Get Unblocked


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As an entrepreneur and a creative, you need ways to work better so that you can create more, but what do you do when you hit a seemingly insurmountable mental wall? You need to get unblocked: to bust through that barrier to allow creativity to flow. Beware: this presentation challenges the standard norms around concentration, focus, productivity, and may change how you work…for the better.

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Get Unblocked

  1. If You Feel Inclined to Tweet… I am: @denisejacobs We’re at: @MindTheBridge And I’m talking about ways to #getunblocked
  2. How did I become a Creativity Evangelist?
  3. After writing this…
  4. I had an epiphany
  5. In terms of
  6. We ALL hold the power
  7. Creativity is highly valued
  8. I’ve decided it’s my life work Photo: Derek Kearney
  9. Intro Blocked?
  10. What’s our most important tool for creating?
  11. No, not these…
  12. This one!
  13. Instead of accessing all of your great ideas
  14. And feeling like this
  15. You run into road blocks
  16. When you need them the least
  17. And you run completely
  18. However, creativity is a source of true power
  19. “Creativity is newness produced.” - Sir Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds
  20. When we are in the creative flow
  21. We are alchemists
  22. It feels like
  23. “Creativity is magical, but it is not magic.” - Dr. Charles Limb, Your Brain on Improvisation TED talk
  24. We’re innately powerful creators
  25. Instead of using it fully
  26. We fear it Photo: Denise Jacobs
  27. And give our power away
  28. Building Blocks
  29. Prologue How it starts
  30. It starts early &
  31. Share 4 stories from my own life
  32. Age 6
  33. Dad Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  34. Mom & sister Photos: Deloria Jacobs
  35. Me? More of a graphic artist Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  36. Age 10
  37. Oldest friend in the world Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  38. Age 24
  39. Happy graduation! Now what? Photo: Deloria Jacobs
  40. Maybe be a writer?
  41. First airplane ride!
  42. Internalized the critical voices
  43. Caused me to binge-create
  44. But never felt deserving
  45. Always a bit in the closet
  46. Prologue, part 2 What it creates
  47. These lies that we tell ourselves
  48. Leave parts of us paralyzed and imprisoned
  49. Adds up
  50. = Blocks
  51. Instead of creativity
  52. Destructivity
  53. Getting Unblocked
  54. Nudge your comfort zone
  55. “Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.” - Anna Freud
  56. 1 Recognize & Banish
  57. Busyness
  58. Monsters in your head
  59. “If your demons are such that they fill the room the instant you contemplate creating, your studio will be too dangerous a place to enter.” - Eric Maisel, author of Fearless Creating
  60. What’s really going on is we’re
  61. Physical evidence of fear
  62. Recognize the many forms of your Inner Critic
  63. Impostor Syndrome
  64. Impostor Syndrome Paradox
  65. Comparisons
  66. Perfectionism
  67. Procrastination
  68. Fear of failure
  69. “The goal is to manage anxiety so that our energies are used for the productive and satisfying art of creating, rather than the destructive and debilitating art of self-torture.” - Clare Warmke, Idea Revolution
  70. F.E.A.R. = “False Evidence Appearing Real” or, alternatively, “F*ck Everything And Run!”
  71. Become a Fear Alchemist
  72. Thoughts on fear
  73. “Fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” - character of Cypher Raige (played by Will Smith), After Earth
  74. Banish the Inner Critic
  75. Empathize
  76. Comparisons aren’t real
  77. Maintain perspective
  78. Reframe #fail
  79. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” - Henry Ford
  80. Nothing is a mistake Photo: Denise Jacobs
  81. “I am best at what I can’t do. It has become my ability to feel strong and confident….I feel free to move, to listen to my heart, to learn, to act even if that means I will make mistakes. If you want a creative life, do what you can’t and experience the beauty of the mistakes that you make.” - Marcel Wanders, Designer and “Professional Amateur” (
  82. Change your body language, change your mind
  83. “Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes.” - Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are TED talk
  84. Fake it until you become it
  85. Exercise: Power Pose Stand up. Assume a pose that embodies a sense of defeat, can’t do it, it will never work, “I suck/I’m no good/an impostor”, etc. Make yourself as small and powerless feeling as possible. Then, strike a power pose. Imagine yourself as a superhero looking off into the distance seeing your destiny of major creative butt-kicking. Alternate several times. Hold the power pose for as long as you can so that you can feel the change.
  86. 2 Adjust & Replace
  87. Train Your Brain
  88. Let’s take a closer look
  89. Left v. Right brain?
  90. Left hemisphere
  91. Right hemisphere
  92. A balanced brain
  93. What are our brains constantly producing?
  94. Know your Brainwaves
  95. Alpha: the gateway to Creativity
  96. “The parts of your brain that are responsible for self-monitoring are literally turned off during creative endeavors….Creative people have mastered the art of turning off [the inhibitive] part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.” - Tina Seelig, InGenius
