Most people will experience a huge level of stress as they are reaching a new level of development. The reason we feel this stress is because we feel out of control. And usually, we feel out of control because we haven’t discerned what the threat is. You might think the threat is economics—will the stock market implode, or not? Maybe it’s personal: You don’t know how to reinvigorate your marriage. Or you don’t have a marriage and want one. Or maybe you don’t want to be groomed for the next level; you want more family time.

It’s natural to have a certain level of anxiety with change. It’s what most people know as creative tension. You need to be able to stand in the tension long enough and know how to use it, to make a good, accurate decision. When we learn how to do this, we can dramatically increase our levels of creativity.

We become more creative when we feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, you marshal your resources to defending, not creating. We feel safe when we feel in control. And the only thing you can control is yourself. For an immediate de-stresser, give yourself that understanding. My personal de-stresser response is to ask myself: “If this does or does not happen, will I die?” The stress level immediately decreases so that I can think straight.

What you do once you’ve reached the edge of your comfort zone is what sets you apart from others as a leader and a human being. We all have blind spots. The StillPoint Experience is an online, interactive assessment that will show you yours. Learn more.

If you want to become more creative, you need to understand what “safe” feels like. When you start feeling unsafe, ask yourself: Is there a threat? As soon as you articulate what the “enemy” is, you can switch from defensive thinking to thinking creatively about a solution.

When we are anxious, our brain defaults to the negative. You can train your brain to outcompete the negativity by creating multiple positive solutions. This simple training is not only how you can become more creative, but can be a new frame for what you thought creative was. If you think becoming more creative is a flimsy whim, then you are doing yourself—and everyone around you—a disservice.

Our assumptions about what is causing our stress and eroding our creativity show up with startling accuracy in the corral. A client recently said to me, “What’s different about Vista Caballo is that I got to see my ‘wall’ right in front of me. The only decision I had to make is whether I want to walk around it or not.” That’s the beauty of the space between you and the horse.

My definition of creativity is taking yourself to new levels of positive thinking. Ask, “What could be possible?” If you can’t get to what’s possible, then please get here.

Learn more about how to accurately assess the target of your stress and become more creative through one-on-one CEO mentoring with Lisa Arie at Vista Caballo.