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Are You a “What If” Thinker?

Beautiful blonde business woman is standing surrounded by arrows in different direction. A concept of decision making process. Concrete wall background.

Are you a “what if?” kind of thinker? No, I don’t mean the kind of person who second guesses herself and stays stuck. I mean the kind of person who challenges statements and thinks beyond the obvious.


A few years ago, I was at a lab waiting to get my blood drawn for routine testing. A woman drove in on her motorized wheelchair and asked if someone owned the silver Buick parked in the back lot. The car was blocking her access to her van. (Before you think the owner of the Buick parked in the handicapped space was a horrible person, he was legally parked. She just needed more space on both sides of her van.) No one came forward, and off she went down the hall to the next doctor’s office looking for that silver Buick. I am not sure how many offices she had tried already. At this point, I thought that if someone just moved her van out of the space into the open lot, she could get on her way. That was my “what if?” I went to find her as she left yet another office. We went outside to find her van, and I backed it up. She was able to get into the van and was on her way. It was a rather simple answer to her problem, and one she had not considered.


What would you have done? Would you have tried to think of another possibility? (I will add I was number 27 in line, with 11 people in front of me, so I did have time on my hands.)


Here is a second example. I was looking through a recent issue of Bon Appétit and came across an article on wine packaging. I am familiar with wine in a box and have enjoyed wine poured this way. I have never enjoyed wine from a can, and while it can seem odd, they are apparently fine for good wine. Newer still is wine in a Tetra Pak® package. That is the foil-lined cartons with the long shelf life. It is currently quite popular in Europe and the sense is that the money goes for good grapes rather than packaging.


All these different types of packaging came about because someone said, “What if?”


We are all in situations that can challenge our thinking. As artists, we are faced with choices every day — red or blue, solid or print, too much shadow or not enough, embellishment or not. As business people, we make decisions about where to market our product, which trade show to participate in, whether to hire or fire employees. Next time you make a decision, make it and then ask yourself what if I try something different on top of the solution. For example, if you choose red over blue and a solid over a print, great. Now decide to do something different with the fabric. If you decide to exhibit at a retail or trade show, ask yourself what you can do differently with your booth this time to make it unique.


Or think a bigger “what if?” Instead of marketing traditionally at a trade show, what could you do that is different that lets you connect with your customers? Instead of sticking with the tried and true, what if you stretched in a different direction? Think beyond the obvious or what you have done in the past.


How have you challenged your thinking lately? Please share below.  You are welcome to also leave a comment on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.


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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at



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