The difference between a Designer and Developer, when it comes to design skills, is the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.
Sometimes in meetings, I sense people seizing up, not wanting to even talk about changes, so I try to trick them. I’ll say, ‘This would be a big change if we were really going to do it, but just as a thought exercise, what if …’ Or, ‘I’m not actually suggesting this, but go with me for a minute …’ If people anticipate the production pressures, they’ll close the door to new ideas—so you have to pretend you’re not actually going to do anything, we’re just talking, just playing around. Then if you hit upon some new idea that clearly works, people are excited about it and are happier to act on the change. Another trick is to encourage people to play. Some of the best ideas come out of joking around, which only comes when you (or the boss) give yourself permission to do it. It can feel like a waste of time to watch YouTube videos or to tell stories of what happened last weekend, but it can actually be very productive in the long run. I’ve heard some people describe creativity as ‘unexpected connections between unrelated concepts or ideas.’ If that’s at all true, you have to be in a certain mindset to make those connections. So when I sense we’re getting nowhere, I just shut things down. We all go off to something else. Later, once the mood has shifted, I’ll attack the problem again.
Give yourself permission to relax. You owe it to yourself. You’ve been doing such a phenomenal job. Reward yourself. You’re worth it.