4 Mindset Shifts To Push Through Resistance

I joined a mastermind group this month and the first order of business was to identify a big goal that we’ll focus on for the next 12 weeks. I have a dream of leading my own mastermind with a very specific group of creatives from around the world who I’m dying to get in a room together. My problem is that ugly resistance takes grip every time I start to think about moving this idea forward. I have to push myself through that resistance and want to share four mindset shifts that help me when this happens.

Before I dive in, let me take a moment to explain what a mastermind actually is. The standard definition of a mastermind, according to Wikipedia, is a: “peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.” That’s a decent definition but in my view lacks a bit of flair.

I think medium.com’s definition is closer to the way I think about masterminds. In their words: “A mastermind group is simply a meeting, or a series of meetings, of highly motivated folks who share a common goal and are looking to encourage and help each other improve.” The one thing I’d add is that masterminds are a great way to hand pick people you want to meet, learn with, and with whom you’d like to create a lasting bond. It’s a little bit like picking your college courses based on the Professors you want rather than based on the subjects or topics they teach.

When those feelings of resistance and those ugly voices saying: “Who do you think you are to … fill in the blank….?” arise, it’s critical to have some tricks up your sleeve to push them back and shut them up.

Here are my top four tips to push through that ugly resistance when it happens to you.

1.     One Small Thing

I learned this one from Bonnie Christine, the internationally renowned surface pattern designer. When Bonnie was just starting to pursue her dream of becoming a surface designer, it seemed impossible. She began her quest 10 years ago when online education was in its infancy and free YouTube videos were few and far between. Resistance was pretty real.

She determined to push through it by promising herself that she’s do something, even a very small thing, every single day that moved her towards her goal. Sometimes that took the shape of drawing a page full of sketches. Sometimes that took the shape of learning one new technique in Adobe Illustrator. What that “one thing” was, was not important. Doing that “one thing” was, however, absolutely critical. What’s your “one small thing” that you’ll do today to move your dream one step closer?

2.     Change Your Perspective

This is my personal favorite and is, perhaps, counter-intuitive. When I’m facing resistance in the form of a lack of creative ideas, I’ll decide to try something completely different. I’ve been hell-bent for the past several years on improving my surface design skills. I wake up every day and can’t wait to keep working on design or a collection. But sometimes, it’s too much. I know I need some distance. I need to take a bit of a breather.

What works for me is picking a totally new creative endeavor in order to change my perspective. This year I signed up for a collage class with Carla Sonheim. The class is called Year of the Collage and we get new assignments every two weeks. It’s fantastic because although technically it has nothing to do with surface design, it’s giving me fresh insights, new ideas, and a change in perspective. I feel rejuvenated and refreshed when I return to my surface design work. Give this idea a try and see what happens. 

3.     Embrace Shifting Priorities

Sometimes when resistance is really strong, it’s an indication that you’re ready to shift your priorities. You may be thinking that this is a bad thing but it’s not. As creatives, we often love many different avenues for expressing our creativity. Getting stuck or pigeon-holed in only one area can feel really confining. It’s smart to reflect and zoom out periodically to re-evaluate your current focus.  

Are you ready to make a change or shift in a different direction? Remember that you are always building on what’s come before. Changing direction is not losing or leaving that knowledge behind. What you experienced and learned in one area will stay with you and help inform the next direction you take. Is this, perhaps, what you are feeling right now?

4.     Fail to Succeed

A colleague from my corporate days, Philip Van Dusen, who I consider a dear friend, did a great segment on his YouTube channel recently on this topic. He told a very compelling story about how, after he left his very successful corporate career due to severe burn-out, he decided to start an accessories company. He and a partner built the company from the ground up creating everything from the branding and marketing to operations and shipping and everything in between.

After a few years, his partner quit and he had to make a decision. Should he keep the business going all by himself or shut it down. He realized that there were only certain parts of the business that he truly loved, primarily branding and everything having to do with building a brand. He closed it down.

I wouldn’t describe closing the company as a failure. Rather, the entire experience enabled him to discover his true passion and take effective action. He now runs his own branding firm, Verhaal Brand Design, and has over 150K followers on YouTube. Quite the success and, more importantly, he loves every minute of everyday. Are you itching to stop doing something that doesn’t bring you joy anymore? And through it, have you discovered something you truly love?

I hope these ideas spark conversation amongst you and your friends and that you can pull something helpful from them when that ugly resistance rears up in your life. I’d love to know which one resonates the most with you.

If you need a safe place for support and encouragement and you are eager to improve your design and surface pattern skills, join my monthly membership: The Pattern Design Club. I only open it a few times a year to new members.

It’s open now but only until Thursday. Read more about it and act fast if you are interested. New member enrollment ends at midnight PST on Thursday.

As always, remember:

It’s Never Too Late to Create

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Hi…I’m Anne!
My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.


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