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Mmmmmotivation!

Last Sunday I spoke at Brandy Agerbeck’s ENVISION event—it was fabulous and so much fun! Brandy had tasked with addressing, fully engaging with the topic of motivation. So, my question for you is…

What motivates you? 

Maybe the first question or the better first question is, what does motivation mean to you? 

How is it different from inspiration? 

And where do you “get” both of those things? 

Inspiration is exciting, it pulls me forward. I’m inspired/totally engaged in almost all my projects or endeavors. 

Motivation is the engine/energy that keeps me going because in most projects not only is there a beginning, middle, and end, there are also periods of excitement, immersion, flow, joy, and yet there are also those times of disappointment, feeling stuck, working through challenges, frustrations, making and learning from my mistakes and rising up again. 

 

One of the fabulous ideas from Brandy Agerbeck’s ENVISION 2021 Card Deck

So my question for you is, what keeps you moving forward (know that this is not a straight line) when it gets challenging?

For me, part of it is my philosophy of life. I’m steeped in the field of positive psychology and come from an Appreciative Inquiry perspective. In short, I endeavor to focus on the positive AND be realistic/acknowledge the things are difficult. Ultimately, I choose to focus my attention and energy on what’s going well, to amplify that, to work with the things that I perceive to be obstacles, concerns, or frustrations. 

So when I need motivation, I think about experiences I’ve had in the past that are similar. They/the learning and insights become the foundation to build on. And, I love turning to books, articles, websites, and, of course, my ever-growing network of colleagues and friends, who among them possess a vast amount of knowledge. Truth be told,  I’m also motivated by the deadline…

How about you?

I’d love to hear you’re strategies and tactics for generating and maintaining your motivation.

How are you growing?

As we wind down from summer and gear up for fall there’s a lot to be thinking about!

What are you reading? 

That was the question from my buddy in Tasmania as we chatted over the weekend. I’d like to take that question and run with it.

What are the resources that you are currently working with and expanding on? What’s new and exciting in your world?

For me, the past few weeks have been chock full of new experiences, new resources, and using existing resources in new ways. 

The bikablo + IPEVO Meet Up two weeks ago was brilliant! I say that because we—the bikablo team and the participants—were using existing tools (document cameras, markers, and paper), and collaborating in new and different ways. 

 

 

The Graphic Medicine UnConvention was fantastic! I wrote about it on LinkedIn in August and just this past week here.

As a result of presenting and participating in the GM UnConvention, I have read Rosalie Lightning, by Tom Hart. It is an incredible graphic memoir. Truth be told, I have also signed up for the Graphic Memoir course offered by Sequential Artists Workshop and the Graphic Memoir Working Group. I believe that aspects of the internship I started last week will become a graphic memoir.

And, I have this stack of books to dive into—just some of the books suggested in the second lesson of SAW’s Graphic Memoir course—I’ll be working my way through them starting this weekend. 

Finally, my schedule and the Visual Thinkers Society monthly meeting are in sync—I can’t wait to join the meeting on Saturday morning!

Next week, I will start the bikablo Sketchnoting train-the-trainer course… it’s going to be great to learn from Amelie Vesper once again and join my colleagues in this training. I’ll be offering this course soon too!

Lastly, I am expanding my digital drawing capabilities by learning Concepts, a vector-based app… More to tell about the project that will support soon!

Upon reflection, the themes I am noticing now are, self-education through books, videos, podcasts, and direct instruction from colleagues, focused practice, and the beauty of collaborations with colleagues.

What are you noticing about your world?

What’s new in your world? Please ping me and let me know!

Bikablo + IPEVO = So much Fun & Learning

Yesterday, I was part of a grand experiment. Honestly, I don’t do that a lot. 

I do a lot of training, facilitation, and coaching. It’s true, I do a lot of experimentation within those events but it’s qualitatively different than what we engaged in yesterday. The experiments that I design within my practice are planned—you might even say controlled experiments, in that they are designed, implemented, and evaluated according to the objectives to be achieved and the criteria I develop (although perhaps the acronym DIE isn’t the most cheerful). I mean, that’s what you would expect from a curriculum designer, right?

