Psst…What’s that behind you? It’s impacting your life more than you realize

You’ve been leaving them behind you all month. All your life, really. You probably let a few slip out behind you today. Sometimes they’re messy, sometimes perfectly designed, sometimes barely discernible, other times they last for weeks. They are uniquely you.

What the heck am I talking about? Footprints.

What do footprints have to do with business? Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Here’s two ways:

What you do impacts those around you, probably more than you realize.  Have you ever thanked someone for a nugget of wisdom they shared that really struck a chord for you, only to have them look at you with a mildly puzzled smile? They don’t even remember what they said, but it shifted the way you looked at life and made a difference for you. On the other end of the spectrum, a flippant and uncaring word can ripple through someone’s life and uproot confidence.

What kind of imprint are you going to leave with those around you? Will it feel like stepping in a mud puddle, or crunching in sparkling snow? (Is stepping in a mud puddle really a bad thing? I don’t think it has to be, which is part of the unshakable optimism that makes me great at getting groups through tough conversations.)

Footprints are also useful tools for change in visual strategic planning.

Having clear steps visually outlined is a super powerful tool to be more productive, synergistic, collaborative and creative with your team. Why?
- You all know where you’re going with a clear vision.
- You all know what’s expected of you within the larger group to make sure the team is successful.
- Everyone understands the mile stones that will keep you moving toward the vision, even if different people approach achieving them different ways.
- And everyone knows how what they’re doing is contributing toward the group’s success. You all know where to find this map, and check in regularly using it as a guide.

So next time your team is meeting to lay things out for the week, or for the next five years, try putting a few footprints on the whiteboard to show the path forward, and fill them in together. Here’s some to get you started…

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

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so pumped 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

Is your strategic plan a huge document nobody ever looks at?  Click to get in touch and find out how a custom designed, beautifully succinct strategic plan everybody wants to examine and revisit could be in your future.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This month I've officially launched my custom watercolor greeting cards and prints! All cards are 5x7 and printed on recycled paper and paired with recycled envelopes. They come as the individual images above, or with nice, uplifting quotes I've compiled. I'm still working on an online platform to purchase them, but you can email me for a direct order or stop by the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery or Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House if you're local. 

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.