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How does a creative entrepreneur who enjoys predictability relax?

One of my favorite ways to wake up in the morning is the sound of birds singing.

Especially the sweet, gentle sounds that pull me gently from my slumber, but even the more, shall we say, insistent ones right outside my window are welcome to my ears. 


Birds are a reminder for me of the importance of trust.

They trust that when they take their first flutters from the nest, they will be able to take flight. They trust that the sun will rise and they will sing their songs. They soar through windy skies, zip between tangled branches, or over steep ledges, because they trust what they are meant to be doing.

Wanting to have a pretty solid idea of what is likely to happen in the future is human nature. Some of us are more uncomfortable with not knowing than others, and of course practice makes progress.

I am one of those humans who generally enjoys some level of predictability. 

If there's one thing you can do in life to eliminate said predictability, I'm pretty sure that's to be a self-employed consultant. Add into that the fact that for many of my graphic recording jobs, I am not really sure what's going to happen during the session, but I will be expected to hand over a beautifully finished chart by the end of it. Uncertainty much?  And I must really enjoy this lack of control thing as I've recently delved a lot deeper into painting with watercolors (check the end of this email for more deets). Which tend to do what they want. 

Cue increased heart rate and impulse to reach for a glass of wine. 

Instead of letting my mind worry (a misuse of imagination, according to Dan Zadra), I take a few deep breaths and focus on trusting that everything is working out exactly as it's meant to.

And the birds can help us humans out too. Listening for as many different bird songs as I can is a fun practice that helps me get present and relax.

Then it's time to take action! Because as much as I trust that everything is unfolding divinely, you gotta do the work too.

Click on the image below to see the larger version on the blog.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share that help you focus on trust? Share in the comments below so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this nugget of wisdom, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Need someone you can trust to capture the essence of your next event? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic facilitation magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This month I've been working on my watercolor painting skills, leading to the creation of several Colorado wildlife paintings including this little flammulated owl.  If you'd like to see more paintings and work in progress shots, give me a follow on Instagram. If you like what you see and you're interested in purchasing fine art prints or greeting cards, let's chat!

A Simple & Surprising Trick to Make Your Ideas Crystal Clear

Hey hey, it's Wednesday!

And you know what that means...time to get your weekly dose of Visual.

This week's trick to clarify ideas is using white space intentionally. 

What comes to mind for you when you hear "white space"? For me, two things pop up. 
1) Mental clarity
2) More literally, intentionally leaving part of a graphic recording or painting untouched

I find that when I give myself time to clear my mind or step away from a project, even if it's just a few minutes, I'm then able to come back to it with more clarity and focus. And it turns out I'm not alone in's an article from Fast Company about practicing mindfulness even when it feels like you don't have time.

In art, white space can be used to draw the viewer's attention to what is most important. In graphic facilitation, I find using white space helps the audience see the flow of information clearly, and makes the drawing less overwhelming when lots of information is being presented. 

Often when I'm working live graphic recording gigs, there will be so much fascinating and important information zooming around, before I know it my paper is filled to the edges. It is a continuous and conscientious practice to be sure I'm capturing what's most important and not over-crowding the chart. 

How can you use or create white space to be more effective and creative at work?

Here are some ideas for the office...
- Think you're all on the same page? MAKE SURE...write it down, draw some boxes and arrows, then leave some white space on the page so people can add, or by waiting a moment before speaking again to allow time for people to process, react, etc. This is often when the most creative or powerful idea emerge, when we allow a moment before responding (note to self...remember this!).
- If you're working collaboratively, leave a space in your document or iPad sketch to allow yourselves to add to later...who knows what new experiences might happen tomorrow or in the 5 minutes after the meeting that could illuminate a new path or idea!

If you feel like there are too many things flying around your mind to be able to focus, try...
- Taking at least five minutes to meditate -- sit quietly and focus on your breathing or take a stroll outside and try to count how many different bird songs you hear.
- Do a "brain dump" by writing down EVERYTHING that comes to mind. You can create a mind map, a list or just write stream of consciousness until everything is out.
- Grab an adult coloring book and spend some time in the zone. Don't have one? See the drawing below for some DIY ideas!

Remember to give yourself some white space so you can be crystal clear on what's most important for you, your team or your family...and sneak some creativity in to supercharge your day. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with someone you think would enjoy some white space!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Last week I did an annual "Facilitation 101" training with undergraduate students in an environmental conflict management course at CSU. We focused on tools and techniques the students could use in stakeholder engagement processes as they move beyond their education and into internships and jobs in the environmental field.