Case Study: Draw Out Your Future – Liz’s story

Case Study: Draw Out Your Future – Liz’s story

We caught up with Liz Moss, who attended Draw Out Your Future in January 2021, to ask some questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the programme in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the programme would address?
In all honesty, I signed up for the programme the day before it started with very little idea of what it was all about! The course was recommended to me by a friend and colleague during a bit of a peer coaching session. I literally took her word for it that it would be fun and good for me – so signed up on the spot without thinking about it!

I had recently left a really full-on contract and was looking for something to do that would help me re-set and re-adjust my work-life balance and regain some control on my brain and perspective on my life which I felt like I had lost in managing major organisational changes during a pandemic!  

How were these problems affecting you?
I’d been working a lot of hours, supporting a lot of people for 18 months and work had become all-consuming. Having delivered the contract, I dragged myself through Christmas but felt a bit lost as I came into the New Year. I had a few bits of work on but nothing like the workload or intensity I had been working in and I felt a bit lost without the pressure. But I didn’t really want to fill my time with more work! Whilst I was glad to have been working through the first few waves of the pandemic, I, like many people, also felt this was a bit of a wake-up call to focus on other things in life aside from work.  

What other solutions did you consider?
Well – I am a bit of a workaholic – so I had a nice long list of things to do whilst I was less busy at work – another qualification, catch up on my CPD, update my website, refresh my LinkedIn profile etc.. but that wasn’t what I really needed. I contemplated taking three months off and having a proper break but didn’t really know what to do with my time and options were limited as we were still locked down. I love being busy outside with my dogs – but it was pretty cold so that wasn’t too appealing at the time!  

What reservations, if any, did you have about joining the programme?
As I said – I didn’t really have a lot of time for reservations but my gut reaction was definitely “I can’t draw!”

Followed by, I don’t have time and this will be an evening commitment that might be restrictive. 

The first reaction I decided to embrace as a bit of fun – and the second – well I couldn’t really make those excuses stand in the circumstances so just told myself to get over it and get on with it!  

What elements of the programme really resonated with you?
I really enjoyed the visualisation, creativity and drawing. Previously my visualisation and creativity extended to PowerPoint with a bit of clip art but seeing some of the techniques and tools for things that I use every day such as agendas, programme plans, action plans presented graphically just felt less intense, more fun and more accessible.  

I also found the act of drawing incredibly powerful in helping capture concepts that are a bit hard to articulate in words. It gave me a new way of accessing and processing thoughts and communicating them that felt almost abstract because the act of drawing was distracting me from overprocessing and trying to describe things perfectly.  

Whilst the drawing element was great, the overall course was very well put together and took me on a journey of just enough reflection on my life without getting in too deep – I could work at a level I was comfortable with and drawing made things seem a bit less serious. Each session provided the opportunity for a bit of self-reflection, awareness and thinking about what things I actually enjoy in life. It helped me realise that I am actually pretty happy with where I am and with a few adjustments to the work-life balance I can get the future I want. I feel like the course has given me permission to spend more time on the things that give me pleasure and energy in and out of work in a way that no other coaching or course I’ve done before has ever achieved. I’m much happier for it – although my house is not as clean and tidy as it used to be!!   

What, if anything, surprised you about the programme?
This shouldn’t have been a surprise but because I had been so fixated on work for so long – it took me a while to get my head around the opportunity this course provided to consider my life in the round. I’d gone in thinking it might be a good way to do my marketing strategy – instead, it gave me good ways to motivate myself to do things that were important to me – turns out that wasn’t a marketing strategy!  

What has been most surprising is that I actually love drawing – not in the classical art kind of way – but this simple graphic illustration is something I can do – and I find it relaxing and something I’m actually happy to share with other people – my drawings aren’t perfect but they get the message across and create a more personal sense of engagement. I’m never buying another card again!  

What did it feel like to be a participant on Draw Out Your Future?
Good. I’m a bit of an introvert and not that great at joining new groups or sharing personal stuff but I didn’t really have to – I was able to participate as much or as little as I wanted to – there were opportunities to volunteer for demonstrations and opportunities to share the work we did but no pressure. The groups were friendly but professionally run and everyone was very supportive. Emer provided lots of useful information, tools and resources and always made herself available to follow up with if need be.

