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Powering Through Assumed Constraints

We’ve all heard the story of how baby elephants are tethered to a stake by a chain when they are young to keep them from running off.  And as they get older, they have the assumed constraint that they can’t break free even though they have grown and could easily break free.  How often does this play out in our lives, both personally and professionally. 

Trying going just a day without an assumed constraint having an impact on your life.


  •  My boss would never go for it.
  • They won’t be interested in helping me out.
  • We tried that before, it will never work.

How many opportunities do we miss because we don’t power through assumed constraints and instead have pity parties for ourselves.  Breaking down the assumed constraints limiting your success starts with first identifying them as what they are…a barrier to your success.  Then flip them and reframe them.

  • What would it take to get my boss on board with this idea?  I know it is a good one.
  • How have others got the team engaged?
  • What didn’t work last time?  What could we change to get different results?

Once reframed, take action.  Move forward by engaging yourself and others in a positive approach to the change you want to see.  By involving others you not only increase the knowledge power you have to deal with your issue but it becomes a motivating team effort. 

What’s your assumed constraint?  How can you reframe it?  What are you going to do about it?

Break the chain!


Todd McDonald is President of ATW Training Solutions and New Horizons Computer Learning Center of Des Moines

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