Here’s the truth: HOW is not that important. In many cases, thinking too much about HOW can actually block the creative process and get you stuck. When presented with an issue, most of us default to something we have been taught, a specific approach that worked in the past. But what happens when this approach doesn’t work? You try again. And again. You may modify your approach and try something new, but what happens when that doesn’t work either? Many folks get frustrated. Frustration turns to despair. Some quit. It’s time for a shift. It’s time to get creative. But you can’t create if your brain is seized by frustration and the fear of failure.

I see this all the time in equine-assisted coaching. Clients will try to make the horse do something and the horse goes in the opposite direction or won’t budge. One horse stared out the window for about 15 minutes oblivious to my client’s agony at his ineffectiveness (the horse actually was staring at a fox on the hill, nothing to do with him). During another session, a client asked me, “How to you get him to move? What are his buttons?” But this doesn’t just happen with horses, it happens in all areas of life and work – everyone wants a recipe for success.

Here’s one “recipe” that works for me:

  1. Take a breath. Chill out. Relax. Find that neutral energy that I’m always talking about. This moves your brain from the limbic system of fight/flight/freeze, back into a more balanced state.
  2. Get a vision of what you want to see happen, even just the next baby step, and hold it loosely and softly in your mind. Feel it in your heart.
  3. Observe with your entire being. Take the pressure off your rational brain and allow the other parts of your body to share its insights. What does your heart feel? Is it grippy and scared? If so, gently soften the edges and allow it to relax. What does your gut feel? Release any tension in your body. Listen.
  4. Detach from outcome and time pressure. Pretend that you have all the time in the world. You are eternal.
  5. Focus on the good. Invite the good to grow. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • What is going well about this? Hint: if your first response is NOTHING, go back to step one.
    • What do I believe about this? How else can I think about this?
    • What would this look like if it was a game? Inspiring a sense of play invites creativity.

Allow yourself to process whatever comes up and take action on your findings. There is no script for life. In fact, the more you move beyond prescribed approaches and expectations, the more you discover. Trust yourself to explore and play. It’s an amazing world of infinite possibilities. Here’s to your pioneering spirit!