This week we’re in conversation with Susan Thomson. Susan attended my Visual Thinking for Business course Day 1 back in May. When she turned up for Day 2 and showed me what she had been working on I just had to share her work. Here’s what Susan has to say….
(All images shown here are Susan’s creations featured in her little book of intentions.)
‘Susan, how would you describe the visual memos you’ve created?’
I’d describe them as simple, colourful and light-hearted graphics that make me smile and remind me of my intentions!
What do you use them for?
I use them as gentle reminders of how I’d like to ‘be’. To explain that further, rather than set a goal (eg. I’ll get that piece of work finished by the end of today) which is about doing a specific task, I find it more effective to set an intention (eg. to focus) which is more about how I want to be (eg. focussed). That could mean to focus on that specific task but more generally it reminds me to simply stay focussed on whatever I am doing in each moment.
What gave you the idea?
I’ve always liked doodling and often write words in clouds and after the Visual Thinking for Business Course I was practicing banners and other graphics in an A6 notebook which can stand up like a calendar.
Around the same time a colleague and I had been discussing how Visual Thinking has helped us cope better with stress. For example thinking visually helps me get out of ‘stuck’ states. I was relating a stuck state to grey clouds and unstuck state to sunshine and greens hills and the memo was born….
The visuals vary but will usually include at least one of sun, hill, banner or (a clear – not grey !) cloud
What impact gave these had on you?
I now start each week with an intention which I usually come to after a meditation session or sitting in silence and connecting with myself. It’s like setting myself up for the week, asking myself how would I like this week to go?
They also impact on my wellbeing as if I do go off track (which of course we all do) then they are a colourful and gentle reminder to take a deep breath and re-connect.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of creating something similar for themselves?
Keep it simple and don’t overthink it! At first I tried to think of a drawing relevant to the word but I prefer the simplicity of similar images. I get plenty other opportunities to practice my drawing elsewhere.
Keep it relevant to you and if you love stationery use it as a great reason to buy yet another notebook.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love how Visual Thinking has helped me at work and at home. This has been a great way for me to let go of perfection. My lines are not straight and yet I don’t feel the need to use a ruler. My colouring in goes outwith the lines but I don’t re-do it (well not every time!)
Big thanks to Susan for sharing her little book of intentions. A fantastic source of inspiration on a Tuesday morning.