When freelancers can’t see the wood for the trees

There’s an expression “busy doing something else” which gives the sense of being absorbed, concentrating, focused on something so that other thoughts are put aside.It’s something to be encouraged, especially when you’re scratching your head looking for the answer to a tricky issue or situation, writes business mentor Kay White, of communications consultancy Way Forward Solutions.Go and do – absorb yourself – in something else!

When you’re too close

Sometimes, though, the full-on focus we give to something means we miss some of the subtleties of what’s actually happening.I hear people saying things like “I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall,” or “I can’t stop thinking about ABC,” or “I can’t leave until I’ve sorted it”. Often that’s exactly the problem.

When you give yourself permission to leave it – and I do mean give yourself permission – because it’s an active, energetic decision (rather than a defeat) – by saying ‘OK, let’s just park this for now, I’m going to go off and do something else,’ this is often where the ‘aha’ moment is waiting for you.

Creative reboot upon return

Having been off there, busy doing something else, you will notice you have a different conversation with yourself when you return.

Personally, I’ve come back recently from holiday where I was busy – everyday – doing something else.Waterskiing was the constant though. I’ve skied for years and love it – the speed, the sensation, the ‘hey I might fall off’ feeling at times! What I realised though this time, is how many similarities and insights there are to be had by comparing improving one’s waterskiing with building and expanding one’s business or career.

Five tips for the track

Consider these 5 quick lessonsto learn about business success from being ‘busy doing waterskiing’:

  • Keep flexible and relaxedas much as you can. There are forces at work, which you can’t see, and they’ll help you.You don’t have to force it, go with where you’re being pulled.
  • Know there will be bumps in the waterand the current can pull you off course but keep your eyes on the water where you’re going! Stop watching and worrying about the bumps all the time; watch the water where you want to be.
  • Let go when you have to.When you decide to – or have to – sometimes it’s best to just let go, have a face full of water and then get up again and get back on.Hanging on too tightly doesn’t do much for your style or your peace of mind.
  • Listen to the advice of your mentor/instructor.Other people can often see what you can’t when you’re in action.It might be just a simple tweak and it’s too close to the end of your nose for you to see it. Study what the masters do and then model it. Make it a style of your own.
  • Rest up and regroup. Remember it’s about the ride too and it’s more of a marathon than a sprint.Take breaks, limber up and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Your unique phrase and profile

Ron, our ski instructor, uses a great expression, which is helpful to remember whilst you’re busy doing something else “keep your legs loose and reeeelaaaax”.

To enjoy the creative ways your mind works when you’re busy doing something else, ask yourself these 3 quick questions:

  1. What is it that I love to do, that I’m good at and that I know lifts my spirits?
  2. When I’m doing this, what skills do I need to use and what things must I remember to be able to do it?
  3. What lessons are there for me to use and then share with my colleagues, friends or clients, that seem like or applicable to the situation we’re scratching our heads about?

Article, reproduced with permission, by Kay White, communications expert and mentor at Way Forward Solutions. Kay shows professionals how to get quicker more profitable results and build stronger connections by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator. Kay’s first book, The A to Z of Being Understood is a Number 1 Amazon Bestseller for Customer Service.



14th March 2012

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