5 Ways to Emphasize Our Future Potential, Not Past Trauma

Think of the problem the way an entrepreneur or innovator would. Look for alternatives to it!It’s easy to dramatize that we’ve being doing something badly, to drag out evidence that we are losing some capability to another colleague, department, competitor, or even another country. We know how to turn mistakes into things that look like a traumatic downward spiral. The numbers prove it!!

Worst of all, what we say may be even true!

“Future is created and negotiated, and not a slave of the past events in a person’s life, therefore, in spite of past traumatic events, a person can negotiate and implement many useful steps that are likely to lead him/her to a more satisfying life.” – Insoo Kim Berg, Solution Focus Brief Therapy

Downplay the problem: innovate or be an entrepreneur.

It’s a good thing that innovators and entrepreneurs exist. They have the attention deficit-like inability to stay focused on debating the problem. Instead, they are happy to make assumptions about change and restlessly move on.

They keep looking for alternatives to the problem.

Because, you know, resilience – if you think of it in terms of the Gold Rush, then you’d be pretty depressed right now because the last nugget of gold would be gone. But the good thing is, with innovation, there isn’t a last nugget. Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.Jeff Bezos, Amazon


They become obsessive-compulsive about not making progress towards their vision of finding a solution. They can appear self-centered, sometimes obnoxious about creating their future. They make mistakes and learn from them.

Do we need to become obsessed like Jeff Bezos to make progress? There’s an alternative.

How we stop debating the organizational problem and start working on our future potential:

By all means, clarify the problem we want to solve

    • Don’t enter too far into the problem details (that’s a bottomless ocean) or, chances are, we’ll re-traumatize ourselves. Instead, look for insights and learning

Ask, broadly what do we want instead?

    • Don’t worry if it’s possible, just ask. Turn away from the problem

Determine what’s working / worked before (in spite of past problems), including the small stuff

    • Enter into it in detail. Keep asking, ‘What else?’ It’s our resource for moving forward.

Now, explore in detail what the future looks like without the problem. Keep asking, ‘What else?’

    • From that long list, pick some of the priorities and turn them into goals. When we see barriers, ask what would we be doing to work around them, including ignoring them

Describe the small steps we’ll be taking to get started – right away

    • The smaller the better. Assume you will make mistakes escaping from the past ‘problem’, but will be learning

Life is one solution after another – Ilfaro

What’s your plan to stop talking about the problem as a trauma and start converting your resilience into future potential solutions?