The Delight of Creativity—and the Reality of Time

Just the other week, I had two experiences that gave me pause. 

Very close to the actual event, I was asked if I was interested in volunteering to pull together a pop-up extravaganza for the IAF Impact Awards … I discovered that folks in the NYC Metro area didn’t have the appetite/time/energy to get together in person to watch the awards and discuss facilitation. Wanting to support the event, I offered to graphically record it. The timeline for prep was tight—I had a lot of other projects on my plate too and so not a lot of time to devote to this last-minute choice to offer my services. 

Truth be told. It was a very challenging event. So many winners of the awards, fascinating, life-changing projects, and many moving (SHORT) parts to the agenda. Orchestrating the capture of info in the breakout conversations happened at breakneck speed. I also, true to form, felt I had to try something new to make it a learning experience for me. I usually create my own templates or design and yet this time, I decided to work with their imagery—a blessing and a curse. With a bit of working with their materials—gaining new skills and ways of thinking in the process—I achieved new and different results. It was a bit messy —getting to the result I desired—and it took a bit longer than I’d planned, yet creativity is like that for me. 

What about you? When is the last time you chose to take a new and different path? 

What did you discover—like and dislike—about the process that will influence your work going forward?

The very next day I started preparing for my session for Drawify. To share the fun and excitement of using the new Drawify plug-in for Miro. In fact, I hadn’t used this new app on Miro so I had to learn how. It was a snap (yay!). Then I needed to design the session to teach how to install the app (easily accomplished) and show a few use cases… because I’m me, I also wanted to make the session an engaging learning experience for participants. 

As I started playing with the app, I became immersed in the possibilities—thank goodness that there are only about 800 images in the plug-in and not the almost 10,000 on the Drawify site as I would have fallen deeper into the rabbit hole! I also wanted to show folks how quickly they could create a fun, appealing, and useful visual. I timed myself—the very first time using the plug-in on Miro—and in just over 30 minutes. I had found more images than I needed, combined illustrations and text, and had a fresh look for material previously conveyed in my hand-drawn visual. 

Using a wide variety of styles was joyful. I had also designed a way for participants to collaborate with this new piece—something I hadn’t done when I originally presented the material. 

I then shifted to preparing the frame in which the participants in the session would collaborate with me to develop an evaluation/feedback tool. With my original hand-drawn digital piece from several years ago and a draft of the text for the new document, we got to work searching for illustrations. In less than 10 minutes’ time, we had created a new resource that was easily interactive for a group of virtually any size. Granted, it needed just a little more fine-tuning yet the results were… well, you can judge for yourself! 

It was great fun and people’s questions arose while learning/working with the plug-in:

  • What illustrations are available in the plug-in-in? 
  • How do I search for them? 
  • What happens if I don’t find what I’m looking for?
  • How is the plug-in different from the Drawify platform? 

Our 30 minutes together flew by! Folks left with the ability to use the plug-in immediately… my work was done.

If you’re planning to create Miro and you’d like a hand in working with the plug-in, (perhaps a 10-minute conversation over Zoom in the app) let me know! My guess is that you’ll get it in a heartbeat—if not, you know where to find me. 

If you’re interested in playing with the Drawify platform—having access to the almost 10,000 illustrations there, you can try it out for free for two months—no strings attached,

If you’d like to walk this path of reflection and learning with me, let’s talk. I offer coaching with an Appreciative Inquiry lens. 

What will you experience here? 

I’m listening to this amazing book, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Father Gregory Boyle. I’ll be honest, I am as surprised as anyone that I am loving this book. (If you’re curious about that statement, let’s chat.)

I listen to it every day as I take my walk, often pausing to step off the path, to tap a quote into my phone so I don’t forget it. Just the other day I was listening to a piece about what volunteers often ask when they arrive at Homeboy Industries (the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world). Their question, is “What should I do here?” The response from Father Gregory is priceless, “The  question is what will you experience here?” I love that! 

Can you feel the difference? As I listen to Father Gregory‘s question I feel an expansiveness, an opportunity to open up to the possibility of what might occur. When I listen to the question about what to do, while it could lead to many possible answers, my sense of it is that one or two answers are being sought. It feels like possibilities are closed off, along with creativity, and imagining beyond what’s right in front of me. While there are times for needing a specific answer… what if we lived that question every day, throughout our days? 

What will you experience here?

What do you think? I have several thoughts about it:

  • It would be exciting and mind-expanding.
  • It might be exhausting and unsustainable. 

I think of the latter because having routines and habits can be very helpful. It certainly streamlines my day and reduces the number of decisions I make, whether I’m thinking of my breakfast routine or the route I will take to the train station. If I approached every task with the query, “What are all the possibilities?” I’m not sure I get enough done during the day.

Perhaps there’s a middle path—discerning the times to choose a routine and when to be open to something novel. I might have more varied and quite different experiences if I  consciously choose to embrace the question of how I will engage in them.

One of my students, years ago would ask me, when he received an assignment, “What to do?” Of course, the tasks varied, some were more close-ended/one right answer while others were more open-ended, with multiple perspectives or answers. 

The question, “What to do?” does not necessarily imply a way to do something or a way of looking at it. Yet, I wonder how frequently I/we step back from an immediate appraoch to tackling a task to wonder about the experience we will have. What do you think? I know that I am already wondering about how I will step into situations later today.

As you enter the weekend, perhaps you will play with these questions. If you do, or whenever you do, please let me know your experiences.