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How to move forward

When my wife of 22 years left me I became paralysed. I was so depressed that I didn’t even know I was depressed. 

I was relieved that the constant fighting was over, but I had no ambition for life. 

My usual creative energy was gone, and I was just going through the motions. 

I was no longer looking to the future; I was stuck in the past and barely functioning in the present. The only thing that kept me going was my children.

I found purpose in coaching their sports teams, and becoming the leader of their Cub Scout pack. 

Those were actions that gave me a sense of accomplishment; and the feeling that I was still important somewhere. Meanwhile my business was at a standstill.

There were innovations I wanted to bring into my business, but I couldn’t seem to implement them. 

In particular, I wanted to give tele-seminars. They would serve two functions: make my services more affordable to a greater number of clients in a tightening economy; and reduce my travel now that I was a single father. 

But I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around the steps I needed to take.

I read several how-to articles, I talked with people who had produced their own tele-seminars, and I learned about the equipment necessary to put one on. 

None of this helped. 

I finally hired an expensive consultant. In retrospect, he really only showed me what I already knew. 

It seemed that the very act of spending a lot of money spurred me to action where nothing else could. 

Once again I was productive and moving forward. 

It wouldn’t, however, last.

Three years later, I found myself in the same situation once again. 

Another relationship had crashed and burned; and in the fallout I found that I was paralysed and unable to be the driving force my business needed to stay afloat.

It was then, that I realized I had failed to take a critical beginning step. It was something I should have known. 

It was a vital component of creative thinking that I’d been teaching others for years. 

I failed to identify the problem. 

Innovation is all about solving problems or satisfying needs; and before you can be creative, you need to know why you should be.

To move forward, whether it is in business or in a relationship, you have to identify what is holding you back. 

For me, my blocks were both professional and personal. 

My business and my relationship were so closely intertwined that I didn’t realize I had a problem until I got stuck again.

The innovation technique I share with my clients is to accurately and succinctly state the problem; because the better you do this, the faster you will solve it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the problem was – just that I had one. 

Nevertheless I was determined to find out what it was, so that I wouldn’t have to repeat the cycle again.

I made inquiries, read self-help books, journaled, and attended therapy before I could identify it. Once done, however, the process of changing seemed easy by comparison. 

Even though I had only identified the problem (not solved it), my creative energy and ambition were back – which meant I knew I would.

I know many of you are feeling stuck because of our languid eco-nomy. Forget the economy for a moment, and ask yourself how you would tackle your problem if the economy were robust. 

Sure the economy is a problem, but it is one that is out of your hands. Identify the problem(s) that you do have control over.

Innovation and change –  moving forward – involve risk. When you clearly identify the direction you need to go, it makes the risk seem less frightening because you can visualize the rewards. 

Slow economies are a great time to initiate change because almost everyone else is paralysed. 

They are hunkering down and waiting for times to get better. It’s a perfect time for you to take the lead. Times will get better for you when you work to change the things within your control.

                                                                                                                                                          – Robert Wilson


• Robert Wilson is an author, humorist and  innovation consultant. He is also the author of the children’s book, The Annoying Ghost Kid. For info, visit www.jumpstartyourmeeting.com.

Posted: Dec 4, 2013

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