Ep #8: How to Think Differently

In last week’s podcast episode, I outlined the importance of operating in your zone of genius and why it’s absolutely key to finding your happiness and the money you want to be making in your business! My goal today is to make sure you not only have this information in your consciousness but also to help you learn how to think differently so you can achieve the financial results (and more) that you would like to.

Being able to come up with “out of the box” ideas is one of those things that we all want to be good at. No one wants to execute the same old boring plan everyone else has done. I’m going to let you in on a little observation though: this is what most of us do. And it’s not going to help in your quest for your zone of genius!

Join me this week as I explore seven ways to think differently to drastically increase your financial results. These ideas are going to tackle some real mind management issues, and you might even have to go back to previous episodes to do the work, but conquering this concept is going to change your life forever!

If you would like to see where you currently rate on my zone of genius scale, download the worksheet I’ve created for you here! Map out how you can regularly stay “in the zone” 80% of the time and achieve massive success in all areas of your life!

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • How we get stuck in doing things the same way as everyone else.
  • Why you need to get comfortable in discomfort.
  • The tunnel vision approach that won’t get you what you want.
  • What worry and confusion contribute to your life.
  • Why I want you to fail fast.
  • The difference between trying and doing.
  • How your expectations are stopping you from doing things differently.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number eight.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here is your host, Tobi Fairley.

Wow, are you freaking kidding me? This is podcast number eight. That is two months’ worth of podcasts, y’all, that are created and recorded and getting lots of play time and amazing feedback. And I could not be more excited and so thankful. So thank you so much for listening because you know what, I have so much fun doing this and I’m glad that they’re making a difference for you.

Okay, so today we’re going to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart. There’s a lot of stuff near and dear to my heart. I get so excited about these ideas, y’all. This is something though that I want to teach every single person I know, especially my daughter and my husband.

And that is how to think differently and why I think this is important. So if you listen to podcast number seven on the zone of genius, you heard me talk about how I think not only our own future and our own financial success and fulfillment but definitely the future of other generations like my daughter’s generation, I think, are going to be dependent on finding their own zone of genius. That place where their unique talent and purpose meets that ability to make their most money. The most money they can generate with that value that they put into the world.

And I think that is so important if they want to be happy, and yes, make the most amount of money that they’re capable of making. So that’s why I think it’s important, and that’s what I want for myself and for you too. So today’s podcast, which is seven ways to think differently to drastically increase your financial results, is sort of like the how to the podcast on finding your zone of genius.

And it’s not just financial results, you can change a lot of other things too, like your confidence and some other things, but a lot of you are wanting to change your financial results, and I always want to change my financial results for the better if there’s something I can be doing to do a better job of making money with my zone of genius. I want to tell you how to think differently so you can do that too.

So first of all, here’s what I think the problem is. I think that as a general rule, most people weren’t very creative in their thinking. Now, I know, I know, that’s probably very stereotypical of me to say. And I’m not just trying to paint everyone I know with a broad brush necessarily.

And I don’t even necessarily think that if you aren’t thinking creatively that it’s totally your fault and that you’re prone to this. Because that’s what we’re going to talk about today, why we do this. But gosh, do I ever think life is so boring, we just do things the way everyone else is doing them or the way they have always been done, even when the results that we’re getting are not the results we want.

Now, there are all sorts of reasons, which we’re about to get into, of why I think we don’t think differently. But the interesting thing is as a culture, we’re always saying we want out of the box ideas. But most of the “out of the box ideas” that I encounter in my own business dealings or in my own life really couldn’t be more in the box.

So why don’t we think differently and what can we do to start thinking differently today? Well, I’m about to tell you why. So number one, for starters, we don’t do it because we’re scared. And we say things maybe not out loud, but at least to ourselves, but a lot of times out loud. I just need to know the whole plan and the entire picture before I start.

But we don’t get the knowing all the steps is the opposite of thinking differently and the very definition of thinking exactly like the people that came before you who figured out all those steps in the first place. So do you think the first astronauts to land on the moon knew what to expect when they got there? Of course they didn’t. No one had ever been there.

They might have some idea of some things to expect from their research, but for the most part, they didn’t know. And if they had let their fears of the unknown stop them, we would have never reached the moon. But they believed they could do it so they figured it out. And then they were just fascinated by what they saw when they got there.

So step number one to start thinking differently requires us to do what I call get comfortable being uncomfortable. And not only get comfortable there, but wish for it. Expect it. Even try to get as uncomfortable as possible as often as possible if we want to think differently on a regular basis.

