What does “resourceful” mean to you? Better question: Have you ever thought of what resourceful means in general? Honestly, it’s not a word that we think of often. We might say we want to be resourceful, but what we mean by that could be limited.
As of writing this, Google brings up this definition of resourceful:
“having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.”
We’ll alter this definition in a little while.
Quick and clever touches the tip of the iceberg. A resourceful person is usually the key player to unlocking a tough problem. For instance, there may be a technical difficulty that’s stopping a project. Everyone is trying to find a solution or work-a-round, but nothing works. Then, you have that one person who sees the situation differently and manages to fix it.
We usually see someone as resourceful if they always find a way to accomplish what they need in the end. People often recognize a resourceful person, but the magic is in the HOW. For most people, the how is the part we don’t quite know and never fully seem to pay attention to.
You become resourceful when you notice that finding solutions is more so about noticing opportunities.
Be Committed to a Goal, but Flexible on the Plan
We never know what life will toss at us (or throw at us). For that exact reason, it makes sense that we might achieve our goals on a different path than expected.
Many times people go through life with a plan set in mind of how they think a situation will pan out. You will do A, which leads to B, so that you can get to C, which will help you achieve D. However, the somewhat random nature of how we get anything done is part of real-life success stories. That’s why you can have the same person fill a position or have a job, and how they got there is completely different.
Once a plan seems to no longer make progress in one direction, consider taking it in a new direction. You could end up doing a major pivot or a side step. Both could work. It simply depends on how much you want to explore a new option.
For example, you could be in the middle of planning a launch party. You can’t fully decide between renting at an event venue or hosting the party at a local community center. In this scenario, both places have their flaws and neither is fully what you need.
You’d benefit from searching other paths instead of forcing yourself to check all the event venues and community centers in your city. What would be the options? You could look at cafes. You could even consider hosting the launch party at a local park.
A flexible path gets you to the goal by being adaptable to the things you realize or notice on the way to the goal.
Consider the “Hidden” Options in Plain Sight
Being presented with something doesn’t mean those are your only options. This is a concept that exists in our lives, but is somewhat on the edge of our vision. When the front door and back door are locked, you can go through a window. When you go to your favorite food spot, you can make a request on your order or maybe get a “hidden menu” item.
Traditionally, society will lay out your options for you. Not only society but your upbringing and worldview. If your perspective widens, you realize that you don’t have to go along with what’s being handed to you.
Perhaps you were told that the only way to raise money for your social enterprise idea is to do cold outreach with your pitch deck or apply to multiple business accelerators. Those are great ideas! Still, you’re not limited to that only.
Who knows? Maybe you raise the money by hosting a community talent show. Maybe you raise the money by streaming on social media.
Solutions lay around the problems you want to solve. You want to build a habit of questioning what’s presented to you, and seek a solution that might very well be right next to the problem. A lot of possible solutions hide in plain sight. Empower yourself to reach out for those additional paths you can leverage.
Change How You Describe or Determine the Goal
Your goal can also shift. There are times where you learn more along your journey as you encounter information and insight. You start to realize that a goal needs to adjust to a new path. If that moment comes, know that it’s fine to adjust. Changes don’t make the goal less of an accomplishment.
For example, let’s say you set out to raise $10k for families dealing with poverty to provide clothing for young kids. Imagine you went full out to raise the money, and managed to get some funds. The end of your campaign is now two weeks away with you raising $7k so far.
First, you should congratulate yourself for raising $7k. Next, you could explore how you’ll raise the remaining $3k.
In the best-case scenario, you’ll ask yourself questions on who else to reach out to or if you can give your campaign another boost on social media. If you open your field of vision slightly, maybe you can:
- Gather in-kind donations of clothing that equal up to $3k.
- Inquire if a business is willing to do a “buy one, give one” partnership worth up to $3k.
- Sponsor a movie night for the place you’re donating to.
Sometimes you can still create the amount of impact you envision even without it looking like what you first imagined. A $10k donation is valuable, and a $7k donation with a sponsored movie night can also be valuable.
Take These Questions to Spark Ideas
A recurring theme here is to ask questions and to explore options that you haven’t considered at first. From here on out, try to think of “resourceful” in this light:
“having the ability to notice new paths to an outcome.”
In case you need some extra ideas, here are three foundational questions to help you find a new opening, path, or opportunity to your goal:
- Does my goal or solution need to look exactly like this?
- Is there a similar solution I haven’t explored or noticed yet?
- If I explore this new option, what do I imagine that will look like?