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how to find great ideas despite grueling deadlines

Tolerating Uncertainty

Tolerating Uncertainty

Creative work in corporations is like going fishing, but with a gun pointed to your head, telling you to hurry up or you are out! So, what could you do if the deadline is approaching and your cortisol levels are rising? Here are some tips for tolerating uncertainty and feeling Innovator’s HighSM:

Wait and trust

Often ideas just won’t come. This is frustrating and scary, especially when time is not on your side. Don’t force a solution. Wait and tolerate uncertainty. The longer you wait, the more information you’ll receive. Tolerating uncertainty is a game you play against yourself and time. Overcome your fears and leave the well-worn path. Most of all, keep the faith. Patience requires trust. Trust in an epiphany looming and in Innovator’s HighSM to happen.

Make yourself at home

Have a cup of coffee or whatever makes you feel comfortable. For instance, I always make sure my feet are warm. Do whatever makes you feel “geborgen”. (A German word which encompasses feeling secure, snug and sheltered.) If you feel “geborgen”, you are more likely to mentally create chaos and still remain calm, like in the eye of the tornado.

Increase serotonin levels

When pressure and tension is high, the feel-good hormone serotonin soothes your mood. You feel calm, composed and comfortable with uncertainty. Serotonin levels increase with deep sleep, protein intake and cardiovascular exercise.

Anchor your challenge with a prowess

Cover uncertainty with your strengths and skills. Transfer your knowledge from areas you know a lot about into the new challenge. Here is how: Ask yourself what you are skilled in or what you are passionate about. What strength could cover your new challenge?

For example, having gathered years of experiences as an art director, I consider myself a visual person.When I am conceptualizing a new page of the iQudo® workbook, I often start by looking for a matching picture first. The visual inspires me to write. I love good design. I cover the challenge of writing with my strong art sense.

Stay a little longer

When solutions don’t come, we tend to sneak out of the pressure cooker and give into temptations, like checking emails or looking in the fridge. We look for instant gratification. Don’t follow every impulse. Stay with the challenge. Distance yourself from every impulse the body craves. Give yourself a little overtime, maybe five or 10 minutes. It is like in weight training or running. Lift up just one more or run a bit further. Besides, it is rewarding to stay a little longer. The best ideas very often come at the very end.

But don’t overstretch your creative muscle! If you are stuck or tired the next piece of advice will probably help.

Go places

Follow your instincts. The sport of ideas is not just about building up strong muscles, but also about following your intuition. You might get up and search for inspiration in a magazine or go for a walk or run. Or if you are working from your home office, simply do the dishes. Do whatever clears the clouds in your head. Your brain is not attached to your desk chair. You can take it any place you want, it’ll work anyhow.

Finish with a milestone

If you finish with a great idea, after a long creative workout, you will feel Innovator’s HighSM . (The intensity of the feeling depends on the difficulty of the task.) You will look forward to the next challenge. You have conditioned yourself for the better, because you subconsciously know that you feel awesome after a workout. Over time you might even become addicted to Innovator’s HighSM.

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