In my previous post, I outlined why I think the Theory of Constraints is hugely relevant to those wanting to advance in their current work or to find meaningful work. If you haven’t read that, then I encourage you to do so now so you can get the most out of this one.
Almost everything I have written on this blog relates back to one of the following nine constraints. These are the most common issues people face when trying to maximize their work. I have linked to my favorite previous posts for each of these, and will keep this list updated – so it would be a great one to bookmark.
Thinking. If our thinking, or attitude about work, isn’t right then it will limit our ability to be successful. Unconstrained thinking is positive, optimistic, and leaves us energized to tackle whatever the next task is to reach our goals.
Strengths. If we aren’t working in our strengths then we aren’t maximizing our potential. To be unconstrained in this area includes not only working in your strength areas, but knowing what they are.
Connections. It is essential we build a personal network that expands our circle of influence over time. For connections to not be a constraint, we have to look for ways to serve others – by providing value – more than being served.
Vision. Setting goals and having a vision for the future are essential to moving us forward. Unconstrained goals are not realistic. They are big. They are in line with our larger objectives and carefully thought through. Unconstrained vision leads to goals that are written, measurable, and our own.
Story. We need to be able to tell our story to others. The tool we usually rely on is our resume, but telling our story is much more than that. An unconstrained story includes an elevator pitch, networking, a portfolio of our work, and even an online presence.
Value. There is no substitute for doing high quality work. We must look to meet a very specific need in the marketplace and do it at least a little bit better than anyone else. To be unconstrained in this area, consider what the expectation would be – from a boss, an interviewer, or a customer – and then figure out how to exceed that expectation.
Expertise. If we aren’t experts at what we do, then we’ll only be able to go so far. Unconstrained expertise means constantly working on personal growth and learning.
Reality. It is important to step back and objectively look at where we are against where we think we are in key areas of our lives. Unconstrained reality includes actively seeking feedback from others.
Impacts. One of the biggest things that determines if we are happy in our work is if it impacts other people. Unconstrained impacts means we know who our work impacts and how it impacts them.
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I used a lot of “we” and “us” in the above list on purpose. These are the things I have to constantly remind myself of as well. Please let me know in the comments what YOUR biggest constraint probably is right now.