What inspires you?

This very question leapt into my mind when I viewed the beautiful impermanent earth art work of Day Schildkret, on instagram in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. I’ve seen his work before and I am awestruck.

The experience led me to think about what inspires me, and by that, I mean moving away from what people generally say—heroic actions, speeches, quotations—to what is really meaningful, powerful, and energizing for me.

My shortlist of inspiring experiences from the past few weeks

Visual beauty

  • Mayumi Oda, Japanese American visionary, read about her work here
  • A particular walk in the evening in my neighborhood
  • Dave Schildret’s work, morningaltars on Instagram. I am taking his workshop this Sunday, perhaps I will see you (on Zoom) there?

 

Writing/visual imagery

  • When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver, (find it here)
  • At Home, from The House of Belonging, by David Whyte

 

Generosity

A colleague making time in her day to support me in new learning— and going even beyond our conversation to preparing information for me and following up with more ideas and advice.

 

Kindness

Bearing witness to people’s pain and strength. I am taking the course, Living Fearlessly: Facing the Inevitable, which is about preparing for dying and death though it is really all about living too. I am struck by the deep listening, caring, and compassion that people, who were strangers before they met in this course, show to each other.  If you are curious about the course you will find more information here.

Loving kindness meditation, helping me be more compassionate and caring toward myself, family, friends, those I find difficulty connecting with, and the world…

May you be safe

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you live with ease

Learn more from Sharon Salzberg, here

 

I’d LOVE to learn what inspires you in your everyday life.

What circumstances have arisen recently that surprise, delight, excite, and stimulate you?

I hope you will get in touch with me so that I may learn what inspires you. Perhaps we’ll even start a conversation!

Summer is waning, what are your reflections?

Memories of long ago…

At the beginning of the summer, with the possibility of carefree days of vacation—camp, friends, sometimes a bit of travel—the idea of having to complete a summer project for high school felt like a burden. By the time the summer was over, with the project completed, I had a sense of accomplishment. As it was a time filled with fun and a bit of work, which was usually (mostly) of my own design… it was really not so bad after all.

What was your project this summer?

Was it making it through every day endeavoring to stay afloat —mentally, emotionally, and maybe financially too?  I hear you, these remain trying times.

Were you, your family, or friends touched by sickness? Members of my family and my circle of friends have been affected. Most have recovered but not all. 

Did it include thinking in new ways or maybe taking on new work? My work has changed in many ways—I miss being in the room with my participants and yet love the connections I am making across the continents too.

How are you feeling about what has changed and what remains the same? I am curious to know.

My summer project has blossomed into a coaching circle for women. 

Roots of Resilience grew out of my desire to synthesize my academic background, training in coaching, and experience across the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, Appreciative Inquiry, Compassion, communication, and NVC/compassionate communication.

I started this project after listening to many of my women colleagues around the world talk about feeling tired, depleted, and sometimes pessimistic. I designed this circle for the folks like them and like me—women whose strengths feel buried by a combination of unforeseeable circumstances.

These have been trying times and I believe they will continue to be so for the near future. I believe it is a time to come together, share our knowledge and skills, and build them together so that we all emerge stronger, more resilient. Would being a member of a circle with women provide the foundation and the impetus to regain your resilience— to tap into your perhaps dormant knowledge and skills, and build on them?

If this work interests you, as a member of the circle, or individually, please learn more about it here. And if you are one of my colleagues who is an IFVP member, I made the offer at our annual conference this year and I will provide a discount for you. As a field, we have been hit hard by this pandemic. Scholarships are also available to those desiring to join the circle.

Please contact me with your questions. I am offering this experience in one-to-one coaching sessions too—for anyone who feels drawn to this inner work (and play).

What are you reading, watching, and listening to, in your work life, at this very moment?

