Recently I was working with a client on how to ask for what she wants at work. She said, “I’m the type where if someone says, ‘Want the last french fry?’ I say, ‘No, you go ahead.’ “ And even as she shared this bit of information, she was smiling — she knew there was no way she was going to get away with her usual approach.
Not knowing what we want is often more about permission than it is about a good idea. Let me say that again. It’s not that we don’t know. It’s that we either don’t think we can have it, don’t think we should have it, or just don’t know how to get there. All of which are creativity killers. We get backed into a corner. Pretty soon we’re thinking that the only thing that will make us happy is the full escape – to teach surfing in Baja, California.
There is a better way. First, do something that gives you confidence and gets your creative juices flowing. Maybe it’s exercise, being with friends or meditation. Then, allow (just for now) that little flicker of an idea come to the foreground. And before you knock it down, use some improve technique. Just keep saying, “Yes, and…” and see what pathways emerge. Write it down. Maybe what seems like a pipe dream is the seed of something that could actually work.