Posts

What’s your learning path?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve experienced a delightful mix of learning. I stepped into the Dalai Lama‘s Guide to Happiness, the free 10-day challenge on the 10% Happier app. (If you’re unfamiliar with this work, the focus is on gaining skills in happiness and compassion through meditation.) I also had the good fortune to be a part of the Drawify team to graphically record sessions of the New Rules for Work Symposium. I attended Genein Letford’s session,  Intercultural Creativity for Leadership. These experiences reminded me of:

  • the beauty of targeted, relatively brief learning experiences
  • my love of applied science/research
  • the wealth of great resources at my fingertips 
  • the importance of connecting with colleagues to deepen my learning after the experiences. 

What about you? What fun and challenges in learning have you taken up lately?

What’s a new experience, resource, or practice for you?

As I reflect on my journey, I notice that I have a path or way of engaging…

There was a time when I would gravitate more toward all kinds of learning experiences that piqued my interest. Even if I wasn’t sure how to incorporate the learning into my life, I was game. For the past half dozen years or so I have:

~ sharpened my focus (there are only so many hours in a day, right?)

~ increased my discernment (because I can see relationships between so many diverse areas, i.e., coaching teens in the intricacies of the college admissions process and the art of Zentangle) and improved my habit of ensuring a direct connection between engaging the learning and using the new knowledge, skills, and attitudes in my business

~ strengthened my capacity to say, “No.”

I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy to say “No”… and there are even more temptations since the pandemic.

What is your path(s) for your personal and professional development?

Have you noticed a pattern in your approach? What aspects of your plans for growth are serving you and which need some fine-tuning?

On a different and yet related note, i.e., taking on projects that are relevant, and useful, though in this instance required more time than imagined…

Last fall I decided to support my resolve of drawing as a daily practice by deciding to create a calendar that offered space to practice every day. I’ve been making my own planners for years, since my daughter was born and I wanted to include pictures of her in the one planner I worked with daily. Well, truth be told, the idea was exciting AND a bigger task than I anticipated… I reached out to folks, sought ideas for what they might want in such a planner, sifted and sorted through their responses, and got to work. I quickly realized that what I wanted was both similar to and different from what they wanted…

I worked to accommodate myself and the majority. Here’s a visual of my energy around the project…

 I am using the first month now… making discoveries about what I have created. I will post a video of it on my Instagram account, jillig. I hope you will take a peek! I am:

  • happy to offer it in this format for the remainder of the year. If you are interested. (I will have it published through Kindle Direct so it will be bound like a regular book. and with a different cover… I just had to make the prototype a fun visual.)
  • going to make it an undated planner just for weekly practice starting in March…  Stay tuned!

More than Repetition—Conscious Practice (redux)

I just finished two bikablo Day 1 training programs (in-person for the first time since the pandemic and online) plus I offered a monthlong Mystery Tangling adventure for those who love the Zentangle method (and focusing on the philosophy too).

Both of these experiences explore guidelines for drawing yet more importantly…

  • In bikablo, we have a developmental approach and success factors to guide our work
  • In the Zentangle method, we use certain marks and are supported by a philosophy and techniques

In both, the focus is on being mindful about each stroke, conscious of our process —it is what improves our skills—it’s more than repetition.

When is the last time you were focused and aware of each stroke of the pen/marker? Maybe yesterday or…

What impact did that focused, attention have on your intended result? 

My tangling classes/teaching the Zentangle method and Bikablo trainings offer opportunities to engage in conscious practice and receive appreciative and constructive feedback about the results. 

What work or play are you engaged in that offers you feedback to grow on?

In thinking about how to best support the ongoing growth of my participants’ skills in all of my courses, I am developing a planner. I’d love your help in crafting an agenda/calendar/diary/planner that provides space to practice every day—consistency counts when you are burnishing your (drawing) skills.

Here’s my request for your ideas from my recent newsletter about designing the planner. (My apologies to those of you who are on my ezine list and saw this yesterday.)

 

 

Hellooooo!

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet and I’d LOVE to hear what you think!

For years, I’ve been crafting my own planners/agendas/calendars—I’m a bit like Goldilocks in the story with the three bears. I can’t find a planner that’s just right for me so I keep working to make it.

I came “this close” when I purchased the Passion Planner but alas no… so I’m building one with several objectives in mind.

It’s going to:

  • look great
  • support my planning throughout the year—with a year, monthly and weekly calendars
  • facilitate my practice—ensuring that I’m keeping up my skills

And I’d love your ideas to help make it the best!

I’m thinking of a few variables. Please take this survey now—it won’t take even 5 minutes.

I’m going to make this planner—though I’m thinking that I like the name “Owner’s Manual”—over the next few weeks and offer it for pre-sale in early November. 

Please help me make it great!

Take the survey here.

Thanks!

And, I drafted a practice sheet… Visit this Miro board to see an example of how to use it and download the blank practice sheet for yourself!

Please play with it and lmk what you think! Do you like the different angles of the tiles? Please lmk!

(Mental) Space—the Final Frontier

I am in the middle of a really aggressive learning/training program.* My time is scheduled from the morning til way past sundown for 10 days. I am feeling it. 

  • Can you remember the last time when you worked with what was in front of you because that’s what you had to do, yet it felt big, good, and challenging? 

Happily, I had a break in the middle of this 10-day marathon. In that brief respite, I literally felt a sense of spaciousness in my mind. I had the opportunity to think beyond the immediate task to imagine possibilities. It was AWESOME! I felt on fire and couldn’t find a piece of paper or a device fast enough sometimes to capture my ideas… even great ideas can slip through my fingers like water if I get distracted by a phone call or even another thought.

