Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

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Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

“Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp My mother will tell you that when I was a child I asked “Why?” a lot. My inquisitive nature was more than just a simple childlike curiosity, though. I was provocative, bent on challenging the facts of life, eager to question conventional thought and practice. Like many kids, there was a little rascal in me who wanted to be different, have a voice, and say No. Little did I, or my mother, realize that this rascal had a larger purpose—to forge a path that brings new thought and possibilities into the world. Questioning is a natural and necessary part of any change process. Asking “Why?”, wondering, imagining, dreaming new dreams, engaging in healthy open discussions, and […]

Hold the Agenda of Others ~ A Practice of the Heart

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Hold the Agenda of Others ~ A Practice of the Heart

What if for one day you allowed everyone to be as they are? My recent article, 4 Reasons Not to Fix or Solve People’s Problems, was so well received that I wanted to offer a follow-up article that expanded on the topic, while offering some practical tools. The tools are intended to support you to practice the principles outlined so that you may free yourself from the need to be responsible for other’s challenges or general circumstances. The practice is simple, but not necessarily easy: Where possible, practice not having an agenda for others. Note that I wrote “Where possible”. I am fully aware that there are many places where we do need to have an agenda; for instance, if you are parenting, teaching or […]

Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

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Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ~ Ornette Coleman Two things that block our self-expression and creativity is the fear of judgement, and the weight of expectations to do things the “right” way. We hold back in team meetings and other kinds of relationships, fearful that we will receive a disparaging response. A guiding principle for communication that can help mitigate negativity and fear, and create safety for creative self-expression is Nobody Gets to Be Wrong. Imagine conducting all future meetings and general dialogue with this principle in place. What would the implications be? All ideas are welcome Freedom to playfully experiment and get messy Less thinking and more spontaneity More ideas shared […]

Asking for Help ~ A Wonderful Way to Give

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Asking for Help ~ A Wonderful Way to Give

What if asking for help is an act of giving? It is one of the hardest things to do it seems. In asking for help we are afraid that we might be burdening others, or that our wish will go unanswered leaving us feeling disappointed…again. Or maybe we feel that if we ask for help we will be judged as incompetent, giving our boss reason to not grant us that raise. Or perhaps we don’t want to feel vulnerable, and admit to ourselves that maybe we don’t have all the answers and can’t do it alone. It also doesn’t help when we live in a society that says giving is better than receiving, putting ourselves first is bad or selfish, and we must be strong. […]

Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

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Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

To find middle ground, we must be willing to accommodate another perspective, and leave the ground we stand on. Finding middle ground is not always easy because needs are often so diametrically opposed. And yet when we realize that people, more than anything, want to feel heard and understood, finding middle ground can become a simpler process. Here are three steps you can take to find middle ground: 1. Be Calm This is essential. Your calm state creates a sense of openness, and a feeling of safety for others to express fully without fear of judgement or reaction. 2. Acknowledge the Other’s Position People are more likely to loosen their stance if they feel heard and valued. People want to feel that their position is […]

7 Mindsets for Collaboration ~ Building Creative and Engaging Relationships

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7 Mindsets for Collaboration ~ Building Creative and Engaging Relationships

Collaboration happens when all voices are heard, and all contributions valued, within a safe and open space of dialogue. People feel included and are encouraged to actively participate in the discussions or creative process. Collaboration gets stuck when we believe our idea is the way. We cannot accommodate another viewpoint because we are so locked in our own. Time and tradition clouds the lens from which we view things. We get so accustomed to our ways that we fail to see the bright and new. We can empower collaboration by changing our mindset. A changed mindset can alter the way we view others, our self, and a situation. It can shift our communication to more creative and inclusive language, and expand our range of awareness […]

Co-Creative Conversations

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Co-Creative Conversations

“Most people do not listen with the intent to learn and understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.” ~ Stephen Covey. When there is an important meeting coming up with someone, say a work colleague, we often prepare what to talk about in advance. We think about what key points we want to cover, and how/when to bring them up. While it is natural and useful to be prepared, planning can also be limiting if it blocks our capacity to be available for a co-created conversation. A co-created conversation means both parties are active in the dialogue. Each person contributes to the agenda by bringing their thoughts, feelings and desires to the table. Often when we come […]

Co-Create Dirt Pie

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Co-Create Dirt Pie

And then… Co-creation is based in the Spirit of Yes And, which means Yes to you And to me. And the spirit of Yes And means, among other things, to Play Along and Create From. A fun way to play along with others in a co-creative spirit is to use a version of Yes And called And then… Imagine you come home from work and your children say to you, “What’s for dinner mommy?” Instead of the usual response of saying what you are actually cooking, try something a little playful and creative. “Well,” you could say, “I’m going to make a dirt pie. I’m thinking of adding a few sticks to it. What else could we add?” Your child may then say, “We could […]