Breaking the Mould: How to Change Your Approach for Different Results

We've all heard the saying, If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

Breaking the Mould: How to Change Your Approach for Different Results

We've all heard the saying, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

This phrase has been ringing in my ears lately as I contemplate my own life and the results I'm seeing. It's become clear to me that if I want different outcomes, I have to change my approach.

Let me share a story with you. Some years ago, I found myself stuck in a rut. Despite pouring my heart and soul into my work, I couldn't see any significant progress in my career trajectory. My projects, though completed with utmost dedication, seemed to be mired in perpetual mediocrity. This stagnation was perplexing and deeply frustrating, as I couldn't decipher why I wasn't advancing despite my earnest efforts.

One day, during a casual conversation, a friend of mine said something that changed my perspective. He said, "You're trying to fit into a mould that's not meant for you. Break it and create your own path." It was a lightbulb moment for me. I realised I had been trying to follow a path that others had set, not one that aligned with my unique skills and passions.

Since then, I've made significant changes in my approach, and I've seen different, more fulfilling results. In this post, I'll share the insights I've gained and provide practical steps you can take to break the mould and change your approach for different results. Let's dive in!

The Mould We're In

So, what is this mould we're talking about?

In essence, the mould refers to the set of behaviours, attitudes, and decisions we consistently make in our lives. It's the 'status quo' or business-as-usual approach we often take without even realising it. This mould can be shaped by various factors: societal expectations, family influences, past experiences, or even fear of stepping out of our comfort zones.

Our approach to life, defined by this mould, greatly contributes to the results we see. For instance, if we constantly play it safe and avoid taking risks, we may find ourselves stuck in a monotonous routine, unable to make significant progress in our personal or professional lives. On the other hand, if our mould involves embracing challenges and seeking new opportunities, we might see growth, learning, and advancement in our journey.

Let's consider a real-life example. Think of two employees in a company—let's call them Alex and Jamie. Alex sticks to his assigned tasks, never voicing his ideas or taking on additional projects. He's comfortable in his mould of playing it safe. Jamie, however, regularly shares her innovative ideas and volunteers for new initiatives. Her mould is one of proactivity and initiative.

Over time, Jamie receives recognition and promotions due to her contributions, while Alex remains in the same position, feeling overlooked and unappreciated. Their respective moulds—their approaches to their work—lead to vastly different outcomes.

The key takeaway here is that the mould we're in—our current approach to life—significantly influences the results we get. Recognising this can be the first step towards making meaningful changes.

Recognising the Need for Change

So, what is the significance of changing our approach or breaking the mould?

Simply put, if we want different results in our lives, we must change our behaviour. It's like expecting to arrive at a new location by taking the same old route; it's just not going to happen.

Changing our perspective opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It enables us to explore new opportunities, learn from diverse experiences, and ultimately come closer to realising our full potential. Breaking the mould can lead to personal development, career advancement, better relationships, and increased life satisfaction and fulfilment.

There is ample evidence to support the need for change. Adaptability—the ability to change and adjust to new circumstances—is a key factor in achieving success and well-being, according to research in the field of psychology.

Several studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between adaptability and job performance in a variety of contexts. These studies suggest that adaptability does play a role in job performance, job satisfaction, and coping with occupational stress. However, depending on individual differences and specific job contexts, the degree of impact may vary.

Furthermore, neuroscience research shows that our brains are capable of neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural connections throughout our lives. This means that by changing our behaviours and thinking patterns, we can actually rewire our brains. Breaking the mould is therefore more than just a nice idea; it is a scientifically supported strategy for improving our lives.

Changing our approach or breaking the mould is about more than just getting different results. It's about realising our full potential, embracing change, and living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Techniques to Change Your Approach

In a world of constant change and innovation, being able to adapt and alter your approach is a valuable skill.

Here are some techniques that can help you break the mould and bring about a fresh perspective in your work:

1. Brainstorming and Mind-mapping: Brainstorming is a free-thinking, spontaneous group discussion to generate ideas, while mind-mapping is a visual tool to structure information, helping you to better analyse, comprehend, and generate new ideas.

  • Practical Tip: Use digital tools like MindMeister or Lucidchart for creating mind maps. Try setting a timer during brainstorming sessions to keep the process focused and efficient.

2. Seeking Inspiration from Different Sources: In this digital age, inspiration is just a click away. From design blogs and social media platforms to nature and everyday life, inspiration can come from anywhere.

  • Practical Tip: Keep an inspiration journal or a digital board to capture and organise things that inspire you. Regularly review it to ignite creativity when you need it.

3. Collaborating with Others for Fresh Perspectives: Collaboration can lead to innovative ideas that you might not have thought of on your own. It exposes you to different ways of thinking and problem-solving.

  • Practical Tip: Engage in design communities online or offline. Participate in collaborative projects or even consider co-working spaces to network and collaborate with other creatives.

