209. Successful Thinking for Creating in a “No” World.

May 29, 2024 00:33:40
209. Successful Thinking for Creating in a “No” World.
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
209. Successful Thinking for Creating in a “No” World.

May 29 2024 | 00:33:40

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Show Notes

I want you to have a strong sense of #SelfDirection when it feels like the project is going down in flames. So, this episode is all about the skills you need to create a “YES” in a creative process that is full of the word “NO’.  As a byproduct this episode is also about conflict resolution, refining your creative process, and successful thinking in your life at large.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Hello. Hello, my friend. I'm Dana. Welcome. I'm stoked you're here. For this solo episode. I want to speak directly to something that has been front of mind lately. [00:00:16] Man, I am just so lucky to have been in creative spaces with people who lean towards the yes side of the spectrum, people who are eager to try things and open to changing things. [00:00:33] I'm coming out of a creative process that made me acutely aware that that is not always the case. I really did not realize how lucky I was to have that the majority of the time until I didn't have it. And I learned a lot about embracing the process, even when the process feels more like a slap in the face than a hug. [00:00:55] I want to have, and I want you to have a strong sense of self direction, even when it feels like the direction things are going is straight down the can. [00:01:07] So this episode is all about the skills that you need to build to create yes in a world of no. And if I'm going to be totally honest, as a byproduct, this episode is also about conflict resolution, refining your creative process, and, in general, having successful thinking techniques in your life at large. Yeah, all of that. But first, let's do some wins. Today, I am celebrating more than 201,000 downloads of the podcast. What the heck? Thank you. Thank you, listeners. [00:01:46] This is massive. A huge win for me. I'm so appreciative of your time and your attention, the attention of your ear holes, and now that we're on YouTube, also the attention of your eyeballs. Although I have learned that living on YouTube as a podcast does split my listener viewers a little bit. So if you weren't already, please be sure that you're downloading your favorite episodes so that you can be listening all the time. Keep them with you, whether you have wifi or not. And if you haven't already, pretty please subscribe on YouTube so that you don't miss a single thing. [00:02:24] Whoa. [00:02:26] Also, I shamelessly want to see 300 downloads swiftly, so bring it on. Classic Wilson. Just always wanting more. That's me. 201,000 downloads. Now you go. What's going well in your world? [00:02:51] Yay. [00:02:53] Wow. Okay. Congratulations. I'm so glad you're winning. Here we go. [00:03:00] I personally am of the opinion that saying yes to yourself and to your team leads to great work, work that is imaginative and fun and inspiring to create and to behold. [00:03:16] And I'm also of the mind that saying no to yourself and to your team leads to less fun and less interesting work that is less delightful to make and behold. [00:03:29] I should pause here. [00:03:31] Don't get me wrong. I really love restraint. [00:03:35] I love having limitations. Like having a tight budget can lead to really awesome creative solutions for things that you might not have necessarily thought of if you had all the money in the world. Having a prompt, like a movement prompt that limits your range of motion, like don't bend your elbows or knees, that could lend to some very interesting movement with new pathways and shapes that you might not have found without that limitation. [00:04:04] I'm not talking about restraints and limitations here. I am talking about saying no. Cold, hard, no. And to illustrate my point, I am going to ask you a question, and no matter what I say, I want you to answer with no. [00:04:22] Here we go. [00:04:24] Hey, my friend. Oh, my God. I just heard the wildest, most incredible story. You have to hear the story. You're absolutely gonna die. Can I tell you a story? [00:04:36] No. [00:04:39] Okay, bye. Hit subscribe, smash the likes, keep it funky. The end by like, no ends conversations. It ends stories, it ends fun. [00:04:53] Do you remember how much you hated hearing the word no as a kid? [00:04:57] That still exists. That is still there. Cold, hard. No makes the creative process cold and hard. [00:05:06] Now, let's see how yes works out in contrast. I'm going to ask you a few questions, and no matter what I ask you, please respond with yes. Also, it is so funny that I am acting like you are actually here and engaging with me. It's hysterical. I'm imaginative. I've got this. Okay, hey, can I tell you a quick story real fast? [00:05:27] Is it okay if it's about animal crackers? [00:05:30] Nice. [00:05:31] Is it okay if it's about Britney Spears personal collection of animal crackers? [00:05:38] Okay, great. Is it okay if Britney Spears and her animal cracker collection live in a parallel universe? Like a multiverse? [00:05:47] Nice. Okay, is it okay if in this parallel universe, everybody has, like, dried apricots for fingertips? Yeah. Great. Okay, and how about everybody there also has deflated footballs for feet, dried apricots for fingers, dehydrated football feet. Brittany's here. Animal crackers are here. Yes, still. Okay, great. Are you willing to be on the subcommittee that helps design tap shoes for deflated. I almost said dehydrated. Deflated football feet? Yes. That's great. Okay. You see? Yes leads to fun, yes leads to imagination, yes