This New Year this is what I wish for you…..

Christmas pocket watch still life.

This New Year I wish for you;

A roof over your head,

Food in your belly,

Peace, even in the midst of turmoil and challenge.

Friends to celebrate with,

Someone to love,

Play and creativity.

A passion to pursue

Magic and Wonder,

And the bravery to begin.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Neil Gamain

Hope you have an incredible 2019 and remember

it’s time to give wings to your dreams and give yourself

a Licence to Create a life you love!!

Team Building – it’s a love or hate relationship!

Team building, you either love it or hate it,

there isn’t any middle ground.

When I used to hear that word, I would break out into a cold sweat. In the meantime, some of my colleagues were bringing out their body armour and whooping war cries around the office. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard team building days referred to as a waste of valuable time.

Somewhere along the way, the lines between team building, competition and socialising seem to have been blurred. There are so many things to choose from its hard to know what is ideal. But before you run off and start planning a survivor style warrior weekend or day, make sure you first analyse your team and their needs.

So, what are good team building activities?

The answer to this question is complex, and it varies between teams. To drill down to what is needed we need to ask some more questions.

Who are your team members and what are their needs?

Does the planned activity suit everybody’s abilities and lifestyle?

There is nothing wrong with high-intensity activity. But there is also nothing worse than being sent on a sporty team building activity if you are a member who isn’t the athletic type. Or being a mum and you need to do the school run and take care of your family at the time when the activity is planned. Maybe you are someone who has very clearly defined personal space boundaries and the planned activity is an invasion of your space.

Instead of uniting your team these all have the possibility to do the exact opposite. They can serve to highlight differences as weaknesses, alienating individuals and fracturing teams.

What do you want to achieve?

Is it team building or actually socialising?

Social activities are fine but not everyone will want to attend them, and that is okay. Team building, on the other hand, is experiential learning that is work focused. Through learning together, teams can become more cohesive, strengthening their common goals. They can share ideas and clarify thoughts.

What outcome are you looking for? Is it a stronger team with a greater understanding of each other? Or is it solving a challenge within the team or workplace? Maybe you are looking to develop a strategy or a new product.

Working collectively in a healthy environment

can bring solutions to these areas,

at the same time it also builds stronger teams.

It’s one of the reasons I love using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Materials and Methodology when working with teams. Yes, it’s fun, however its also accessible by everyone and purpose driven. It creates a level playing field and we are using play as a constructive platform to uncover hidden information and build capacity.

So next time you are assigned the role of planning a team building day, think long and hard. Ask the questions, find the answers and use them to develop a healthy constructive event.

I know your team and organisation will appreciate your efforts.

And if you want to know more about how to organise a workshop using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Materials and Methodology give me a call or drop me a line for your free consultation.

Your Tribe – more important than you realise!

I had a wonderful weekend!

The fun began when I attended my school reunion on Saturday evening. It was 40 years since we were all in Year 10. Imagine a room with nearly 70 women the noise was deafening as the air filled with laughter and exclamations of joy. Many of us hadn’t seen each other in years.

It may have been forty years, and our faces and bodies may have changed, however, the voices and smiles hadn’t. If I closed my eyes and listened, I could easily imagine us back in year 10. And as a people watcher, it was fascinating to see how quickly, women gravitated to their original groups.

The night was fantastic,

and I’m glad I got the opportunity to go.

But there was a time when I wouldn’t have seen it that way. For me, high school wasn’t easy. Having been moved in primary school to attend a gifted and talented program at another school, I had no childhood friends. Only two girls from my school went to the same high school. Also, I was ill for a lot of Year 7. At a time when many were forming their groups and bonding, I was away from school sick.

Over the years I made some wonderful friends, girls who accepted me for my weird quirky ways, love of animals and knobby knees. However, the reality was I was a fringe dweller, trying to find my tribe. I didn’t have much luck, so instead spent most of my time either in the art rooms or in the Science Labs looking after the animals. It was one of the most challenging periods of my life.

On Sunday I attended another gathering.

This one poles apart from Saturday night. It was a small group of women, eight of us in all, meeting on a friend’s back veranda. I hadn’t met these women before, and it was wonderful to be invited into their tribe for the afternoon. We had the fabulous Sasha from Stronger with Oils extolling us the benefits of Doterra oils (and they are pretty good) as we feasted together on food and wine.  And I was privileged to be able to take them on a goal setting journey in a mini-workshop.

