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Identifying Gravity Problems And Moving Beyond Them

Career Threads is a micro-blog series that offers quick insights into trending topics in career services, jointly composed by the Consulting Team at The Career Leadership Collective, out of their experiences interacting with hundreds of career professionals and senior campus leaders.

Image of an astronaut floating in space.

In Career Services, most of us are familiar with institutional barriers to change, but one skill that can be hard to develop is practicing creativity and adaptability in our strategic initiatives. This depends on our ability to identify and move beyond gravity problems. Check out the infographic below for tips!

WHAT IS A GRAVITY PROBLEM? Illustration of skydiver, falling. A gravity problem is one that is based on something that you have no control over. For example: your institution will not approve credit-bearing career courses advancement refuses to partner with your office campus-wide hiring freeze BUT AREN’T SOME OF THESE THINGS I CAN CHANGE? Illustration of a man pushing against a big blue wall. Sure. Over time, you might be able to move the needle on specific relationships or institutional policy, but gravity problems should not occupy your valuable time. Once you can identify gravity problems, you can start the process of moving beyond them and achieving your goals. What do you mean by “move beyond?” After you've labeled a problem as outside of your control, you can shift your energy and frustration to ideating alternative solutions to the challenges presented by the gravity problem. Some examples: shift from proposing credit-bearing career courses to creating career-focused assignments for faculty to integrate put your energy into building cross-campus relationships with willing partners re-assess your service delivery model and innovate to scale your services according to impact. *It’s worth noting that sometimes this process requires sunsetting a service or saying no to partnership opportunities. Why is it important to identify gravity problems? Illustration of a child happily bouncing on a trampoline.  By identifying gravity problems, we are able to reframe our challenges or goals into actionable solutions that don’t exhaust our team and breed frustration. Instead, we focus our time on initiatives or changes that align with the reality of our environment.


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