I don’t think any amazing growth or idea generation that’s truly out of the box comes when we’re comfortable. Yet the minute we feel the least bit uncomfortable in our business or in our life or our relationship, or anything for that matter, what do we do? Yeah, we want to stop and run back to the comfy place. Our brain tells us we should.

But if I could teach people nothing else, it would be to stop thinking that feeling discomfort, anxiety, and fear is necessarily a bad thing. Now, of course our minds are wired to think that way. Because way back in caveman days, dinosaur days, the wild west days, and a whole bunch of previous days, fear literally kept us alive, didn’t it?

But today, unless you’re like, on a camping trip at Yellowstone or somewhere, rarely is there a bear chasing us. It’s just our thinking that makes us feel uncomfortable. So when you feel that fear and anxiety and discomfort, particularly in your business, I want you to redefine that as the place you want to hang out. Not the place you want to run from.

And by all means, if you’re an entrepreneur, you have to realize that this place – this place where you feel uncomfortable is exactly what entrepreneur land feels like if you’re going to be successful. Because by definition, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business, or businesses taking on greater than normal financial risk in order to do so. And any time you take on a risk, especially “greater than normal” financial risk, there’s going to be discomfort, right?

So please start to set up shop in your discomfort zone. And when your emotions all come up to tell you to get the heck out of there, please listen to podcast number four from the Design You Podcast about the model and how to solve any problem. Because it’s going to help you solve the problem of feeling uncomfortable.

So number two, what are we going to do to think differently? Well, you have to learn to notice when you are just doing things like everybody else. So can we all get clear on this? That if we do things the way others are doing them, that we’re going to get similar results to what others are getting.

So we’re all clear on that. And do we realize that most other real people that we seem to want to emulate aren’t doing things in a big audacious way, nor are they making huge sums of money, but we’re trying to do the same thing they’re doing?

And in fact, many times, we even have information that our own industry is struggling from doing things the old way. Now, I know that’s true for interior design. But we do it anyway, and we keep building our businesses, and even brand-new businesses on old and broken business models.

And y’all, this is just insanity. Don’t do it. Maybe you look to other industries if you want to have some information. Find the people out there in the world that are doing something unique and getting amazing results, and do what they’re doing. But please don’t just do what everybody’s doing with a business model that’s not even working, okay?

Sounds like common sense, but we’re doing it on a regular basis. Okay, third. Thinking differently isn’t just a one-way street, or like, a single person exercise. Particular if your goal is to make more money. You have to think differently but from the customer’s perspective.

And it seems when I observe other people and people I’m coaching and helping, and I’m sure I’ve been this way myself sometimes too. Seems that often, when we do get super inspired and we do find a way to put our fears aside temporarily, and we run with our big ideas and we’re brainstorming like crazy, and we think that this thing we’re creating is going to be the next great service or solution to our own problem, at least, of not having enough clients or needing more cash flow, but there’s something we forgot.

As we’re dreaming big and we’re getting excited, we often don’t notice that we’re only thinking about this thing from our own preferences and wishes and needs and feelings, and not creating something of real value that solves someone else’s real problem.

So when you want to make money, there’s often a huge customer and consumer piece that gets ignored by people that we can’t ignore. And then when we ignore it and we create this thing and then we put it out there and it’s not a huge success, we think to ourselves, “I can’t believe people don’t want to buy my new genius service or product. This idea is absolutely amazing and totally life changing, and they just need to get onboard with it and pay it.”

And you know what, many of us are even offended when they aren’t as excited as we are, or they don’t see it as a solution to their problems and they’re not dying to give us money. So instead of this tunnel vision approach to thinking, what would make far more sense is if you start with the customer and see what their needs are, and then start that process of thinking differently and brainstorming and have your one key goal for that session or those sessions that it takes to create this big idea, have the key goal there that you’re looking for a solution to the customer’s problem.

So that’s number three. Number four, and this might be the biggest one yet. To think differently, you have to take action on things, and you have to fail. So wait Tobi, you said we’re thinking differently, and now you tell me we have to do? Well yeah, this is where I’m telling you it’s not enough to just think differently. You actually have to put it into action or you’re not going to get the money part. You’re not going to get the results part.

So let me say this again. To think differently and get results from it, you have to do new things. You can’t just map them out. But you have to start them, and I want you to start them sooner than later. And these are going to be things that feel like a total shot in the dark, things that feel completely out of your comfort zone. You’re going to feel totally unsure about whether they work.

