Author: Ellen Jackson

How to Smash Your Blogging Goals in Just 5 Days

Smash Your Blogging Goals

This post is by ProBlogger expert Ellen Jackson of Potential Psychology

Have you ever uttered the phrase, ‘One day I’ll…’?

Of course you have. We all have.

One day I’ll schedule my social media

One day I’ll improve my web site

One day I’ll organise my images (a personal favourite)

One day I’ll start a podcast…

Next we say, ‘When…’

When I have more time

When I have more money

When inspiration hits

When I’ve developed my skills

When I feel more confident

When life is easier….

Here’s a thought: What if life is never easier? What if you never find more time, money or confidence?

What if tomorrow and the day after and the day after that are no different to today? How will you ever achieve your goals and get those ‘one day’ tasks done? What if ‘one day’ never comes?

Procrastination researchers have discovered that our tendency to put things off is a self-delusion designed to make us feel better about today.

‘We think that our future self will be better able to handle feelings of insecurity or frustration with the task,’ psychologist Dr Fuschia Sirois says. ‘That somehow we’ll develop these miraculous coping skills to deal with the emotions that we just can’t deal with right now.’

Oh dear.

The Quick Win Goal Challenge

Recently I challenged my audience to see if together we could make some progress on our ‘one day’ goals. Science tells us that public accountability can help motivate you to achieve your goals, so we teamed up and made a commitment to work together.

We each picked a ‘one day’ goal – something that had been on the to-do list for months or longer. Tasks we’d been avoiding – important but not urgent. Goals that languished in the backs of minds, niggling, without ever launching forth to a point of urgency.

Our aim?

To follow five simple, science-based steps over five days to make major progress on our ‘one day’ goals.

The goals were diverse:

‘Make a plan to buy my first home’

‘Digitise my client files’

‘Tidy my spare room’

‘Write my ebook’

‘Build my potential client base’

We were all filled with enthusiasm, posting images to Instagram each day to share our progress.

The results were gratifying.

“I am well on the way to finishing my ebook. I produced 65 pages of a 100-page book, created the template, designed the cover AND worked out a distribution plan. All in five days! Prior to this I had done… not much for two years.”

“I have officially ticked off everything I set out to do this week. Feeling chuffed.”

And the steps to get there?

Let me share the five science-based steps to making your ‘one day’ today.

Step 1: Know EXACTLY What You Want to Achieve by the End of the Five Days

‘Fix my web site’ is a goal too overwhelming to contemplate. What does ‘fixed’ look like? How will you know when it’s fixed? Will ‘fixing’ one piece break another one?

No wonder you never start.

When you pull a goal apart and specify exactly what you want to achieve, you do two things:

  1. You get clear on all the little tasks involved. This will help you estimate the time you need, and help you figure out where to start.
  2. You paint a picture of what success looks like. A clear, specific goal like ‘By Friday I will have updated the background image on my home page, created links in the menu to my new product pages and rewritten my About Me copy’ feels achievable. ‘Fix my web site’ feels like a task you want to avoid.

Step 2: Take Conscious Action

A clear, specific goal is necessary but not sufficient if you want to achieve your ‘one day’ project. You need to know where you’re going, but it’s action that will get you there.

Step two involves two tasks.

Task One: Write it down. Did you know you are 42% more likely to achieve your goal if you write it down? It’s not clear how or why this works, but the evidence confirms that it does.

Task Two: Work on your ‘Why?’ For many of us, motivation comes not just from what we’re trying to achieve, but why. Studies have shown that if we connect our goal to something larger and more important (‘I want to make money blogging so I can spend more time at home with my children’) we are less impulsive, less likely to give in to distractions, and more likely to plan and execute the required actions to reach our goals. When you’ve articulated your goal, spend some time thinking about why you want to achieve it. Who’s involved? How will they benefit? How will achieving this goal improve your life?

Step 3: Stop Looking for Motivation

Motivation: We’re all looking for it. Somewhere along the line someone convinced us that when we find our motivation, goal success will be effortless. We just have to find it, and then making client calls will be easy. We’ll sit at the laptop and schedule our social media. We won’t procrastinate or be distracted. We’ll just get stuff done. Simple.

But motivation isn’t  ‘thing.’ It can’t be found. Motivation, in simple psychological terms, is the desire to do something. You won’t find the desire to do something hiding anywhere. You have to create it.

Here’s a tip from the world’s leading researchers in goal-setting: Make your goal difficult.

