Creative Pathfinder- Learnings, Weeks 21-26

Posted on | May 11, 2011

I embarked on the Creative Pathfinder journey on September 3, 2010 – eight months ago! And I’ve so enjoyed the experience – every step on the “path” I’m finding/creating. I’ve said it before, but need to say it again: Mark McGuinness is smart, and wise, and insightful, and Creative, and most generous to share this course for Free. It’s worth a lot. I’ve benefited a great deal in these eight months of examining myself and learning methods and practices to increase my productivity and success.

Lesson 21
Topic = What Motivates Us?
Insights

  • I have a hard time ranking the intrinsic motivations. Really they are all super important to me, but if I had to, this is how I would prioritize them: meaning; purpose; creative flow; interest; learning; challenge. This is helpful to know in terms of how to get and stay really motivated.
  • Also good to consider that extrinsic motivators do play their role and help us along, too. For example, I particularly enjoy praise (positive feedback, etc) and appreciation.
  • And it’s always worth keeping in mind that the hardest part usually is getting started. I find that once I “get into it” the momentum builds on itself.

The funny thing is, the work is usually quite enjoyable when you get going and intrinsic motivation takes over. But to get you going in the first place place, you sometimes need the extrinsic motivation of ‘deadline magic’.
-Mark McGuinness

Actions

  • Keep reminding myself that meaning and purpose (my two biggest motivators) are found in the simplicity of living each moment to its fullest: being really Here and Now, being the best we can be (our Authentic Self), and offering our Positive Energy to the world around us, whatever we are doing, no matter how small it may seem. And also remind myself that every time I pick up a pen, paintbrush, pastel, marker, etc, and start moving, if I stick with it for awhile, I get into the creative flow (the third of my motivators) and what a nice place that is to be!

Lesson 22
Topic = Rejection and Criticism
Insights

  • Yes, when we “put our heart and soul” (even a small bit of it) into our work, it hurts when others don’t like/appreciate it. Also, we all just, at a fundamental level, want to be loved – that’s human nature, whether we’re aware of it or not.
  • Similarly to homeopathic medicine, when we expose ourselves (in small doses) ,repeatedly, to what challenges us, we become stronger.
  • It matters not that we fall down and get dirty. (We will – it’s a natural part of being human.) What matters is how we choose to respond. If we learn and grow from the experience then we are living our purpose.

Actions

  • Meditate everyday! By tuning in to my Inner Light, my Highest Self, and connecting with the Abundantly Positive Energy of the Universe, I am strong, balanced, calm, clear, and confident. I’m planning to participate in The Chopra Center’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge.

Lesson 23
Topic = Difficult People

People are much more complex than the labels we stick on them.
-Mark McGuinness

Insights

  • Not only do we generate potentially negative energy by labeling people, we also limit the possibilities for how we can interact with them. If we recognize them as multi-dimensional, ever-changing, infinite beings like ourselves (see last Lesson 22 ‘Actions’ re meditation…) we expand the possibilities tremendously.
  • As usual, focusing on the specifics is worth every bit of effort. If we understand what we want from the other person, and why, and if we take the time to understand their perspectives and motivations (empathy serves us well), we can approach the situation with clarity and a big-picture view.

In Aikido, Harmony, and the Business of Living (Zanshin Press), Richard Moon calls the practice of being fully present and fully aware “Feel Where You Are.” If you are to truly listen, engage, and empathize with someone challenging you then you yourself must be completely aware of your situation and aware of their situation and all the subtle signals. One who is fully in the present cannot be caught off guard. “Feeling where you are,” says Moon, “refines awareness into attention.
-Garr Reynolds

Actions

  • Give others respect and understanding by not labeling them, not assuming, just as I hope others will do for me.
  • See last Lesson 22 ‘Actions’ re meditation…

Lesson 24
Topic = Fun and Informative Presentations
Insights

  • The best presenters are great storytellers. They know why they are asking for their audiences attention and what the desired post-presentation actions are. And, they weave in interesting stories that illustrate their points, so the audience is entertained while being informed. While studying architecture, learned that even math can be fun (for an arts and literature type) to learn when taught by someone who is friendly, funny, entertaining, and engaging.

Actions

  • Follow the ‘three key points + call to action = the structure of your presentation’ formula for fun and informative presentations.

Lesson 25
Topic = Managing Creatives
Insights

  • As fellow creatives, even if we are in roles not traditionally seen as creative (IT project manager, etc..), we understand that freedom plays a big role in our ability to produce. If we are too limited by micromanagement, the flow of our ideas and thus our products/deliverables get restricted. And, every one of us has some creative fire within, even if it’s not regularly applied, or even recognized. So, even if our title is not “manager”, when we are managing and coordinating projects and the people involved in those projects, we’ll do well to encourage that creative fire and the brilliance it can produce by giving freedom of thought and action.
  • Feedback! As a communications and project manager (by nature and profession), I cannot say enough about the value of feedback. The best managers I have had over the years were those who regularly shared their thoughts/feelings about my performance and work. I learn so much, we all do, when others take the time to share their perspectives with us. I also encourage you to actively seek it out as well, as even the most well-intentioned managers sometimes need to be asked. And, whenever you are giving feedback (either solicited or unsolicited), also see it as an opportunity to ask for feedback yourself.

Actions

  • I’m a pretty good listener, but I know what it feels like when someone you are trying to share with is not totally focused on you – it feels like “why bother?” And we’re missing a lot of greatness when we are not really present in the moment with those around us. So, I commit to greater presence and attention when sharing with others. Oh ya, this is important in a management sense, because as we learned in Lesson 23 (when dealing with difficult situations), through understanding others we have a better chance of getting the desired outcomes.

Lesson 26
Topic = Measuring Success
Insights

  • Regular self reflection and assessment allow us to see where we’ve been, how we’ve been doing, and how that measures up to the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
  • Yes, let’s say it again: money is a positive resource if we are using it to do good (and doing good includes taking Great care of ourselves and feeling Great all the time.) The more we prosper, the more good we can do!
  • What we focus our energy on is what we get. So if we desire to be a positive force in the world, we need to actively envision and work towards that.

Maybe you want to save the world, or at least part of it. Or maybe you want to delight and amaze it, which is just as valid. But if you don’t make it a priority, you risk falling short.
-Mark McGuinness

  • I so, so, so appreciate Mark’s shining light on an area that many of us fail to give attention to: recognizing “the positive difference we are already making to others and the world at large.” This is a positive use of our energy and attention. As we acknowledge, and celebrate, the good we are doing each day, we are inspired to do more good! I also appreciate Mark encompassing animals, plants, the environment, and the Universe in the web which we are connected to. And lastly, I would like to enthusiastically agree that even the smallest gestures/actions/reactions can have a large and positive impact, frequently rippling out far beyond what we imagine.

Actions

  • Some of the primary goals I am actively working on?: more collaborating, connecting, and positively contributing.
  • Continuing to cultivate Mindfulness. Being Awake and Aware and trusting my gut/instinct/inner wisdom and the Universe to guide me along this brilliant path.
  • Find meaning and purpose in the choices I make and the actions I take each day which positively contribute to the world around me and the universe as a whole. What a perfect note to end the course on!

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