What’s your learning path?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve experienced a delightful mix of learning. I stepped into the Dalai Lama‘s Guide to Happiness, the free 10-day challenge on the 10% Happier app. (If you’re unfamiliar with this work, the focus is on gaining skills in happiness and compassion through meditation.) I also had the good fortune to be a part of the Drawify team to graphically record sessions of the New Rules for Work Symposium. I attended Genein Letford’s session,  Intercultural Creativity for Leadership. These experiences reminded me of:

  • the beauty of targeted, relatively brief learning experiences
  • my love of applied science/research
  • the wealth of great resources at my fingertips 
  • the importance of connecting with colleagues to deepen my learning after the experiences. 

What about you? What fun and challenges in learning have you taken up lately?

What’s a new experience, resource, or practice for you?

As I reflect on my journey, I notice that I have a path or way of engaging…

There was a time when I would gravitate more toward all kinds of learning experiences that piqued my interest. Even if I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the learning into my life, I was game. For the past half dozen years or so I have:

~ sharpened my focus (there are only so many hours in a day, right?)

~ increased my discernment (because I can see relationships between so many diverse areas, i.e., coaching teens in the intricacies of the college admissions process and the art of Zentangle) and improved my habit of ensuring a direct connection between engaging the learning and using the new knowledge, skills, and attitudes in my business

~ strengthened my capacity to say, “No.”

I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy to say “No”… and there are even more temptations since the pandemic.

What is your path(s) for your personal and professional development?

Have you noticed a pattern in your approach? What aspects of your plans for growth are serving you and which need some fine-tuning?

On a different and yet related note, i.e., taking on projects that are relevant, and useful, though in this instance required more time than imagined…

Last fall I decided to support my resolve of drawing as a daily practice by deciding to create a calendar that offered space to practice every day. I’ve been making my own planners for years, since my daughter was born and I wanted to include pictures of her in the one planner I worked with daily. Well, truth be told, the idea was exciting AND a bigger task than I anticipated… I reached out to folks, sought ideas for what they might want in such a planner, sifted and sorted through their responses, and got to work. I quickly realized that what I wanted was both similar to and different from what they wanted…

I worked to accommodate myself and the majority. Here’s a visual of my energy around the project…

 I am using the first month now… making discoveries about what I have created. I will post a video of it on my Instagram account, jillig. I hope you will take a peek! I am:

  • happy to offer it in this format for the remainder of the year. If you are interested. (I will have it published through Kindle Direct so it will be bound like a regular book. and with a different cover… I just had to make the prototype a fun visual.)
  • going to make it an undated planner just for weekly practice starting in March…  Stay tuned!

Never too old, never too late…

An early morning exchange on WhatsApp between Drawifiers* prompted me to take a moment to reflect on beginnings. Perhaps more literally, starting something brand new.

My colleague Bene was posting on LI, sharing in detail, for the first time, how he came to be an illustrator in his fifties. And, just today, he’s beginning to step fully into using the power of LI. (Perhaps visit his page and share a little love and appreciation for his work.) Joao piped up and said he was starting to do the same (leverage LI) at 38. Axelle chimed in and said she started a start-up  (Drawify) at 47. I added that I  might just win the “start something new prize” as I chose to go back to “school” in a totally new field (chaplaincy) 39 years after my last degree. 

Our conclusion? We/People are never too old to start again. 

What do you think?

When you reflect on your life, with the focus of stepping into new endeavors, big or small, what has been your journey?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what has shaped me—intentionally/of my choosing, by circumstance (friends moving away, deaths in the family, COVID, the economy, and more) and more serendipitously, (meeting new folks and developing new relationships). As I chart that path, my belief in our abilities to continuously develop turns to certainty. 

No doubt, I/we face limitations or constraints—personal and professional commitments, time, funds, capacity, and energy. And, while I am the gal who says, “Yes” probably a little too often, I make time for relaxation and fun.

Here’s a visual I created in 2020, about my professional journey. Gosh, there’s more to add since then! And, I have a parallel journey that includes my art and craft adventures and travel. Perhaps that’s a drawing in my future or an addition to this one… another thread (or two)  in the tapestry.

