How to improve your resourcefulness

“A resourceful person will always makes opportunity fit his or her needs.”

Napoleon Hill

Have you ever been stuck in a problem in your goal-striving for so long that you begin to doubt your ability to solve it for good? There are wide range of characteristics like self-belief, discipline, dedication, hard-work, confidence and so on that are important in your goal-striving endeavours, but when it comes to achieving some of your important professional or personal goals, solving certain problems or in overcoming difficult challenges, your resourcefulness becomes an important resource. When you lack resourceful mindset, you get stuck or lack consistency while pursuing many of your goals thereby creating lot of stress and victimhood. Some people have endless reasons why they haven’t committed to pursuing what they are passionate about doing with their lives and use lack of resources as their excuse for not pursuing their goals. Then again there are many who achieve their goals where they started with little and no resources. The distinction is the difference between resources verses resourcefulness. Resources are what we use to fulfil a task, whereas resourcefulness is about how we adjust ourselves to fulfil a task, be it vision, purpose, or goal and so on.

Having resourceful mindset is especially important when the goals you have set are difficult to achieve. Problems are inevitable while pursuing goals. While certain problems can be managed quite effectively, there are some problems that we are not familiar with and might lead to anguish and uncertainty. In order to find solutions to such problems, you need to become more resourceful and dig deeper into your available resources.

An attitude of resourcefulness inspires out-of-the-box thinking, new possibilities, ideas and the ability to find a solution to achieve what you desire to achieve. Our resourcefulness  is directly proportional to our ability to achieve high quality results within our lives. For this reason, we must understand what it means to be resourceful and implement strategies into our daily routine that will enable us to utilise the power of our resourcefulness.

So, What does it means to be resourceful?

To become resourceful is to have the ability to use creative methods of thinking to make the most of the resources you have in order to solve the problem at hand or to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficult challenges. In other words, it is the ability to get the most from every situation you find yourself in and in achieving your goals. It is taking initiative in difficult situations and involves inventing, creating, imagining, evaIuating, classifying, observing and analysing solutions to overcome problems.

It is however possible that you won’t always have access to all the external resources you need to solve a problem. These can be your external resources like tools, people, possessions, or technology and so on which are valuable as long as you have access to them and diminish over time, because they are scarce or taken away or lost. In such instances, acquiring and tapping into your inner resources like your attributes, traits, strengths, and skills you have at your disposal and knowledge can help you solve the problems successfully. To do this, you will need to develop some problem-solving strategies to see things from a different perspective while also being open to new approaches that might aid you in getting the outcomes you are after.

What determines your resourcefulness?

Resourcefulness is a mindset and is especially relevant when the goals you have set are difficult to achieve and is determined by your ability to reach out to your external and internal resources to effectively deal with difficult problems or situations. It is also determined by your ability to reach out to others or people in your network of contacts like friends, coworkers, and associates to communicate your ideas persuasively or to seek their help or in building fruitful relationships that can help you gain leverage to make most of your circumstances.

We all are constantly looking for ways to problem-solve. However, truly resourceful people look for creative ways that they can leverage their current situation for maximum benefit beyond quick fixes and short-term gains and have the ability to visualise all the possible ways to achieve what they desire. In order to become more resourceful, they limit or eliminate counterproductive habits while enforcing new habits that help them endure discomfort, uncertainty, or challenges to improve their internal resources. 

It is one thing to have a great idea, but it is important to find creative ways to execute. In order to be resourceful in your endeavours, you need to be flexible, creative, effective and should have the ability to plan, organise, to make decisions, and to problem-solve. Here are some internal resources that are important to enhance your resourcefulness.

  • Focus on getting things done through strong network of people and other external resources.
  • Persistence and mental toughness in problem-solving abilities.
  • Creative and driven to take initiative or to be part of creating and finding solution.
  • Open-mindedness to redefine what is possible and what is not. Ability to consider different perspectives, possibilities, people and views to broaden your perspective.
  • Willingness to get out of your comfort-zone and learn form things that are new and different.
  • Self-belief that you are competent and adequate enough to get things done. Being confident that you can problem-solve and find solutions to challenges with your talents, abilities and good attributes.
  • Ability to think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
  • Ability to anticipate, assess, and evaluate when a challenging situation comes your way.
  • Adaptable so that you don’t box yourself into doing things in a particular way.
  • Consistency and discipline to practice productive habits to get things done despite obstacles.
  • Optimistic and positive attitude that the solution is easier to find.