  • When was the last time you felt the juicy expanse and immensity of space for dreaming, imagining, designing, planning, and more?
  • How did you take full advantage of the opportunity?

Now that I am returning to my practice, after the intensity of travel, work, and play in the US and abroad plus my 10-day learning extravaganza, I am seeing the elements of my work from a new perspective—I am shaking it up. It’s exciting!

I’m thinking that I need to take this insight to heart. “Dreaming time” needs to have a special place on my monthly calendar and not left to a delightful, perhaps serendipitous, alignment of the stars. It tantalizing to even think about scheduling those dates with myself! I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this new habit. And, if you want to join me, I’d be happy to have a buddy on this path. Lmk!

*Written last week… when I didn’t make a minute to post it…

The deliciousness of re-imagining work and play

The past few weeks have been flurry of activity—with travel, speaking at a conference, meetings with colleagues from around the world, a summit, and a wee bit of vacation too. The experience of doing something different every day was exhilarating.

Now that I’m back home, it’s time to dive into the work and play of crafting new aspects of my professional and personal lives. I feel a desire to find my way back into the comfort of a routine to support the changes I want to make. I wonder a bit about that feeling, though I realize that a routine can facilitate processes for me.

How are you experiencing your life right now? 

Have you had some time away from work? What did it feel like to step away? And to return?

The Visual Thinking Global Summit in Bilbao, Spain, SHAKE it to SHAPE it!, gave me the time and space to explore my world—where am I now, what will nourish, challenge, and support me going forward?

What existing and new knowledge, processes, tools, resources, and relationships can I tap into, explore, leverage, or amplify to move in the slightly new direction I am envisioning? I have ideas grounded in my reflections and insights from the summit. These questions  loom large for me:

  • What do I dream about?
  • What experiments will I design to discover the path I want to take?
  • What will I let go of?
  • What I will commit to?
  • What timeline I will create for developing these ideas, the pieces of the mosaic of my life?

Related to all this imagining is the practical piece… How will I carve out the time for this work and play of altering the course of my practice? As a maker, I need large blocks of time to work on projects — to dream, imagine, design, question, play, create, revise, and complete. As a solopreneur, I have to ”manage”/guide my business and the various projects that comprise my work.

A recent article in Upworthy on Paul Graham’s work, by Annie Reneau, describes how makers and managers perceive time (and meetings) made me pause. I felt that it explained a lot about my scheduling of myself. I am both a maker (for work and play) and a “manager” of my practice and my life.

I loved this visual by Reese Jones, it feels spot on to me. It made it so clear that I need to create blocks of time and then be certain to use them in the way I intend. It’s also critical to have those smaller chunks of time for smaller tasks. 

What’s your understanding of how you use time? Is it serving you?

I am going to recalibrate my schedule and keep an eye on whether I am using it in alignment with my intentions. A new routine seems in order for the present. When I have a new plan, I will need to assess my calendaring again—that feels right to me!

I’d be curious to hear your experiences with making the time to reflect on your business/work, how you plan for and make changes and what supports you in the process. I hope you will be in touch!

It’s about the how as much as the what, and definitely the why!

In my travels over the past few weeks, I’ve met folks who didn’t know me or my work. Answering the question of what I do, sometimes feels challenging!

Have you had that experience? What do you say? How has your response changed over time?

In the (recent) past I would briefly answer, “I teach people to think and draw so they can communicate more effectively” without getting into the details of visualization or bikablo.

My new answer is, “I help people visualize… (Wait, what does that mean?) to express, share, and capture ideas through combining drawings and words, to more effectively communicate.”

When sharing about visualization/Bikablo

It’s about the how…how to

  • hold the marker
  • draw the various types of lines
  • attend to the details
  • create layouts 
  • use color 
  • understand and use the methodology

and the what

Simple planning for the weekend.

Whether we are “talking” to ourselves (planning, strategizing, remembering, creating) or working with others (graphically recording a meeting, event or training, graphically facilitating an experience, coaching, or training) we are clear about our purpose—it is not art. We consciously do it all in service of clear communication.

When talking about Zentangle 

I share with people, “I teach a meditative art form.” (Wait, what does that mean?)

My new answer is, “I help students create beautiful designs through drawing simple, structured patterns. In the process of learning, they gain perspective about their capabilities and a new understanding of themselves.”

By learning the Zentangle method, its philosophy, and drawing techniques, I guide people in discovering their inner artists.

It’s about the how…how to 

  • use the five marks of Zentangle in a variety of combinations 
  • work within guidelines for drawing
  • integrate the philosophy so that it becomes a practice
  • become more mindful, relax and focus
  • breathe and let go when we make mistakes (as we will inevitably do… we are human)

It is an easy shift, for everyone I work with, to understand that we are the artists, the creators of our work and our lives.

As artists/people, we all face challenges— interacting with others, with materials, living within systems, learning and failing, and more. 

 

 

Why do you do what you do? What have you noticed about why you have chosen your work?

I’ve noticed patterns in my life. I have always gravitated toward transformational work—whether it is my personal growth or the needs and desires of those I want to work with or the systems that I believe need to change.

My work continues to evolve—now I seek to be more aware of the inner struggles, learning and growth of individuals… discovering and shining a light on people’s strengths, values, and capabilities, and asking people what supports them through challenges. I find that I can ask these questions no matter the content that I am sharing (or the hat I am wearing).

What is your thinking about your work… the what, the how, and the why?

If I asked you for a brief and rich description of your work and why you do it—what would you say? I’d like to know.