Podcast Episode 24: Resourcefulness is a Learned Mindset

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Sometimes we believe we are stuck and we tell ourselves that we don’t know how to figure it out. We have so many resources available to us but we get lazy and want someone else to do the heavy work. Resourcefulness is a skill and learned mindset. In the episode, we’ll discuss: 

  • How we render ourselves powerless when we stop figuring it out 
  • Where your lack of resourcefulness shows up in your career
  • You can become a thought leader
  • How to manage others and encourage resourcefulness
  • 3 tips to build your resourcefulness muscle

The way you strengthen your brain and become a thought leader is by taking information, getting curious and then making it your own. There’s consuming and then creating. First consume. Then sit and think and exercise your thoughts. Then you create.

Read the Transcript
Hey Friends, welcome back to the podcast. Thanks to all of you who reached out and said that you loved the episode on micro-quitting. One listener wrote to me and said it should be mandatory training in his workplace. I love hearing when my content resonates with you. So thank you and keep the comments and questions coming. 

On to this week’s episode. It’s about figuring it out, or as Marie Forleo says, everything is figure-out-able. It’s really a deep dive in resourcefulness. What I’ve been seeing is an inverse relationship in the vast amount of information available and the amount of  determination and motivation to figure it out. 

I get it. You’re tired. Maybe even exhausted. But we’ve also gotten lazy in our thinking and our ability to problem solve. We want others to do the work for us. Many of us have lost our resourcefulness muscle. 

The definition of resourcefulness that I am talking about is the ability to solve difficult problems, often in original, clever, and inventive ways. 

I see this show up in our lack of thought leadership and reciprocity. It also shows up in our mindset when we think that we could have done something better if we had a bigger budget, more resources, smarter teammates. Lastly it shows up when we think that someone, or something is responsible for our professional development. 

Let me give you a few examples. 

I’ve had colleagues ask me for my strategic work so that they could use it for their account. They weren’t going to scrub and repurpose it with new thoughts or a fresh take on the approach, which was about a year old. And if you know about technology, you know that 1 year may be more like 10 years old because of the velocity of business. 

You might be thinking, but Jill is resourceful and that everyone does it. But there’s a difference between using the work to inspire your approach to a client’s challenge and directly using the exact work because you don’t want to have to think and customize the solution to the problem on deck. Yet that’s what you’re paid to do. 

I’ve had a fellow coach ask if she can copy my client agreement. The one I hired a lawyer to do. She didn’t ask for guidance. She asked to copy my documents. 

I recently had someone ask me how to pitch a corporate client. Like what to say, how to script it, can you look at my copy and presentation and give me feedback. Um. That’s what I get paid to do. 

As a career strategist, I literally do that for my coaching clients. We review their presentations, practice how they are going to show up, prepare them for the questions they’ll get hit with, and put them in a high performing mindset. 

So, I asked this person if he had a business coach or strategist that he was working with. And they said no. That they thought they could easily figure it out. But they are not figuring it out. They aren’t asking questions and applying the information directionally to their new business pitch scenario. They are asking me to do the heavy lifting without any form of reciprocity. 

We’ve become incredibly lazy. 

We call someone in our industry to “pick their brain” offering nothing, not a meal, a coffee, or any type of reciprocity in return. 

On the extreme, we ask our colleague how to spell something. We hold our phones nearby and then ask someone the time or the weather? We ask facebook ‘what should I do in Miami’, versus saying, Hey, I am looking for the best places to eat in Little Havana. What else should I see, taste, and hear while I am in that neighborhood? We scroll Twitter and get quick hits of information and news. But these bite-sized pieces of information that we are consuming so fast, don’t provide us the opportunity to think, the fast scroll doesn’t require us to think or form an opinion. It’s just numbing out or engaging in the doomsday scroll.
The IDKs is just your brain putting up resistance because you asked it to do something you think is hard or challenging. It’s subtle but it’s learned helplessness. 

And if you are saying to yourself Jill, what’s the problem? I’m so busy and this is just easier. 

The problem is that you’ve stopped thinking. 

The brain is like a muscle. And it needs to be exercised. 
Science has shown us that when we continue to exercise the brain we have a greater chance of warding off cognitive decline. 

And when you only take from others, without thinking first, then you are just regurgitating. And then you lose the muscle of thinking for yourself. 

If your colleague solves all your thinking problems for you, what will you do when they’re on vacation?
Getting training is the Sometimes you can get some training but most often, at least in the world of technology, digital media, healthcare, fintech, and marketing there’s so much unknown. 

It’s all “NBD” never been done before. 

That’s ok. At some point everything was a NBD. 

But when you, and I am going to say it, steal thought leadership from another, you dont learn anything. 

You can borrow their core thinking, with their permission and attribution of course, use it as guidance. 

But the way you strengthen your brain and become a thought leader is not plagiarizing. It’s by taking in a lot of information, by getting curious and then by making it your own. There’s consuming and then creating. First consume. Then sit and think and exercise your thoughts. Then you create. 

I used to do a lot of ghost writing for the executives in my company. Write their quotes for the press, or submit articles to industry associations. I was paid to do that. No issues here. 

But it started to dawn on me that I was not helping them. Meaning, writing for them because they are busy on the earnings call is totally fine. 

But I started to notice that before they went to the industry association meetings they were not interested in being briefed on the content or the discourse. 

