How often do you have the tools and resources to do your best work?

Just this past week, I had the experience of thinking deeply about the tools and resources I have available at my fingertips, how I use them, and what else I need to accomplish my work or play in the way I believe to be best.

On Monday, I read a post in a thread I’m following for my graphic memoir work, that proclaimed that groups can’t make decisions. I then watched the cascade of comments and gifs that appeared to reinforce that statement. My response was,

Totally disagree! Groups can be effective at decision-making – they/we need the tools to do it. I totally believe it because I am a graphic facilitator helping groups make decisions. 

This group didn’t use any tools and it was messy!

Can you relate to this scene?

How many times have you experienced the effects of a lack of planning and preparation? The process takes longer, sometimes feelings are hurt and the result is often not optimal. 

Another opportunity for reflection came about as I was rewriting the description for my basic Zentangle class for a new, and very different audience, Zen Peacemakers. As these folks don’t know me, probably most are not familiar with Zentangle, and the majority are from a contemplative, Buddhist practice, the invitation to join the session had to be particularly compelling from their point of view. I went back to my source material and thought it through. The task required that I make time to shift perspectives and voices, in my desire to craft the best possible session description. 

My thinking and practice around all of this are influenced by one of the tenets of Zentangle: Use the best materials at hand, whatever that may be.

I reminded that in all of my public sessions people come either having purchased the suggested (best) materials or some people work with what they have on hand at home. Both are fine because we are doing the best with what we have available. 

It brings to mind my experience in Nepal, at House with Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides a warm and loving family atmosphere for up to 30 children by providing nutritious meals, education, enrichment activities, and healthcare. I happened to meet a board member from HwH in the US at an environmental fundraising event. Knowing that I would be in Kathmandu several months later, and wanting to share this fun, relaxing, and confidence-building practice,  and teach “tangling” to the children. I had brought the “official” materials for the older girls, yet the three, four, five, and six-year-olds wanted to be part of the experience too. We found crayons and notebook paper and they tangled with us beautifully and joyfully. 

When is the last time you worked with materials you had available and did your best work?

Just last week and I completed my work with a coaching client. She came to me with a desire to dramatically shift her digital graphic recording skills and style. We started our journey together by appreciating what she was doing well and built on that foundation, with an eye toward what she wanted to achieve. We co-created her path and I provided her with a variety of ideas, tools, and resources. 

She stepped up, broadening and deepening her knowledge and skills both in her work between our sessions and in the sessions we had together. She discovered new ways to appreciate her work and also discerned opportunities for further growth. This client showed up for the work and play of pushing her growing edge.

This week I attended what I thought would be a meeting like many other meetings—one in which people would share their thoughts in an informal way and little would be done to move forward to meet the challenges we face. I was happily surprised to learn that the meeting method, a Circle, would be used by a skilled facilitator. It was a great example of planning and preparing to have the best experience possible. Our conversation was both heartwarming and difficult. With a safe container and processes, we had the opportunity to go deep. Serious obstacles were revealed. I left the meeting with a mix of emotions. Happily, one of them was hope. 

I believe there is opportunity in crisis — the chance to move forward in a transformational way. 

My question for you is, how do you ensure you have the best materials, resources, people, and more available to you? Of course, the nature of the task, time available, energy, resources, coordination, and collaboration with others are variables to consider, yet the question remains for you. 

What is your philosophy and practice that enables you to do your best?

I would love to learn new ways of bringing my best to every situation. I hope you will share your strategies, tactics, ideas, questions, and resources.

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