And your brain’s going to tell you that these things are going to be embarrassing for you to try or they’re going to be stupid, or other people are going to think they’re stupid. And that it’s a horrible idea for you to try them. And they may be stupid, and they may be embarrassing, but here’s the thing: you have to do things that you think may fail. Because they might, but you have to do them or you won’t know.

And that’s what you actually want is to try something as quickly as possible and to fail. Why? Well, not because I ultimately want you to fail at the whole thing, but because you’re never going to get any idea 100% right the first time. And likely not even the third time, and maybe not even 100% right on the 99th time. But at least if what you put out into the world is not the right path exactly, it’s not the perfect product yet, and it needs to be tweaked, you want to fail and you want to fail fast so you can know what to tweak.

So all failure is the universe telling us no or not quite, really. And failure is a blessing because failure is feedback. And attempting something and failing at something saves you so much time. And let me tell you why it saves you time. Let’s think about that for a minute.

Here’s what most of us look like when we’re trying to think differently and we’re scared. It looks like this: you plan, worry, fret, discuss, decide to do something, second guess, undecided to do it, tweak the thing some more, fret some more, and then if you’re lucky, you finally decide to dip your toe in the water of doing something, and then you worry and fret some more and then if you get the least bit of negative feedback at all, you usually quit.

And this worry fret process that just took me a long time to describe actually takes weeks or months or even years to go through. And it’s miserable. So you could do all of that in your approach to thinking differently and getting major results, or you could just have an idea, map it out, get it to a place that looks pretty good, try it this afternoon, fail at it, get great feedback, take that feedback and tweak the thing until it works better, and you’re making a little money from it or even a lot of money from it, and then put it back out there again tweaked, and see if you make even more money and if you have more success.

And you keep doing that and you help a whole bunch of people and you potentially and eventually make a whole bunch of money because you put it out there and it was way faster than the fretting worrying process, and of course, the money comes to you way faster than trying to be perfect before you put it out.

So even if you have to have four or five iterations of something, or even 45 iterations of something, or more, it is still faster to just do it than to go through all the painful stuff you go through when you don’t take action. And notice, I said you have to do new things. I didn’t say you have to try new things because trying is not really doing. Trying is not committed, and I want you to think about the difference in these two things and really, here’s two sentences to help prove my point.

If someone says, “I will try to do that this afternoon,” versus somebody says, “I will do that this afternoon,” which one of those would you like to pick if you want results? Well, of course, you want the one where they say, “I will do that this afternoon,” because they’re committed, and it’s going to happen, and you believe it. It’s not, “I will try.”

I mean, any time these days that my husband or anyone else in my life says, “I will try to do that.” I just go ahead and go, “Ain’t happening, never mind, give that back to me, I’ll take it, I’ll handle it or I’ll have somebody else handle it because you’re not going to make it happen.”

And that is the exact way we have to think about this doing. So you have to do something and you have to fail at it because everybody has to. Because there’s really no avoiding either on the way to success. And let’s just be clear for a minute about failure. Failure stops most people because just the idea of failure, all that stuff is a deal breaker.

And because we have defined failure to mean something that is bad instead of defining failure as say, something that’s in progress or this is step number one, or I’m on the path to my goals and I expect this to happen, if we define failure as bad, then what are we going to do?

Well, we’re going to believe that we should avoid it as all costs. Because you know, this is exactly what our society has taught us. And a lot of times, our family has taught us this. So if you want to think differently and get big results, you must redefine failure so you can think differently.

Okay, number five. Next, you have to stop worrying and being confused. One of the most profound things I have ever heard from my mentor, Brooke Castillo, who I know I talk a lot about because she really helped me change my life in some big ways, is this: she says worry pretends to be necessary.

Now, let’s get clear on this together. Worry pretends to be necessary. That means worrying makes you think you are doing something, but you’re not, other than wasting time worrying. Worry does not change anything about a situation or a problem. But it feels like it’s a requirement, doesn’t it? If we really care about the thing or a person, but it’s not. Worry is completely optional, and worry keeps you from thinking differently.

Now, then there’s confusion. And what is confusion? Well, confusion to me is just another way to fail ahead of time. Each time you run up against that feeling of confusion, it’s really just fear in disguise. So I want you, when you think, “I’m confused, I don’t know what to do next,” I want you first to remind yourself that no one knows what to do next. You just try something.

Well, you don’t try it. You just do something, right? You just do the next thing that comes to your mind and see if that works. And if you still are stuck, even though you remind yourself that no one knows exactly what to do for the next step, then I want you to ask yourself this question. I know I’m confused, but if I weren’t confused, what would I do next?