leads to more ideas, more creative ideas. So on that basis, on the assumption that yes is good for creativity, which pause for the cause, I do have an episode about yes and and no. But. And how using those two responses can really drive a creative process, I'll link to that episode in the show notes, but for now I want to dig into this idea of the hard no and I'm going to start with a little refresher course on the thought model. The thought model is the tool that I use most often when coaching careers or coaching people in their careers. The thought model derives pretty heavily from CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a problem oriented strategy that helps you find solutions and new perspectives to problems. CBT says that how we think leads to how we feel, and how we feel leads to how we behave, and how we behave leads to what we think. Its a loop. [00:07:32] The thought model has a few subtle differences. The thought model says that there are neutral facts out there in the world. Cold hard facts. Theyre measurable, provable, agreeable by all, and unchangeable. Like the temperature outside the weight of my body or the words that I just said. Like right now, everybody can agree I said those words. Everybody can read the scale. That's the weight of my body. Right now, the temperature outside right now is x. The call time tomorrow is whatever agreeable by all provable facts. We think thoughts about those facts, like 60,000 thoughts a day. It's those thoughts that give us meaning to the cold hard facts, the circumstances. And it's our thoughts that make us feel a certain way to feel emotions. Emotions lead us to action and inaction. Or simply put, the behavior of our body and the behavior of our bodies gives us our experience of our life, right? Our experience of the world. And the important thing about the thought model is that it's not the circumstances, it's not the facts that give us our experience of the world. It's the way that we are thinking that's directly linked to our experience of the world. Our thinking leads us to feel, our feelings lead us to behave, and our behavior gives us our experience. So it's important to separate the circumstances from the thoughts, because we can't change the circumstances, but we can change the way we're thinking. [00:09:09] Sometimes, even sometimes without even thinking about thinking about it, my thoughts can change over time. My experience of the world regarding a certain circumstance can change. And I think that's a unique difference between CBT and the thought model. [00:09:25] In CBT, your behavior links back to the way you're thinking. I really think it's the circumstances that lead to our thoughts. Our thinking leads to feeling. Our feelings direct us or move us into action or inaction. And it's those actions and inactions that give us our experience of the world. And sometimes they give us new circumstances altogether. Right, and we're back to one. So I'm starting off with this refresher course. Even though I've done several episodes that dig more deeply into the thought model, I'm starting off here because the word no and the word yes. [00:10:02] Despite the introduction to this episode, I've already spent time pointing out that yes is good for creativity. But in the thought model, I want to point out the word yes and the word no are not intrinsically bad. Yes does not equal happy. No does not equal unhappy. The word no by itself doesn't hurt. [00:10:25] But what comes along with it does or can. It's our thinking about the neutral facts. Person says no. That makes you feel it's thinking about the neutral fact. Person says no. That makes you feel a certain way. I'll give an example. Person says, no. Actually, let's back up. [00:10:48] I say my idea. Person says, no. [00:10:53] Here's what my brain might offer in terms of what I might make that mean. [00:10:59] I might think, ugh, I can't have what I want. Damn it. People don't like my ideas. My ideas aren't appreciated here. I have bad ideas. This person is keeping me from having what I want. [00:11:14] My ideas are bad, and this person is bad. Like, you can see how that thinking gets pretty dark pretty fast, all because of a neutral word no. And the thoughts that your brain will offer you about that circumstance, those examples of, you know, I can't have what I want. My ideas are bad. This person is bad, and I'm bad, and everything's bad. [00:11:38] I got to that place in this. In a recent creative experience, I was shocked to hear so much no. [00:11:45] My brain offered me thoughts about myself and the people saying no. That were not useful. And then I would feel this flash, like, this tingly heat, like a scorpion stinger, into my chest, and then my skin would get a hot flash every time an idea got shot down. Felt like I was being poked with something sharp and hot, and then the rest of my skin would light up. It was not a good feeling. I hated this feeling. [00:12:15] One day, I even noticed that my brain stopped offering me ideas. Like, my brain stopped having creative ideas because I was afraid of feeling that sting, that hot flash. Whoa. Like, brain stopped working because body didn't want to feel pain. Like, let's just pause for a moment of compassion for all of the creatives and non creative people who hear the word no all of the time and maybe put into that place of not having creative ideas out of fear of feeling shut down. Let's also acknowledge that some people use the word no not because the answer's no, but to assert their power over other people. [00:12:58] Yikes. Up there. [00:13:00] That's another reason to remember that no doesn't actually mean the end, unless you think that it does. So let's get back into the whole neutrality of yes and no thing. [00:13:13] Let's