking constraints as a catalyst for innovation: Constraints force us to get crystal clear about the problem we’re solving.

Constraints as Motivation

Think about it – back in school when you just remembered the night before about a term paper due in the morning, somehow you got it done!

Or if a relative texts to say they’re dropping by your house in 5 minutes, you magically have the energy to tidy up.

Making Creative Progress Instead of Roadblocks

Constraints can be frustrating, especially in the nonprofit world. They’re all around us; we’re often short on time, money, staff, and other resources. Grant writers run into a lack of information, communication barriers, and word limits galore!

However, constraints require us to adapt more quickly when we have to, as the last couple of years have shown us. Those confines force us to look for creative solutions.

Constraints bring us to a crossroads, a sort of crisis of decision. We can give up and walk away, give in to the status quo, or step up imperfectly and find a creative way to a better solution.

3 Tips to Reframe Constraints:

  1. Listen to your people and thoughtfully consider their feedback.
  2. Leverage your resources. Most grant writers and nonprofits are sitting on a gold mine of resources they don’t even realize. 
  3. Prioritize, eliminate, offload, or redesign. What’s your path of highest impact? What’s a distraction that keeps you from making as much of an impact? The hard part is we can have LOTS of good things in front of us, but sometimes have to let go of some good to focus on the great. It’s called strategic abandonment, and it takes courage but it’s well worth it.

Constraints can often feel like a drain or a drag. But if we can learn to reframe them into opportunities for creativity, they can actually become the catalysts for some of our greatest work.

Challenge Question:

Where do you feel constrained right now? How can you reframe that as an opportunity to innovate?

If you’re ready to explore this further, take my free quiz, “Do you have what it takes to be a grant writer?” People are always surprised at how many skills they already have. The distance isn’t as far as they thought. Let’s help you figure out how you can use your constraints to your advantage so you can help change your world.

If you’re ready to step up your nonprofit game in 2022, join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. The world needs you.

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