Recently we asked our Instagram fam what their biggest challenge in business is.
We got some answers that totally sum up what it's like to be a small business owner in 2015:
- "Time... There never seems to be enough." – @monkeymadness
- "Figuring out the next step!" – @briana.sanmiguel
- "Balance! Balancing my full time job, my side hustle, my friends + family, wedding planning, and self care!" – @nikijonesphoto
We totally connect with all of these challenges.
It seems like there's never enough time to get everything accomplished, the future of your business often seems hazy and out of reach, and life becomes one huge balancing act that takes its own toll on you and your family.
And honestly, these questions are ones that we face too, every day. We by no means have them figured out. The best we can offer are our own experiences that have helped us out with these challenges:
- One choice that's been amazing for time management has been to set up streamlined processes and hire a virtual assistant to help us get it all done.
- And living by the mantra "charge for the real world, not the world you wish existed" has seriously helped us be able to take a step back to see the bigger picture, one which includes greater balance between so many competing elements in life.
But! one response really stood out to us.
We knew we could provide a legit, actionable solution when @tooroosterartistry told us that her biggest challenge in business is...
"Stepping out of my comfort zone."
Getting out of your comfort zone can be a daily challenge in our field.
When you work as a brand specialist, you're always geared toward perfecting someone else's vision – which means we're always working to bring high-quality design to businesses that span the spectrum from cancer support nonprofits to general contractors to handmade jewelry designers and even organic grocers.
Because we're providing a service to businesses with design aesthetic that can be quite different from our personal style, we need to have concrete steps to help us get out of our comfort zones every day.
And we've definitely got strategies to do just that.
So what's my strategy?
Mixing it up with crazy eclectic music!
I've found that one super effective way to push outside my comfort zone is to mix up what I'm listening to... All the time.
From death metal to bubblegum pop, I totally listen to it all: 💀 + 🍬 = ⚡️💡⚡️ 🙌
Changing up what I'm listening to – and pairing opposing genres back-to-back, especially – gives me a big creativity jolt. ⚡️⚡️⚡️ And that's exactly what I need to think of new solutions.
So we're taking this chance to present a master creativity boost playlist: We've put together an upbeat collection featuring a big mix of genres back-to-back-to-back that's specially designed to push you outside of your comfort zone.
Ready for this? Give these 10 songs a listen and let us know what you think! You can check out a description of each (and why it's included!) beneath the player.
... And we should mention that a few of these have some explicit lyrics. Tracks with explicit content have an explosion emoji (💥) next to titles so you can know to avoid them if you've got sensitive ears around!
See? Pushing the comfort zones already. 😎
Here we go!
⚡️⚡️⚡️ 10 songs to jolt your creativity ⚡️⚡️⚡️
And bust you out of your comfort zone! 👊
[UPDATE: If you're not logged into Spotify, you won't be able to listen to this playlist. Sorry about that, guys! I've embedded video links below to help out 😊]
1. ...Baby One More Time • Tove Styrke
It's pretty hard not to start feeling inspired by a new take on an immensely iconic pop masterpiece.
Yes, I said masterpiece.
Listening to Tove Styrke's modern, synth-driven reinterpretation of classic Britney encourages me to think in different ways and consider new possibilities.
Even if it just makes you want to dance, I think this track is enough to get anyone moving forward into reimagine new styles that lie outside of your comfort zone.
2. All the Way Down • French Style Furs
And I totally hope you feel that wide spectrum of influence on this highly addictive track. As one of my friends exclaimed when I turned this on, "What the hell is this?! This is crazy!"
But an awesome kind of crazy.
This song is about coming back from being down and, to me, encourages the listener to shake off whatever has held them back in the past and find a new way forward.
And I think the song's bewildering style that swivels and completely changes direction again and again attests to that message.
I hope you enjoy one of my personal favorites!
3. Biscuits • Kacey Musgraves
Coming off of the eclectic electric buzz of French Style Furs, Kacey Musgrave's uplifting lyrics over a classic country sound on "Biscuits" creates a pleasant (and maybe welcome?) opposition.
Kacey is known for shaking up the country music scene with modern, sometimes even controversial, lyrics that talk about everything from contemporary social issues to personal experience.
But I think you'd have a tough time finding anything to disagree with in the catchy positivity of "Biscuits." Even if you're not into country music, this track's going to be pretty hard to resist. Take the simple message from the song's opening couplets:
"Taking down your neighbor won't take you any higher
I burned my own damn finger poking someone else's fire
I've never gotten taller making someone else feel small
If you ain't got nothing nice to say don't say nothing at all."
Just try and say that doesn't make your heart just 💕💕💕.
