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Who are the people that have influenced you?

As I pondered the question of who has influenced me over the years, I kept the scope of my thinking rather small, focusing only on people who influenced my work as visual practitioner. And so, I drafted a chronology of influencers and then started to think of a metaphor and some way to indicate time. I left the question of impact at bay… (Perhaps the only reason to walk down that path is to get really clear about what I learned from each of them, gained from the experience(s), and write a note of thanks. That is a task for another time.)

As I stepped back from the page I drafted, I realized that I would never have gotten to the point of even looking for these people if I hadn’t had another foundation to spring from. And so I created another timeline.

I started to think of where I went to college and the two grad schools I attended… and I could track my growth in knowledge and skills. From there, it was a small step to realizing that all the training that I’ve done outside of a traditional academic environment also contributes to who I am today. With that in mind,  and I added my training with Points of You, EFT/Emotional Freedom Techniques, Breathwork, Nonviolent Communication, and Appreciative Inquiry—creating a  second layer of my map. I was playing with paper and pencil, so it became another sheet of paper though I will shift to my iPad and Procreate to be able to make the layers… this is starting to feel like stratigraphy—the science of strata or layers of rock. While I feel the layering aspect is an accurate reflection of my learning and doing over the years, the vision of sedimentary rock is not one that resonates with me… I envision more of the creation of a planet with a core or a journey over hill and dale or even an underwater world… the essence of each of these ideas is quite different for me.

As I was walking Gus this morning, (always a good time for reflection), I realized that it would be interesting to add a layer about my work experiences, as of course, they have changed me too. So perhaps I will add another layer in the coming weeks and, most importantly, think deeply about these varied influences because they are far more subtle and are often not consciously realized without such reflection.

So, I’m thinking that if you know me, even just a wee bit, you know that my strength of creativity has gotten in the way and I have not finished my map—because I have added more layers and complexity! How lucky that I won’t be speaking with the I/O Psych grad students from Baruch University until next week!

Discovery, Learning & Fun—Mapmaking!

What’s your thinking about maps? Do you love them (the paper, how they fold up, the colors), hate them (they’re paper, they fold up, the print is tiny), maybe make them yourself?

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a map lover from a very young age. I’ve always relished playing with the folding maps and pored over them when traveling in Europe as a teenager. I still love paper maps even though these days they feel unwieldy and inefficient at times. Perhaps I feel so at home with them because I’m a big picture thinker and when I can see everything at once I can understand how all the pieces fit together… where things are in relation to each other. Just this past weekend we went to upper state NY. (And, no, Dutchess and Columbia counties are not “upstate” NY, no matter what folks from the five boroughs tell you!) We wanted to visit small towns, walk in forests—and essentially have an understanding of what was where… Hence the need for a paper map—I was in heaven!

Yesterday, I attended a Creative Mornings Field Trip—Anne Ditmeyer’s, Make a Map re-entry Edition. Oh my gosh, it was such fun! I don’t often take time out for Field Trips, as they’re during the workweek but since I delivered one last year, and will be delivering another one on May 13th, I wanted to support the work of others who are volunteering their time to share their expertise.

The prompt was, “Your morning commute.”

I went a little “off script”…

and chose a trip

I had hoped to make last year.

In 60 minutes, we made three different maps. Each one of them was completely different — in subject matter and materials used! I have to say that I have NEVER drawn a map on a piece of fruit—though I have taught folks how to tangle (draw Zentangle patterns) on gourds. It was challenging — and a delight!

 

My map of a recent fun adventure—drawn on a paper towel—was a super cool experience! The texture of the towel and the freedom to just play and experiment was joyful.

Our last map was about imagining a future world we want to live in… with some additional prompts, I started to create a “map” of my place to be… (which is a work in progress).

Plorking Becomes New Inspiration

The experience left me ready to dig into maps all over again.  As I pondered how to get back into my practice of mapmaking, I thought not only of the books lingering in my bookcase but also of my creations tucked into nooks and crannies in the house. Here are a few examples from the past few years…

A map of my heart

From a journal swap about maps!

ZIA/Zentangle Inspired Art of the island of Tasmania!

These were prompted by examples from, Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNelly.

Anne Ditmeyer mentioned, www.handmaps.org and From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association by Kris Harzinski And I poked around a bit online too and am interested in You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon.

My Next Map

I started to think about the I/O (Industrial/Organization) Psych grad students from Baruch College that I would be speaking to within a couple of weeks. Since our focus will be life after grad school I am thinking that a map of my influences—how I got to where I am—might be interesting for them.  I started drafting my ideas map and I have to say it’s not ready yet! I’ve identified my influences but I haven’t picked a plan or a format for sharing my journey. I can’t wait to share with you and with them next week!

What are you noticing in your life right now?

What are you noticing these days about yourself, your colleagues, and your clients?

