4 years in business

4 Wisdom Nuggets from A Creative Entrepreneur Celebrating 4 Years in Business

ConverSketch’s 4th birthday means a present for you my Readers!

This week it is my pleasure to share a moment of gratitude that ConverSketch has been alive and growing for four years. I couldn’t be more delighted or appreciative for the support from you: my friends and clients who are the reason I get up and pour my heart into the work I do every day.

Encouraging more effective and collaborative communication, sharing creative inspiration, and seeing you and your teams work through and move beyond challenges are what keep me going every single day.

So to thank you for being clients, collaborators and partners in disrupting the status quo of workshops and conferences, I’d like to share with you 4 insights and related tools that have helped me grow a successful business. I hope these reflections and tools can help you continue to convene meaningful groups, think critically and creatively, and every single day ripple your amazing ideas and actions outward to change the world.

1. Know Your Why and Practice It

Okay, getting meta here. There have been many blogs, books, and videos on this idea made popular by Simon Sinek’s TED talk that people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you’re doing it.

What makes you jump out of bed in the morning? Think deep here, not “My cat that wants to get fed and jumps on my head” but what about your work really resonates with you? Is it seeing people’s faces light up when they try your new recipe? Is it helping someone navigate a website to find an answer? Is it having a spontaneous, meaningful conversation with a co-worker by the coffee-maker? Figure out you WHY and make sure it permeates what you do.

Graphic Facilitator’s Expert Tip: Now backing down to a super simple yet effective concept that can make or break a meeting whether it’s 15 minutes or 3 days: Have a clear goal or purpose for the meeting and make sure everyone who’s attending knows too. Otherwise, you’re more likely to go in circles and nobody will know why you’ve met or when you’ve finished. 

2. Listen Real Good

This is what I do for a living. I listen. And then I write and draw like lightening to capture those key ideas visually. In such a fast-paced world, it is important to pause and listen deeply and presently to those you’re working with to really make the most of your time and energy together. More on this coming in the next newsletter…stay tuned.
Graphic Facilitator’s Tip: When having a conversation, when the other person finishes a thought instead of jumping right in, wait three seconds to see if there’s something else they want to share. This way, you’re truly listening instead of waiting for your turn to speak, which can allow for deeper and more meaningful conversations. Cred goes to Marie Forleo for this one.
Bonus: This works well with loved ones too!

3. Manage That Time

It’s what you have, so make it count. Work hard, and also take breaks mentally and physically. In a culture that stresses…well, stress. I hereby formally give you permission to take time for yourself and to disconnect. It’s how I find inspiration as someone who’s expected to be creative always.
Graphic Facilitator’s Tip: If you want to geek out with me on this, I recently published a post on how I’ve been more productive day-to-day, and my top tip remains to start your day with something other than the computer. Whether that’s taking a few minutes to sketch the view from your window or writing stream-of-consciousness, I’ve found beginning my day with a pencil and paper leads to a more productive day.
BONUS Graphic Facilitator’s Tip: To make the most of your time and that of the group you’re working with, write down goals where everyone can see them. If you’re working through a challenging process, draw it out or make a mind map

4. LOVE Thyself and Thy People! 

Yes, I couldn’t help it. Valentine’s Day is coming and although I generally dislike the focus on mindlessly buying jewelry, flowers and chocolate (okay, the chocolate is pretty alright), I DO love taking the time to show and share my love. Any day of the year. Come on over if you need a hug.

Expressing love has been both a phenomenal area of growth and a strength for me as I’ve launched ConverSketch.
I’m good at letting people know I appreciate them. I’m great at being supportive and kind to groups I work with. I love the work I get to do every day.

But you know who I’ve had to practice loving through this business ride?
Yup, one of my biggest challenges has been loving myself as a business person. What I mean is that as I’ve been learning the ropes of entrepreneurship, being a self-directed professional, and working with many clients all over the world, I have developed a better sense of the immense and long-term value that my services provide my clients. Owning that value and learning to articulate it clearly to those I’m serving has been a continuous learning loop, one that I expect to iterate and improve forever…because these things don’t reach a definitive point of perfection.

And that’s one thing I LOVE about my job: I always get to keep learning.
It’s also incredibly important to take time to acknowledge the people you work with and the Heart and Brain Power they’re putting into what they’re doing. It takes a very small amount of effort to say a quick thank you, send a note or take a moment to express gratitude at a weekly meeting.

And it can have massive, positive repercussions.
Graphic Facilitator’s Tip: Smile a lot. It A) gives someone a boost and B) makes people wonder what you’re up to.

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version)

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So thank you once again for being a part of the ConverSketch community. Here’s to four more years of creativity, critical thinking, good humor, innovation, vision and action. 
Cheers, Karina

Need help exploring your Why? Looking for an expert listener to visually synthesize your next event? Click below and get ready for take off!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

At the end of January CSU hosted a grand meeting of leaders and minds across all of the Colleges and engaged community members to discuss the One Health Initiative. The energy was almost tangible as ideas whizzed around focusing on how human, animal and environmental health are related. Although I'm proud of my charts, I'm even more proud of the enthusiasm and critical mapping each of the nine groups showed during the workshop.