Remember that “cure” for getting unstuck? Yep, there still isn’t one. There is no magic bullet.
In my continued journey of breaking out of my comfort zone and asking others how they work through the process of “getting unstuck”, I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Monica Kang, Founder, and CEO of Innovators Box and author of Rethink Creativity. Through her work, Kang, a thought leader in creative leadership and education, helps spread the message and power of creativity. Kang “teaches creativity in a tangible, practical, and relatable way”. When I first had the idea to do this series on identifying approaches to redesigning one’s path I knew I had to reach out to her to learn more about her own personal journey and most importantly how her approaches in using creativity in getting unstuck.
Letting Go of Judgment & Fear
When I first explained the concept of utilizing design thinking approaches for one’s life and choosing one’s path, both in career and in life, we came to discuss the experience of stepping out of what is considered “the norm”. As I discussed in my previous article and interview with Grant Schroll from Mission Collaborative (“The Cure for Getting Unstuck”), part of working towards getting unstuck and determining the next step(s), it involves doing the things we often feel very (very) uncomfortable doing. One thing that keeps many from taking a leap is the fear of being judged if things don’t work out. When we do things or do them in ways that individuals would traditionally say not to do, it may and often comes with judgment and a sense of fear. It can lead an individual to feel like maybe they should have taken the original route everyone expected or said one should take.
What’s the “cure” for that you say? How do you get over the potential judgment and fear and let go of the societal pressure of what’s “expected”? If you said well just do it anyway-ding ding! The key again is to just try. Build the muscle. Just start. Kang says that you can’t let those inner voices stop you. As long as you choose to keep doing things for the greater good and focus on work that creates an impact for yourself and others, you’re headed in the right direction.
How to Get Rid of Societal Pressure
So, of course, I followed up by asking, okay, so how does one move in spite of this pressure? Kang offered up three key ways or approaches in order to do so and indicated that everyone is different. In order to be able to work towards getting rid of societal pressure, you have to get self-centered. How do I do that you ask?
Step 1: Get to know yourself.
Kang says one must make more time and space to get to know more about yourself. What are the things that get you excited? What are the things that make you feel good and fill you with joy? In doing so, Kang says this can help you feel more in control. When feeling discouraged or when you start to question is/will all this be worth it, taking time out for yourself and reflecting can be the recipe and the remedy for getting back up. Taking the time to get centered and reflecting on the things that drive you and motivate can cue you to take the necessary steps for moving forward from setbacks. By learning how you deal with these types of situations and identifying what motivates and inspires you can also help you to create your own working approach that suits you.
Step 2: Find resources that inspire you.
In my previous post, I touched on identifying open trusted sources. Identifying those who you can sit down with to talk through challenges or bounce ideas off of can help you not only learn more about yourself and help you practice being open and vulnerable, but it can also help you to identify other potential perspectives. Similarly, Kang indicates identifying and having a trusted person, or what she calls having a “people connection”. This individual or individuals are those who you can turn to in times when you may be struggling to get inspired or having a hard time determining what you should do next.
Step 3: Take action.
So you’ve gotten centered, you’ve found your go-to cheerleader, now what? I think you know where this is going. You must act. Yep. Just do it. Take action. As Kang says, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting things to change. It’s important to try and do things differently and make the time for yourself to do other things. It requires you to take those other perspectives you crowdsourced and make a move. Small, big, doesn’t matter. It is a step in the right direction. Kang also says practice not only doing things differently but also practice thinking differently. Break out of your comfort zone.
Moving Towards Getting Comfortable with Getting Uncomfortable
Part of getting self-centered is giving yourself permission to allow yourself to get unstuck. It also allows you the personal room to confront those really uncomfortable parts of yourself. It helps in creating the space necessary to open up your mind to new ideas and new perspectives. Start small. It can be something as simple as changing your commute. Kang discussed how the simple act of changing her daily commute allowed her the time for meditation and reflection. It helped her to change her mindset and open her mind to different things. In a way, it helped her to get out her comfort zone and get more creative. It also allowed room for learning how to set personal boundaries and gain the courage to let go of what no longer served her. These are important steps when one, thinking about making a major change, as well as when working towards identifying trusted sources. Who are those around you who align with your values?
All of this again takes-you guessed it-taking action.
This is my step towards taking action. Stay tuned!
Follow along with me on this journey and let’s chat. I’m Dr. Tiffany Gray. Public health nerd and coffee lover, chasing marathon goals and setting out to do some good and make some change in the world around me. I think. I run. I do. Find me on twitter @drgrayhealth, LinkedIn, and at drgrayhealth.com