say person says no. That might also lead to thoughts like hmm, I wonder what this person's life has taught them about yes and no and how that's different from my experience. [00:13:25] Man, I'm so grateful for my experiences of yes and no in my life. Hmm, I wonder what else might be off limits. Once I know everything I can't do, maybe I'll be left with something that I can do. [00:13:39] Or maybe you know what? This person doesn't really know what they're talking about. I think I'm going to go with my idea anyways that's available. Or maybe even a personal favorite. [00:13:48] Thank you for keeping me from going down a path that isn't right for this project. Let's move on and find what is my friends, there are 1000 thoughts that you can think when someone says no. I am not encouraging you to accept the no. I'm not encouraging you to reject the no. I am simply encouraging you to be conscious of what you are making the neutral word know mean about you and what you're making it mean about the person who said it. [00:14:22] Thinking your ideas are bad, and thinking that a coworker is bad might be keeping you from having the process and the final product that you want. [00:14:33] Not the word no. The word no isn't keeping you from those things the way that you're thinking might be. So my first tip for you is to remind you that the word no doesn't hurt. It doesn't stop you. The thoughts that come along with it are what do. So if or when you feel that sting from the word no, or from a sentence that involves the idea of your idea not being the idea, try to immediately zoom out and remember that no is neutral. [00:15:05] Your thoughts around it are optional. And then be sure that you are committed to the thoughts that are useful to you and to this project. That's tip number one. [00:15:18] Wow. Pause for a sip. This is big. [00:15:25] Yum. Oh, so much red lipstick on that cup. Okay, tip number two. This is probably another reminder. Not some, like, new piece of information, but this is probably something you actually learned from your mom. Or maybe it was. No doubt, don't speak. Sorry, kind of pitchy, but I think you get the gist don't talk. Or rather, you don't have to talk right now. Not always. Not often. Actually, most of the time, if you leave space after the word no, like actual airspace, the naysayer will probably continue to speak, because that's something that most of us do. I think even people that aren't podcast hosts, I think people try to fill the space with words. [00:16:14] Sometimes that person might even provide you with a hint as to why their answer is no. But sometimes, if you leave enough space, sometimes they might even offer an idea of an idea that they think could work. And you know what? Sometimes it does. Or oftentimes it leads to something that will work. So even if you're not, or when you are not in a place to respond in kind or respond kindly, I don't actually know the difference between those two things. If you don't have something nice or useful, if you don't have something useful to say, take a pause. Regardless of if the person continues to speak or gives you a why or a solution, or not. Allowing there to be space in the conversation allows you to be thoughtful with your response. Because, yes, words are neutral, right? They're not good or bad until we apply meaning or our thoughts to them. But I think it's honorable and respectable and responsible to care about the way your words show up as circumstances in other people's lives. [00:17:25] Yeah, so I guess that's another lesson and another kind of angle to the thought model. Other people are allowed to think anything they want about the circumstances, right? Your words are circumstances. No matter what you say. Other people are allowed to think whatever they want. So you might as well take your time to choose words that you are firmly behind, that you really stand by. So take your time, choose your words wisely, and if you don't have something useful to say, keep holding the space for more thoughts. Know what needs to be decided now versus what can be stepped away from and decided later. Most things can be stepped away from, sometimes simply the words. I don't think we need to make a decision about this right this very second. Can we agree to step away from it, cool off for a bit, and come back to it with fresh eyes and fresh minds at this date and time? Sometimes that's really all it takes. But yeah, that's a big one. That was tip number two, holding uncomfortable space, y'all. It's something I'm still practicing. It is uncomfortable for me, but it leaves room for a solution to present itself. And at very, very least, holding the space for uncomfortable silence is better than filling it with words that you wish you could take back. [00:18:51] You're welcome. I'm welcome. We're all welcome for that. [00:18:55] So much practice. Okay, tip number three. [00:18:59] This is an interesting one. [00:19:02] Asking clarifying questions can avoid future hurdles, right? It's important to ask why not? [00:19:10] Right? But asking those exact words like, why not? Why not? Why? Why? Every single time someone says no, that can be annoying and further agitate the situation. [00:19:24] That makes sense, right? Like, you've been there, I've been there. We know that understanding why is better than blindly accepting no. But how do we find a place with understanding without sounding like that persistent five year old that can ask, why? Why? Why forever? Until the answer is because, shut up. [00:19:44] We definitely don't want things to progress to that point. [00:19:49] So I strong oh, I have an episode for how to ask smart questions. I don't remember what episode it is off the top of my head, but I will link to it in the show notes. [00:20:02] It's