Challenging but realistic goals – goals that stretch us but not quite to breaking point – activate motivation. They push us, encourage us and reward us when we achieve them. If a goal is too easy we don’t get the get up and go to… well, get up and go. If they’re too difficult we’re too overwhelmed to start. A stretching, challenging but achievable goal is like Baby Bear’s porridge – just right.

Step 4: Use my Favourite Productivity Tip

It’s called ‘The 15-minute rule’ and it rocks. I know because I use it all the time.

Here’s how it works:

If there’s a task on your list that you’re avoiding, commit 15 minutes to it today.

It could be:

  • 15 minutes of writing
  • 15 minutes of client calls
  • 15 minutes tidying your office
  • 15 minutes on that proposal you’ve been avoiding.

Why does it work? Because getting started is the hardest part of any task. The good news is that once you’ve started, you’re likely to push on beyond the 15 minutes you committed to. It’s called the Ovsiankina effect. Your brain doesn’t like starting a task and then stopping partway through. It will linger on your unfinished business, niggling at you until you get the job done. Get started and you’ll find the motivation to do more.

Step 5: Celebrate Every Step

What do you do when you finish a project or task? Do you tick it off the list and move straight on to the next one? Do you get on a roll, morphing into a task-completion machine? How long can you maintain momentum before you collapse on the lounge with the remote and Netflix?

A critical step in making progress towards difficult goals is celebrating the steps along the way. Yes, a big win feels great. But it’s the small wins – the incremental tasks you nail each day – that sustain your motivation and keep you happy and engaged for the long run.

Day five is all about reviewing your progress and celebrating your successes. Make a list of every little thing you’ve achieved on your ‘one day’ goal so far. Every little tiny thing. Give yourself a mental high five and put your feet up for a while. You’ve made a big start on a long-time goal. That deserves a reward. What’s more, you’re set up to rock on into next week.

Ellen Jackson from Potential Psychology  is a workplace psychologist, consultant, writer and speaker. Her mission is to help others to live, learn and flourish. You can join her next free Quick Win Challenge to nail your ‘one day’ goal here.

The post How to Smash Your Blogging Goals in Just 5 Days appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Harness Your Personality and Become a Better Blogger

Understand your personality to blog better

This post comes to us courtesy of ProBlogger psychology expert Ellen Jackson

Are you a scheduler? Or do you publish as you write?

Do you delegate? Or is your need for the nitty-gritty too great?

I’d love to be the writer with the annual content calendar, or the leader who entrusts my big ideas to others. I’ve filled a thousand spreadsheets with good intentions, only to find them languishing and incomplete months later. I’ve dabbled with VAs, and had my control freak tendencies laid bare.

It took a while, but I’ve learned that I’m wired to work the way I work best. Other people’s systems and successes may seem appealing, but unless they fit in with my modus operandi I’m trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

Personality is what makes you, you.

In psychology, your personality is defined as ‘the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character’. It describes who you are, and what makes you, you.

It also shapes the way you work.

Think of your personality as your unique operating system. It’s the software that manages your thoughts and behaviour. It directs your energy and attention, and defines which systems, processes, people and environments are most compatible with you.

When your operating system fits your work and work environment, tasks are seamless. Sit me in a café with a notebook and pen and ask me to generate fifty ideas, and I’m a machine. Sit me at a desk with a spreadsheet and ask me to fill in the boxes and you’ll be tearing your hair out at my slowness and ineptitude.

How well your personality matches your tasks, team and goals is often the missing link between overwhelming frustration and intense productivity. When we have insight into our unique operating system, we can create the interface we need with our world to make work easy and fun instead of being filled with stress, bugs and crashes.

Understanding your personality

While there are many ways to describe personality, today’s experts believe there are five broad, basic dimensions known as the ‘Big 5’ personality traits. Unlike models such as Myers-Briggs or DISC that assign people to ‘types’, the Big 5 depicts personality as five spectra:

  1. Openness to experience
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

We all exist as a dot somewhere between the two extremes of each dimension. And those billions of dots represent billions of wonderfully unique, complex people.

You can get an insight into your personality through online questionnaires such as the Truity Big Five personality assessment. They’re quick, reliable, and give you a detailed report that includes your score and description for each dimension.

You can also uncover your personality type with a little introspection and a guide like the one I’ll share with you now.

Which of the following best describe you?

Openness to experience

High: People at the ‘high’ end of openness like venturing outside their comfort zone. If this is you then you love novel experiences, variety, and coming up with new ideas. You might be described by others as imaginative, insightful, curious, creative, or even intellectual.

