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December 18, 2014

On Being Stuck

December 18, 2014

This spring, I was a little stuck. Despite loving my job, our team, our clients, it felt like something was missing. I didn't realize it yet, but I was at the very start of a creative withdrawal. I really needed perspective, and I felt I needed to get outside of my daily sphere of influence.

I didn't even really know what questions I wanted to ask when I called my former boss Jason Moriber for advice. I leaned on him because we worked closely together, so he knows my strengths and my shortcomings too, and he's on the east coast now, so we don't often cross paths anymore (except exchanging tweets from time to time). Also, he's wickedly smart, one of the most energizing people I've ever worked with, a thought-provoker.

He pushed through my confusion, patiently, and gave what was the perfect high level advice for a person who is stuck:

"You need to cultivate transformation."

But what does that really mean? Jason unpacked it further:

To be transformational you need some things from outside of yourself—you must have a platform from which to share your voice, and you must be empowered to make change. And then you need things from within. You must be open to risk. You must always be ready to create. And you must be observant, noticing opportunities for transformational moments. All of this comes to naught without a final ingredient to make things happen: productivity.

Here's the part that stirred something: You must always be ready to create. It didn't click right there on the call. I had to ruminate over it all for a while. I'm glad of a habit I developed earlier this year to whiteboard phone calls. The whiteboard images saved in my phone helped me revisit these words, find layers of meaning that weren't immediately clear to me, and figure out ways to put this advice into action.

Looking back on being stuck and having the creative withdrawal, it seems clear to me—had a friend come to me with these woes, I'd have asked questions and been able to see the glaring truth. Sometimes what is obvious in others is obscured in ourselves.

Thanks for the wisdom and outside perspective, Jason!

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “+ / - Have no fear – no numbers needed here. Who (or what) made a difference for you this year? Were they cognizant of their effect? Did it add to your life...or detract? Was it a momentary encounter? A year-long helping hand? Someone who took a chance on you, or vice versa? What would've changed if you'd had to go without, or go it alone? Imagine the alternative scenario."

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