all about asking questions that reveal your position and how much you know as opposed to revealing how much you don't know. Really fun stuff. I will let you dig into that after this episode, but for now, I'll leave you with a couple examples of open ended questions that will give you more information. [00:20:20] Yeah, more information. More. Better. Also, do you remember learning about open ended questions the first time? That was just a game changer for me. Okay. One example, and I like this one a lot because it leads with vulnerability. The type of vulnerability that you hope the other person would mirror back at you. [00:20:40] First example of a good open ended, get more information kind of question is, hey, I might not be seeing the whole picture here, but I think that what am I missing that allows the other person, a, to be the expert, b, to see you vulnerable and optimistic for growth. And it allows them to respond in a way that will point out to you their values, which is useful. [00:21:11] Another example might be, in my view, we need to accomplish this and this, and I think we can accomplish it by doing that. What might get in the way of that? [00:21:22] This would probably tell you what the other person actually thinks the roadblocks are, instead of them just telling you that they think there are roadblocks to that. Third option I really like a lot. What other options have you considered that I might not know about? [00:21:39] Right. More information. More. Better tell me what doesn't work and that might help me land at what does. It's really the cold, hard no that I'm against, but knowing what doesn't work is actually useful. Then asking additionally what didn't you like? Or what specifically doesn't work about those options. [00:22:02] That's constructive. The answers to these questions will help you get to a yes, I promise. [00:22:08] Okay. [00:22:10] In conclusion, I think the real sweet spot is understanding why someone holds their position. That's as useful as knowing their position on its face, because it can help you predict and create solutions that are in alignment with everyone's views of what is best for the project in the future. [00:22:31] It helps you do that without having to work and create so many more nos. It's really helpful to have an understanding to avoid future no's. Okay, tip number four, y'all, is more of an ongoing practice than a tip. [00:22:48] This is just a simple reminder, right? Like dance lessons are life lessons. Y'all choose your battles. [00:22:59] Knowing when to stand your ground and when to fight for your vision in the face of no. [00:23:05] And knowing when to fall back or retreat or just fully surrender. That is a skill that requires time and refinement and perpetual dialogue with yourself and your values. [00:23:17] To kind of help me choose my battles, I found it useful to ask myself some clarifying questions. Right. In tip three, you're asking the other. In this version, I'm asking myself, number one, what is my actual job here, and how can I better do my actual job? How can I simply do my job? It's very helpful to remember, y'all, that it is not my job, and it is not your job to get what you want. [00:23:47] It's usually my job, and it's usually your job to serve a greater vision that, most of the time isn't entirely yours to begin with. So, especially in collaborative environments, ask yourself, what exactly is my job? [00:24:04] Second question I like to ask is, is this. This point that we seem to not be aligning on, is this actual point the kernel, the nucleus, the seed, the most important piece of this project? [00:24:23] If so, fight. If not, ask questions. [00:24:28] And then this final question does their way, the alternative to my way, go against my core values? [00:24:40] Is it against, is it in contrast with the things, the principles that guide me in my work and in my life? If so, fight. [00:24:51] If not, ask more questions. [00:24:55] Those are the questions. That kind of rubric that helps me to decide if I'm going to stand my ground or if I'm going to, you know, fall back, retreat. After answering those questions, I find myself resolved. So I can pursue a yes with confidence, and also, I can accept a no with grace. After answering those questions for myself. [00:25:25] That's a big one for me. Okay, let's recap. Number one, remembering what is fact and what is thought. Facts are unchangeable, neutral thoughts changeable and differ from person to person. They're malleable. And you can filter through the ones that are more or less useful and choose to get behind the ones that are useful for the process and the project. Number two, hold the space, y'all. Hold that uncomfortable space so that you can respond with words that you are fully behind. [00:26:02] Take time to cool off and know when things need to need to be decided now versus can be decided later. Almost always, you have time to step away and cool off, even if that's for two minutes. It makes a world of difference in that space. A solution or a different perspective might be presented. [00:26:24] Next up, ask clarifying questions. Avoid future hurdles by understanding why not. And that conversation might be uncomfortable, too. So allow yourself grace and offer compassion in those moments. [00:26:39] Tip four. Choose your battles. Know when to stand your ground and when to step down. [00:26:46] I do think you can create for yourself the rubrics or the guiding questions that you can ask yourself that help you make that decision. You might decide, okay, if two out of these three are, yes, I stand my ground, or if two out of these three are, no, I stand my ground or back down and you understand what I'm saying. Okay, create for yourself a guide for when you get to that