How do you deal with constraints in your personal and professional life?  You know, realities like time constraints; resource/money constraints; healthy constraints and the like.

Recently, coach, consultant and  TED* Practitioner Ann Deaton sent me the link to an article entitled “Constraints Matter,” by Bob Tschannen-Moran of LifeTrek Coaching.

Living as a Creator, we experience constraints.  It is an inescapable part of the human experience (as much as we might hope they would just go away!). They show up in a couple of ways.

First, we may see constraints as either a Persecutor (from the Victim Orientation) or as a Challenger (from a Creator Orientation).  Challengers call forth learning, growth and development and often spur us to create new and innovative solutions.  In his article, Bob keys off of Tony Hayward, of BP infamy, and how the realities/constraints of the Gulf oil spill are an opportunity to “shine by how they handle the challenges, by how they move forward, by how they change the industry, and — most importantly — by what they learn about themselves.”

Second, constraints are a vital part of discerning the current realities we face when harnessing Dynamic Tension in creating outcomes in our lives.  An integral part of the practice of creating is to “tell the truth” about the realities we face – both those aspects that support the envisioned outcomes, as well as those aspects that inhibit or are obstacles to overcome in creating the outcome.  It is in the latter aspect that constraints are often found.

There is a fun example in The Power of TED* in which David teasingly proclaims to Sophia that his vision is to “be a 7-foot center in the NBA” (in Chapter Seven; “Dynamic Tension”).  Yet he faces the very real constraints of being a middle-aged guy well short of six feet tall.  Sophia plays along and, as a Coach, helps him see how he could, in fact, move toward that vision, even given the constraints.  Perhaps he could pretend while playing in an “old guy’s league” or he could coach kids who have the potential of one day actually becoming a player in the NBA.

As we lead our own lives and go after creating the outcomes we envision, relating to the realities of constraints is part of the process.


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