Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Go Ridiculous in 17 Minutes

Week of January 10, 2010

In my Monday morning Ringling College of Art and Design Psych class this week, new second semester students introduced themselves by creating one of their strengths they chose to showcase to the class. One of the students sculpted a small pillow out of clay. His message? He said he was proficient at "sleep management." While at first we were all amused by his sculpture, it got me to thinking that he may have been onto something: the creation of a work title that even 6 months ago, (and perhaps even today), we would have found ridiculous.

I posed to the students: "You mean, one of you could say: 'Hi, I have an Ivy League Master's degree in Sleep Management?" Ridiculous? Maybe not.

Although I live in a city that seems to have sleep disorder clinics on as many corners as there are Walgreen's, I wanted to open my mind wide enough to poke around and play with ideas of work lives that we know do not currently exist.

What if we could create our own job and job title; what might it be? At a recent Ringling College of Art and Design sponsored International Design Summit, Google's, Charles Warren, shared that at their brainstorming meetings, no one is allowed to comment on another's idea until all questions and suggestions are out on the table.

This allowing of free association does a huge number on our psyches and brains. The neurotransmitters in our brain fire up; if we had brain imaging at our fingertips, we could see the light up process. I am suggesting that we take the time to allow our brains to light up.
This Csikszentmihalyi ("Chick-sent-me-high") -Flow-like model is beautiful; it encourages a high-energy stream of thoughts and possibilities. It is the model that empowers greatness in all of us. This is our work for the New Year, and I ask you to mindfully take 17 minutes to complete it by the end of this week.

You have a two-part assignment. In the first part, I am asking you to be open, even though you may be uncomfortable. Trust that it will work.

Part I: Go to a mirror and for 17 seconds, look into it and say - out loud- something positive to yourself, such as: "I am successful. I have many strengths. I am a good listener. I am brave. I trust in myself. I trust in others. I am compassionate. I am a positive-thinking person. I am independently wealthy. I am a leader. I am a good role model. I am responsible. I am accountable. I have excellent follow through. I am considerate of others. I have good time management. I always consider another's perspective. I am open. I believe and accept that change is good. I am a good person. I am a life long learner. I strive for excellence in myself. I love me. I have a purpose. I am a contributor. I am living life fully. I am thriving.

For 17 seconds, if you have this steady stream of positive words, watch in the mirror for a physiological change. Maybe your face will flush; something sensory in your physical body will reveal a change. As my colleague, Gloria says: "the power of words" cannot be understated.
Part II: Please get materials to make a list. (A large sheet if you are in a group, a tablet of paper, your computer; whatever is best suited for you.) If you are comfortable working with others, partner with someone who is also open to the power of possibilities. You know who the energy-killjoys are; stay clear. Instead, find someone who is uplifting -a glass-half-full-person.

For a minimum of 17 minutes, in a stream of consciousness and free association, write down every idea that comes to you, regarding your ideal work/life. What does your most purposeful work/life look like? Describe it. Envision it. Multi-sense it. Feel it. Even go ridiculous.

I invite you to engage in this particular creative process where there are no judgments, no limitations, no interruptions, no what-abouts, no buts, and most importantly, no questions, for at least 17 minutes. Exhaust yourself with (perhaps, ridiculous) possibilities where there are only "Ands..." and "What mores...?"

I attended a Dan Pink seminar this week, where the DRIVE author pulled the screen back on human motivation and the linkage with autonomy. In his newly released book, DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and this month's Coach Poppy recommended reading, Dan offered these compelling words to us in the audience: "The 3rd drive is the pathway to do great things: changes are great, [people] have great breakthroughs, and great inventions in the world."

Go the mirror, then the drawing table. Be great. The doing great will always follow.

Mindfully yours,


Feeling stuck? Coach Poppy offers a 20 minute F.R.E.E. coaching consultation to those who want to reclaim their work/life purpose. Click here...

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