Challenges vary, so should your tools

There are tools all around us. The possibilities are endless to expand our toolkit. If only we can see the tools for what they are.

We can attend classes, conferences, tweetchats, or webinars. Read books, articles or blogs. Consume new methodologies, models, and templates.

They are all potential tools, and the day we stop expanding our toolkit is the day we limit our effectiveness as leaders and problem solvers.

Each of these tools offers an opportunity to create a new insight. The “a-ha” moments that often put prior challenges into context and open us to see and address new ones.

Every time I glean a new insight, I start to see related opportunities everywhere. While these insights are empowering, Maslow (of the hierarchy of needs fame) cautions us:

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

In order to see more than nails, we need more than hammers. There should be no “just” or “only” when describing our toolkit. Our tools must be as varied as the challenges we will face. To be prepared, we must invest ahead of those challenges.

No matter the method – reading a book or someone else’s synopsis of it, attending a conference or watching a live stream of it online – opening ourselves to new insights ensures we are not one-trick ponies. We are only as versatile as our toolkit prepares us to be.

In preparing for the new year, I recently ordered a few books*, mostly inspired by my trip in December to the Mass Conference for Women:

I’m following Michael Hyatt’s advice and moving away from my Kindle for my non-fiction reading. Why? To take notes, use them as visual reference, and put them on my bookshelf at work to inspire others.

After all, if each new insight spawns opportunity, someone I meet will soon need each of them. I have loaned out my physical copies of other inspiring books many times over the years. That hasn’t happened for those that I have hidden away on Kindle. Sometimes, our toolkit needs to stay old school.


What are you attending, reading or doing to build your toolkit this year? Please share your goals in the comments and, if you found this article of interest, consider sharing it on social media.


*affiliate links included