You love the creative side of blogging and business, but the routine and repetition of everyday tasks bores you to tears. Scheduling is tedious, and you don’t have the patience for spreadsheets. You are an ideas person who struggles with following through.

Low: If you’re at the ‘Low’ end of the openness dimension you enjoy routine. You stick to what you know, and you do it well. You’re practical, down to earth, and happy doing the same task time and time again. That’s how you get so good at it.

Conscientiousness

High: Highly conscientious people are persistent, self-disciplined, reliable and persevering.

If this is you then you’re organised, you work within the rules, and you excel at delaying gratification.

Getting the job done is never a problem for you, but you may turn yourself inside out getting it done. (Stress head alert!)

Low: Are you a major procrastinator? A little bit flighty? Impetuous and impulsive? If you are, then you may be sitting at the other end of the conscientiousness scale. You’re fun and spontaneous, but find it hard to actually get the job done. (That whooshing sound was probably another deadline flying by.)

Extraversion

Chances are you’ll recognise this spectrum – extroversion at one end, introversion at the other.

High: If you’re high on extroversion you’re sociable, assertive, outgoing, talkative and socially confident. You’re the team player who wants to collaborate with everyone. You love your colleagues to bits, but you will never be left alone.

Low: At the low end of the extroversion scale you’ll find the introverts, although most of us sit somewhere in between. True introverts are quiet, introspective, reserved and thoughtful. They are people of few words but many thoughts. They’re writers, not networkers, and group work sends shivers down their spine.

Agreeableness

How are your people skills?

High: People high in agreeableness are trusting, patient, tactful, kind and considerate. If this is you then you’re well-liked, respected, and sensitive to other people’s needs.

You might blog to help and spread happiness. No cynics or ranters here.

Low: Not everyone likes to be liked. If you’re low on the agreeableness scale you’re happy on the edge of social acceptance. You can be rude, antagonistic, and maybe sarcastic. You’ll make enemies as well as friends, but you won’t care. You’re much better at saying “No” than your highly agreeable mates, and no-one will ever take advantage of you.

Neuroticism

If you Google it, you’ll see it defined as ‘mentally maladjusted’ – pretty harsh.

High: Those high on the neuroticism scale tend to be over-sensitive, nervous, anxious, self-critical and insecure. They’re also easily angered and temperamental. If this is you, then you might find yourself embroiled in regular battles – online and offline.

But there’s an interesting twist. Parts of your personality can interact with varying results. And if you’re high on neuroticism and conscientiousness, you may end up channeling your anxious energy for good. Healthy neurotics take action to address their worries rather that ponder and plot. If this is you, then you may actually have better health habits and greater motivation to succeed in all areas of life than your less conscientious counterparts.

Low: Finally we have our emotionally-stable peeps. They’re adventurous and unflappable. Unencumbered by worry or self-doubt, it’s hard to rattle them. They’ll try anything once, and no problem is too big. If this is you, then you’re optimistic, self-confident, reliably even-tempered, and will cope with any crisis that’s thrown.

3 Tips on Using Your Personality to Blog Better

Do you know where you sit on each of the Big Five dimensions? If you do, try these tips to work and blog better.

  1. Take note of the characteristics that make you great at what you do. These are your strengths, and you should use them as often as you can.
  2. Make a note of the characteristics making work difficult right now. Are you a creative type struggling to narrow yourself into a niche? Or perhaps you’re an extrovert weary from working alone. What can you change about the way you work to find a better match between who you are and how you work?
  3. Stop fighting your operating system. You work the way you work because that’s the way you’re wired. It’s who you are. Fighting your natural preferences is energy-sapping, and robs the world of your unique and fascinating contribution. Don’t let that happen. Go forth and be the crazy, exceptional individual you are. It will make your work (and your life) a lot easier.

Are you in tune with your personality? Have you figured out how you work best?

Photo credit:
Pablo Varela

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The Psychology of Comparison and How to Stop

Psychology of Comparison

By ProBlogger expert Ellen Jackson of Potential Psychology

Bloggers, solopreneurs, consultants, writers, founders – we’re solo species. Lone hustlers,  tucked in cafe corners with laptops and lattes. We’re perched at breakfast bars tapping keyboards in the early morning light. Hunched at the spare room desk deep into the night.

We’re inspired and driven. Focused and fearless. Joyous in our independence.

And often consumed by what others are doing.

