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Proven Secrets To Help You Stop Spinning Your Wheels & Get Real Momentum

4min read
Career

You're exhausted.

You've been at this project for hours on end, and nothing seems to be working.

The copy is stuck.

The title is a big fail.

And for some reason, you can't think of one brilliant, funny, or even semi-not-cringe-worthy to say to your audience.


You have hit a creative brick wall, my friend.

It happens, and it sucks.

But you don't have to stay there!

Here are a few ways to open your mind and get connected with your creativity again.

Decompress & Destress

Stress has a specific effect on the way your brain processes information and makes decisions — it makes your prefrontal cognitive abilities take a nosedive and blow up in your face.

Guess what? Your imagination is a function of your prefrontal cortex. So your ability to think outside of the box and get creative — those processes that require your imagination — they get strangled and go away when you're stressed. Here are some ways to destress your body so you can come back to your project or problem with creative solutions and ideas.

First, make sure you're fed, rested, calm, and hydrated. Taking care of your animal self means you've taken physical stress off of your body, which makes it easier to emotionally release stress. Once you've got that under control, you can re-approach what you're working on.

Second, make time to meditate, throw dishes, bake cookies — whatever that special thing is that brings you back to center and grounds you. When you take your mind out of the situation, your subconscious keeps working on the problem in the background. That's why the shower is the birthplace to some of the greatest inventions, ideas, and philosophies.

Give yourself the space to ground and get out of your head, so that beautiful brain of yours can work its magic.

Remember, the stress of forcing creativity shuts down your brain. All access to your creativity goes away. So when you want to activate your creativity, you've got to get into the space where your body and mind are feeling open instead of anxious.

Change Directions

Don't change directions philosophically, change directions physically.

Actually stand up and turn around. When you change where your body is in the room, it makes you change gears, which can inspire new ideas. It's a literal perspective shift.

Wisdom Walking

Walking is great. Your body is designed to put one foot in front of the other for long periods of time, so your brain works well when walking. Not sure? Think of it like this.

Your body is in motion, increasing your circulation and oxygen intake, which can mean getting more oxygen to your brain and bloodstream.

Not to mention, whenever you create momentum for your body, you create momentum in your mind. This gives you the power to see the world in new ways, find new inspiration, and come up with new ideas.

If you're not an outside person and the idea of walking in nature makes you want to bolt the doors and hide under the covers, all you need is a walking desk.

This will keep you in motion, and help your creativity grow.

Start At The Bottom

Start with a terrible idea— no, the worst possible idea.

Why?

Because when you stop trying to think of a good idea, you take the pressure off of yourself and get your mind in motion.

Often the idea is the hardest part — like when you're trying to write an email or social media post and it's like someone hit you with a paralyzing blow dart because no matter how long you stare at that screen, you can't think of anything to say.

All you need something to get you started, and a terrible idea could be the sideways kick that leads you to the great idea.

When you run with the worst idea you can think of, it gives you momentum to work toward something better. Start there and see where that goes. As you try making that idea incrementally better, you're sowing the seeds for a brilliant idea to grow.

And remember, winning ideas typically aren't the first one you pull out of the hat — they're an evolution of something else.

Steal Someone Else's Idea

No, don't go out there and take something that isn't yours, but walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

What does that mean?

Pretend you're someone else. Put on a different persona.

This will help you use someone else's brain and steal their ideas (ethically!). When you stop trying to see the world through your own perspective and open your mind so you can perceive the world through someone else's, new opportunities and solutions you never would've seen before become blatantly apparent.

This is one of the most powerful ways to creatively problem solve and create epic projects. If you want to master this, you can look into the new book from Todd Herman, The Alter Ego Effect, or pick up some local acting classes at a nearby college, acting coach, or community theatre.

When it comes to unlocking your creative potential, you want to keep yourself open. Try new things and new combinations. What worked before might not work now, and what works now might not work next month.

Stay flexible and keep stretching. The more you practice these creativity strengthening exercises, the easier it is to stay in the flow.

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5min read
Business

My Untold Story Of Inventing the Sports Bra And How it Changed the World (And Me)

Following are excerpts from "Unleash the Girls, The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me)" By Lisa Z. Lindahl


There is an idea that has popped up everywhere from Chaos Theory to Science Fiction and New Age memes known popularly as the "Butterfly Effect." Simply put, it is the notion that one very small thing—the movement of a butterfly's wing say, or the ripple in a lake caused by a pebble being thrown into it—can cause tremendous effect far away: the butterfly's wing a tornado, the ripple a large wave on a distant shore. Cause and effect, does it have limits? The field of physics is telling us that it takes only observation to bring a thing into being. We cannot consider these areas of investigation and not acknowledge that everything—everything—is in relationship in some way or another with everything else.

So, it is evident to me that commerce of any kind is, also, just about relationships. It all boils down, on every level to this simplicity. While we usually think of relationships as occurring between people—it is far more than that.

I used to teach a course in entrepreneurship specifically for women in The Women's Small Business Program at Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont. I made this concept of relationship and its importance central in how I taught the marketing thought process. I would stress that for a product or service to be successful, it had to meet a perceived need. There is a need, and it wants to be met; or it may be thought of as a problem to be solved. Or there may be an existing solution that is less than adequate.

For example: In my universe as a runner there already were a plethora of bras available, but they were inadequate for my purpose. The relationship between my breasts, my running body, and my bra was creating discomfort and distraction. A new solution had to be found, the relationship occurring when all these things came together had to be fixed. Utilizing this point of view, one sees a set of issues that need to be addressed—they are in relationship with each other and their environment in a way that needs to be changed, adjusted.