How to improve your Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a key leadership skill. Whether you are an entrepreneur running business, or managing a group of people or an employee looking to get ahead, a resourceful mindset can really set you apart. The ability to find solution and use available resources to achieve your goals is a skill and can be learned and practiced by implementing right strategies that enable you to find new approaches, set objectives, create positive momentum and overcome negative challenges. Here are some strategies that can improve your resourcefulness in your problem-solving.

Work on your available resources

Resourcefulness is about being aware of what actions you can take with your current abilities, skills or resources. By taking stock of your available resources like time, effort and productive habits in personal or professional areas, you can identify where you are falling short and make adjustments, so you won’t feel stuck in un-resourceful habits.  Our resourcefulness relies heavily on positive momentum we can build in achieving our goals and one such momentum builder is to identify the resources and habits that are helpful. 

Keeping the needed materials handy and your next action defined and ready to go, you remove certain obstacles to getting started and can see to it that they won’t eat into your focused time and effort. Are you stuck in any of your un-resourceful habits? Do you often pack too many tasks in short amounts of time? Do you have difficulty managing your routines or your important tasks? Do you have adequate skill set to complete your tasks on time? Reflecting on your available resources and productive habits can help you enhance your resourcefulness.

Anticipate Problems

You cannot anticipate everything but you can look for potential problems that might get in the way of your goals. The more you prepare ahead of time, the more resources you will have when faced with a problem. These resources can be your skills, knowledge base and your support network. This way, you can build a toolkit of resources that you can turn to and use when you need them most. Anticipating the likely problems you might face in advance can make you better prepared. Your inner resources like focus, previous experience, attention, expertise from other people or ideas based on your knowledge  can be valuable to rely upon. 

What goals are you working toward? What could potentially go wrong as you work toward these goals? What resources might be of value as you work towards them? Do you have these resources at disposal and if not how will you acquire them? Asking yourself these questions can provide clarity about the types of problems you might potentially face along with the resources and thus can make you more resourceful when the potential setbacks arise.

Assess your situation

Evaluate when challenging situation comes your way. Be clear about what you can achieve by making most of the situation given the external resources that you currently have at your disposal with the support of your internal resources. Reflecting on how you might deal with a problem and then actually solving it when it arises might not always match-up. How you thought things would be might not reflect how things are in real life. Determine the real issue to come up with useful resources.

Assess the situation by asking yourself, What was the cause of this problem? What can potentially be done to solve this problem? Has anyone solved a similar problems like this before? Who could potentially help you to overcome this? What valuable resources could these people have that you could use to solve your problem? Have the ability to leverage to use what others bring into the situation. Look for some viable solutions that you could try to solve when there is no assistance from people. Once you assess the situation, you can find the relevant resources and look specifically how you can apply them to your present situation.

Devise creative solutions 

Being resourceful requires you to tap into your resources more creatively. Know the difference between seeking resources and being really resourceful. Think creatively to utilise the tools and resources that are within your reach. Do you have access to or could you obtain anything that might help with the situation? You should remember that resources aren’t only tools or objects, they also include skills, people or emotional states, knowledge, opportunities as well. Take a stock of your current resources and find creative ways to apply them in problem-solving. Ask yourself, If you apply this idea, what could be possible? What potential insight can be gained from taking this course of action? What new path could this lead you to? See the situation you face from an alternate perspective. Take the situation as an opportunity to take a new course of action that you hadn’t considered before. Develop an open-mindedness to look for creative ways to solve the problem.

Be proactive

If an opportunity presents itself, do not hold yourself back looking for right resources or people to show up. Be more than idle observer. Participate actively and get involved to solve the problem with the available resources and to be part of a solution. Don’t simply react to events, people, challenges and information. Engage and influence people involved so you can make real contribution to the situation. Ask yourself, What the nature of the problem is? What is really needed? Is this truly a crisis or merely an inconvenience or setback? Does it need to be addressed immediately, or can it wait for an appropriate solution? Train yourself to focus on solutions when a challenging situation comes your way.