May I suggest that you make time right now, for just a few minutes, to recognize and celebrate your adventures over the year in your professional and personal development…

I’d love to learn what you have taken up a bit later in life.

How have you surprised yourself with your energy and desire

to continue to learn and develop?

Maybe you will even consider what the future might hold. I hope you will be in touch to share your reflections.

 

* illustrators for Drawify. Drawify is a platform offering over 10,000 hand-drawn illustrations from artists worldwide. If you’d like to learn more about using our work for telling your stories visually, grab a spot on my calendar and we can explore together, or venture out on your own with this coupon for two months of free Hero-level access to the site (no strings attached), and contact me with your questions. 

Liminal experiences—Finding Beauty at the Threshold

 Endings, beginnings, and transitions span the spectrum of experiences — they are often a combination of rich, full, challenging, exciting, exhausting, and daunting. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a project that is rather different—at least for me. I’d like to invite you to peek into that experience as it may be something that you want to create for yourself.

As part of my studies, I was asked to create my lineage chart. Here are a few of the questions that I mused about as I began work on this project:

  • How did I get here/How do I come to be where I am now (literally where I live and more importantly, perhaps intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually)? 
  • Who and what influenced me/my development (the people and experiences)? 
  • How did this path unfold (what was the combination of rhyme and reason and serendipity)? 

If you make time to pause and ponder these questions about your life, what surfaces for you? 

What does it feel like to explore your memories of your personal and professional development—your foundation? 

I chose to sift to sort through photos from my life to form the basis for my chart. This was fun, challenging, and time-consuming. I loved making time to sit with photographs and linger over memories of times with my immediate, extended, and adopted* families and friends. I also realized that I either couldn’t easily  access some photos (of my camp days) or I lacked photos of some essential experiences (particularly my college and graduate school years).

While it was wonderful to have so many to choose from, and my initial batch was over 100 photos, I needed to create a piece that shared the people and experiences most meaningful to me. I needed to develop criteria for who and what would be included… It was an important step in my process.

What would be the criteria you would use to show the through-line(s) of the story of your life?

Ultimately, I have organized my photos both chronologically and conceptually. And, I purposefully chose a generative (if often-used) image, seeking to play with its design.

My visual represents, in essence:

  •  The people and experiences that have been my foundation are represented in the roots of the tree. They supported me early in life. These are the people who have had a hand in the co-creation of who I am today.
  • The trunk of the tree holds experiences that further strengthened and broadened my life my schooling and my marriage. 
  • The left side of the trees/the branches hold family experiencesvolunteering and close friends. The center of the branches and leaves are my educational experiences (in part) and my chaplaincy work/CPE experience. On the right are collaborative experiences in my work life that have been particularly meaningful.  

In the future, I plan to write short notes and attach them to this tree (so to speak). I will also be reaching out to the people in this chart to tell them about it and its special meaning.

I would love to know your thoughts on creating such a visual of your lineage. Even more, I would love to see what you create.

Just a little later today I will record a guided visualization to support you in beginning the journey of designing and developing your lineage chart. It will provide the time and space to remember and reflect. (I was tempted to make notes during the visualization, which is definitely not part of the experience. Instead, I trusted in my memory, that I would recall what was most important.) I would be delighted to learn what you think of this guided visualization. I hope you share your thoughts and feelings with me in an email. I have posted the recording below.

*high school foreign exchange experience living in/with a family 

Collaboration— it’s an adventure!

What was your most recent STELLAR collaborative experience?

What made it so fabulous? 

Here’s a different yet related question: When was the last time you worked with someone new or with whom you had never worked before? (Knowing someone and working with them are two different things, no?) And, when I say “work”, I mean, co-created an experience or a project.

I’m about to step into the fourth stage of such an endeavor. The first stage was the idea, the second was the agreement, the third was the conversation about the dance that we could do together and today we will step onto the dance floor together.*A pre-training coffee together!

What factors do you consider before engaging in collaboration—whether that collaboration is by your design or the result of someone else’s suggestion or direction?

