When my kids were little and we visited our good friend Tricia and her kids, one of the first things they’d do was pull out the dress- up bag. Inside that bag were treasures galore. In a mere matter of minutes, one of the kids could be a pirate, while another was a dancer and yet another a sort of hybrid monster come alien.
It was innocent fun and, it was fertile ground for the imagination.
For you see, there was no commitment. The kids could try on roles as fast as they could pull out new bits and bobs to wrap around themselves.
Everyone had a blast – the kids and us parents watching.
Fast forward to today.
We tend to play it safe.
While we yearn for flow – where we lose ourselves in the joy of doing something that fits our gifts and talents, “we’d rather be stuck than screwed,” says Bill Burnett and Dave Evans in their fabulous book and one of my all-time favorite books from 2020, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.
In other words, we’d rather be stuck playing it small and safe than stick our necks out, take a chance, and potentially be screwed.
Flow is play for grown-ups.
Here’s an easy way you can get your flow on without it feeling scary or too risky.
But first: You may have noticed that this post is under the blog category ‘Training of trainers’. Feel free to read it with two minds: 1) from your personal perspective, and/or 2) with the intention of helping those you train, support, and/or lead.
This post is from the perspective of supporting learners, our staff and/or our teams to try stuff. Because what is learning if not trying new things, new ways of thinking, acting etc.
Second: in case you haven’t read the ‘Designing your Life’ book, here’s a really quick summary.
Designing Your Life is all about “Design thinking …helping you solve your own life design problems.” It’s a human- centered approach.
“A well-designed life is a life that is generative – it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise.”
Who doesn’t want that?
In the book Bill and Dave outline five mindsets:
1. Be curious
- Reach out and try stuff.
- And pay attention to your reactions and ways of knowing.
- There are different types of knowing: with our brains, our bodies (our gut), our feelings / our hearts, social knowing (input from others), spiritual knowing etc.
2. Reframe the problem
- For example, reframe the “dysfunctional belief: ‘I have to find the one right idea’, to ‘I need a lot of ideas so that i can explore any number of possibilities for my future.’”
3. Know it’s a process
- Focus on the process of crafting a well designed life instead of exclusively the destination.
- This gives relief and brings down narrow, constricted thinking.
- For example, knowing “correction shots are always allowed.” Amen and high five to that.
4. Ask for help
- You don’t have to be in this alone and, in fact, you shouldn’t be
- Seek out “radical collaborations.”
5. Try stuff
- Have a “bias to action.”
“Choose discerningly…..When an option grows up, it becomes a choice.”
It’s much easier to keep moving if you’re moving towards something. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
So back to the dress- up bag and the lessons learned. Create a grown- up version – a “Try stuff box.”
In doing so, you can practice the mindsets of being curious, reframing (especially if you apply it to a particular challenge you’re facing), be patient and know it’s a process, and get input/ask for help.
Here are some things in my “Try Stuff” box:
- Learn how to play the keyboard.
- Discover how to use LinkedIn more proactively and strategically
- Try a daily meditation practice.
- Declutter my home. Currently, I’m taking a minimum of three items a day and getting rid of them. I take a picture of them and put them on the 1SE app so, at the end of the year, I’ll have a movie of all the things that are helping me “lighten the load.”
Some suggestion for your “Try Stuff “box:
- Do you have a learning plan for 2021? If not try creating one. Need help? That’s the focus of my free- February Learning and Development Roundtable.
- Read Designing your life.
- Tomorrow (Feb 3) is World Radio Day tomorrow. Try the Radio Garden app and tune into a radio stations from around the world.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Create a “Try Box” for yourself and fill it up with discerning, deliberate things you want to try.
- Seriously stuck? Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as stuck as you think.
- You know the next step. Remember the ‘Bias for action’ mindset. Try one of the things from your Try Box this week.