2017-03-16 / Columns

Just Imagine That a Miracle Has Happened

I came across one of the best series of questions you can ask yourself, or ask someone else, when things seem to be out of control. Often we find ourselves stuck, afraid to tackle the next step because we just can’t figure out what the next right step would be.

I am not sure where this series of questions comes from. I first learned about them from reading the book, “Switch,” by Chip and Dan Heath (another book I highly recommend reading). They call it the miracle question. I think that was to help them remember the sequence of the questions that follow the first question.

Think about any area of your life, where you feel stuck: a habit you want to break, or an improvement that you want to make. Got it? Now suppose you go to bed tonight, and while you’re sleeping, in the middle of the night, a miracle happens, and all of your troubles that got you to this point with this issue are resolved. Here is the question. What is the first little sign that you observed that would make you think that the miracle really happened?

Now here is a key part of this question to remember as you think about the answer. The question does not ask you to describe the miracle. You don’t have to use your imagination for one moment on what the miracle was. You just have to assume and believe that the miracle did happen. All you have to do is tangibly identify the signs or things that proved the miracle happened. Write them down.

Now that you have written down what the signs would be that prove the miracle happened, forget about being stuck, the habit you want to overcome, or the improvement that you want to make, and focus on doing whatever needs to be done to create the first sign that the miracle occurred.

Now that you know what the first sign is, ask yourself: What will I do differently, or what do I do differently now? If you are still stuck, then try to remember the last time that you saw a little bit of the effects of the miracle, even for a short time. What made that solution possible, or what made it work for that short period of time? What was happening? Who were you with? What were you doing? How did you act or behave? All of these things will give you insights into what the next step should be for you. Look for what is called “bright spots,” any current actions or previous actions where you achieved the results you wanted.

I get stuck all the time. I bet you do, too. This exercise allows you to realize that you have been able to get unstuck in the past, and that you can do it again. It allows you to see the change that has to happen. It even allows you to figure out the order of the sequence the action steps have to follow. Learning this first question was an “ah ha” moment for me.

Finding “bright spots,” a place where something is working and discovering the why it works here but isn’t working elsewhere, can lead to massive improvements in an organization, and personally.

Here is an example of a bright spot. Medical costs are skyrocketing except in two areas, one is laser eye surgery, and the other is cosmetic surgery. In those categories, costs have remained the same, or even come down in cost over the years. They are bright spots in the increasing cost of health care. We don’t have enough space to go into the details of why the costs in those two fields have remained steady, while other areas have seen double-digit increases, but they are good examples of bright spots. They would be places to look at, for figuring out how to control costs in the medical industry general.

The next time you feel stuck, want to get rid of that habit, or just want to improve what is already working, ask the miracle question, identify the signs of the miracle and look for bright spots, and start taking the first step needed to move you in the direction of the miracle, even if it doesn’t happen overnight.

Need some help or guidance with your business or marketing? To talk with Jim directly, call (906) 643-6643, or ask him a question any time at Jim@Think- OutsideNoBoxNeeded.com.

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