This week, I’m following up with some insights into a few of the thoughts that may have impeded your progress in Step Three.
“I don’t have any ideas.”
Feeling like you have no insights into a problem can be incredibly frustrating. Start by taking a breath (always a good idea), and then try asking yourself, “If I could do one thing about this issue, what might that one thing be?” Still nothing? Try walking away from that particular problem. An idea may spontaneously occur to you while you are doing something else. This also might be a good issue to bring up to a trusted friend or mentor, since everyone approaches a problem with a different perspective. Lastly, it’s possible that for now there actually isn’t much to be done that you aren’t already doing. So keep up the good work :)
“I have too many ideas.”
Just like believing that you have no ideas can hold you back, so too can having fifty. Try picking the one-to-three idea(s) that you that you feel both motivated to try and on which you can track your progress.
“I don’t know which idea will work.”
Of course you don’t! You haven’t tried them yet! When you treat life more like an experiment—or, better yet, a series of experiments—some of the pressure to know the “right” answer dissipates. As in the previous example, start with choosing one idea. Track what you do. Track the results. See how it goes.
“What I do doesn’t matter.”
I’m guessing everyone has had this thought at one time or another. But it’s rarely (if ever) true. Step away from your brainstorm and do something that results in an immediate, perceptible impact. This action does not need to relate to the source of your anxiety. Reach out to a friend—or, hey!, call your grandma—and ask how her day is going. Go for a run. Walk the dog. Clean your room. See what a difference ten minutes can make? Your actions matter. Now, go back to your brainstorm.
The big idea here? Try something! Really. Just try it. Social anxiety? Try smiling as you walk down the hallways. Time anxiety? Try keeping a to-do list and a schedule. Remember: the idea doesn’t need to be complicated or revolutionary. It can be as simple as taking a breath.
You’re wiser than you realize.
Somewhere inside you is an idea of one possible thing to be done.
Choose it. And if that one thing doesn’t work, you will have gained insights that you can apply to future experiments.
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