Is your "think different" mind tricky to work with & motivate?
I've recently been learning to build my own business after coming off of years of working to transform the educational system in higher education. Starting a business is something I've always secretly wanted to do but been too scared to go for.
At the same time, I've been learning a lot about neurodivergence. Neurodivergence looks at how the brains of those of us with various forms of high sensitivity function differently. Not differently as in bad or wrong. But differently in a way that is actually an asset as we learn to work with our sensitivity and the ways our brains work differently.
In the process of both building my business and learning about neurodivergence, I've bumped into big struggles motivating myself as a solo entrepreneur, struggles I never ran into in the midst of a complex organization with lots of problems, complexity, and people to work with. There I seldom had trouble motivating myself.
But in my own creative ventures (business building & memoir writing), I've been learning to work with my "think different" brain instead of feeling inept and frustrated at how hard it is to motivate.
What does it mean to have a brain that thinks different? And do any of these ring true in your experience?
*Your mind is unruly and resistant as heck when you try to motivate it to do things it considers boring but that many people do without much trouble (like moving big piles of mulch or maintaining something that's already well-established or...). It doesn't take much to underwhelm your mind.
*It loves pushing against what it dislikes--noticing what's not working well, seeking continuous improvement wherever it goes, fighting to change systems for the better--or responding to whatever is immediately in front it. So, it's way easier to motivate when there's something else to work with than to generate your own creative energy & move towards it in isolation.
*It works best under challenge & pressure. Even if the situation is stressful, your brain is often more able to motivate if it's got an interesting challenge its trying to overcome or pressure to make something happen.
*It gets easily overwhelmed because it has a million ideas and huge sense of possibility, which makes committing and moving towards something in the world difficult (especially when there's nothing that has to happen or be done immediately). You often end up committing to 20 things instead of a few things or sitting in the stew of too many ideas to move forward.
*If something isn't feeling quite right emotionally (which may be often), your brain would much rather immediately untangle the problem than move forward with your day as planned. Your brain excels at hyperfocus--especially when there's a problem to solve. It may even be good at creating a problem to solve if there isn't one so that is has something to focus on.
So how do you motivate & work with a highly sensitive brain like this?
It's definitely a learning curve! And many of the traditional ways of motivating don't work well for those of us with brains that think different. This can leave us wondering what's wrong with us or why we can't do things in the way others do.
But if we remember to hold our sensitivity as an asset, something to guide our way of being in the world, then we can begin experimenting. What does work for our think different minds?
Here is one of my favorite tricks for supporting myself in moving forward in building my business and writing my memoir that works with my think different brain:
Wrap relationships & an environment around everything I'm doing.
Instead of planning for my class alone, work with other people who also have ideas. I'm hiring a couple of people to collaborate with in an ongoing way this time through the class. This allows me to interact and be with whatever's happening in that interaction and then use the creativity that came out of the exchange when I'm planning later (which is way more motivating than planning without any feedback to work with). This helps my brain feel interested instead of underwhelmed because it has enough stimulation to work with. And that's key for sensitive brains: Having enough stimulation...but not too much.
This also helps me to focus instead of all being overwhelmed by all of my ideas. In interactions with others, I can sense & feel (instead of analyze) what ideas have most energy and lead us someplace interesting and which don't, focusing my energy. Being in interaction means I can intuit and know with my body and being not just my head. It means I can respond and work with, not just generate alone.
Finally, interacting with others creates a mini environment (some external structure) for me to push off of and work with in moving myself forward. I have to meet someone else at a set time, have something ready for our meeting, and leave with some take aways and to do's. This creates an environment around what I'm doing. I'm no longer an isolated individual trying to make something happen, but a part of something bigger that has life and energy of its own. Which means I can do all sorts of things in response to it: harmonize with it, push against it, amplify it, etc. Instead of marching my way forward, I can dance with something else to move & motivate.
The bottom line? Many sensitive brains operate best in response to interconnections, relationships, and contexts. Sensitive brains need environments to animate them. This means that to do things we love, we often need to create environments where none existed before.
If you'd love to learn to motivate and move towards what you love while working with your brain's sensitivity, please reach out for a free discovery call to learn more about my 10 week class for women who think different starting October 5.