Shift your perspective

Thinking about the big picture  can shift your perspective to be more open-minded in problem-solving. Decide what you can do in short-term so you can take action and be more productive. Revise specific tasks, roles and responsibilities towards your goals. Seeking information on the work that you are trying to get done or researching and reading will provide necessary insights you need to tweak your approach. Reflect on How effectively did you solve this kind of problem in the past?Is there another way to achieve your goal? What is something very similar to what you need that might also work? What is one more thing you can try to arrive at a solution? to seek new possibilities. Seeing every problem as an opportunity to solve can help you shift your perspective and strengthen your internal resources and drive to get your desired outcome. 

To Conclude,  

How would you rate your level of resourcefulness?

What resources do you already have and how can you use them better?

Where can you potentially be more resourceful? 

How could you be more resourceful the next time in your problem-solving? 

What kind of internal resources should you focus on building to improve your resourcefulness? 

What productive habits will help you in becoming a resourceful person?

Do you often utilise the resources that are within your reach in overcoming difficult situations?

In what ways could you be more innovative and resourceful with the understanding, experiences, skills and resources you already have?

Self-reflecting on above questions will provide necessary insights to improve your resourcefulness.

Accomplishment of your goals is typically the physical manifestation of your resourcefulness. Remember that your resourcefulness is a valuable resource when it comes to getting things done. It is not about having more resources, but it’s about being more resourceful with what you have and it is best attained when you combine the resourceful mindset and skills. Also, there are always certain things that you don’t know and understand, therefore, finding the right people to seek help and ask for advice is important to overcome certain challenges and to solve difficult problems.

Use the above problem-solving strategies to upgrade your internal resources over time so that you can use them in optimal ways. There is no problem too big that cannot be solved and no opportunity too small if you develop a resourceful mindset. Therefore, no matter what your circumstances or position or situation in life, instead of thinking of what you do not have, improve your resourcefulness by making the most of what there is.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”—Theodore Roosevelt

How to stop being taken for granted

What do you do when a person’s behavior makes you feel taken for granted, controlled or undervalued in a personal or professional relationship? Feeling undervalued can be extremely frustrating and demotivating, especially in workplaces when you want your efforts to be recognized and rewarded. When your efforts go unnoticed, ignored and unappreciated, you feel small, disrespected or undervalued. This can lead to desperation and stress that makes you feel helpless. There are many such situations we come across in life where people take us for granted whether it is with your partner, friends, colleagues at work or relationships with other loved ones. This is one of the most common interpersonal issue that arises when people overstep our personal boundaries. But what can be done if you find that in spite of all your efforts, you are still used and devalued. How can you highlight your achievements? Who should you talk to about feeling unappreciated? Or Is it also because of you that your efforts are being overlooked?

Are you letting others to take you for granted?

Sometimes the reasons for this can be originating from some of your own actions like overcommitting, or lack of assertiveness or proper communication. Wrong perception of your self-worth can also be the reason of being undervalued. If you have grown up believing that your self-worth comes from always giving to others, in a way, you crave recognition and praise from others and might get into a habit of self-sacrificing or manipulating others to feel better about yourself. And if you believe that your worth only comes from external validation and is not intrinsic to who you are, you might feel undervalued without that recognition. When you believe that you aren’t worthy, you might be okay by being taken for granted by others rather than receiving your due recognition for your efforts. Here are some signs that you are letting others take you for granted.

• Failure to speak up when you are treated badly.

• Giving away too much of your time or over-committing.

• You agree with a person when you actually feel like disagreeing.

• You say ‘yes’ to a person when you want to say ‘no’

• You feel guilty dedicating time for yourself.

• You make too many grand sacrifices for others at your own expense.

• You constantly feel like the victim.

• You feel like you have to earn respect by being nice to others or you are a people-pleaser.

• You feel responsible for others’ unhappiness.

• You are not focused on your needs.

• You attract people who try to control or dominate you.

However, even if you open up and are still met with indifference or coercion, you can be sure that the person doesn’t really care about you and is taking you for granted.

Are others taking you for granted?

Sometimes, others take credit for what you do. Such behaviors communicate a sense of entitlement from the person that’s benefiting from the relationship. When others are unwilling to balance favors or reciprocate or when no thanks are given if you help or do something for someone is an indicator that they do not take your feelings into account. An unbalanced personal relationship can lead to make you feel unworthy. Stress and self-doubt creep in when others operate from such sense of entitlement and from lack of empathy. Similarly, if people in work environment are not demonstrating appreciation, it undermines your strength of your commitment. So, how can you tell if you are being taken for granted at work?