Good luck with that. That keeps you small. You don’t stretch your brain or grow. 

People can sniff out when you are all puff and a house of cards of a topic. Get information from the subject matter experts around you. But then pause. Think. And make it your own. 

Another way I see lack of resourcefulness is when you see others get praise and acknowledgement, and you think if you had a larger budget, more time, resources, staff, better credentials, more research that you would have done a better job.

Look, money and resources can help, but I have seen some of the best businesses borne out of necessity or a marketplace downturn. Netflix, AirBnB, Uber. All started in a downturn with limited resources. 

So many marketing and promotional efforts are born out of ingenuity. Small businesses start with little capital and resources. 

Resourcefulness is a mindset, and is especially relevant when the goals you’ve been given or have set for yourself are challenings. 

What’s going to be required is choosing your mindset in advance when what’s expected of you is difficult to achieve or you don’t yet have a clear path on how to get there. 

You never need to know all the answers.You need determination and desire. With a resourcefulness mindset you are driven to find a way. You are amped up and prepared to solve the problem. 

An attitude of resourcefulness inspires new thinking. 

You can’t read the label from inside the jar. 

It’s like anything in life. When I hear about a challenge so often the committee trying to solve it is trying to solve it from the point of view of the problem. 

I’m here to tell you to marie kondo it. Mentally start with how to be in the solution. Take all the opinions, points of view and the problems out of the equation. 

If you didn’t have constraints how would you generate new ideas, and visualize all the possible ways to achieve the goal and solve the challenge? 

Resourcefulness turns you into a scrappy, inventive and enterprising intrepreneur or entrepreneur. It places you a cut above the rest.

I remember watching my former ceo when she responded to a complex client challenge, she’d at times say, idk but I know how to build solutions. I know how to find an answer. 

Another way to frame her answer is the difference is are you putting out fires? Or are you in the fire prevention business? Are you building your wellness and immunity or are you managing your sickness?

I remember at the time, thinking wow, that was so easy. She’s totally authentic. She’s not going to pretend that she knows it all, and has complete confidence to tell a client that she knows how to find the answers. 

Your brain is capable of solving problems. Sometimes you need new information and skills. Sometimes you need an expert. Sometimes the answer is outside. 

Plenty of obstacles will happen that you hadn’t thought of and you are not going to know how to resolve them. That’s ok. 

For any of you managers out there, managing development and human capital is so important to your team’s growth and your ability to get things done. 

If you are always solving their problems you paralyze them and their ability to think creatively. Coach them ask them questions, when they say idk, a really powerful question is what if you did know? What would you do? What if you knew you could solve this issue? Who do you need to be to solve this problem? 

Hire for solutions before you hire for problems. Your direct reports are not your fellow problem solvers, don’t burden them with that. It always made the team uncomfortable when leadership would dump half baked drama on their laps, provide limited details and then trash the clients and company leadership. He didn’t delegate. He dumped. 

He should have found a coach or a peer group to discuss challenges and be challenged. It’s lazy and unfair to dump on your direct report without details, instructions, training, and support. They are there to execute the solution or co-create it with you. They are not there to be your savior. 

When I built award winning strategies and strategic frameworks for Coca-cola, Microsoft, and GE. My boss didn’t tell me what to do. He gave me data, information, and guidance. He delegated. He didn’t dump. 

The first time, I was like Fug. Then it got easier over time because I built the framework and concepts on scrap paper. 

Sidebar, don’t build your approach directly into keynote, powerpoint or canva. 

Outline the strategy on paper first, I use scrap paper and sharpies markers. Once I knew where I was going, I created the presentation. You’ll burn less hours this way. 

Back to the strategies. There was no manual. Or precedent. It was about doing research, absorbing trends and marketplace conditions, making connections, seeing patterns, and logically building a strategic solution.  

When you are not resourceful it puts a drag on the team. The result lacks imagination and excitement. You’ll get mediocre work or we’ll be waiting for someone else to do the lifting creating a lazy team. 

It’s a skill, a practice, and a mindset. 
What if you believed you could alway find the answer? 
What if you believe you can get what you want because you always assumed there was a solution?

So here’s what to do to create a resourceful mindset. 

Resourcefulness is 100% mindset. Thoughts like I can figure this out, I will engage with others and get input, there is a solution… You must wholeheartedly hold the belief that you are competent and adequate enough to achieve the goal. This belief is the first step you take in getting things done. When you are self-assured you like and trust yourself your creativity and innovation will flow. Stay open. Explore options for the solution. Ask yourself what if you would do if that challenges wasn’t there
Be creative. Resourcefulness is having the mindset to look at what’s in front of you and to optimize what you have to work with. Being imaginative is not always about creating something new, but also, with a little ingenuity making old things work better. Remember the answer to HOW is YES. You have to try it. 
Positivity. Train yourself to see the positive benefits in every situation. As you cultivate a positive outlook you will see it is easier to come up with solutions. Fear and frustration block innovation.

Ok my friends. If you are interested in learning more about how I work with clients to rebuild their mindset, or you’re interested in Strengths Coaching, check out the show notes to get more information. 

Have a great week. I’ll see you next time. 

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Tune into The Refresh Your Career Podcast Available on all streaming apps. https://jillgriffin.buzzsprout.com/