What would you say have been the impacts for you in Drawing Out Your Future? (personally/professionally)?
Personally – I have made little changes to my daily routine which feel like big changes to my life. I have a clear picture of the future I want and it feels realistic. I have the tools I need to keep focusing on different elements of my plan and when I feel I’m getting off track or have achieved them  I can re-draw the picture!  

Professionally – I have introduced using graphics into my work in a number of ways. As a coach, I’m encouraging my clients to draw things and they also are benefiting from the experience. I’ve also been using graphics to promote coaching programmes in a more interesting way on social media which has got some really good feedback.   

How would things be different for you now if you decided not to join Draw Out Your Future?
Had I not done this course I think I would still be doing what I’d always done before – distracting myself with doing work and not really making the most of my life and being a bit frustrated about my work-life balance.  Nothing majorly wrong with my before life but definitely got a new and more positive perspective on my work and life now.  

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the programme?
Do it. Don’t overthink it just do it. It’s a few hours of your time that you’ll enjoy and you’ll definitely get something from it. Don’t worry about not being good at drawing – it’s not really about that – it’s a really good course for reflecting on what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what you want to do more of in the future – what those things are is totally in your control and there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to do. It’s not scary and it’s liberating to try something new.  

Anything else you’d like to add?
I work with lots of different people and organisations and have a really good range of tools and skills to support different styles – I think this course has given me another set of tools and techniques to complement this.  

 

Liz Moss is a self-employed business consultant who specialises in helping people be better than they think they can be and organisations work better together. She provides programme/project management for organisational changes and developments, coaching, learning and development, facilitation and mediation. 

All the artwork in this article has been created by Liz.

 

Feel inspired by Liz and keen to draw out your future? Book your place now for the next Draw Out Your Future 6-week course.

Top Tips for Creative Visioning

Top Tips for Creative Visioning

  • Bear in mind that creative visioning is not a to-do, it’s a to-dream. It’s about as far from a tick box exercise as you can imagine. Give yourself the space to dream. Time can be a barrier so start by setting 5 minutes aside (I find it helpful to use a stopwatch). Once the 5 minutes are up you will often feel like doing more, so keep going 🙂

 

  • Take the pressure off. Creative visioning is not about setting a 5-year vision or making hard and fast decisions about your future. Nothing is set in stone. View it as simply exploring an infinite range of possibilities. You don’t have to ‘get it right.’ 

 

  • Start with a blank unlined page and grab some markers or pencils. If your natural tendency is to write rather than draw then go for it. You can always add drawings later if you wish.

 

  • Use prompts to shape your thinking. If you are creating a vision for your life use prompts to help you think about what your future life may look like. Who, What, Where, When are examples of useful prompts.

 

  • Remove all barriers – real and imagined. Often when creating visions (and subsequently goals and plans) we have a tendency to think about what isn’t possible, what can’t be done because of XYZ. Imagine that all such barriers are removed and really go for it, let your imagination take you beyond barriers to a life yet lived.

 

  • Revisit your vision. Pin your scribbles to the wall and add new ones when a new idea or insight occurs to you. Likewise, cross out anything that no longer feels appealing. Your vision is always growing and changing. Welcome this evolution. 

Draw Out Your Future participants with Emer O’Leary January 2021

 

Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

And then…my whole wide world went Zoom.

Love it or loathe it Zoom has become a large part of our lives. From virtual pub quizzes to virtual learning Zoom is here to stay.

As a facilitator, have you thought about how Zoom can support your facilitation processes? What has really piqued my interest is the use of Zoom Whiteboards to support the collaboration and co-creation of ideas.

 

Here are three ways you can use Zoom whiteboards for facilitation:

  • Establishing a Group Contract/Working Agreement

As a facilitator you may, at the beginning of a session, invite a group to share the norms and behaviours they feel need to be in place in order for everyone to get the most of the session. Using a Zoom whiteboard for this exercise makes it particularly collaborative. Instead of the facilitator noting what each person says, individuals themselves use the ‘Annotate’ tool on Zoom to draw or type in their responses, thus co-creating the group contract.