💥 4. Bubblegum B---- 💥 • Marina and The Diamonds
Watch out! This one has a few explicit words. Like in the title, for instance 😉
While Kacey Musgraves' "Biscuits" uses a style often associated with social conservatism to spread a message of wide acceptance and positivity, Marina and the Diamonds' "Bubblegum B---" similarly turns its style on its head with a message not usually found in bubblegum pop.
This song flips pop themes of sugary teen love and perfection inside out to talk about the consequences of idolizing perfect appearances and materialism.
But you'll have a hard time not dancing along as this song's fully-fledged pop beat gets started. Are your creative juices flowing again yet? 💆
💥 5. Downtown 💥 • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. lots of people)
Watch out! This track has a few explicit words too.
Macklemore is totally not the star of his own show here, and the track comes out all the better for it (sorry Mack). This song's hands-down best attribute is the quick-change variety of styles it incorporates.
When the goal of this playlist is to break down your comfortable cocoon of day-to-day predictability, these are exactly the kinds of switch-ups that can start pointing you in different creative directions.
If you haven't watched the wonderfully choreographed '70s-inspired video of "Downtown," you've got to go give it a view. And I also suggest you check out the extremely impressive VMA performance the entire crew put on as well!
Hopefully, this track can encourage you to look outside of your own specialties and consider the benefits that collaboration could have on your daily work, whatever it is. Why not give partnering up across diverse disciplines or styles a try? It totally works for the M, the A-C, the K.
6. I Believe You • White Lung
White Lung is a group I'm extremely happy to have come across last summer.
Though often described as a punk rock group, this is without a doubt the most approachable punk rock sound I've heard. Would I be going too far to call it commercial punk rock?
Maybe. That's a clear oxymoron any way you slice it.
But as you might be picking up, a big part of this mix is to shake up a daily routine by bringing in unexpected and unpredictable elements. Oxymorons totally fit the bill, and in that sense I think White Lung is just what the doctor ordered. 😁
7. Our Own House • MisterWives
Coming off the punk rock style of "I Believe You," MisterWives' "Our Own House" should pivot you to an explosively cheerful and optimistic indie-pop-rock-party in your head. I can see the confetti streaming down now. 🎉🎉🎉
What makes this song stand apart is the wonderful brassy instrumentation infused throughout the track.
It's a total mood booster and is at the peak of creative inspiration when juxtaposed with music that gives a totally different feeling.
8. The Wire • HAIM
This song isn't about the HBO drama, but performing under pressure – exactly what we're trying to make sure we can do through this creativity jolt playlist, right?
I first heard of HAIM when I saw them open for Julian Casablancas years ago right here in Columbia, MO. And I've got to be honest, they totally blew him out of the water 1,000,000% that evening. 😎 #womanpower.
Since then, the three Haim sisters have gained more and more popular prominence without abandoning their signature three-tier vocals and classic rock song structure.
What I hope this track contributes to our goal of busting out of your comfort zone is strengthening your message through partnership with others of similar styles. If "Downtown" encourages you to bust out of your comfort zone by taking up with those coming from different disciplines, I hope HAIM's "The Wire" can encourage you to look to those already around you for support and inspiration.
9. Waterfall • Fear of Men
Pivoting from the swag-rock beats of "The Wire" to an the atmospheric beauty of Fear of Men's "Waterfall" provides another twist to jolt your creativity.
I love this track for its ability to be both calming and, somehow, uplifting and optimistic all at once.
The goal is that you come out of this track feeling happily zen, which segues perfectly into...
💥💥💥 10. Work Mommi Work 💥💥💥 • Rye Rye, Filthy Fidgets, Spank Rock
Watch out! This track includes some extremely explicit content! So explicit it gets 3x more explosion emoji than the other explicit tracks. 😱
You didn't expect me to go out without a bang, did you?
I first discovered this track because it features one of my favorite rappers, Spank Rock. However, with even just one listen it was totally clear that the phenomenal Rye Rye totally outshines Spank in every way possible here.
I hope this final dose of Baltimore club rounds out this playlist with an appropriate punch of, again, #womanpower and explosive inspiration.
What do you think? Is your creativity significantly jolted?
I hope you enjoy this mix! How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? Listening to very different genres of music back-to-back works wonders for me, but I'd like to hear your strategies!
Until next time,
We're working hard to show you what five years in business looks like. Comment here or on Facebook with topics or questions you'd like to see us cover. Or maybe just links to your favorite GIFS. You can also tweet us your feedback @hootdesignco or @averyenderle, follow us on Insta, come check out our Pinterest boards, and keep up with us on BlogLovin'!