Albert Einstein is considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific experts of all time. He’s also famed for the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

Every January, I think about this quote. I also think about the countless leaders I’ve witnessed over the years, attacking every new challenge and obstacle the same as every obstacle that came before but hoping it yields different results. This approach always baffles me, and forgive me for stating the obvious, but each new year brings a unique and new set of challenges. The obstacles you and your business face in 2023 will ultimately vary from those you faced in 2022, 2021, and so on. I understand the desire to play it safe and stay within your comfort zone, but new times call for innovative, new solutions.

Now this said, I do think it’s important to have a basic framework to lean on. Whether business or personal related, I use three principles as a guide when creating solutions to a challenge.

Follow your purpose and values

No matter what I’m facing, I use my purpose and values to guide me. If you haven’t already, it’s incredibly important for you (and your company) to use Simon Sinek’s exercise and take time to define your ‘why.’ Questions like ‘why do you do what you do?’ and ‘why do you exist?’ are great starting points, but continue asking why until you can’t any longer. Then use your answers in this exercise to build and define your purpose and values. If you need help along the way, I’d be remiss not to mention my book, Won with Purpose. It’s a quick read and takes you on the journey of Medix (and myself!) discovering our purpose and values, and using that deeper meaning as the guiding principle in all that we do.

Never stop learning

As I said before, each year brings new challenges, and you must immerse yourself in a continuous cycle of growth and learning. My approach to learning often takes a ‘first-day mentality.’ This mentality simply means that I maintain the same thirst for knowledge now as I did on my first day on the job. Those first few days/months at a new job are often consumed with questions. Days are filled with training and learning how to succeed, and I continue this approach even as a veteran in my day-to-day. Attending conferences, reading business books, and listening to podcasts are just a few of the resources I use to expand my knowledge. Whatever resources you choose, the desire to never stop learning ultimately brings unique perspectives and ways of doing things, and this results in innovative and creative solutions to challenges.  

Connect the dots

As obstacles arise, take the time to connect the dots. Connecting the dots means taking time to understand the situation and facts before you, and connecting that with other situations or events you may have learned about. It’s also about connecting knowledgeable perspectives and resources when necessary and requires that you’re always learning and listening, then recalling those memories when the time is right. This also requires that your network, and those you surround yourself with, can hold each other accountable and fill in the gaps where others may fall short. It will take some practice, but before you know it you’ll be connecting the dots with creative solutions for any challenge you face. 

Obstacles are inevitable, and unfortunately, they’re also everywhere. This year, I hope you’ll use my three principles (or take the time to build and customize your own) to guide new and innovative solutions for all the challenges that lie ahead.