Yesterday was different in so many ways: 

  • I was a collaborator instead of a designer
  • we dove into the creation of the experience with the mindset that it was an adventure and an experiment 
  • we knew that people would enjoy it, learn something new during our time together, and meet people from around the world and interact with them. 

I have to admit that I was on pins and needles about how it was all going to come together. We were a team of six people coming together from Germany Spain, China, the US, and Taiwan.

In these days of video conferencing, folks getting together from around the world is not exactly a big deal but it turned out we were not only managing time zones, but we were also managing weather patterns which almost disrupted our entire plan as there was bad weather in Spain affecting the connection of our colleague Elena. And then, of course, there was the tech piece—not only were we all using document cameras but we were seeking to use them in new in different ways. While we had two tech sessions and practiced before the event too, I still had a tech glitch then made it challenging for me to participate as effectively as I wanted to, and yet I was still able to contribute. 

Perhaps it is one of the things I love best about working with my bikablo buddies. We are transparent about how things are going, we support each other to do the best we can, and we learn every time we get together in an environment of good cheer. 

The session was a total blast! We had over 100 people attending of the 200 signed up. We did an extraordinary number of activities in a relatively short period of time, with varying results — and that was OK! Frank, Elena, Xiaoli, and I had a choreographed piece that included movement on all four screens simultaneously. When we first started practicing it, I called it synchronized swimming—it was really just like it. It was so cool! We also 

  • drew together across the four screens to demonstrate how to combine simple shapes to make icons
  • did an exercise in which we added to the previous person’s drawing
  • used the bikablo “iconizer” /a random generator of icons to draw together
  • told a story, in four parts—dreaming up the next stage as we took turns on the screen—that used the cut-outs from our previous exercise
  • concluded by drawing a face across the four screens—while she was a bit Picassoesque—she was fabulous!

People were delighted to meet in small groups to practice with the technology, or if they didn’t have it, to find other ways to be involved in the activities. Everyone had a chance to post their work on Padlet—to see the work from around the world and to read their comments was exhilarating!

It was a truly amazing experience—one that’s never been done before and no doubt will now be done in the same way and also improved upon—around the world.

What habits bring your work to the next level?

What makes for good practice?

Just last week, Jill Langer and I completed the bikablo Basic Day 1 Virtual training. Folks are jazzed by the end of this experience. Both they, and we, want them to continue deepening and broadening their skills. We discuss during the training how to maintain and grow the habit of practice. As you can imagine I suggest the following during and after working on a piece:

Be

  • conscious—of every stroke you make
  • consistent—in practicing—find ways every day to use your new skills
  • accuratein your appraisal of your work, using criteria/success factors we have discussed
  • kind to yourselfappreciate what you’re doing well
  • diligent—in applying what you have decided about areas to improve

As I think about, Seven Questions That guide the Work of Inspired Teachers, an article from ASCD (the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), that I just read about being excellent teachers,  I am most struck by this paragraph:

How can I make clear the criteria for quality work we will use in class and help students understand why those benchmarks are significant? How can I help them learn to assess their own work using those standards? How can I support each of my students in reaching for excellence?

These questions are at the heart of my thinking. Sharing my ideas during the training creates the conversation about ongoing professional development.  It’s an aspect of being a graphic recorder or a Sketchnoter that I addressed in my session for the Visual Binge last month. In that engagement, I asked the participants to look at graphic recordings from four different sources and begin to create their criteria for successful work. We’re about to do a follow-up coaching session and my plan is to have us all share our respective criteria for excellence. Here’s what I’m thinking…

  1. Consistent, strong/clear lines/strokes
  2. Containers, graphic elements, and figures with closed edges
  3. Appropriate perspective-—what is in front and behind other objects or figures
  4. Following guidelines for use of color (the bikablo method)
  5. Consistent shading/source of light and with regard to various types of objects (the bikablo method)
  6. Effective layout chosen for content of work—open to interpretation though I believe there are criteria (I would use waves or eddies to indicate content in a sea-themed drawing —or treasure chests, fish, etc., rather than put a square or a circle in the water.
  7. Logical flow of content
  8. Spacing between objects/use of white space to enable easy understanding of all content and relationships between content areas
  9. Use of frame or container for finished work
  10. Signature of visual practitioner on work (unless not permitted due to contract)

What are your criteria for your work, and presumably others’ work, as you learn and grow from seeing what’s out in the world?