I’ve noticed in my coaching practice, that some of my clients are working differently than before.

In my practice, I’ve always been the gal that begins working with folks starting with their history and foundation, their strengths, and past successes. We explore and dream about what they want and then design possibilities for experimentation and growth. My process is to help clients move toward creative, solution-based outcomes, in which they are the agents of their own change.

What I’m seeing is that some of my clients are taking smaller steps on their journey.

I wonder about that. Perhaps it’s coming from mental fatigue, competing priorities, concerns about achieving their goals, or … I’m sure the answer is different for different folks. I don’t think that I even need to learn the answers as my role is to listen to their experiences and ask the questions to explore the possibilities they imagine for their futures. And, of course, there are so many paths to achieving one’s goals… enjoying the journey—with its achievements, challenges, failures, and learning—is one of my criteria of success.

What about you—how are you feeling?

As you make time to reflect on your thoughts and actions, what do you notice? I know that we don’t exist in a vacuum. I definitely feel the ebb and flow of connection with the world outside me: work and communication (both professional and personal). I also feel the effects on how I choose to spend my precious time… I crave more art/creativity and silence.

Last week, I wrote about feelings also… Here’s a visual, by Abby Vanmuijen, that’s so appealing to me, . You may want to check out her site too.

What are your thoughts about how you’re doing—and that question comes from a place of curiosity  (not judgment)—looking at the subject like it’s a gem, exploring its facets.

I want to hear how you’re doing… Drop me a line or make a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Juicy Insights from Coaching with a Colleague!

You know how you do something for so long… that you don’t even think about how you do it—it’s second nature? Then someone changes the way you think about it or approach it and well… then it’s really different?

A colleague, whom I know through bringing Bikablo to her neck of the woods almost a year and a half ago, is working on her coach certification. In our wide-ranging conversation about what’s new since we last spoke and planning future Bikablo sessions, she asked if I would be one of her practice clients. Who doesn’t love a free coaching session (with someone you know and trust), so I said “Yes!”

We met over Zoom last week—just as the change in our world in the US was becoming starkly clear. Early in our session together, she asked me to not only envision but to draw what I was imagining about what I was telling her. I was struck by my responses to the request:

  • Mmmm, I am not sure I can do that very well… I use templates for my sessions with all my clients that support me in capturing critical information—this was different.
  • I didn’t have my symbolary at the ready to make the pictorial representation easy — I was imagining bits and pieces, and constructing parts to make up a whole that was coming from my head.
  • This was more stream of consciousness rather than a prepared canvas or recording—it felt like I was creating my own universe with galaxies and constellations
  • I didn’t love some of my drawings
  • I did like explaining a loud/to another person what I had created, which is something I don’t often do… It gave me another avenue for reflecting on my thinking. And, it reinforced my love of doing it during Bikablo trainings.

I committed to re-drawing my thinking in a week and sending it to her… I am about to do that now…

What have you done recently that’s been a twist on an established way of doing things? What was it like for you? Did you feel the same disequilibrium as me? Please let me know!

I wasn’t sure we could do it….

Our Setting—Agile Coach Camp at the South Patio Club in Gurugram, India

Imagine a lovely, warm, setting in a venue created for small events… people are milling about, drinking coffee, getting to know one another or reconnecting with colleagues, and there’s a sense of anticipation in the air.

Our Task

Agile Coach Camp, (an initiative of Agile Alliance), uses Open Space Technology to enable participants to easily share questions, experiences, discoveries, learnings, and offers opportunities to generate ideas for solutions to the challenges put forward.

Honestly, I find OST to be a gamble… I have had both excellent and less than stellar experiences as a participant in the process… So I decided to influence the outcome by suggesting a topic, 100 Ways to Use Visuals @ Work.

 

 

Our Actions & Results!

Happily, we had an initial group of eight to ten people interested in the topic. With two pieces of flip chart paper taped to the wall and a marker, I enthusiastically wrote the title of the challenge at the top of the page and asked for ideas.

We started strong, ideas bubbled up, and we soared to 17 answers… we paused. People started to look doubtful. With a little prompting, we leaped ahead to 37 answers and then there was a palpable lull in energy… the Law of Mobility started to enter into the mix and we lost a member or two—and we gained a member or two. We were off and running again!

When we reached the high 50’s and the pause lasted a little uncomfortably long, I thought we were done—and I was close to sharing my appreciation for everyone’s good efforts.

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at waiting for people to settle into whatever unfolds, and my patience paid off! We roared ahead to 87 ideas and we all started to believe that we could make it to 100—and we did! We reached our goal! It was amazing!

Upon Reflection

As I transferred the ideas from chart paper to computer file and teased out some of the answers—I discovered that we generated 105 ways to use visuals at work! Okay, MAYBE one or two might be deleted from the list upon closer examination… What do you think?