These two experiences on the weekend reminded me of the importance of finding your tribe.

Why do you need a tribe?

Quite simply it’s good for your mental and physical health, it is nectar to the soul. It’s the place where you can be you and be accepted and nurtured no matter how crazy your dreams or life might seem to others. If you don’t believe me check out this interesting article from Psychology Today, it may be six years old but is still a fascinating read.

As we gather together our tribes help us grow.  They inspire us to pursue our dreams, cheer us on when we succeed, and commiserate with us when things don’t go as planned. But be warned, they will also give us a good kick up the rear end, lovingly, when we are maybe not being the best version of ourselves.

Tribes are important no matter what age we are, they come in all shapes and sizes, and often we belong to multiple tribes. Chances are you already have one, however, you mightn’t even recognise it. If you don’t have a tribe, I encourage you to look for one or create one. Not sure where to begin, like-minded people is a great start.

This week give yourself the gift of community,

as you create, celebrate or find your tribe.

Creative Instigator – Natalie Wadwell

This weeks Creative Woman is west/south west Sydney based creative Natalie Wadwell. I recently attended TEDx Parramatta, an event that Natalie co-organised. It was an inspirational experience! One that made you come home wanting to create a better space in this world whether it be in your backyard, suburb, nation or globally.

What I love about Natalie’s story is that she has already crammed so much into her life. She is a testimony to the fact that if young people are given the right creative environment to flourish in, they will pour their creativity back into our community, weaving it through their work and social life.

I can’t wait to see what she does next, so make sure to “watch this space”!

Tell me a bit about yourself and your creative practice

I am a creative instigator and writer. It is my belief that communities are not disengaged, they are looking for meaningful opportunities to participate – be that in civic life, the arts or otherwise. I like to work in the in-between spaces. Creating opportunities at the intersections of community, social change and post-suburbanisation.

My business sort of named itself – people always told me that I was a go-getter and took initiative, thus Wadwell Initiatives. I have worked with for-purpose, commercial and government entities to design solutions to engagement challenges. I love that it draws on my creative skill set as well as entrepreneurial and critical thinking. Starting out when I was 19 years old, I independently organising a HSC art exhibition, Stepping Up Macarthur with a range of strategic partners. We put the creativity of young people in the middle of Macarthur Square (a large South Western Sydney shopping centre) and attracted over 100,000 attendees each year. This quickly evolved into a travelling exhibition with an expanded music and visual arts program.

The need for sustainable independent arts spaces in South West Sydney drove my honours research ‘Cultural activation in West and South West Sydney.’ When I struggled to get investment for an independent art space (the forecasts were way beyond my means, even if I leveraged other funding sources), I teamed up with a friend to present a digital solution. State of the Arts Media was the only arts and culture guide dedicated to Western Sydney and Regional New South Wales. Since stepping away from the business, you can find my #wadwellwanders published on my blog. I have been fortunate enough to get several speaking and writing gigs for topics about the arts across Western Sydney and youth entrepreneurship

In 2017, I wrote an article for Artist Profile and more recently wrote the catalogue essay for the Adorned Collective for New Sacred at Mosman Art Gallery. Most recently, I co-organised TEDxParramatta to start providing individuals who live, work or Parramatta with the opportunity to share their great ideas that can help ‘shape tomorrow, together.’ I used to do a lot more drawing with fine tip pens and making polymer clay necklaces. Now that’s mostly for my branding aesthetic.

 

What is your greatest creative achievement?

My greatest creative achievement has been learning to adapt and transfer skill sets. From experiential learning and bringing partnerships together, to transferring entrepreneurial skills into roles with larger organisations. It’s not been without its challenges but, it is incredibly rewarding to see what experiments we can put in motion.

What is your first memory of being creative?

I have always been the creative one in the sporting family. My mother’s classroom is covered with drawings from primary school. I think I remember those by the product rather than the process though. I remember the experience of being a part of the school choir, dance groups and participating in two Wakakakirris. We’d have practice at lunch time in smaller ensembles before coming together as a large group in the hall. The parents got involved with costume and prop design and before we knew it we were performing on a large stage. The whole process was about community coming together and being creative storytellers – through movement, song and costumes – I loved it.

Who or what inspires you?

