Communicate: Sending up a flare
Communication and escalation are your best friends. Communicate with your mentors and managers about your frustrations, this helps move the energy out of you and place it above you. It’s like sending your energy up into the air like a flare.
Your mentors are there to help you. Once they can see your energy, they can help you shape it into something positive. And in doing so, we protect ourselves and those around us from its burn.
We must have the courage to push this energy out into the open, because it’s dangerous if we keep it within. The energy will build up. And we risk isolating ourselves and bringing toxicity to those around us.
Collaborate: Creating a guiding star
When you want to change or create a new box you may need to get people onboard with your new perspective. Stories and artifacts are a great way to build a guiding star to lead the way.
The best way I’ve seen this done is from a former Head of Design at Xero. If he had an idea born of frustration, he would create a story that always started with two simple words — “Imagine if…”.
By starting with those words, you’re opening up peoples minds. And start a productive conversation about how they can help.
New perspectives of your energy will naturally form. What are the benefits of this new perspective? What are the risks of doing it and what are the risks of not doing it? An understanding will be built, your story will develop. Your energy will start to take shape into a star.
The benefit of talking to people about your star is everyone feels included. You’re not isolating yourself which can be seen as defiant, you’re being inclusive which will be seen as influential.
Inspire: Point others towards the stars
I worked at a company that was in the process of building their design system, — a box for designers to work within. A friend of mine, an extremely strong and opinionated designer, challenged this system frequently. He figured out a way to safely go rogue and work outside of the box. Eventually releasing a product that was celebrated by its users and the leadership team.
Not only did the star he created help reshape the box, but when his leaders pointed towards the star. This inspired me and others to look for opportunities. This creates passion within the team.
And passion is powerful and contagious.