I reflect on my foundation, literally what I bring to the experience—my background, experience, goals, energy, and personal style of communication. Of course, I also consider all of the same about my colleague(s), looking for areas of similarity, easy alignment, and possible friction. It is always my intention to step into a situation with eyes wide open, understanding, and leveraging our respective strengths. Being aware of our differences (philosophical and/or practical) enables me to plan ahead, to mitigate areas of turbulence in the flow of the experience.

Assessments are a passion of mine. I rely most heavily on the VIA Character Strengths survey and Platinum Rule. The former focuses my attention on the strengths of all involved in the collaboration while the latter points to areas of easy connection and potential challenges. It’s not so much that these instruments give me answers, it’s that they increase my awareness of my interactions. (I think, very concretely, about how to remain emotionally intelligent through the experience.) (If you’re interested in learning more about these resources, please reach out to me.)

The foundation for all this work is an approach to the process of collaboration and change (because training is all about change). The five D’s of Appreciative Inquiry (Definition, Discover, Dream, Design, Destiny) guide my planning and work. Sometimes I share the essence of the approach with my colleagues and other times I keep it close to the vest, knowing that I am working with it. 

What are your frameworks for understanding yourself and others, collaborative relationships, and planning for experiences/change? How do you integrate your knowledge to create unparalleled experiences?

 I LOVED sharing the training experience with my colleague—seeing how we were both similar and different—and how that benefitted the participants. Of course, it made us better trainers too.

Now that I am back home, with time to reflect, I realize that I would have liked even more time talking with my colleague—processing each day’s events and the entire adventure. In this particular instance, that couldn’t happen though I made time to reflect on my own, and of course, we talked throughout our days together.

I hope you will share your approach to collaboration and the framework and practices that support such events’ planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

*written last week on the way to Belgium

 

The Joy of Exploration

How often do you stop to really reflect about the the tools you’re going to use for a project?

What motivates you to look at your “go-to ” resources with new eyes?

Honestly, I don’t often think about the tools that I use because I’ve already vetted them (explored the possibilities, tested their capabilities, compared them, and made my decisions). When working with markers and paper for graphic facilitation, graphic recording or visual coaching work, I will choose my Neuland markers and the paper that fits the task best. For digital work (and play), I’ll work with Procreate on my iPad with my Apple Pencil but if I am creating illustrations for Drawify, I’ll need to work in Concepts. 

If I’m working on Miro, the online collaborative space, I will continue to discover new resources available through plug-ins and different ways of imagining the canvas. I have mounted large projects,  (my Appreciative Inquiry final project for certification)and imported photos, visuals, documents, and more.

When making my own projects with Zentangle designs or teaching, I use my Sakua  Micron 01, 08, 1, 10 or PN black pens and the lovely Italian paper “tiles” that are a signature resource, or watercolor, or mixed media paper. In  preparation for my first mural work. I tested many markers, paints, and varnishes plus brush tips. And in my Tangling BIG class I am working with markers on canvas and still wondering how I will translate the beauty of using graphite on paper to such a different surface—I’ll know soon!

What about you?

When is the last time you shook it up a bit and did a “tasting” of new tools, materials, and resources?What’s new in your bag of goodies? 

Yesterday morning, I was imagining all kinds of projects for my upcoming Tangling from the Heart class. I broke out many of the possibilities at my fingertips. An hour later, I had made so many discoveries—my paper was crammed with notes: “Love this!” “Oooo, that brush tip is too soft.” “Best result when I write more quickly.” “Oh! These markers smell terrible!” ”Make the tangle pattern first and then do the lettering.” 

Do you ever straddle the line of how much you need to keep experimenting and when is it time to move on?

My love of creativity and play is a double-edged sword. Honestly, there are only so many hours in the day. I also need to remember that my time for experimentation is not limited to this one experience. So finding what will work now and leaving the door open for new possibilities feels right… even if I’d rather keep plorking (playing and working).

What are you working on that brings out the need to experiment with new tools—pens, markers, colored pencils, paper, tablets, apps, and more? 

What’s your approach to the process?

For me, it’s all about finding the best materials for the project AND having fun in a (mostly) efficient way. I’d love to hear how you dive into this realm of your work… no doubt I can learn from you!