People. Without them our society is just bricks and mortar. No colour or creativity, no life injecting activity to make our spaces become playgrounds. They say that empowered women, empower women. It is of no surprise that my constant source of inspiration is the strong women in my life. From my mother and sisters, to my peers and colleagues, they all have wonderful stories and are generous humans. Ultimately, I am inspired by the communities that I aim to service. It is their stories, determination and creativity that are a constant source of inspiration.

Is there anything special you do to get into the right mindset and get the creative juices flowing?

The compositions of Ludovico Einaudi form the soundtrack of my creative time. He is an Italian pianist and composer. Depending on what I need to do, if it is a writing piece or something more hands on, his compositions remove the blank canvas effect. It is something to connect my energy into and build off.

How do you deal with creativity blocks?

I turn to movement mediation. I will go for a walk, pull out my hula hoops and crank up the tunes. Finding a song that really helps me sit into my mood and body is important to break through the barriers. I am an over-thinker, so it is especially important to surrender to just feeling and moving. If necessary, I will take a pen to my journal and unpack what’s blocking me. However, I try to get it all out with movement mediation.

What is one tip you would give other creatives?

Stop surviving and start thriving. I wrote about this on my blog after cycles of exhaustion that no amount of yoga, mindfulness or productivity tools could get me through. It is important to play the long game, rather than spending too much energy on short term fixes, which is why I stopped focusing on self-care and instead turned to self-preservation. This was particularly important when I was freelancing and cash flow was scary.

What is your favourite, colour, book, song, food and place?

My favourite colour is yellow, favourite book Oranges and Sunshine by Margaret Humphries, music changes with my mood, but a constant is Imagine Dragons and I love risotto! Favourite place in the world, Lauterbrunnen… or Chicago… ah this is hard. I feel like once I tick the Daintree Rainforest off my list it will jump towards the top.

If you want to keep up with what Natalie is up to visit the links below, and you might also want to take a look at her  TEDxYouth Sydney talk ‘Engaging Communities throughArt’.

https://wadwellinitiatives.com/

https://tedxparramatta.com/

Encounter with Creativity

 

One of the things I believe about creativity is that it has to be woven into your life.

You can use it in your work, home and play, however it’s much easier to tap into if you cultivate it as part of your everyday. Though doing that can be easier said than done, especially with a busy schedule. For some people their creative bent was drummed out of them as they grew up.

I want to change that and invite you to join me for an Encounter with Creativity.

The goal is to reignite your creativity, fanning the flame until you have a blazing fire. Why 66 days? Research has shown that this is the average time taken to create a new habit. For some people it is less, for others more. For 66 days, I want to encourage you to make creativity part of your everyday life, until it becomes the norm.

So now the nitty gritty, and what you will be committing to!

Do something creative every day

You have to schedule a creative date with yourself every day – a minimum of half an hour, if possible an hour is better. During this time, you need to be present. Park all the things that are running around in your head, the things you need to do or haven’t completed. This time is a gift to yourself. Commit to being creative everyday.

Feed your creative soul

Now that you have time, with no interruptions, I want you to choose to do something that feeds your creative soul. Already feeling stumped and need some help? The first thing I want to say is it is NOT about ART. Arts and crafts always come to mind, however, creativity is about so much more. It could be writing, acting, trying out a new recipe, inventing your own recipe. Maybe it’s playing with playdough, or lego, model building, creating a garden, or decorating your home. You could visit an exhibition, go to the theatre, or on a bushwalk. While you are walking observe the sounds, the way the bark forms on the trees and the patterns on the rocks. The list is endless, and you don’t have to commit to one thing, you can mix it up.

What is important though, is that whatever you choose to do doesn’t have a must do component to it or a deadline. For example, if you are already working on something creative, either paid or leisure that you need to complete by a date.  The aim is to do something just because you can. If you want to get more fun and play back into your life, you need to do things just because you can.

Share in a post

Each day I will post in our group and I want you to share in the comments what you have done. It could be a photo; however it could also be a sentence or word. I will share a theme each week, though there is no commitment to work to the theme. For some it will give them a starting point, for others it will stretch their already creative practice. I will also be sharing lots of hints and tips along the way.

There is however one very important rule as a group member – this is a non-judgemental space.

