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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!

How are you growing in your practice?

With spring in the air and shoots emerging from the cold, brown earth, my mind follows suit—I am thinking about growth and change! One of the ever-present areas of interest and practice is in honing my signature style…

What’s your signature style? What has been your journey in developing and refining it?

I think about this question in all areas of my work though I encounter it the most frequently when I am teaching visualization skills. Folks come into the bikablo courses I offer with the initial desire to learn how to do what they have seen in the books and online— literally the drawings and also the methodology which supports the development of their skills. As people progress, they want to make their work a reflection of themselves which to me, is a sign of their growing sophistication. When I’m asked about how they can develop their own style, I reflect on my journey.

What’s your foundation… what supports you? What are you building on?

I began drawing, for use in my training business, with the book, Beyond Words, by Millie Sonneman. As I remember it, she said if you can draw circles, squares, and triangles, you can draw just about anything well enough for people to recognize it. I took her at her word and started drawing on flip chart paper taped to the glass door separating my kitchen from the deck. I loved it—it was fresh, fun, expansive—it opened up another channel of communication for me.

Feeling that my initial work was good yet there was more to be learned, I started poking around online, (back in the late 1990’s) and discovered  Nancy Margulies. I studied how she created her drawings—to learn how she looked at things and started to imitate her style. Her approach was completely different than Millie’s in that she used swatches of color to create her figures. Nancy mentored me briefly and the experience moved me in a different direction—it was fantastic! I searched further and found Christina Merkley, ultimately taking courses with her for over a decade.

In 2016, I attended the IFVP conference and participated in two workshops delivered by the bikablo team of Frank Wesseler and Stefan Böker. I loved the simple approach supported by the structure and methodology—it made it easy to learn and achieve good results fast. Now almost 5 years later, I have become a Bikablo trainer. I’ve also worked hard, OK I have worked and played hard, to develop and use a style that is recognizable as mine in my work outside of teaching the Bikablo method. I have discovered that my digital work/play affords me better practice in sharpening and refining my style because it is so easy to make changes… though that is a double-edged sword because I’ve become more perfectionistic about my work with my Apple Pencil in hand.

How has repetition and persistent, consistent, practice helped you to evolve? In what ways, and in what situations, are you developing your signature style?

Here are a few examples of my own style over the past year or so… as you can see I am still “on the move” incorporating new ways of drawing, using color, experimenting with layouts, and lettering. It’s such fun!

How are you saying, “Yes!” to change and growth in your visualization practice?

If your future visualizing work could be any way you wanted it to be, what would it be? Maybe you’re all set with your signature style of drawing figures, icons, and graphical elements—maybe layout, new uses of color, or lettering are what’s up for you. Or maybe, there’s some other aspect of your work that you want to explore?

How will you be the agent of your own change?

If you’re looking for personalized support along the way, a partner on this journey, let’s have a cuppa coffee (or tea) and conversation over Zoom…

And, if you’re seeking a group coaching environment, to learn from others too, e-xtraklasse starts next week— I’d love to have you join this small coaching program that focuses on deepening your skills. Learn more here, reach out to me with your questions, and register here.

Food for Thought on a Friday Afternoon

When’s the last time you declared who you are to the world?

This question of vision, mission, values, capability, and capacity came up for me just this week. I have become a member of a small group of women who are seeking to explore and discover, ways to meet some of the needs of particular underserved populations.

We are graphic recorders, authors, illustrators, facilitators, and educators with the passion and skills

for helping those facing end of life issues through making visible their thoughts and words as they face death.

The Back Story

Long and delightful story short, we have found our way over the past few months to sharing who we are, how we come to the subject matter, and the project that we are co-creating (with what questions, interests, and skills). We are learning about each other and imagining how we can each contribute to creating a more multi-faceted endeavor. Last week we realized that it was time to craft a manifesto/vision/mission statement to share with the world, or perhaps a little less grandly, with colleagues and new contacts, potential partners, and funders to help them understand what we’re doing and why.

When have you recently paused to reflect on who you are and what you stand for personally and/or professionally? If someone asked you about your values and why you’re doing what you’re doing in your life, how easy would it be to share your thoughts?

Several years ago I created a simple process —PRISM—for writing a manifesto, to support my coaching clients (parents) in getting clear about themselves and who they wanted to be in relation to their children. I had written a manifesto for myself, about who I wanted to be in the world, and I had written another about the parent I wanted to be… These creations were both based on who I was at the time and were aspirational.*

PRISM

Pause

to create the time/space in your schedule and environment so that it becomes easy to do this work and play

Reflect

on questions that resonate for you at this time (and find sources to help you do so)

(Who do you want to be? What are your values and how do you live them? What are your hopes, dreams, and priorities? What aren’t you addressing because it’s not comfortable, and how will you do that? What will stretch you?)

Imagine

all the possible answers to your questions and how you want to capture them (sticky notes, narrative form, drawings or…) so they are at your fingertips

Select

the constellation of ideas and desires that inspires you to commit and act

Manifest

your vision of yourself by making time to plan for the transformation you desire.

We began our meeting this week with an appreciative eye toward what we enjoy about our plorking (play and working) together. Everyone’s answer to the check-in question was uplifting and strengthened our foundation.

The language and imagery we used to describe our best experiences crafting such statements were exciting, generative, and surprisingly similar. When we shifted to our wishes for what we saw ourselves doing together and the content of the manifesto/vision statement, we saw many different possibilities.

