Turning Complaints into Creative Fuel
We have all had a very challenging year from March 2020, to March ‘21. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in a collective lockdown (most of us) around this globe for so long.
The last few weeks I’ve noticed that many people that I interact with in person and online are expressing some type of exhaustion, frustration, doubt, and in some cases despair.
Even those who are notorious for being upbeat have been hitting a wall. Including myself.
This can come from many sectors that may include work, our home life, the craziness of the world, or the voices in our head that expect us to do more, be more, and have more no matter the circumstances. Some of us express and speak our complaints and some keep these alive in our head as self talk that makes forward movement challenging.
Of course, some of this is legit as there is so much that feels scary and uncertain. Perhaps your health is being compromised or business is down, or perhaps the walls are closing in a bit as the shut downs have gone on for what seems like forever.
Regardless of the reason or reasons here we are.
You may have noticed that when you’re stuck, negative or struggling everything is harder. It’s hard to see any possibilities when we are in this space. It’s almost like we’re driving down a dark road at night, not sure where the next exit is. We trust but don’t fully believe until we see… and it can be quite tense until we do.
There is actually science behind this. It’s a phenomenon that affects our amygdala, Which activates our fight flight or freeze response. It makes sense that when our brain is discerning whether to fight flight or freeze that there is little or no room to create. Try thinking of dark thoughts… can you feel your body contracting a bit? Now think of something that makes you happy and see if you feel a lifting, a brightness… you’ll notice your body actually responding to your thoughts. It’s crazy once you’re aware of how this works.
We have been told to focus on gratitude, to see the good …but when we are in this space we literally do not have that capacity. So how do we have ‘bad’ serve us and turn us in the direction of using this for fuel? It can actually be rather simple and useful to practice.
Here’s where we begin to regain control of our own emotional ‘ship’ so we’re steering rather than crashing around into objects and things we don’t desire at all..,
You may not know that our breathing does a bunch of things that help us out (beyond keeping us alive)… breathing can help to detoxify our system, stabilizes our central nervous system and can signal our brain as to how to behave. Controlling our breath is easy and only takes a minute or so. STOP what you’re doing. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breathes focusing only on your breath. As you release your breath out visualize all those janky thoughts going out too. If needed repeat until you feel like you again.
Take time to identify what it is that’s making you a bit crazy in this moment. For instance if a business event has occurred then look at what there is to learn instead of turning away. Get curious about what went sideways and see what you can uncover that you were not previously aware of. Make a list of these discoveries to see which ones could have the greatest impact moving forward. All of this could occur in about 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t need much time to have a big impact. If you’re feeling stuck, then just leave it alone and come back in about an hour and try again. One note: DO not beat yourself up in any way for what you didn’t do, or see, or whatever. This information is simply scientific evidence that we’ll use to be better… do not let yourself go to bitter.
From the exercise above identify one or two needle movers, those items that would have the greatest result and start to move forward with those. Do another list of a brain dump, all the possible activities/tasks needed and then organize them into the most powerful path forward. Now you’ll have the ‘doing’ lined up and can simply move into that space of action with the awareness that you ARE steering the ship, and a strategy is now forming.
From here, you will begin to move your brain and chemistry to a place of expansion rather than contraction. When we are moving and operating from a place of expansion we are able to unearth possibilities that were previously unseen. We engage our creative mind, giving us access to the ability to connect dots and formulate new solutions which are not available when we’re freaking out or distressed in any way.
When we go down this path we have the opportunity to turn our complaints and fears into a path of discovery, to open up our curiosity to build creative solutions and perhaps even add a new service or product to our revenue streams!
Keep calm and carry on really makes sense when we consider it like this. Our brain and body operates best when in this mode. It’s important as Brand leaders to stay on the path of having our experiences fuel our creativity rather than shutting us down.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
p.s…Have you joined the facebook group yet? Free trainings and tips inside there too… at this link
Branding Specialist and Strategic Planner, J. Winslow brings decades of solid experience to each project and leader she interacts with. Clients range from non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to Madison Avenue Biggies including: Women’s Day Magazine, Cover Girl and Elizabeth Taylor. She also enjoys working with TEDx speakers and students ready to leverage their own brand stories. Learn more here…