I started visual blogging as a result of a 30 -day challenge over two years ago. Then I used my iPad mini, and the apps Paper by 53 and WordPress. I just purchased a new iPhone 6S and both of these apps are now available on an iPhone. Today I am starting a new 30 day challenge, to blog everyday using only my iPhone.
I have been thinking a lot about my blogging and visuals over the past year and wanting to change them, breathe life into them, adapt them, you get the picture. But I have just been thinking and trying to figure it all out. I realized it was time to just take a step and see where it would lead me. So here I go.
And my question to you … what is something you have been thinking about and thinking you need to figure out entirely before you will take action? What if you just take a step?
“But how can I innovate when my boss (or organization) won’t let me?” is a question we ALWAYS get asked when we do our creativity workshop. My standard response to questions like these is to acknowledge the sentiment and invite people to continue learning, instead of letting a perceived barrier stop their learning. What I’ve wanted to say, however, is to have the courage to take a risk, and so it was with excitement that I discovered The Innovator’s DNA by Dyer et al whose rigorous research into innovation has confirmed my own beliefs about creativity and innovation.
I LOVE that they identify the importance of courage as a pre cursor to the more easily learn-able behavioral skills of questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting. It really does capture what separates true innovators from wannabe innovators who innovate … but only when it’s safe. True innovators don’t “wait” for their organizations or bosses to create a warm and cosy place to hatch their idea. They have the courage to go for it and the belief that they can handle whatever happens next.
While I do believe there is a role for leaders to play in creating an innovative corporate culture (and the book does identify processes), at an individual level we need to develop our own courage to innovate regardless of what our bosses and organizations do or do not encourage. This may mean really testing out assumptions about the existing corporate culture (as quite honestly, sometimes bosses and organizations are waiting for us to innovate!), finding another organization that is a better fit, or striking out on our own. Ultimately, we shrink our own potential and lose our passion and energy when we stop being courageous and taking risks.
I attended an awesome workshop based on the work of Brene Brown facilitated by my good friend and colleague, Laurie Hillis, as part of International Coaching Week this past May. I love Brene’s work and was particularly struck by the ideas around the “arena,” basically a metaphor for putting oneself out there and taking risks.
What’s powerful about this metaphor is Brene’s notion that unless someone has also put themselves into the arena are they deserving of our attention. I find this SO helpful, as I have tended to listen to all voices equally. This is especially true in the overdone and somewhat unhelpful practise of anonymous feedback forms at the end of a course or training program. I have been demoralized by hurtful feedback which has resulted in me losing confidence and enthusiasm for my work.
In most instances these are voices from the cheap seats, those whom have never put themselves out there in the way I have in my teaching and facilitation. And so it’s now a goal of mine to ignore these critics in the cheap seats and pay attention to those who are deserving of my time and energy.
My lovely husband asked me to describe 2013 and I said, “It started crappy, ended crappy (as I was sick for the entire holiday season) and there was a whole lot of crap in the middle.” Egads, not something you would think I would admit to in my blog 😉 To cut myself a bit of slack, I was very sick when he asked me, and I was being sarcastic. Today I am feeling better and acknowledge there were many good times and accomplishments last year, alongside the super uncomfortable (scary?) learning, and plain old life challenges that create (stretch?) our character.
And so, the focus of today’s blog. Letting go. While some people are oriented towards gratitude and positivity and don’t even remember bad times, others of us aren’t and need to let go before we can see more objectively. I envision balloons floating upwards taking away those things that don’t serve me that well and cloud my perception. In no particular order, what I need to let go of in order to realize the blessings in my life …
Reading about how much $$ is needed for retirement
Expecting people to be different
Spending too much time on social media
When I do this, I realize I live an incredibly abundant and blessed life. For all of you who heard my earlier rant about 2013, please accept my new and revised version 🙂
I continue to be fascinated by the whole topic of creativity and excited to find more and more books popping up. A recent one is Erik Wahl’s unthink: rediscover your creative genius. His story of how he came to his current creative genius of doing quick live sketches to help people uncover their own potential is inspiring. I also love that he has used an acronym, picasso, to identify how we can fully live into (or rediscover) our creative potential – to be provocative, intuitive, convicted, accelerated, spontaneous, surrendered and original. His book is a nice blend of research, practical examples, and suggestions to rediscover and live your unique picasso. I highly recommend it!
I was fascinated to learn about Dr. Raye Kass’s research about extreme teams and, in particular, her work with the Mars One mission. While I have heard lots of talk about missions to Mars, I didn’t realize that there actually is one planned for 2023. Dr. Kass is on the team who will be selecting and then training people for the mission. She provided one of the most engaging and authentic presentations I have seen in some time.
There are so many fascinating moral dilemmas in this mission, as the people who do eventually go are on a one way mission. They can never return home to earth. The top 5 psychosocial characteristics they are looking for in the people selected:
Trust of self and others
Creativity and resourcefulness
Well, indeed. I think I might add slightly crazy and an amazing ability to not ever freak out. Some more interesting tidbits from her research:
Only 2% of people actually like what they do for work.
On Russian space teams, if one member gets sick, they replace the team with a new team.
She used appreciative inquiry in training space teams to work together.
That in submarine culture, pinging is an extreme form of hazing whereby someone teases you about something until you get angry.
Also in submarine culture, the long eye is giving someone extreme forms of silence to isolate them.
And more about the Mars One application process:
200,000 people applied
all manner of education and occupation and ages 18-80
They will choose approximately 40 people, who will spend 4 months for 4 years in a Mars simulation
4 will go in 2023, followed by more people every second year when Mars is close to Earth
I am truly fascinated by this … from a distance. I am in awe of those people who will go through this process. Our next great adventurers!
It’s no surprise that more and more people are researching and writing about creativity and innovation. We so need it today! I really like Dyer et al’s framework, simple but powerful. The one I most need to work on is experiment as I don’t like failure much! What about you?
When was the last time you were truly uncomfortable in your leading, learning, living? If it has been a while, perhaps it’s time to push yourself a bit more. Incremental learning happens all the time as we interact with others on a daily basis, but if we want to create something new and different in our lives and organizations, it requires some discomfort. And if you find yourself paralyzed by fear, remember that often happens when we stretch ourselves. Take a deep breath, remember it’s part of the process, return to some safer ground, and keep living through the discomfort.
To fess up or not? That is indeed the question. In my experience, leaders often underestimate just how closely they are watched for inconsistencies and so if you are trying to promote a culture of honesty and openness (and why wouldn’t you want that?) then put your ego aside and fess up. You may feel vulnerable but ultimately you will build trust with people. And, added benefit, you are setting an example for others to follow. How much better would your business run if mistakes were surfaced and dealt with immediately?