Lack of time, knowledge, personnel, materials, or money are common stressors at work, and in life. Too few resources can be frustrating and limiting. Lack of them can impair performance and general satisfaction. This is especially true when a lack of resources is perceived as outside of one’s control.
Obviously, too few resources can be due to a variety of causes. Some deficiencies may be so great, such as a company not being able to pay its bills, that solutions may seem impossible. Even then, there are a multitude of examples where defeat was turned into success. So how then, does one deal with limited resources?
I think the key factor in most cases is clarity. Clarity makes it possible to make effective decisions on how to utilize the time that we have available. Money can be earned, saved, or borrowed. People can be recruited to your cause. The effective utilization of one’s time requires clarity. A windfall stroke of good luck or someone coming to the rescue are always appreciated, but these can’t be counted upon. Whenever there is a lack of resources in any area, the one factor that stands out to improve the situation is clarity.
With clarity, one can focus on what is most important. By itself, this eliminates or at least puts aside distractions and less important issues. Almost immediately, this helps to reduce stress. Clarity is achieved by clear and calm understanding of one’s priorities and an analysis of the current situation and its causes. Understanding what is most necessary leads to the development of a clear plan of action. It guides one to concentrate limited resources on the most appropriate course of action. When one is equipped with a rational plan of action, secondary matters are delayed or cancelled, and one’s energies are focused.
You may require the buy in of others. Their support is made easier when you have the clarity to explain and discuss the problem and its resolution. Success is not guaranteed; but with this approach, it is far more likely.
Although it might seem so, one is rarely in a situation where the lion is at one’s heels. Therefore, panic and a mindless adrenaline surge are rarely a good option. Clarity provides an antidote to an unnecessary and ineffective evolutionary response. That is easier said than done, but the consequences of doing otherwise are rarely beneficial either in work or in most typical life situations.
There is clearly a place for emotion in one’s life. Emotions are our primary drivers. Passion and emotional fulfillment are essential. This is true even in what one perceives to be a rational decision process. However, to the extent possible, one’s subjective motivations should be understood and labelled as such in the decision and planning processes.
Lack of resources may seem mostly if not entirely negative. There is a positive side. As already discussed, lack of resources can lead to clarity and focus. Lack can also inspire creativity. Many years ago, when buying rental properties, I had very little investment capital (a huge understatement). This led to creative approaches for buying properties with very little money down. Ultimately, the financial returns were many-fold higher than if I had invested larger, more typical, funds for each property. Similarly, in many situations, a perceived lack can lead to great successes.
While we at ABS would have preferred otherwise at the time, the greatest business challenges that we have faced have provided the impetus for new strategies that have led to our most rewarding outcomes. Lack of resources, coupled with a mindful approach, can become the first step to growth.