As you bring your work to the next level, what does that look like to you? How will you facilitate your learning?

You know me, I’d suggest continuing your education in a formal/structured way… making a plan and working your plan

  • find a buddy to draw with consistently or an accountability partner
  • work with a coach individually or in a group
  • take the next level of training

What’s your next step?

PS: I hope you will share your thoughts about my ideas. I’m always looking to expand my thinking!

Skillfully Navigating Mistakes

Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak.

We all make ‘em.

When is the last time you made a mistake?

My most recent mistake was last night. (Hahaha! I wrote “My last mistake was last night” in my first draft—as if! Though there’s an interesting thought, what if I never made another mistake? Well, I’ll never find out the answer to that question!)

… I expected a course to be available to me, based on my mental calculation of dates, and so wrote customer service to ask about the “problem.“ A little while after writing the email, I realized my error. I immediately wrote to them and apologized for my error. Honestly, it was easy, in part, because it was so clear that I was wrong, and perhaps also that I didn’t have a relationship with them or a position to protect in this instance. Food for thought!

Earlier this week I was interested in an artist’s course. I received information about this tantalizing new opportunity in an email and also saw it on Instagram. As I read the copy and saw the Early Bird pricing I was astonished and delighted.

When I clicked through the link to register for the course, I discovered that the EB price was actually missing a zero… so while it was still a good price, I was disappointed. I also thought the artist should know about the significant error so that she could make the correction. I sent a quick email and received a speedy reply. She said to me that the information was already out there through her e-zine and she couldn’t correct it. I was unsatisfied with that response. I wrote her back and said I understood about ezines going out—I certainly have made my share of typos in writing and always want to recall the writings with errors and yet can’t — so I made the suggestion that she re-post on Instagram. I never heard back from her. It made me think less of her—though perhaps that’s too strong. It does make me wonder about her commitment to clarity, honesty, and transparency. It is just one action of a person so perhaps it is more accurate to say that it colored my impression of her and I am warier of working with her.

We all make mistakes.

And there are all different kinds of mistakes—from typos and wordos to pricing and more. And I wonder about the interrelationship between the kind of mistake made and the range of responses that are possible — from doing nothing to nearly obsessing over it.

In my training to become a member of the bikablo global team, we talked about transparency–sharing our mistakes and looking at them as opportunities for learning. It’s a conversation that I have in all my training programs too—as my mistakes are the chance to talk about how we skillfully work with errors, from both practical and social-emotional perspectives.

In my plorking (playing and working) as a Certified Zentangle Teacher, I share the philosophy of the Zentangle method.

There are no mistakes, we work with what we create and make it beautiful.

If you’ve tangled with me, then you know the pencils that we use in the kits that I send out to participants, have no erasers on them. Some folks are uncomfortable with that reality and that perspective.

On a related note, I’m about to start The Sketchbook Project, sponsored by the Brooklyn Art Library. I’ve wanted to do this for a couple of years and now feels like the right time. I’m delighted to discover that one of their themes for Volume No. Eighteen  is “no erasing.” It feels like a perfect fit! So as you can imagine, I’m going to make the entire book—16 pages, 32 surfaces (front and back)—a compendium of Zentangle patterns. I know I will make mistakes because I will be working with patterns that are new to me in combination with favorites of mine (and I make my share of mistakes with patterns that are familiar to me too). I’m also going to experiment with a variety of media and no doubt that will provide both joys and challenges.

I will most likely see, on a daily basis, how I am working with the mistakes that I make as a part of my journey. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Where are you making mistakes? What are you learning as you work through and beyond them?