“Who was the star in that movie?”, “What is the name of that song?”, “I recognize her face, but cannot remember her name!”
Have you ever said those phrases? It’s when we know the answer but just can’t recall it. Those little details drive us crazy because our minds don’t like unanswered questions. The brain will continue to work to solve the answer and does some of its best work when we are sleeping or engaged in something completely different.
I often wake in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea or the answer to that silly trivia question. Sometimes the insights and ah-ha’s come to me in the shower. Why is that?
It’s because the subconscious mind is always active – day and night.
Don’t believe me? Try this and find out – before going to bed, refer to your subconscious mind with a specific request and see this mysterious power in action.
Talk about an untapped resource! At work, try leveraging this power with those on your team. Pose a question or solicit breakthrough innovative ideas by asking them to think about it. Use it as part of your problem resolution process. After all, it requires no additional capital investment and is available 24 hours a day – in fact, we carry it around with us everywhere we go!
Once those ideas start flowing in, remember to be open to considering what is presented. The initial idea may not be fully baked, so use it to begin a dialogue and put more heads together to work through the possible opportunities.
Also, take notice of how many times people are coming to you with fresh ideas. If it’s not happening very frequently, it could suggest that you are not challenging people to think more broadly and/or you are not open to the ideas they bring.
So start making your list of unanswered questions or problems to solve, put a notepad by the bed and begin posing interesting questions for you and your teams at the end of the day and ask them “to sleep on it.” You’ll be amazed at the results!
Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.