Our next step, on our own, will be to visualize and share our ideas for our manifesto—what will it say about us and what we want to do in the world? I can’t wait to find out!

Finally, we will draft our manifesto.

 

* If you would like a copy of the ebook I created for manifesto writing, let me know and I’ll send one your way!

Summer is waning, what are your reflections?

Memories of long ago…

At the beginning of the summer, with the possibility of carefree days of vacation—camp, friends, sometimes a bit of travel—the idea of having to complete a summer project for high school felt like a burden. By the time the summer was over, with the project completed, I had a sense of accomplishment. As it was a time filled with fun and a bit of work, which was usually (mostly) of my own design… it was really not so bad after all.

What was your project this summer?

Was it making it through every day endeavoring to stay afloat —mentally, emotionally, and maybe financially too?  I hear you, these remain trying times.

Were you, your family, or friends touched by sickness? Members of my family and my circle of friends have been affected. Most have recovered but not all. 

Did it include thinking in new ways or maybe taking on new work? My work has changed in many ways—I miss being in the room with my participants and yet love the connections I am making across the continents too.

How are you feeling about what has changed and what remains the same? I am curious to know.

My summer project has blossomed into a coaching circle for women. 

Roots of Resilience grew out of my desire to synthesize my academic background, training in coaching, and experience across the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, Appreciative Inquiry, Compassion, communication, and NVC/compassionate communication.

I started this project after listening to many of my women colleagues around the world talk about feeling tired, depleted, and sometimes pessimistic. I designed this circle for the folks like them and like me—women whose strengths feel buried by a combination of unforeseeable circumstances.

These have been trying times and I believe they will continue to be so for the near future. I believe it is a time to come together, share our knowledge and skills, and build them together so that we all emerge stronger, more resilient. Would being a member of a circle with women provide the foundation and the impetus to regain your resilience— to tap into your perhaps dormant knowledge and skills, and build on them?

If this work interests you, as a member of the circle, or individually, please learn more about it here. And if you are one of my colleagues who is an IFVP member, I made the offer at our annual conference this year and I will provide a discount for you. As a field, we have been hit hard by this pandemic. Scholarships are also available to those desiring to join the circle.

Please contact me with your questions. I am offering this experience in one-to-one coaching sessions too—for anyone who feels drawn to this inner work (and play).

What are you reading, watching, and listening to, in your work life, at this very moment?

When I started considering this question, the answers began falling through my mind like an avalanche and I felt buried under the chaos! I had to create an organizing principle or two… I decided to make categories. My thinking centered around how I interact with each of the mediums rather than the content of what I was reading. Let’s see if I have made it comprehensible or… not.

I landed on a few key areas: “reference” books, books I’m actively engaged with, Kindle reading, Audible selections, magazines, newsletters, a podcast, and a recent video. I begin to wonder how I finish anything when I start to look at the number of sources I tackle in a month—and these are just the work-related sources. I have a friend who reads one book at a time… I can’t imagine it!

The reference books that I have at my side all the time, to share with colleagues are:

  • UZMO—Thinking with the Pen by Martin Haussman
  • The World of Visual Facilitation edited by Joren Blijsie, Rachel Smith, Tim Hamons (and last minute, silent editing partner, Jill Greenbaum)
  • Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
  • A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea
  • Appreciative Living by Jackie Kelm
  • Dynamic Relationships by Jacqueline Stavros & Cheri B. Torres
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

So maybe these qualify as “standards” for me and not active reading…

I am actively engaged with these books

3-minute drawings with both hands simultaneously (on the right) and with my left/non-dominant hand

Making Comics by Linda Barry—This one is going a bit more slowly as I am drawing once a week with my friend and colleague Julia from Tasmania. Here are a few of my more recent humorous drawings.

Appreciative Coaching by Sara Orem, Jacqueline Binkert, and Ann Clancy

Happiness is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein

and the audiobooks

Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The AI facilitator certification process that I’m engaged in has had me working with the textbook, Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination by Jane Magruder Watkins, Bernard Mohr, and Ralph Kelly

Magazines by the couch  

Mindful subscription and special editions too

Daily and weekly newsletters that I make an effort to keep current with are:

 

Podcast

Staying Power Podcast with Phyllis Cole-Dai,  www.phylllis.cole-dai.podbean.com Here’s one I really liked, ”On my 58th Birthday: 58 Pandemic Prayers.” This might seem more personal than work-related—though that’s the overlap in my life and coaching circle work.

(Gosh I love to listen to podcasts, though my slight learning disability (less than stellar short term auditory memory) steers me away from this medium for work-related issues. You may ask, so why do you listen to audiobooks—good question! I listen to them as I racewalk daily—and pause them to record audio notes to myself on occasion… or buy the book, if there’s so much juicy stuff!) 

 

Recent video

TedX— Celebrate What’s Right with the World, Dewitt Jones, https://dewittjones.com/pages/tedx-dewitt-jones

 

It’s clear that I have a love of Appreciative Inquiry and positive psychology—they are the foundations of Roots of Resilience, my coaching circle for women that begins on September 21st. I hope you will choose to learn more here

 

What will you read, watch, and listen to

in this month of September?

I plan on finishing up some of the goodies I have listed above. If you’re reading any of them and want to chat—I’d love it! Lmk!