10 Ways to Create Breakthroughs

break-through (brak’ throo’) noun, a major achievement or success that permits further progress.

Breakthroughs are exciting.  They’re inspiring.  They’re not business as usual.  That’s why they’re called breakthroughs.  Incremental progress is boring.  What gets attention, what fires us with enthusiasm, is seeing results that are beyond the ordinary.  Here are ten ways to have more breakthroughs, whether it be in your business, your job or your relationships.

1. Expect Them

Too often, we get bogged down in the thick of thin things.  We don’t expect exciting events to happen, much less make them happen.  But when we start to expect major breakthroughs, they start to come about on a regular basis.  Not by themselves but through awareness, attention and expectation.

2. Look for the Breakdowns

Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs.  It starts by looking for problems that need to be solved in new ways.  You find what you’re looking for.   Declare breakdowns when they occur.  Too often, problems get swept under the rug.  People want to avoid them.  Instead of living in denial, shine a light on what’s not working with an eye toward what could be.

3. Define the Breakdowns

A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.  Look for ways to state the problem differently.  Simply articulating the problem in a new way can illuminate the solution.  Get a different perspective by writing the problem down several different ways.

4. Live in the Possibility

What could happen here?  What would be a game worth playing?  Don’t just go for the obvious — be bold.  What will turn this solution into a breakthrough?  What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?  This is often the toughest part.  But to let go of what we think is possible and operate in the realm of possibility is when things really start to change.

5. Make the Commitment

Stating what you’re planning to accomplish takes courage.  Most people want to see the evidence first.  They don’t want to commit to something unless it’s all set up.  But when you commit to going for a big goal that appears impossible, you inspire others.  Tell people what you intend to accomplish.  And don’t be bashful.

6. Enroll Others

You don’t need to go it alone.  People like to be part of something bigger than themselves.  They’re flattered by someone asking for their opinion or ideas.  Put together a team.  Keep focused on the intended results, not on what’s happened before.  Do some brainstorming.  And have fun.

7. Do Your Research

Many people try to reinvent the wheel.  Often a problem can be solved in a similar way that another problem was solved.  Perhaps in a different industry, in a different company, during another era.  By reading and studying what others do or have done, you can often relate it to your own situation.

8. Stay Open to Ideas and Insights

Some of the best ideas and inventions have come as flashes of insight — oftentimes when they were least expected.  Archimedes was taking a bath.  Isaac Newton was taking a snooze under an apple tree.  Moodling is the art of doing nothing creatively — expecting ideas to come to us when our minds are at rest.  Don’t underestimate it.

9. Declare Breakthroughs

Just as important as declaring breakdowns is the declaration of breakthroughs.  Announce your achievement to your team, your coworkers, your family — even the press — when you’ve succeeded.  Document it.  Your energy flows where your attention goes.  Give attention to your breakthroughs.

10. Celebrate Your Success.

You deserve it.  Make it fun.  Olympic medal winners get their moment in the sun and you deserve nothing less.  Mark the event.  And ready yourself for “breakthroughs as usual.”

Create YOUR Break-Through!

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