It is not about what people are doing, instead, it is about encouragement to pursue a creative life. Do you ever remember being at school and there was always that kid in class who was praised? Or it could have been your sibling?  Maybe it was the online group you belonged to where somebody’s work received 50 positive comments and barely anyone noticed yours. When people begin commenting on the object that has been created, we create a judgemental space. We are all at different points in our journey, some of us will draw, stitch or write better than others. That is probably due to the environment in which we grew up and now live. Remember we are all doing the best with what we have and where we are. Encourage people, for being courageous and committed, for stepping up, we all need more of that!

For those who already live a creative life, your expression of creativity may inspire someone else, so please join us.

And lastly, this is about you.

It is not school where I am going to chase people for not posting, this is about making a commitment to yourself, to be a different version of you and live a more creative life.

So, if all this resonates with you, please sign up for an Encounter with Creativity, it’s FREE and we start on the 1st of August.

If you need to know more drop me a line, look forward to seeing you there!

Do you have a Dream?

 

Do you have a dream?

 

A desire that burns deep inside of you, something you want to do, create or be?

Do you remember what it was like when you were a child and you had dreams for when you grew up?

Dreams are important, and as we get older, and caught up with the busyness of life, it is all too easy to lose sight of what we desire.

We listen to the voices of others telling us to grow up and be realistic, to take the path that is safe, and that the time is not right.

We doubt ourselves, we put our dreams on hold.

We limit ourselves.

We stop dreaming, we lose hope.

 

What would your life be like if you started dreaming again?

 

What if you decided now was the time, put your big girl pants on and began to chase your dream?

It’s never too late!

You are never too old!

What if you took off the bindings off fear, put on a mantle of courage and gave it a go!

 

I wonder what amazing things you will you accomplish?

 

Think your not creative – Together we can change that!

We are all born creative, you only have to watch children at play. As they paint and draw you see the potential artist in them. When they are playing with their dolls, acting out scenarious and having in depth conversations while all alone, you can hear the budding actor in them. They are not frightened to just play and create, regardless of the outcome. They neither like nor dislike what they make, they just create.

 

Somewhere along the way,

we lose this innate ability to connect through play with our creativity,

it becomes stifled as we grow older.

 

What did you like to create when you were a child. Can you remember the feel of the paint between your fingers as you finger painted. Or the smell of the play dough as you moulded it into your own creations. Sitting on a rainy day cutting out pictures from magazines and greeting cards before gluing them into collages. Maybe it was squishing mud with your hands as you baked your own mud pies.

 

Whatever it was, that memory is there,

even if it is buried deep,

and maybe it’s time to reclaim your creative self.

 

Do you:

  • Believe that you aren’t creative;
  • Want to be creative but are busy, tired or overwhelmed with your family and your work;
  • Want to bring creativity into more of what you do;
  • Have an idea, and vision but struggle to implement it;
  • Spend lots of time nurturing the growth and creativity of those around you, however aren’t making time to create yourself
  • Love creating, but aren’t getting to it as often as you like;
  • Have been working on a creative project and have been unable to finish it.

 

If you answered YES to any of these,

and you want to call creativity into your life,

it’s not too late!

 

Through creative coaching we can:

  • Overcome procrastination;
  • Define where you are and where you want to be;
  • Shift your mindset;
  • Set realistic and achievable goals;
  • Create clarity;
  • Cultivate a creative life.

 

If you want to change your life and pursue your dream, why not book a free chemistry session, and we can have a chat about where you are, and where you would like to be.

 

do what you love, love what you do - happy life and work concept presented on blackboard with colorful sticky notes, white chalk smudges

Creativity – It’s so much more than you think!

When you think of creativity what immediately comes to mind?

 

You wouldn’t be alone if you thought of artistic pursuits, things like painting, sculpture, singing or acting.

While these are creative activities, creativity actually permeates all corners of our lives.

And what’s even better is that it has the potential to give us more enjoyable and fulfilled lives.

 

So what is creativity?

 

The actual definition varies depending on who you talk to. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, the ability to produce original and unusual ideas or to make something new or imaginative.

When you look at creativity through this lens you can see how it can relate to any part of our lives. We can express our creativity in the garden, the kitchen, on the sporting field and in our workplace. In fact the list of places is endless, as is the number of ways we can create, knitting, gardening, painting cooking, just to name a few.

When we tap into our creativity, and nurture it the rewards are immense. The benefits include reduced stress, increased joy, improved health, authenticity and balance and a sense of fulfillment.

 

With all those benefits – what are you waiting for?