Would you like a way to get better ideas, faster?
Would you like to nearly automatically tap into your subconscious brain to help you solve your vexing problems?
Would you like a tool that would help your team think more clearly?
What if I told you that tool was free, except for the five minutes of time you had to invest?
But rather than thinking about it like a tool, I want you to think about it like a game, a game you play with yourself whenever you have a problem you want to solve or an obstacle you want to overcome, or when you are in search of great new ideas.
This game has been taught by many people over the years (so I can’t definitively give you the original source, and I can’t and won’t claim the basic structure as my own). It works because it is unique, fun and is based on principles of how our brain works.
I call it Sentence Starters, and it works like this:
- You write the start of the sentence, based on your problem challenge or obstacle. “We’d have more customers if …” or “My presentation will be a hit if …”
- You finish writing 6-10 sentences, each with a different ending.
- Repeat the activity for several days, aiming for at least seven days if you have the time because the longer you do it, the better the results are typically. (The game is best played by determining the number of sentences each day and the number of days you will do the activity before you begin.)
- Try to create new sentences each day, and don’t review your previous sentences until the game is over.
- Be ready if a new sentence pops into your head. Go ahead and write them down anytime. It isn’t cheating!
- At the end of your pre-determined time period, review all of your sentences, looking for the gems that you can use to break down your obstacle or solve your problem. You will have some silly ones that will give you a laugh, and most likely you’ll have written down some powerful ideas too.
Here are a two more variations you can add to game:
- Speed Sentence Starters. Rather than spreading the game out over several days, sit down in a quiet place and play a speed round. Don’t stop until you have 20, 25 or 30 different sentences. This version is great to build momentum and excitement, and to use when you have a more immediate barrier or problem.
- Team Sentence Starters. Have a team barrier, obstacle or problem? Teach your whole team this game, and have everyone play it simultaneously. Then collect everyone’s sentences for a team meeting to find the best ideas. (I recommend collecting the sentences and listing them anonymously in one long list). If you have a team of five people, playing the game with six sentences a day for one workweek would provide you with 150 possible ideas. When was the last time you had that many ideas to consider? Isn’t it highly possible that you will have some breakthroughs with that many to choose from?
The obstacle or problem can be personal or professional, self-growth or business-improvement. Part of the power (and fun) of the Sentence Starter game is that it works with anything you want to use it for! Apply this game or one of it variations and you will be quickly surprised by how quickly you become a fan!
Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/beat-the-obstacle-1439460