4. Continuous Learning: With the rapid evolution of technology and design trends, continuous learning is a must for every designer. Make an effort to learn new software, and design techniques, or even delve into related fields like marketing or psychology, to give your work an edge.

  • Practical Tip: Online platforms like Coursera, Skillshare, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning offer a plethora of courses tailored for creatives. Dedicate a few hours each week for learning and upskilling.

5. Embrace Feedback: Feedback, both positive and negative, is a valuable tool for growth. It gives you a fresh perspective on your work and helps you identify areas for improvement.

  • Practical Tip: Actively seek feedback from your clients, peers, or mentors. Be open and appreciative of the feedback you receive, and use it constructively to improve your work.

6. Experimentation: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new styles or techniques. Experimentation can lead to unique and innovative designs.

  • Practical Tip: Allocate some time each week to work on personal projects where you can freely experiment without any client constraints. This not only enhances your skills but also enriches your portfolio.

7. Mindfulness: Practising mindfulness can enhance your creativity by helping you focus and observe details you might otherwise overlook. It also helps reduce stress, thereby improving overall productivity.

  • Practical Tip: Incorporate mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga into your daily routine. Use mindfulness apps like Headspace or Calm to guide you on this journey.

8. Time Management: Effective time management allows you to work smarter, not harder. It helps you prioritise tasks, reduce procrastination, and achieve a better work-life balance.

  • Practical Tip: Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break). Tools like Trello or Asana can help you organise and prioritise your tasks.

By incorporating these techniques into your work approach, you're setting yourself up for continued growth, innovation, and success in your freelance design career. Remember, the goal is not to perfect all these techniques but to find what works best for you and adapt it to your unique style and workflow.

With colourful post-it notes stuck to the window, a woman begins to generate ideas.

Overcoming Challenges in a Changing Approach

As with any journey of transformation, changing your approach and breaking the mould can come with its own set of challenges.

It's important to anticipate these obstacles and equip ourselves with strategies to overcome them.

  • Fear of Change: This is a common obstacle many of us face. The unknown can be scary, and stepping outside our comfort zones can feel risky. However, remember that growth often happens outside our comfort zones. Start with small changes and gradually push yourself to take bigger steps.
  • Resistance from Others: Sometimes, those around us may resist our changes, especially if they disrupt the status quo. Communicate your reasons for change clearly and assertively. Remember, it's your journey, and you have the right to steer it in the direction you choose.
  • Old Habits: Breaking old habits and establishing new ones can be tough. But with consistency and patience, it's doable. Use tools like habit trackers or reward systems to keep you on track.
  • Self-Doubt: You might question your ability to change or achieve your goals. In such moments, remind yourself of your past successes and strengths. Affirmations and positive self-talk can also be powerful tools.

Overcoming these challenges may not be easy, but it's certainly worth it. Remember, every obstacle you overcome brings you one step closer to a life that truly aligns with your potential and desires.

The Impact of Breaking the Mould

Changing our approach and breaking the mould can have a profound impact on our lives. It's like opening a door to a whole new world of possibilities, growth, and fulfilment.

Firstly, breaking the mould can lead to personal growth. As we step out of our comfort zones and embrace new experiences, we learn, evolve, and become more resilient. We discover strengths we didn't know we had and unlock the potential we may not have tapped into otherwise.

Secondly, it can lead to improved relationships. When we break free from the moulds that limit us, we start showing up more authentically in our interactions with others. This authenticity can foster deeper connections and mutual respect.

Lastly, it can enhance our career advancement. By breaking away from the mould of conformity and daring to innovate, contribute, and lead, we can make significant strides in our professional lives.

A person wearing a hoodie with their hands in their pockets, gazing at the sunny, misty mountains.

In our journey through this post, we've explored the concept of the mould and how our current approach to life can significantly shape the results we see. We've delved into why changing our approach is crucial and the potential benefits it can bring.

We've also discussed practical strategies for initiating change, from self-reflection to setting clear goals, embracing a growth mindset, taking small steps, seeking support, and celebrating progress. And we've acknowledged the challenges that might arise on this journey and suggested ways to overcome them.

The impact of breaking the mould can be transformative, leading to personal growth, improved relationships, career advancement, and overall fulfilment.

It may be intimidating to leave your comfort zone and alter your approach, but as the adage goes, every magnificent journey begins with a single step. I urge you to take this first step today. Start with manageable adjustments and maintain consistency, and you'll soon observe a transformation in your results, bringing you more satisfying rewards.

Do you feel trapped in a particular pattern? Are you considering modifications to your work method? I encourage you to share your stories in the section below. If you found this post helpful, please share it with others who could benefit from its insights.

Never forget that the capacity for change resides within us. Therefore, let's break these patterns, rethink our strategies, and strive to create the lives we truly desire to live!