Case Study 2: Writer's block
Heidi has a job she loves. She develops programming for a wellness company, with the intention of improving the lives of others through mind and body practices. Recently she has developed a series of novel programming platforms which has led to great success for her company.
Heidi’s approach is based on the potential of ideas … an idea is a gift which presents an opportunity to flesh out. The ability to generate, and then develop ideas, is in her model the foundation of creativity. It was now time to operationalize the concept, share these ideas with other agencies, and source new clients. Her business partners were also counting on this to achieve predictable and sustainable growth.
This new project made her freeze in her tracks … she could not transition from ideation to operationalization. She watched, with horror, as her creativity and enthusiasm fizzled. She noticed her near-constant procrastination, busying herself with unproductive tasks instead of writing. When she did put pen to paper, her offerings felt stiff and unoriginal, lacking the brilliance of the work she had put so much effort into developing. She had a serious case of writer’s block.
Inquiry-Based Coaching (IbC)
IIbC posits that a creative, intelligent and compassionate mind is our birthright. Any thought or story that would pull us out of this natural state, any thought that causes stress, is a block to what we are capable of. It is an invalid assumption that should be written down and questioned.
We started by reconnecting with her creative mind. We chose a time where she had experienced “flow”. We noticed how that felt, in her mind and in her body. We then identified the blocking type thoughts that came up for her when she considered her writing project. Together we made a list of the thoughts that made her dread writing. “People will think I am flaky and self-centered” “My partners will be upset if I don’t do a good job” “My work is not worthy of a write-up” “My audience will laugh at my work”
We then did inquiry on these thoughts. Through this process, she noticed that none of these stressful beliefs were indeed true. They were simply stories she had made up in, and about the past, and carried into the future. She noticed her greatest critic was herself, that she never felt like she quite measured up. No one else was saying this, though the fears in her were real. Through inquiry, we then challenged the assumptions she made about her self-worth and the value of her work. After inquiry, the self-defeating thoughts no longer had a hold on her. First, when they came back she could go through the exercise on her own and place them in perspective. Eventually, they simply no longer occurred to her.
Un-muzzled by these beliefs, Heidi experienced a reconnection with her creative mind. The gift of creative ideas again appeared on her mental doorstep, at any time she wanted, w without regard for the outcome or reaction of her peers. Her writing, like her program work, exploded. She could easily move between ideation and operationalization. She became a more complete manager or her business and a more effective seller to her clients.