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Finding joy in new projects

Gosh, I love new projects! I admit it, my heart beats a little faster and I feel such delight when beginning something new. Happily, in most instances, I get the same feeling of joy when I complete the project.

What’s your style? 

My strengths* of curiosity, creativity, and love of learning lead me into considering many projects. Over time, I have learned to tap into my strength of perspective to keep me from going down every rabbit hole!

From the VIA Character Strengths Survey—showing the”sunny” and the “shadow” sides of my strengths.

Where do your strengths lead you? Where do they get you in trouble? How do you use them to support your endeavors?

Within the past few days, I’ve been working on a few new projects and I’m making time to note my energy and commitment to each. This opportunity for reflection is helpful.

How often do you step back from your projects and the processes that you’re engaged in to assess what’s working for you and what can be sharpened?

As I wrote last week, I am beginning The Sketchbook Project. I am smitten with the idea of a blank canvas! It feels exciting, challenging, daunting and the adventure pulls me in.

Surprisingly, the video of the sketchbook is a peek at the small zine that I created as the final project for the course, Tiny Memoirs, offered by my colleague and friend Julie Gieseke. Truth be told, I discovered in the last week of the course that I had a bigger tiny memoir in me (what a juxtaposition!) that would take too long to complete by our final session, in which we shared our work. So I put that more intensive project aside because it’s really near and dear to my heart and I need time and energy to make it into the gem I believe it can be. So instead, I made a little zine to share my thoughts about receiving and planning for making my very own Sketchbook Project. I loved using several techniques that Julie suggested, tell your memoir in four sentences, show your memoir in six visuals, and consider creating a zine. What fun!

What has captured your curiosity and desire to create lately?

Another project, the upcoming Visual Binge developed by Deepti Jain and Charu Aurora, grabbed my attention yesterday also, as I put the finishing touches on my planning for the session for July 11. I felt such anticipation,  imagining the session and what the participants and I would be doing together.

I’m also looking at a new way of organizing myself. I’ve been trying several different bullet journal formats and honestly, life just feels too full right now and I am unwilling to make the time to create the format that I like using each month, week, and every day. While, I thought I’d have the interest in the energy to devote to making a bullet journal, I’m finding that I don’t. And that’s okay!

A friend of mine, Jane Massengill, mentioned on Instagram how much she likes the Panda Planner. I’m a Passion Planner gal from way back when it was a Kickstarter campaign. I shifted away from it because I wanted to personalize my planner and so I’ve been experimenting with different formats of bullet journaling for over a year. I’m finding, lately life is so full of good things that I’m not willing to devote time and energy to create the layouts and so I am turning to the Panda Planner, to give it a shot. As you can imagine, I downloaded the free PDF and I’m trying out all the different layouts. I want something that’s just right (sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, no?) because I need to put this task behind me so I can move forward. (There’s a visual!)

I have to say that new projects are the spice in my life every week! As you can see, my strength of hope also carries me forward. I just have to be sure I stay on the sunny/positive side of my strengths because the shadow side (overuse of them) can lead to overwhelm… but that’s why I’m picking a new planner!

I am happy to share more ideas about these resources!

The Sketchbook Project

VIA Character Strengths

Visual Binge

Panda Planner

Feel free to book a Connect session with me if you want to learn more about character strengths and how they work in real life. And you might want to check out these resources too

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?