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.
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.
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.
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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How can we help overcome the national health crisis and allow people access to nutritious food on a regular basis?
It's a question I've been driven to answer since 2009, catalysed by one of the scariest scenarios a daughter can imagine - the health crisis of a parent.
Determined to help my father overhaul his lifestyle and overcome the sudden obstacles he faced, I began prepping healthy, homemade meals. When friends and family members noticed the remarkable recovery he made, they became interested in the plans too.
This inevitably led to the birth of Fresh n' Lean, my organic meal delivery service. What started as a solo 19 year old student cooking meals out of a one bedroom apartment in Redondo Beach, CA, has since evolved into a 9-figure brand, with 100+ amazing employees operating out of a state of the art facility.
I'm often asked why Fresh n' Lean has continued to grow while other food delivery services struggle. I believe it comes down to many interacting variables that I wish to share with you today, with the hope that they might someday help you as you embark in your entrepreneurial journey too.
Know Your Values: Fresh, Convenient + Delicious
Whenever you pursue something in life, whether it's a scary fitness goal or starting your own company, it's important to know your values, and to stay true to them. This is something I was taught from a young age, and was super aware of with Fresh n' Lean.
Our mission has always been to achieve three things: to make food that's healthy, accessible and delicious. It's about getting that balance between each component. If any one of them is missing, the formula doesn't work.
Sure, it would be easy to cut corners with the quality of our ingredients to save money, but that's not the point! I have a strong desire to impact people's lives in a positive way - a 'reason why' that directly ties into the work we do. I'm also surrounded by a tribe of inspiring individuals who believe in the vision, which helps massively.
The collective understanding of our value system helps us stay true to the mission and to be completely transparent with how we operate the business. This creates trust and brand loyalty amongst our customers - a key component for future growth.
Taking Risks: Bootstrapping to Nine-Figures
Anyone who has started their own venture can attest that the early days are a little shaky. There are always going to be problems that pop up (usually at the most inconvenient times), and key decisions that need to be made.
One of the latter that I was faced with at the very beginning was whether or not to turn to investors for capital, or to bootstrap Fresh n' Lean. I went with the second option and committed my life savings to self-fund my venture. Looking back, it was a bold move. I put it all on the line to make my dream a reality, and thankfully the risk paid off.
Sure, initially it meant that we had certain restrictions when it came to funding, but I like to think those restrictions lead to innovation. Because we had limited options, we were forced to be creative and to come up with novel solutions to challenging problems.
It has also meant we've had a much easier time when it comes to choosing the direction of our business. Because we don't have to answer to a board of investors, we're able to explore various avenues with a degree of freedom - like our recent move from online to in-store.
Be Creative: Leaping From Online to In-Store
The latest evolution of Fresh n' Lean has been a dive into the brick and mortar sector, with the recent opening of our first On The Go store in Santa Monica.
Though many people believe brick and mortar is dying, we still feel that there are various opportunities to pursue. Grab-and-go healthy food near business centers is still something that's lacking in many areas. We're also in the process of partnering with Hak's Foods to bring ready-to-eat meals into grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Gelson's, and Costco.
As well as being a viable business venture in itself, having food in stores also gives people a chance to try our product before signing up for an online subscription. We're always trying to think outside the box when it comes to business growth, and this is just another example.
Sue, we could have listened to the naysayers, played it safe and stuck to what we know. But if we always take the comfortable route, how will we ever know what we're truly capable of?
If I could sum up the main things I've learned over the past ten years, it would go something like this: the key is to never stop learning, growing or innovating. Know your mission, keep moving forward, and always be ready to adapt.