• You don’t receive your due credit or someone else takes credit for what you do.

• Exclusion from opportunities or you don’t get paid fairly.

• If people aren’t able to deliver common courtesies or take time to say “well done.”

• Your ideas are not heard or appreciated.

• You don’t have access to enough resources or opportunities for growth.

• You don’t receive valuable feedback.

• You aren’t trusted to do your job or being micromanaged all the time.

How being undervalued affects your productivity
“Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up.” We all have a basic human need to be appreciated for our effort. Genuine appreciation or valuing our efforts makes us feel safe and frees us to do our best work. On the contrary, when your value feels at risk either in the form of taken for granted or unappreciated or undervalued, worry becomes preoccupying which drains your energy leading to negativity and low morale. So, I’m a work environment, if your contributions are overlooked or when your values are undermined, it affects your motivation and productivity. And even if you are productive, you are probably not going to be considered for promotions or opportunities to advance professionally in future. This makes you get stuck in toxic cycle of lack of appreciation where you constantly struggle to prove yourself and creates friction in the workplace.

How to stop being taken for granted

Constant undervaluing of your quality work impacts your future productivity and causes physical harm in the form of stress and anxiety. So, it has to be dealt effectively and you can do so by identifying where you need to reflect on how to identify if you are feeling undervalued in the first place. there are really no quick fixes for this problem. You will need to take active steps that will create a solid platform for your personality and image to take control of yourself. Here are steps that you can take and learn how to stop being taken for granted.

Know your inner worth.

The only way to stop being taken for granted is to realise your self-worth. When your sense of self-worth gets defined by someone else’s feelings, you will be on a downward spiral. The measure of gratitude shown by someone else should not determine the value of what you do. The work you do must have intrinsic value based on who you are, about your values and what you believe in. Focus on positive feedback to increase your ability to intrinsically motivate yourself rather than waiting for outside validation. Be confident in the things you do, not because you do them well, but because you express who you are by doing so. It is important to remember that if we don’t value ourselves first, we can’t expect others to value us.

Set clear personal boundaries

Without strong personal boundaries, you run the risk of confusing your needs and wants with others which leads to toxic one-sided relationship. When you fail to clearly express your needs to others, they become unaware that they are taking you for granted. Voice your needs to make them clear of your personal boundaries and where they are undervaluing your work. If you feel that you are always giving and your efforts are being taken for granted, it might be time to create fresh boundaries to clearly distinguish who you are and what you need from others. Understand that you are not less valuable or worthy than others. Your needs are equally important. Practice assertiveness and learn to say no to non-essential things. Don’t try to please others and let go of the habit of committing to everything and everyone. Let go of toxic friendships and relationships if you feel you are being controlled, manipulated or undervalued and make sure people understand and see what you do. Respect your feelings and needs. When you start to respect yourself, others will notice and follow suit.

Communicate your needs.

Engage in a conversation on your performance with the person related when you notice you are being taken for granted. Instead of saying ‘I want more appreciation,’ you can talk about where your strengths lie and where you need to improve. Many times, others in the relationship or in your workplace might not be even aware that they were neglecting to appreciate you. So, if you think you deserve the due recognition for your hard work, clearly communicate. If your ideas are not well received, ask how you could improve. Learn to say “no” sometimes. Before you respond, ask yourself, ’will I feel resentful about this later if I say ‘yes’? if the answer is ‘yes’, then it is better to communicate it to the other person. Sometimes in a personal relationship, you may not feel equal when there is a selfishness in the equation as it leaves you resentful and feel used. If it is a friendly relationship, it may be worthwhile to have conversation and share your feelings.

In workplaces, clearly communicating about how you are feeling undervalued and making them aware of your contributions may help them know how to meet your needs. Communicate with the person involved and indicate that there are times that you don’t feel your work is noticed and ask for proper feedback on your performance by mentioning that you are looking for ways to improve. Update others regularly on the projects you are working on or any new tasks you are tackling.

Master self-promotion.