When I started considering this question, the answers began falling through my mind like an avalanche and I felt buried under the chaos! I had to create an organizing principle or two… I decided to make categories. My thinking centered around how I interact with each of the mediums rather than the content of what I was reading. Let’s see if I have made it comprehensible or… not.

I landed on a few key areas: “reference” books, books I’m actively engaged with, Kindle reading, Audible selections, magazines, newsletters, a podcast, and a recent video. I begin to wonder how I finish anything when I start to look at the number of sources I tackle in a month—and these are just the work-related sources. I have a friend who reads one book at a time… I can’t imagine it!

The reference books that I have at my side all the time, to share with colleagues are:

  • UZMO—Thinking with the Pen by Martin Haussman
  • The World of Visual Facilitation edited by Joren Blijsie, Rachel Smith, Tim Hamons (and last minute, silent editing partner, Jill Greenbaum)
  • Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
  • A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea
  • Appreciative Living by Jackie Kelm
  • Dynamic Relationships by Jacqueline Stavros & Cheri B. Torres
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

So maybe these qualify as “standards” for me and not active reading…

I am actively engaged with these books

3-minute drawings with both hands simultaneously (on the right) and with my left/non-dominant hand

Making Comics by Linda Barry—This one is going a bit more slowly as I am drawing once a week with my friend and colleague Julia from Tasmania. Here are a few of my more recent humorous drawings.

Appreciative Coaching by Sara Orem, Jacqueline Binkert, and Ann Clancy

Happiness is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein

and the audiobooks

Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The AI facilitator certification process that I’m engaged in has had me working with the textbook, Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination by Jane Magruder Watkins, Bernard Mohr, and Ralph Kelly

Magazines by the couch  

Mindful subscription and special editions too

Daily and weekly newsletters that I make an effort to keep current with are:

 

Podcast

Staying Power Podcast with Phyllis Cole-Dai,  www.phylllis.cole-dai.podbean.com Here’s one I really liked, ”On my 58th Birthday: 58 Pandemic Prayers.” This might seem more personal than work-related—though that’s the overlap in my life and coaching circle work.

(Gosh I love to listen to podcasts, though my slight learning disability (less than stellar short term auditory memory) steers me away from this medium for work-related issues. You may ask, so why do you listen to audiobooks—good question! I listen to them as I racewalk daily—and pause them to record audio notes to myself on occasion… or buy the book, if there’s so much juicy stuff!) 

 

Recent video

TedX— Celebrate What’s Right with the World, Dewitt Jones, https://dewittjones.com/pages/tedx-dewitt-jones

 

It’s clear that I have a love of Appreciative Inquiry and positive psychology—they are the foundations of Roots of Resilience, my coaching circle for women that begins on September 21st. I hope you will choose to learn more here

 

What will you read, watch, and listen to

in this month of September?

I plan on finishing up some of the goodies I have listed above. If you’re reading any of them and want to chat—I’d love it! Lmk!

Gaining Insight and Laughing with Ourselves

I had a moment this morning when I realized I was being consummately myself. I love those moments, don’t you? They are such great reminders! Do you find that too?

Here’s the scenario…

I’m working to complete my last in-class/synchronous assignment for the Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator certification. I need to create a simple book to show my personal plan for my continuing work in the field. So last night, even though I was running out of steam, I knew I wanted to start working on my project because it was drawing, so it was fun, and I wanted to devote some serious time to it.

I worked away and got some (not enough) good ideas on paper and put it to rest for the night. This morning I woke up refreshed, full of enthusiasm for continuing the project, and taking it in new and exciting directions.

Back & Front Covers

So as you can imagine, this work is getting bigger, taking longer, and feeling really fun and interesting. And as I continue to increase its scope, the little voice in my head says to me, “When are you going to stop? You’re just working on a draft there’s so much material here you’ve got to get it done by 11 this morning!”

Inside Pages

And then, I have another one of those metacognitive moments—once again my strength of creativity (discovered through Dr. Martin Seligman’s work, the VIA Character Strengths Survey) is getting me into trouble! And I love the realization! I CONTINUE to create, play, and refine until I come to a screeching halt at my deadline.