Because here’s the thing: when we ask our brain a great question, it’s going to give us an answer. And when you ask your brain the question, “Well, if I weren’t confused, what would I do next?” you’re going to think of one or 10 things immediately. You’re going to think, “Well, I don’t know if this is right but I guess I could do x.”

And when that comes to mind, just do it. Don’t question it. Don’t hyper focus on it. Don’t get back in the worry spiral about it. Don’t start that whole fret and decide and undecide thing we described earlier. Just do it. And see what happens. And then tweak it again, and immediately do it again because this is what gets you out of both worry and confusion.

Okay, number six. One more thing you have to do to think differently and get big results is to not get attached or married to your big ideas. So as we’ve mentioned, if you want to succeed, you have to do a lot of different things and see what works, right?

And if you are so attached, or even really kind of relatively attached to your idea or your approach or the process and the way you saw it happening in your mind, then you’re not going to get very far down the path of success. And you’re going to get some feedback and you’re going to stop.

And again, this is going to be doing what I call failing ahead of time before you had to even, because you were so attached to an idea or a plan simply because you concocted it, and you really, really liked it, and you were so proud of it, that when it doesn’t go exactly as you envisioned it through your rose-colored glasses and in your mind, then you’re going to be upset that it wasn’t perfect and you’re going to start with all these crazy thoughts that you need to use the model to fix from podcast number four.

But ultimately, you’re not going to move forward. So I want you to be committed to doing, to doing something, seeing what happens when you fail, and then tweaking it and doing it again. Be committed to the doing, but not attached to whether it worked the way you thought it would.

I want you to be curious about actually what happens and be fascinated by. Like, “Oh, I thought it would do one thing. Fascinating, it did something else.” And then ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Don’t be disappointed or frustrated that it didn’t work the way you thought it would. Be thrilled that you got feedback that can help you keep moving in the direction you’re going until you get results.

So if your expectation that this was going to work the very first time exactly like it was in my head, you’re going to be really disappointed. And you’re going to stop doing things differently. And you’re going to head right back over to your comfort zone and you’re going to live there still not getting the results you want.

So I want you to expect things not to work the first time. In fact, I want you to expect things not really even to work completely several times, or many, many, many times. But if you’re committed to keep doing it and keep tweaking it and keep improving it until it works, or even works better and works better and better and makes you more money and more money and more money, if you’re committed to doing whatever it takes, then when something doesn’t go as expected, you will easily be able to recover from it.

Because you’re going to think, “Oh, I knew this was going to happen. I’m prepared, I’m prepared for it not to go the way I thought. Of course, nobody ever knows how things are actually going to work until you do it. So I’m ready for this, no biggie. Not taking it personally. Now I’m going to see, what did I learn and what can I tweak and how quickly can I tweak it so I can launch it again and get more feedback?”

So the only thing I want you to be attached to is continuing to take action until you have success, which is the very definition of taking massive action. If you can train yourself to think differently with all these seven tips that we’ve talked about by listening to your audience and their problems, and coming up with solutions, and doing them immediately and consistently, and adjusting or tweaking them as needed when you get feedback until you have success, then you’re going to make more money, be more confident, and be more fulfilled than you can even imagine.

And like we discussed in episode seven, if you make sure these things you are doing align with your purpose and your talents and your passion, then you will be living and working in your zone of genius almost all the time.

So get out there and start thinking differently and start doing differently, and don’t let your failure and your worry and anything else stop you because you’ve got this. Oh, and before you go, if you think that these podcasts are me living in my zone of genius and they’re changing your life for the better, then I would really love it if you would leave me a rating and a review in iTunes.

Those reviews help other people know if this is a podcast they should listen to, and I’d surely appreciate it if you would help me get your thoughts about this podcast if you love it out into the world so other people will think about taking a listen, okay? So to do that, you can search the Design You Podcast on iTunes and subscribe to it, and then it will allow you to give me a rating and a review, which is basically like leaving a comment.

Or if that sounds too scary and you feel confused, then don’t be confused. Head over to tobifairley.com/itunes and I will tell you exactly how to leave me a rating and a review with visuals so you can see and know you’re on the right track of what it’s going to look like when you get over to iTunes, and then you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and how to make a review and a rating happen.

So thank you so, so much for doing that, and thank you so, so much for listening to this podcast today. And I’ll see you here again next week.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. And if you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program Design You at tobifairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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