Are you letting trivial problems stifle creativity?

There is nothing that stifles creativity – or that makes a consultant bang her head against the keyboard – faster than letting solvable problems stop your efforts in their tracks.

I’m not talking about normal constraints, the parameters in which you must work to get things done. No, I’m talking about that moment when you’re sitting in a meeting, entertaining an exciting new plan for a test on your direct mail, and somebody drops a little gem that sucks all the air from the idea:

  1. Our printer can’t handle that. We can’t do it.
  2. I’m too busy to take on a new project right now.
  3. I don’t know how to do that segmentation, so we can’t do it.

These are all solvable. Discuss it with your printer – you may be surprised at what ideas they have to help you out. Or find a new printer. It’s always good to have alternatives. Delegate a project and let your colleagues or volunteers get valuable experience with your direct mail program. Find someone who can help you with tricky technical issues that come up.

Look, I know that sometimes you just don’t have the energy to fight to turn a great idea into a workable project. Throw up enough obstacles – however trivial – and even the most gung-ho person will give up.

And sometimes, what looks like a great idea on the surface becomes too expensive or unwieldy the closer you examine it. Sometimes those objections aren't trivial at all.

But if you routinely can’t get new projects off the ground, take a long look at the excuses you’re generating for yourself. Are they real limits that are keeping you from trying new things? Or can you 'raise the bridge' and keep moving forward?