Advice from a start-up: Have a dance party inside your workspace.
After meeting and interviewing other talented minds, I thought of a stress reliever we could all use in our day to promote creativity. In my own venture, I’m learning the art of perfecting ways to prevent burnout. When I first started working on my portfolio and my first book, I thought being serious about my work meant running on 4 hours of sleep every day for months or staying up all night on the weekends to finish my next project. What good is my mind at 3:00 in the morning if the room starts to fuzzy and my head droops at my desk? I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish something instead of talking about it. Would I take back the work I accomplished during that time? Or think my work suffered? No, being a perfectionist I made sure my work turned out the way I envisioned. The problem with reaching those goals was the physical after affects.
I didn’t listen to all the advice I heard through my entrepreneur podcasts. I pushed the mind and neglected the body. I needed a month or more to recover. Suddenly, the thought of completing another book or project started to feel like a heavy burden or a mountain of work. My motivation went down. I turned to the other talented and productive minds out there in the world. I found many of them went through similar experiences. Run, crash, and burnout is not the path to what I consider a successful life. Yes, you should push yourself but remember to take care of yourself along the way. I needed to think about a better and smarter way to reach my goals.
I started to ask questions and search through the advice of other people who were successful. I asked how I could balance creative bursts and make them more consistent. I don’t think I will ever get used to the idea of “suffering for your art”. I don’t care how talented you are or recognized you become later. My search lead me back to the individuals I’ve met over the past few years. I remembered my interview with Ron Iverson, who joined the start-up venture DogSense Unleashed. In his office, they take "dance breaks" to relieve any stress in their day. The best part about not being in mainstream Corporate America is not getting fired for belly dancing around your desk. The best thing someone can do when they are in business for themselves or trying to meet a goal is taking of yourself body and mind. A few movements here and there may be the blood flow your brain is lacking because creativity shouldn't be a struggle, it should come naturally.
If you find yourself feeling burnout or tension in your body, then stop and listen. You need a break. Not the hour long walk to get a coffee as a way of avoiding work. The kind of break that will lift you up and having you diving into your problem headfirst. In my experience, most of my ideas flowed out naturally after I went for a walk or did some physical task. Ideas never flowed onto the paper or through the keyboard when I tried to force out the idea. Instead, those moments were referred to as "writer's or artist's block". Start your day with exercise while listening to your business podcasts. Make full use of your time if you want to see results. Experts who studied successful people, like Brian Tracy, found that we could gain the equivalent of a University Education if we listened to audio tapes in the car. Listening to other creative and successful people can really get the blood pumping and the mind working on full speed. Who cares if you carry around your moleskin notepad and mini pen while you walk up and down the street?
When I started to stare at a blank sheet of drawing paper. I did the first thing that came to mind to get myself back into motion. I dressed some of characters up in tutus and gave them a “dance break” of their own. Yes, I dress my imaginary characters up in costumes. I found a way to break through the road blocks to get to the next step. I needed to keep the “triggers” coming so I could keep everything in motion. My mental breaks turned into listening or watching inspiring individuals who could share their advice with me. My notebooks of ideas started to fill-up and I was taking steps toward reaching my goal. Is everything perfect along the way? No. Sometimes, I need a night out with friends or a day off. The point is to keep moving forward even if you take a break. Take the time to reflect and find patterns that worked so you can use them for future reference.
As you take these small breaks your are also creating a path for your brain to get over the road blocks that come your way. Your brain will recognize your exercise and the process of coming up with a solution or a new idea will become a habit. This leads to consistency. Imagine being consistently creative and able to solve your own problems. Sounds like a brilliant plan right? Then, why don’t some of us follow the advice of those who were successful. There’s more to reaching a goal than attending meetings or networking. Your mind and body need to go to work without knowing they’re working. Some of the best ideas when we we are relaxed and having fun, not by being stuck in a board room meeting. Does a board room meeting sound like fun or work? How are we supposed to come up with brilliant and innovative solutions if we are trapped in an environment that puts most of us to sleep. Think about your last meeting. Let's face it, some of you were probably wondering what you're getting for lunch while your manager went over the meeting agenda. Does this mean you should get up and dance in front of the board room meeting? Probably not. It just means there are ways to stimulate your mind and body, you just need to find the way that helps you get to that point consistently. It also means that depleting your mind and body out of things it needs, like sleep is not the path to success. There may be a few late nights in your future to meet a deadline but it shouldn’t cause months of burnout. If it does, then you need to find a way to stop the madness in your life.
Still don’t know where to begin. Let me share a video resource with you that I found grounding for an entrepreneur. Brian Tracy, consultant to many successful business presidents, shares about 15 key secrets to reaching your personal goals. He shared the same key secrets in his book, The Secret to Self Made Millionaire. Here is the link to him speaking on the keys to success: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la6S-2bvme0.
~ Mahieu Spaid
Author and Artist at Mahieu Studios
Mahieu Studios - providing resources for artists and writers in our community because no one should starve visually or literally.