This week, I came across a really interesting podcast that I thought I would share with you guys. The podcast, “The Two Places that Creative Pros Get Stuck (And What To Do About It)” was produced by Todd Henry. Here is a quick summary of some of the key points that I think would be useful for my e-Learning peers out there.
Getting Stuck in a Rut
In the podcast, Todd talks about why creative pros get stuck in a rut. These are people who keep going back to the same well, the same methods and just become static in their lives and career. He goes on to say that if you’re not growing in some capacity, you’re in the beginning processes of the decline of your life, passion and career. To avoid this and get out of your comfort zone, he introduces four phases that people go through in the creative field:
Phase 1: Discovery
In this phase, you’re discovering new skills, things, insights that you want to learn and develop. In other words, something has peeked your interest and you’re inspired to grow in some capacity. To continue to grow or “climb the mountain” as he puts it, you have to move to the next phase.
Phase 2: Emulation
In this phase, you’re emulating other people who have done it before. Over time, by looking at what others do, how they design, you start to piece together what they did. At this phase you become immersed in the work of other people. At some point, you’ll discover that you’ve emulated their work to the point that it’s second nature to you. But, just as we saw in the last phase, you’ve got to keep moving to grow.
Phase 3: Divergence
During this phase, you start to apply your unique perspective, passion, skills to those basic skills you learned during the Emulation phase. You start to take some risks, try new things, and find new forms of expression. You start to take the skills and make them your own. It’s during this phase that you start to create tremendous value and people start to seek you out. Todd goes on state, this is where many people build their career.
Phase 4: Crisis
You know you’re in the Crisis stage when you’re still doing what you did during the Divergence phase but as Todd states, you’re not getting the same return. Maybe your clients and friends appreciate your work but you’ve now settled in to what you’re known for. What’s interesting about this stage is that many people get stuck here and may spend years or even decades being afraid to try something new. In other words, they’re afraid to risk what they’re known for and don’t won’t to look incompetent.
How do you get out of a rut?
Todd says, the key is to first recognize that you’re in one at the moment! If you find yourself in Crisis phase for example, push past your discomforts and move back to the Discovery phase. Discover a new skill, thing, and/or insight that you want to learn and develop and don’t worry about going from being expert to novice! Over time, you’ll develop new skills which as Todd states, will make you more resilient. People will cycle through these phases many times over the course of their lives and careers. The key is to continue to grow, continue to climb the mountain and understand that the process of growth never ends.
What are my take-a-ways from this podcast?
I’ve been doing content development and working with Storyline for several years now and I can see where I’ve gone through each of these phases at one time or another.
I’m also continuing to work in the Divergence phase on another part of my career. If you’re just starting out in e-Learning, I recommend reading my blog series, “Succeeding as an E-Learning Freelancer.” This is my ongoing 2017 series where I discuss the ins-and-outs of working independently in the Learning and Development industry.
I hope you found this post useful and start to think about where you are in your career. Are you in a rut? If so, maybe it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and spend a little time in the Discovery phase to see that interests you? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.