“How do my stats compare to hers?”

“His Facebook following is bigger than mine.”

“Her Instagram feed is so slick.”

“Are they launching another new product?”

“I’m falling behind!”

Blogging is ripe for comparison. We measure by metrics; social media, readership, subscribers, conversions. We lap up the data. We compare and contrast. Are my numbers good? Am I getting this right? Am I doing okay? Am I winning? Or losing?

Isolation feeds the monster. With no colleagues to calm, reassure and soothe us, comparison messes with our heads. The human mind abhors a vacuum. We fill the space by watching others, measuring our performance against theirs. One question ever present: Am I doing okay?

Don’t Worry, You’re Human

Comparison is not unique to the blogger and solopreneur. Humans are social creatures. We live in a network of others. We compare to understand where we fit. What’s my social worth? How do I stack up? Who am I in relation to everyone else?

Psychologists call this social comparison and it’s fundamental to the human condition. We compare ourselves in every interaction; immediately, subtly, often unconsciously, We start as little children. Comparison is a strategy we use to cope with threats, build ourselves up and establish our identity in a world of others. We do it to learn who we are.

Look down to feel better, up to feel worse

Social comparison exists in two types. We compare upwards and downwards.

We look to people we perceive as less capable to feel better about ourselves. It’s a boost to our ego and our mood. Downward social comparison, as it is known, helps us affirm and reassure. Compared to him, I’m doing okay. I must be doing something right *Breathe out.*

This might feel uncomfortable but it’s okay. Social comparison is a way to regulate your mood.

The danger is in comparing upwards.

When we look to people we consider more successful or ‘superior’ in some way we risk despondency and derailment. It can flatten us and prompt us to question ourselves.

My site will never look that good.

I will never have stats like hers.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

At its worst comparing upwards can be the path to defeat. I will never do as well as him. I may as well give up.

The perils of social

Social media is the ultimate upward comparison trap. Studies suggest that immersing ourselves in those feeds filled with beauty and success may damage our self-esteem and put us at risk for depression and anxiety. (e.g. Vogel et. al., 2014; Vogel & Rose, 2016)

Don’t despair!

It’s not all bad news. When we feel good about ourselves and our progress, checking in on others’ success is motivating. It’s a kick in the pants to raise our sights and strive onwards. We push ourselves to achieve more. If she can do it, so can I – and I will!

Our successful peers act as role models. Their achievements are our inspiration.

The paradox?  When we’re happy with our hustle we’re not looking at others. Our heads are down. We’re hard at work. We’re not hanging out on competitors websites, or checking their social feeds.

It’s in our moments of doubt that we compare, looking for reassurance. On our best days we know where we’re going. We don’t need validation or support.

But what do we do on those difficult days? How do we avoid comparison and the risk of defeat?

Tips for avoiding the comparison trap

1. Be a racehorse

A racehorse does not watch his competitors. He is focused straight ahead and galloping towards that finish line. He knows where he is going and what he has to do to get there. Be a racehorse. Be clear on your goals, your finish line and the steps you must take to achieve them. Everyone is running a different race.

2. Know your motives

Why do you compare? Is it for inspiration and motivation? Or to manage your mood? Rising anxiety prompts us to look for reassurance and sometimes we compare to boost our self esteem. If you’re using comparison to manage your mood, does it help? Or hinder? Would your time be better spent working towards your goals?

3. Aim for personal bests

Comparison with others may be fraught with danger but there is profit to be gained from comparing with yourself. Look back and I ask, ‘What have I achieved so far?’ Regular review of your wins, no matter how small, boosts your mood. When you’re feeling good you’re motivated and creative. Worry less about how you compare with others. Focus on achieving your personal best.

3. ‘Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.’

This quote from author Jon Acuff reminds us that we all start somewhere and we move at different rates. Successful people also have their struggles. They’re just further along the path.  We’re all human and fallible. We’re also equally capable of greatness.

What do you do to avoid comparison affecting your blogging mojo?

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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5 Ways to Write Faster

Running a business is a time suck of epic proportion. Planning, administration, product development, sales, delivery, email, bookkeeping, social media, marketing. It takes time. Throw in a family and you flit from demand to crisis without a moment to reheat that cup of tea you made three hours ago.

Your blog post – that important but not urgent task – is often the victim of the go-go-go life. You know it’s important for but there it is, languishing at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list day after day after day.

‘I must write that blog post.’

‘I really should write a blog post.’

‘Today I will write a blog post.’