Nowhere is this viewpoint truer than in business, as we enter into more and more relationships with people to address all the needs of the organization. Whether designing a product or a service or communicating with others about it—we are in relationship. And meanwhile, how about maintaining a healthy relationship with ourselves? All the issues we know about stress in the workplace can boil down to an internal balancing act around our relationships: to the work itself, to those we work with, to home life, friends and lovers. So quickly those ripples can become waves.

Because Jogbra was growing so quickly, relationships were being discovered, created, ending, expanding and changing at a pace that makes my head spin to recall. And truly challenged my spirit. Not to mention how I handled dealing with my seizure disorder.

"My Lifelong Partner"

Let me tell you a bit about my old friend, Epilepsy. Having Epilepsy does not make any sort of money-making endeavor easy or reliable, yet it is my other "partner" in life. Husbands and business partners have come and gone, but Epilepsy has always been with me. It was my first experience of having a "shadow teacher."

While a child who isn't feeling she has power over her world may have a tantrum, as we grow older, most of us find other more subtle ways to express our powerfulness or powerlessness. We adapt, learn coping mechanisms, how to persuade, manipulate, or capitulate when necessary. These tools, these learned adaptations, give a sense of control. They make us feel more in charge of our destiny. As a result, our maturing self generally feels indestructible, immortal. Life is a long, golden road of futures for the young.

This was not the case for me. I learned very early on when I started having seizures that I was not fully in charge of the world, my world, specifically of my body. There are many different types of epileptic seizures. Often a person with the illness may have more than one type. That has been the case for me. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy—with a seizure type now referred to as "Absence seizures"—when I was four years old. I have seen neurologists and taken medications ever since. As often happens, the condition worsened when I entered puberty and I started having convulsions as well—what most people think of when they think of epileptic seizures. The clinical name is generalized "Tonic-clonic" seizures.

In such a seizure the entire brain is involved, rather like an electrical circuit that has gone out as a result of a power surge. I lose consciousness, my whole body becomes rigid, the muscles start jerking uncontrollably, and I fall. Tonic-clonic seizures, also known as "grand mal" seizures, may or may not be preceded by an aura, a type of perceptual disturbance, which for me can act as a warning of what is coming. The seizure usually only lasts for a few minutes, but I feel its draining effects for a day or two afterwards. Although I would prefer to sleep all day after such a physically and emotionally taxing event, I have often just gotten up off the floor and, within hours, gone back to work. It was necessary sometimes, though definitely not medically advised. I'm fond of saying that having a grand mal seizure is rather like being struck by a Mack truck and living to tell the tale.

Having Epilepsy has forced me to be dependent on others throughout my life. While we are all dependent upon others to some degree—independent, interdependent, dependent—in my case a deep level of dependency was decreed and ingrained very early on. This enforced dependency did not sit well with my native self. I bucked and rebelled. At the same time, a part of me also feared the next fall, the next post-convulsive fugue. And so I recognized, I acquiesced to the need to depend on others.

The silver lining of having Epilepsy is that it has introduced me to and taught me a bit about the nature of being powerless—and experiencing betrayal. I could not trust that my body would always operate as it should. Routinely, it suddenly quits. I experience this as betrayal by my brain and body. It results in my complete powerlessness throughout the convulsion. Not to mention an inconvenient interruption of any activities or plans I might have made.

Hence, I am the recipient of two important life lessons—and I was blessed to have this very specific and graphic experience at a young age. It made me observant and reflective, giving me the opportunity to consider what/where/who "I" was. I knew I was not "just" my body, or even my brain.

So, who or what did that leave? Who, what am I? Much has been written about trauma, and about near-death experiences, both of which seizures have been classified or described as. I won't delve into that here except to say that experiencing recurrent seizures and the attendant altered states of consciousness that sometimes accompany an episode (the euphemism for a seizure) changes one. It deeply affects you. It is both illuminating and frightening. It opens you up in some ways and can close you way down in others. For me it made it easy to consider the possibility of other ways to perceive, of other realms. And as an adult I became interested in quantum physics, where Science is pushing and challenging our long-held perceptual assumptions. Me, who was poor in math and disinterested in Science while in school! So if not merely body and brain, who am I? Spirit. And with Epilepsy's tutelage, I was encouraged to question, seek, try to understand what lies beyond.

Living with Epilepsy has also given me great strength. In realizing the futile nature of trying to have "power over" Epilepsy, I developed a deep well of "power within"—that inner strength that comes in the acceptance of that which one cannot change—and looking beyond it.

Through my experience building the business of Jogbra with the unique lens afforded me by my Epilepsy partner, I came to understand more fully the nature of power and what it means to be truly powerful.

Specifically, that having power and exercising it is not simply a manifestation of the ego. It need not be "power-tripping." It is how I wield my power that matters, making the all-important distinction between creating a situation of power over, power with, or empowering and having and creating strength in oneself and others.

Being powerful is a big responsibility.

To put all this another way: do I choose to create situations in which I am able to wield power over others? Or do I choose to empower others, sharing my strengths with them, while nurturing their strengths as well? The first is not true power. It is control. The second I believe to be the essence of true and positive power: strength. And integral to creating a more harmonious world, oh by the way.

While this may be apparent, even basic to others, it was an "aha!" moment for me. Too often in the years ahead I would give away my power and question my own strengths,. Time and again, however, my inner strength, my shadow teacher's gift, helped me survive and thrive until I could take responsibility for and embrace more fully my own power.

© Lisa Z. Lindahl 2019