Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Monday, September 20, 2010

Overcoming Impossible Situations

Whilst on holiday recently, I was sitting on the bed working on my laptop. The bedroom was on the second floor of a lovely country hotel with views out over fields and moors to the north Devon coast.  It was very peaceful and I was easily able to concentrate on writing my website updates, which were due the following Saturday.

As I tapped away on the keyboard a noise at the window suddenly made me jump. I looked up to see a shape at the window. How was this possible, the window was 8 metres above the ground?

After my initial shock I realised what was making the noise. It was the window cleaner’s brush! He had one of those long poles and was standing on the path outside, washing each window with ‘pure water’. (Many window cleaners now use de-ionised water which leaves fewer smears on the window – today’s extra bit of knowledge thrown in for free …)

The window cleaner had been able to reach my window with his long pole. When I was sitting in my bedroom, I had no expectation of anything banging on my window to distract me. I hadn’t really thought about it, but if I had, I would have concluded that nobody would be able to climb in through my second storey window. I would have been correct in that assumption, but wrong to think that nobody or nothing could reach the window and affect what was inside (me!)

Do you ever make assumptions about aspects of your life? Do you think that something is impossible, then find that somebody else has found a way?

There would have been several ways for the window cleaner, or anyone else, to reach my window:
  • Use his pole
  • Use a ladder
  • Use a ‘cherry picker’
  • Stand on three other people’s shoulders
  • Build a lift
  • Pole vault
  • Bounce on springs
  • etc

 Do you get my drift? Edward de Bono called it Lateral Thinking. Marketing executives call it ‘thinking outside of the box’. Whatever term you choose to use, it’s all about thinking of alternatives to the obvious.

Before you write off opportunities as ‘impossible’ or ‘not for me’, spend a few minutes thinking of alternative ways of approaching the problem. Look at it from different angles, put yourself in someone else’s shoes or break down the issue into smaller chunks. Ask yourself what questions a child might ask.

You might be surprised by your own creativity! 
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here


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