‘Tomorrow I will write that blog post…’

Sound familiar?

Not batching, slogging.

I am in awe of bloggers and business owners who casually comment, ‘I write a blog post in 15 to 20 minutes and I batch them. I just sit and write six or seven in a row.’

You what?

Blog posts take me hours. Not minutes. Hours. Write one and I’m creatively spent. I need to lie down, take a walk or faff about on Facebook for 30 minutes to recover. By then a crisis has flared up. Forget batching.

I’m not so hot on the ‘stream of conciousness’ approach either. It’s great for therapy but no-one wants to read my therapy. Not even me.

Despite this I write regularly and professionally. I get it done and I’m getting faster with practice. I’ve also picked up a tip or five from my occupation, psychology.

So here’s what works to write blog posts faster – and why.

1. Have a plan

I used to procrastinate until the day before my publish date (or even the day of) then wait for inspiration to hit and the words to flow. It doesn’t work. It’s slow and frustrating. To get faster I need to know what I’m going to write. Better yet I need some bullet points and links to research I’ll need.

Why it works: In psychology task planning is called an ‘implementation intention’. Its complex and uses the front part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex. Implementation intentions reduce procrastination. Without a plan your brain says, ‘Oops, too hard’ when faced with a big, vague task like writing a blog post. It wanders off to find somewhere else to focus its attention. With a plan you ease its path to your goal, making resistance – and procrastination – less likely.

2. Make planning a separate exercise

Planning then writing in one period is brain overload. Break it into two separate tasks and you increase your efficiency and produce a better result. I like to brainstorm and plan over a coffee at a favourite café. I’ll write later in my office at my laptop.

Why it works: Cues in our environment trigger our habits. Keep looking at the same four walls and you’ll keep thinking in the same old way. To break through a creative block, arrive at fresh ideas and then get writing, mix it up and work in different environments. Large spaces with good natural light and fresh air are great for prompting new thoughts and ideas.

3. Write for 15 minutes a day

Fellow ProBlogger contributor Kelly Exeter put me on to this. Once I’ve got my plan I sit at the laptop, take note of the time, put away distractions and write for 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write. In fact Kelly suggests that if you’re stuck, just keep writing ‘I don’t know what to write here’ until an idea arrives. Try it, it works. What’s more, once you start and find your flow you may find that you just keep going until it’s done.

Why it works: Getting started is often the hardest part of any task, particularly one that feels difficult. The good news is that once we’ve started we’re likely to push on until the job is complete. This is called the Zeigarnik Effect. Your brain doesn’t like starting a task and then stopping part way through. It will linger on your unfinished business, making you anxious until the task is done. Get started and your mind will kick in with the motivation you need to keep going.

4. Set a deadline

A joy of being the boss is the flex in your deadlines. Don’t feel like writing today? Do something else instead. There’s plenty of work to do. Except that’s how the important but not urgent blog post is set adrift.

Sitting, thinking and writing is hard work for your brain. It rewards you by prioritizing that task last, letting you off the hook. It’s a short term gain however. The blog post still isn’t written.

I set myself deadlines for every blog post to trick my brain into getting it done. The shorter the deadline, the more focused you are.

Why it works: Motivation is complex, psychologically, but we know for sure that as a deadline approaches our stress levels rise. When our stress levels rise our brain and body is primed for action. We get started and we work hard to get the task done. This is known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. No deadline? Not enough stress to get you moving. If you’re a conscientious type like me self imposed deadlines will work. If you’re not, find a way to get others to set deadlines for you.

5. Focus on the end result

The anticipation of a holiday is often the best part, right? Imagine yourself lying by the pool, cocktail in hand, responsibility free. It motivates you to pack and get out of the door.

This works for getting blog posts written too. Generating ideas and writing might feel difficult but don’t focus on that part. Focus on the reward. For me that’s hitting the publish button or sending a finished piece to an editor.  Even better is positive feedback.

Work out where your motivation lies. What’s the reward you get from writing that blog post? Where’s the thrill? Focus on that to get it done.

Why it works: There are two types of goals. Avoidance goals are things to avoid- like losing our audience because we haven’t written a blog post in a month or more. Then there are approach goals. These are the goals that compel us to move forward. Your pool and cocktail vision is an approach goal. The feeling of satisfaction on hitting the publish button is an approach goal. Anything can be an approach goal if you think about it in the right way. Don’t focus on what you’re avoiding. Focus on the good things that come once your task is done.