Sometimes it is very important to promote yourself and you should make your voice heard and your achievements seen in order not to be taken for granted. Give your opinions and take credit for your ideas and achievements. Help others by sharing your expertise. If you are feeling undervalued at work, then others in your team may be feeling the same way. Lead by example by being the person who recognizes others efforts. Share positive feedback you receive from others to show that you are valued by others and therefore should be valued by them. If you manage a team, it is important to talk about what your team does, what its goals and achievements are and ways you are striving to do better. Draw attention to your or team’s day-to-day effort. Look for ways to make your work more visible.

Appreciate and Praise others’ contributions. The easiest way to get appreciated is to give it, yet very few do it. Whenever you are collaborating, be vocal about sharing the credit. You don’t need to resort to undercut or one-up your colleague in order to make yourself get appreciated. Share your useful experience to collaborate, be inclusive and give credit to those who are involved in accomplishing a particular task. Offering compliments also improves the performance of your coworkers.

Practice self-reflection.

While being appreciated and valued for your work is good thing, but you can’t derive your motivation only from praise and gratitude. Intrinsic motivators are much more powerful. You can be intrinsically motivated when you find meaning in the work you do or driven by passion and not because of external validation. Take some time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go well and look for answers to the question, “Why am I being taken for granted?” Don’t dwell too much on your deficiencies, but more on your strengths and achievements. Check out your perception of reality and what you perceive as their lack of appreciation. What problems are you solving? What makes you different or unique? What would the people you work with say is the value of your presence? Being able to answer these questions will help you realise your own value.

Be realistic of your efforts.

When feeling undervalued at work, ask yourself whether you are being realistic about the amount of feedback and appreciation you expect from your superiors, coworkers, peers or others. Sometimes it is the busyness of people that might not be getting you as much feedback you want. Being recognised for the work you do and the goals you achieve is always a part of job satisfaction from a professional point of view. But this doesn’t mean your coworkers or superiors should praise you for doing the bare minimum. You have to earn your stripe. Accept the role you play in feeling unappreciated and be willing to change. Evaluate whether you are reading too much into someone else’s lack of gratitude or are you responding to a perceived lack of appreciation. Seek a second opinion on whether the amount of appreciation you expect from colleagues, team members or superiors is realistic.

Consider the alternatives.

It may be possible that even after you have tried to make improvements or inspite of all your efforts, you might continue to feel undervalued. This may be due to toxic work culture or people around. It may be time to ask yourself as to whether it’s worth continuing. It might be a sign that it’s not the right place for you to be no matter whether it is personal or professional in nature and time for you to move on. There is no point staying in a place that does not recognize your effort, there may be other places out there who are looking for someone with your skills and experience and who will give you the credit you deserve. Consider asking yourself, Is it worth staying where you won’t be appreciated or recognized for your efforts? Or can you self-motivate and continue? or is it time to move on for the sake of your well-being and self-respect?

To conclude,

We all stay in relationships either personal or professional, that aren’t perfect for a lot of reasons. If you are being taken for granted in any of your personal relationships, look at how you treat yourself on a daily basis. What areas of your life are you taking for granted? Are you taking your physical or emotional health for granted? When was the last time you thought about what is important to you? Tell yourself that being taken for granted is not an option anymore.

Does your workplace appreciates your efforts or are they toxic? Do you feel undervalued at work or not valued at all? Do you feel your work goes unrecognized and your ideas often neglected? Are you often considered for new opportunities or excluded?

If your work is truly not valued at your workplace, seek to objectively assess your value to the organization. Are you doing quality work that matters to the functioning of the place? Are you doing it well? What could you be doing to make more of an impact? Are you people pleasing and have difficulty in saying no? Are you collaborative and supportive of your team or coworkers? Look for areas where you think you have some expertise to offer and share your useful experiences to add value.

Reflect on the above strategies to identify where the problem lies and have a good hard think about whether it’s the right place for you. If you think you deserve better, may be its time to reconsider your job or personal or professional relationship. While there are ways you can position yourself to help assure you will earn recognition from others, if you expect credit for everything you do, you will no doubt find yourself disappointed. Know when to let it go and save your credit-earning strengths for important tasks.

If you liked reading this post, here are some related posts for further reading:

https://sscascades.org/2019/03/22/845/

https://sscascades.org/2019/07/22/how-assertive-are-you/

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