Written By: Kari Mirabal

Constraints Aren’t Obstacles – See Them as Inspiration

A constraint is a limitation that can affect a leader’s ability to act.  However, when approached with a different perspective, these same constraints offer “gifts” because they have the potential to broaden your thinking and open your potential.  In other words, constraints are great liberators of new possibilities.  When a constraint appears in your path, consider greeting it with enthusiasm because it is often these challenges that help us find new ways to move forward.  When it comes to constraints or barriers in business, what are the common stages and how can leader’s overcome?

Adam Morgan and Mark Burden, authors of the book A Beautiful Constraint, share insights related to overcoming barriers.  They believe the tension between the forcefulness of your drive and the force of the constraint can fuel your creative solutions and have classified three sequential constraint stages.  How do you typically respond to barriers in your path?

3 Sequential Stages of Constraints

  1. A “victim”reduces his or her ambitions and pulls back when constraints appear
  2. A “neutralizer” maintains ambition and goes around the constraints
  3. A “transformer” views a constraint as an opportunity and grows more ambitious

Recognizing and being aware of your common response to barriers can help you move past them. Avoid temptations to slip into a victim mind-set and tap into your motivation to find the willpower to face the constraint with a spirit of curiosity – A step that might demand breaking out of old patterns.


Written By: Kari Mirabal