moment. How will you know if you stay and how do you know if you go? [00:27:15] Okay, kind of tying all of those things together. I want to leave you with a special bonus tool. This is a gift from the one and only Brene Brown. [00:27:26] Our lord and savior, Brene Brown. I realize that's sacrilegious, but listen, she is truly fabulous. [00:27:32] This is a tool from Brene Brown gifted to me by my sister and podcast guest, doctor Adrienne Wilson Mann. My hero. Check out that episode. Also a favorite. Anyways, it is a checklist for giving constructive criticism. [00:27:50] Hi, baby girl. [00:27:53] We're gonna pause for some pup love and I have to go get these cause I have them written down and they're not here. Pause. [00:28:03] Here we go. [00:28:05] I will know that I'm ready to give feedback when, number one, I am ready to sit next to you rather than across from you. [00:28:15] Like to align on the same side of a challenge. Number two, when I'm willing to put the problem in front of us rather than in between us or sliding it towards you. [00:28:28] Again, that kind of says the same thing as, like, I'm ready to identify that we're on the same side. I will only give constructive feedback when I'm ready to be on the same side as you. Number three. I'll know I'm ready to give feedback when I'm ready to listen, ask questions and accept that I may not fully understand the issue. [00:28:49] Number four. When I'm ready to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart what you don't do well, I'll know I'm ready to give critical feedback when I'm ready to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes. [00:29:05] That's legendary, y'all. Number five. [00:29:08] When I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address our challenges, I'll know I'm ready to give critical feedback. When I'm ready to recognize your strengths and how we can use them to address our challenges. Number six. When I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming, right? Like I'll know I'm ready to give feedback when I can do it without pointing a finger of blame or shaming. That's huge. [00:29:37] Number seven. When I'm ready. When I'm open to owning my part to be owning your own shit, y'all, that's a big one. Number eight. When I can genuinely thank someone for their efforts rather than criticize them for their failings, that's when you're ready to give constructive feedback. Yes. Bye. [00:30:00] Okay. Number nine. When I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to growth and opportunity instead of speaking about having to resolve these things as a chore and like, this is awful and this is work, but when I can talk about this as opportunity, that's when I'm ready to give the feedback. Number ten. When I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you or from that other person. It's so easy to expect that other person to be vulnerable and open and willing. And then we ask that of ourselves and we find out how challenged that can, how challenging that can actually be. Sometimes a final one. I'll know I'm ready to give critical feedback. When I'm aware of power dynamics, implicit biases and stereotypes that may exist in the space. [00:30:49] That's important, y'all. It's very important to familiarize yourself with that because biases are simply really, really. [00:31:02] They're like thoughts that have been thought for so long that we believe them to be true. And sometimes they self prophesies. They're certainly not true, not always. And that is big. It's big to have that awareness. [00:31:17] Brene Brown's checklist of eleven items. To know that you are ready to give critical feedback. [00:31:26] Whoa, my friend, that's a lot. That was a lot. [00:31:30] I have dog hair on my face. Listen, I'm really grateful to have had this kind of creative journey that was full of no's. It was vital in helping me to appreciate my yes spaces and to establish these tools and techniques for the no moments because they will happen, y'all. And when they do, I want to rest in knowing that I can handle them and I want to share that knowing and that learning with you. I hope you found this useful. Please, please engage. I want the feedback, the critical feedback too. [00:32:05] I do also think, just for the record, that this episode might turn into a spinoff series of episodes where we might find out that we are the no people. Like how do you know if you're a no person? And if you are a no person, how can you deliver a no without killing creativity? Spin off episodes coming soon. Let me know if you're interested in that and if you have other interest or if you have other ideas for interesting topics in this area. Yeah, I'm into this. [00:32:34] Thank you for being here, my friend. Get out into the world. Subscribe smash the likes. I can't handle that. I say that, but I do and I mean it. Leave a review and a rating and of course keep it super funky. I'll talk to you soon. Bye. This podcast was produced by me with the help of many big big love to our executive assistant and editor, Riley Higgins. Our communications manager is Ori Vajadares. Our music is by Max Winnie, logo and brand design by Breetz, thumbnails and marketing by Fiona Small. You can make your tax deductible donations towards that move me. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor, the dance resource center, and also many thanks to you. I'm so glad you're here. And if you're digging the pod, please share it. Leave a review and rating. And if you want to coach with me and the many marvelous members of the words that move me community, visit wordsthatmoveme.com. if you're simply curious to know more about me and the work I do outside of this podcast, visit thedanawilson.com.

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