Ellen Jackson from Potential Psychology is a psychologist who does things differently. She writes about people and why we do what we do. She coaches, she teaches and she helps workplaces to do the people part better.

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Where Will Your Great Ideas Come From?

You have so many posts to write on your blog every year - but where will those ideas come from? How can we shake up our inspiration? | ProBlogger

By ProBlogger expert Ellen Jackson of Potential Psychology.

I have big plans for 2017, blog-wise and business-wise.

I bet you do too.

My word for this year is ‘bigger.’ I’m going to think bigger, to play bigger. After a year of hard work and incremental improvement it’s time for a quantum leap.  It’s time to shake things up; to think differently about what I do.

A new year is a great time to plan, to get organised and to come up with your big ideas. But where do these great ideas come from?

Returning to work after a holiday break I’ve found it difficult to fire up the brain and get the ideas flowing. The heart is willing, the motivation present but the grey matter is luxuriating in holiday mode.

I could keep busy with Netflix and cheese until inspiration hits, but time waits for no woman – no matter how much she’s enjoying Brooklyn Nine-Nine and marinated feta.

So to crank up I’ve uncovered what psychology says about getting ideas to flow. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Original and functional

When we talk about ideas, we’re talking about creativity. Creativity is not the preserve of the arts and artistic. It’s the ability to solve problems, to see things differently and to come up with new concepts and approaches. We are all creative.

At the heart of creativity is originality and functionality. A bright idea is pointless if it’s not practical, and repeating the same old, same old won’t lead to a bigger, better result.

This is good news for the blogger and online entreprenuer. You can put your creativity to work to develop practical results. Fresh blog topics. New digital products. Irrisistable online services.

You might find new and more productive ways to work.

But how?

Psychologists recommend six simple strategies for upping your creativity.

  1. Allow your mind to wander to unleash fruitful ideas. To do this well, without your mind meandering to your next imagined meal, there’s a three step process. Step one, make sure you have thought long and hard about the problem or question already. Step two, disengage from external tasks and let your mind relax. Take a shower, jog or cook. Do something enjoyable that requires little thought or attention. Step three, turn your attention inward to your stream of thoughts. This is called volitional daydreaming and it might just be where your next great idea is hiding. Have a pen and paper handy to jot it down.
  2. Delay a little. Turns out that putting things off is not all bad. Studies have shown that delaying a task can lead to divergent thinking. That’s the blue-sky thinking we need to arrive at new ideas and material. Stick too close to time and task and you get to your first idea and stick there. Delay and your mind has time to wander and discover alternate possibilities. Don’t put things off too long though. Once you’ve got a few options to choose from, get back on task. The stress of an impending deadline can be enough to shut things down for good.
  3. Hang out on your own. Solitude is creativity’s friend. Spend every hour in chatter and distraction and your mind is too cluttered to arrive new ideas. Take time out to walk, meditate and observe the world in silence. This allows your brain’s imagination network to engage. You’ll see things you haven’t seen and think things you haven’t thought. Let your mind meander and see where it takes you. Just make sure to leave your phone at home.
  4. Embrace doubt.Self doubt is a creativity crusher. When we doubt ourselves and allow negative thoughts to take hold our minds close down. The ideas stall. This is a normal response to the uncertainty that comes from creative thought. ‘I can’t do that. That’s a ridiculous idea. There’s no way that would work.’ 

Sound familiar?

Put those thoughts aside and you free your mind to fulfil its creative potential. Practice helps. So does mental reframing – thinking differently about the situation. Believe that others think you’ll fail? Prove them wrong! Don’t believe you have good ideas? Remind yourself of every great idea you’ve had in the past. Doubt is normal. Embrace it and you free yourself.

  1. Give yourself permission to fail. I wear a bangle on my wrist that says, ‘What if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?‘ It’s a reminder that failure is always an option – but so is success. The beauty of embracing failure is that often our greatest achievements come from trying, trying and trying again. When we’re prepared to take risks and try new way of thinking we may fail several times but in each iteration we improve on where we’ve been before.

To embrace the possibility of failure, jump in and get the creative juices flowing, consider your latest idea and ask yourself these questions:

  • What happens if I flip this idea around?
  • What happens if I apply this idea to an entirely new situation?
  • What happens if I take something away from this idea?
  • What happens if I pull this apart and put it together differently?
  • What happens if I scrap this idea and approach the problem from a completely different angle?

Are you ready to get started? Me too.

Here’s to great ideas!

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