Collecting Problems

Collecting Problems

Lisa O'Neill

Lisa O'Neill

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We need to be delighted with the fact that the world has an immeasurable number of problems to solve. Start a collection of problems now!


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I love problems. As a crazy positive person, I am blown away by the negativity that most people confront problems with. Life is full of problems and problems are a wonderful opportunity for us to think deeply about, to sell solutions for, and to deliver experiences to our clients.

Creating solutions is what we do. As a Thought Leader, you will be an expert at solving particular problems. A vital part of being a solution creator is learning to become a problem collector. Not just collecting the actual problem but also the perception that the problem has created. In his inspiring book, The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday breaks down a problem into two parts, the objective and the subjective. What we can’t change is the problem itself, but what we can change is how we perceive the problem. Often, that makes all the difference.

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” – Henry J. Kaiser

The world is currently overwhelmed by problems. I love the idea that problems are opportunities. When we apply the curriculum to the opportunities that present themselves, we create commercial clusters. Linking the ‘known problems’ that your clients are having with your expertise is the secret of creating a clever cluster.

The past two years have been tough. They have been mentally, emotionally, and financially challenging. We have all been exhausted by the constant fatigue of dealing with challenges, restrictions, and change. I love how so many of our students have thrived in these times when even surviving seemed impossible. The commercial secret in all this is that we know how to create ‘clever solutions to current problems’ – we have been taught to create ‘new offers often’ and that it is ok to try new offers to new markets with flexible delivery methods.

‘Creating clever solutions to current problems’ is about being in touch with the world, noticing and nurturing our clients. Being in service to the markets you have and being generous with your work.

‘New offers often’ is about constantly launching new clusters. It’s about continuously playing with solutions and reaching out to markets that may need them. Thought Leadership is not a stagnant space – it’s a river of continuous conversations.

‘Trying new offers’ is about having the courage to ‘fail fast’. To try and to tweak your messages, your markets and your methods until you find the sweet spot that supports the people who need it most. Being able to be diverse in delivery methods has been another secret of the success of Thought Leaders over the past two years. Speakers who haven’t been comfortable taking keynotes online, who haven’t been diverse in their ability to facilitate and train have really struggled in the current world. Being flexible with the different methods of delivery combined with thinking once and delivering often, have been two wonderful commercial advantages for those who use what we learnt from the curriculum.
Being prepared to try new things has made us phenomenal problem collectors!

If we had no problems, we’d have no practice.

We need to be delighted with the fact that the world has an immeasurable number of problems to solve. Start a collection of problems now!

Lisa O’Neill

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