 

So what’s your story?

Have you thought about your strengths lately? Or, are they feeling buried by the amount of work you have to do, Zoom fatigue, and myriad other factors affecting your daily work and home life?

I’d like to offer you an opportunity—to take a bit of time for yourself, re-discover your strengths, and add some support in regaining feelings of efficacy in all the spheres of your life.

Here’s a link to the free VIA Character Strengths Survey. I’d like to politely push you to take the survey, even if you’ve done it a while ago, and see what is revealed. Then, I hope you’ll get in touch with me. I’m offering group session for people to share their results, ask questions, and learn to further access and utilize their strengths in their daily lives. We will talk about not just what your strengths are but how you can live more joyfully with them.

Here’s my challenge to you: Take the survey, reflect on your results, and then send me an email saying that you’re ready to leverage your strengths. I will hold a free Strengths Circle session on September 3rd at 7 pm ET for those that are interested, you can sign up here. Of course, I am happy to do a deep dive into personal results with those who’re interested. Please contact me for a coaching session here.

Delving into your strengths is the first step in my newest coaching program, Roots of Resilience. This Circle is for women who want to remember, reclaim, deepen and develop their capacities to feel stronger, more engaged, and connected to themselves, their families, friends, and colleagues, in the changing world we live in now.

This program shares core concepts and practices in five key areas that, when working in concert, have a synergistic effect. To learn more about the Roots of Resilience Circle, look here and reach out to me with your questions. I’m so excited to bring this unique combination of research, practices, and circle work to you.

Practice makes perfect… I think not!

What do you think?

I’m no fan of that phrase or thinking.

  • What kind of practice?
  • Why do I need to make it perfect?

Perhaps a little context is needed here… I’m not a heart surgeon or a rocket scientist for NASA. If I were in either of those fields or a variety of others, then perfectionism might be a worthy trait… not so much in my work as a visual practitioner. Let me tell you how this plays out for me and then I hope you’ll let me know what you think.

I create visuals to teach people how to draw, capture course content (as a learner), make templates for my books and participants, and record presentations of conference speakers. Sharpening my skills through learning new techniques or taking a deeper dive into my existing technique is exciting to me. I always strive to do my best work, and for me, that means,

Persistent, consistent, and conscious practice makes progress

For me, being consistent and aware in my practice — looking at each time I take a stroke or make my favorite figure or create a layout, this is what leads to improving the quality of my work, increasing my speed.

In our bikablo training there’s a particular stroke for making two types of shadows that takes a good deal of practice for folks. And while I suggest that my students repeat the stroke A LOT—while in meetings or on hold on the phone or at other opportunities, I remind them to make each stroke consciously and learn from it.

What worked well? What needs work?

What are the elements to the experience and what needs to be fine-tuned—is it the position of the pen, the beginning, middle, and/or end of the stroke, the way they are holding their wrist?

How do you plan for improving/strengthening your technique and your work? What conscious practices do you consistently embrace to hone your craft? I have a colleague who is FABULOUS at blending pastels… Just below is an example of my playing/experimenting with pastels and learning the technique that gives me the results that I seek.

I find that placing myself in a learning context for improvement is the biggest boost I can give my skills. And while I can’t take classes every week, I can choose wisely from the existing opportunities, so that I continue to grow.

What does your professional development plan include? What courses, books, study groups, 1:1 coaching or other means are you using to continue your journey?

 

For those of you who have taken a bikablo class and are seeking to deepen your skills, the E-xtraklasse, a ten-session Small group coaching journey offers … The journey begins in September… you can learn more about it here or get In touch with me.

If 1:1 coaching for a project or a series of sessions is more your appetite, let’s have a conversation!

Whatever options you choose to level up your performance, I say,

 

Be persistent, consistent, and conscious in your practice!

.