  97. Exercise: Enter Alpha Close your eyes and relax. Breathe through your nose. Now place your tongue at the roof of your mouth, turn your eyes towards the ceiling underneath your eyelids. Take several deep, long breaths. As you relax, you are changing your brainwaves from Beta to Alpha.
  98. 6 Easy ways access to Alpha
  99. (1) Breathe to refocus
  100. (2) Lay prone
  101. (3) Daydream
  102. (4) Takes a shower
  103. (5) Get physical
  104. “When your brain is supposedly doing nothing, it’s really doing a tremendous amount.” – Marcus Raichle, Neurologist
  105. Exercise Discipline
  106. Manage habits
  107. Clean-up habit fields
  108. Habit what?
  109. Practice: Habit field reboot Clean up your work habit field by following the suggestions in the article “Habit Fields” by Jack Cheng. Create your equivalent of a “distraction chair” and move to it when you feel like you are inclined to surf the web, email, Tweet, Facebook, or engage in any other computer-related distraction. When you are ready to work again, come back to your desk. Rinse and repeat until your work habit field is clear again and no longer fuzzy.
  110. Manage time
  111. Practice: To Don’t List To do more of what you love and less of what you dislike, start writing To Don’t Lists (aka “Stop Doing” Lists).   Pick a partner, and write a list of 3-5 items that you commit to stop doing within the next 30 days. Date the list. Share the list with your partner and get ideas on how to eliminate these items from your life either by stopping them or delegating/outsourcing the tasks.   Review your list in 30 days to see what you need to continue to stop doing so that your time is spent on what you value and want to cultivate. Create another list for the upcoming 30 days.
  112. Say NO to Distractions
  115. Further Resources Firefox extension: LeechBlock: Firefox extension: Idderall: idderall/ Google Chrome extension: Strict Workflow: Google Chrome extension: StayFocusd: stayfocusd/
  116. Single-task
  117. Pomodoro Technique
  118. Airplane mode
  119. Practice: Pomodoro 2.0 Practice the Pomodoro technique. Do a 30 minute sprint where you turn off all distractions and work for 25 minutes. Before you start your sprint, write down the objective of the sprint. Do the sprint, and at the end of it, take a moment to jot down any challenges encountered, and your end results from the sprint. For your 5 minute break, activate your Alpha brainwaves by either laying down on the floor with your eyes closed, or look at clouds shifting in the sky.
  120. 3 Invite & Allow
  121. “Sometimes dabbling in mysticism can be a fun way to understand and solve a problem.” - Carl King, So You’re a Creative Genius, Now What?
  122. A little help from (imaginary) friends
  123. Your subconscious
  124. The spirit of the idea
  125. Ideas use us (not vise-versa)
  126. Practice: Converse with the Spirit of the Idea Instead of treating an idea as something that comes from inside of your head, treat it as an external entity that has chosen you to bring it into the world. Take some time to converse with the idea as an entity with its own goals and objectives and vision for itself, and find out how you can help the entity get itself into the world the way it wants to be.
  127. Listen
  128. Converse
  129. Embrace disruption Photo: Denise Jacobs
  130. Capture ideas
  131. Write them down
  132. Sketch them out
  133. Talk them out (& record it)
  134. Gather and curate your ideas
  135. Tools to do so Evernote Diigo Tumblr
  136. 4 Connect & Flow
  137. Do it with others
  138. Mo’ people, mo’ ideas
  139. Avoid sameness
  140. Immerse yourself in diverse environments
  141. Don’t keep them to yourself
  142. Share ideas
  143. Share mistakes
  144. Be the locus where ideas can mix & mingle
  145. Expands, does not contract
  146. Amplify the ideas of others
  147. Improv
  148. Plus it
  149. The structure
  150. Make your partner look good
  151. The stage is set for Flow
  152. Flow?
  153. The previous steps lead you here: •  Concept in mind: know what you want to achieve and what it looks like •  Practice in place •  Cleared space •  Time carved out and distractions eliminated •  Necessary materials on hand
  154. Free & Clear
  155. Before
  156. After
  157. Stepping through them more easily
  158. (Re)Gain Creative Confidence
  159. …which is “…the confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before.” - David Kelley of Ideo
  160. Ideas are on and poppin’!
  161. Work becomes Play
  162. Reclaim our power
  163. Value yourself, ideas, and process
  164. Moving forward
  165. “Creativity makes day to day experiences more vivid, more enjoyable, more rewarding. When we live creatively, boredom is banished and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery.” - Mihali Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity
  166. To strive to
  167. And continue to
  168. The End…?
  169. Resources! Always being updated as I find new relevant articles! “Great Resources” almost daily: @denisejacobs on Twitter
  170. My articles for further reading! four-secrets-enhancingcreative-productivity reigniting-your-creative-spark/ banishing-your-inner-critic/
  171. Cover art thanks to Americo Morales
  172. How to find me Photo used with permission:
  173. Want More? Sign up for news on my upcoming book, projects, other announcements and whatnot at the brandspankin’ new
  174. Thank you