How to Get Unstuck: On Thinking Critically & Creatively
I posted a potentially controversial comment in one of the Facebook groups that I felt would be able to dialogue productively about the topic. And it did spark an intelligent conversation around how we come to rely on the models (or systems) of influencers and lose confidence in our abilities to think critically & creatively.
I’ve always preferred to tow the line of controversy rather than to slip into comfortable compliance, so I don’t mind sharing the original comment with you here.
And, I’ll admit, I am easily triggered by people that, in my opinion, are unwilling or unable to do basic problem solving (aka think critically & creatively to solve problems on their own).
But, I also completely relate. I’ve often felt overwhelmed and felt myself wishing that someone could just tell me exactly how to set up 301 redirects in Wordpress without having to read through a 2000-word support document. So, I get it. I’m not trying to proselytize but to empathize.
This ish is hard.
We’re doing the unconventional. We’re rowing out into uncharted waters and hoping not to get eaten by sharks. And it’s easy to feel afraid, alone, and adrift.
So it makes sense that we get overwhelmed and cling to life rafts, rather than to row confidently to that beautiful beach in the distance. Because, what if we don’t make it? What if we drown? And those are valid fears. Failure is a possibility.
But it’s also possible that we DO make it and that this effort makes us that much stronger. And, what’s for sure is, if we stay here clinging to this life raft, we will starve to death (if we’re not eaten by sharks first).
So, to drop the analogy, my point is: success doesn’t come from staying still. You’ve got to take consistent action, to validate your ideas, create them, test them, and then try again. It’s a continuous cycle of iteration and improvement and moving toward your goals (which will come into clearer focus the closer you get to them).
Confidence does not come to you, you must go to it. By doing the thing–by taking action–we’re building up our confidence. So promise me something: no more excuses, no more waiting. Let’s do this. Together.
Why you might be feeling stuck:
Getting stuck in the details because your core reasons or your “why” behind the idea are unclear.
Sometimes I think we get stuck and we’re not exactly sure why. And, when that happens, it’s often because we haven’t properly articulated our core reason for doing this.
For example, when I found myself procrastinating putting together this workshop, it was because I hadn’t connected it to the larger vision of helping more entrepreneurs take positive action steps in their businesses.
Rather, I saw it as another to-do behind client work that was piling up. So, when I got in touch with my larger vision, I was able to move forward.
Getting caught up in the graphic design and visual details – if the page is simple, easy-to-read, and has a generally professional air, then you’re golden.
Ruminating over individual tools or tactics – stick to the big picture, follow the model, and you’ll be fine. Of course, if you’re feeling inspired I encourage you to deviate from the model and use it as your jumping off point. But, if your tendency is toward tech-phobia, then just follow my lead.
Why you need to move forward anyway:
There is a parable called Before the Law by Franz Kafka about a man who wastes his life away, failing to step forward, for fear of the unknown.
“The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.” During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously [....] and this one seems to him the only obstacle for entry [...] ‘Everyone strives after the law,’ says the man, ‘so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?’ The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and [tells] him, ‘Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.’”
Now read that story again and replace the word “gatekeeper” with “influencer” and the phrase “the law” with “success”. In that sense, it sounds eerily familiar and serves as a warning to us creative entrepreneurs.
On thinking critically & creatively for self-empowerment:
As my friend, Regina recently asked in one of her incredible workshops (emphasis mine):
“How many teachers are truly spending their time helping people understand the bigger goal and think critically and creatively for themselves? How many people are truly empowering new audiences instead of overwhelming them?”
I strive to be a teacher that empowers you to think critically & creatively by providing proven models that serve as jumping off points for you. I’m here to help you take that action, to move forward in your business–to create your idea, release it to your people, then analyze the results–and, ultimately, to create the life of freedom + ease that you’ve been craving.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Ready for action step numero uno? Let me know what your idea is. It can be a product or a service. It doesn’t have to be big (but it should be specific). Don’t overanalyze it right now, just release it.
Prefer a bit of guidance? Here’s an example: “My idea is to offer a small group program where, together, we work through validating creating, and launching our MVP (minimum viable package/product).”
So what’s you’re MVP going to be?
Remember: it’s not about creating an offering that’s small or cheap, it’s about creating the smallest viable version of your offering.
That means, if my dream offer is a course on creating your MVP that I launch twice per year, then a potential minimum viable version of that might be a 2-week facilitated community where I test out my ideas with a small group of people that get plenty of my 1-on-1 attention (hint: this is happening).