 

  • Dot Voting

Dot voting is a great way to garner opinion on a topic or decision. In a real-life setting ideas are shared using post-it notes on a flipchart or wall, then each person is given a certain number of dot stickers which they then go and place next to their preferred idea(s).
With a Zoom whiteboard a facilitator can note down ideas in text on the Whiteboard and participants can vote on their ideas using the Stamp function within the Annotate menu. Stamp gives us the ability to add a green tick (or heart for example) beside our preferred idea. An added bonus is that the voting process is anonymous (unless you use the arrow for stamping; as a facilitator exclude that from the options), thus reducing (in part) group think bias.

 

  • Checking in for understanding

This can be used in many ways, one way for example is to check to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of a problem. Using the Breakout function break people into groups and invite them to draw out the problem. The whiteboard function in Zoom allows people to draw on the whiteboard at the same time. Smaller groups can work together scribbling on the board, drawing out their shared understanding.

 

I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next facilitation session. Do make sure that you regularly familiarise yourselves with the latest Zoom security updates.

 

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Video: A future visioning tool

Video: A future visioning tool

I’ve made another video – this time it’s one where you actually see my face! I hope you like it. I’m on a mission to get more comfortable with creating videos (I find it strange not having an audience!) so I’d love to hear what you think and what tips you have for improvement.

Today I’m sharing a future visioning technique. If you have difficulty imagining what your future may look like give this technique a try – click on the image below to watch the video. Let me know in the comments how you get on.


If you enjoyed that you may be excited to know that the pilot of the brand new programme Draw Out Your Future is now open for enrolment. The 6-week programme kicks off on Tuesday, January 12th 7pm GMT and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

This programme has been designed so that we can all feel excited about our future regardless of what else is going on in the world.

Over the course of 6 weeks we will:

  • Learn a clear process for drawing out your future (no artistic skills required) that you can reuse time and time again, using visual goal setting and action planning
  • Gain focus, clarity and direction in your life so that you feel calm and in control of your destiny
  • Feel excited about your future and use that excitement to propel you forward
  • Boost your self-esteem so that you feel more resilient when dealing with life’s obstacles
  • Harness the power of the collective and be part of a unique supportive community

We’ll be using digital visual templates which you will get copies of to use and reuse at will 😊.  Let’s start 2021 as we mean to go on – with creativity, flair and purpose.

And as this is a pilot programme, places are going for around half the price of what I intend to sell them for.  There will be a maximum of 12 people on the programme so be sure to act quickly to secure your place!  You can also sign-up for a bundle package which includes three 1:1 coaching sessions alongside the 6-week programme.

 

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A fun icebreaker for you to try

A fun icebreaker for you to try

Icebreakers for virtual training  – what’s the verdict?

In my opinion, it’s even more important to have an icebreaker for a virtual training session than it is for an in person one.

Why?

When we partake in virtual learning sessions we miss out on the in person chit chat we have in real life, whilst grabbing a coffee or getting settled in a room before the training session kicks off. It is this interaction that helps us to build rapport and get to know one another.

Icebreakers are not just for online training by the way; a well-placed icebreaker at an online meeting can similarly help to boost engagement and start the meeting off on a collaborative note.

A fun icebreaker for you to try

Today I thought I’d share with you a fun one I used recently with participants from Secrets of Simple Graphics. Here’s how to run it, step by step.

Bananas Icebreaker

  1. Get a picture of a banana (from a free stock images site or simply draw one).
  2. Open up a blank PowerPoint presentation and copy and paste the bananas as many times as there are participants at your session (you want one banana per participant). Save as a .jpg.
  3. Share the .jpg during your meeting and simply invite participants to personalise a banana each using the Annotation tool.
  4. Admire everyone’s creations!

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >> 

Video: Meditative Drawing

Video: Meditative Drawing

Yesterday saw the last session of Secrets of Simple Graphics for 2020 and as we munched on our (non-virtual) cupcakes at the Afterparty Elevenses, the discussion shifted to the benefits drawing brings to our mental health, a topic I touched on previously.

As such, I thought I would share with you today a very simple technique I often use at the beginning of training or coaching sessions which really helps to ground and focus me before I begin – and I think the participants like it too!

Click on the video below to see how it’s done:

Meditative drawing

Give it a try the next time you need to centre your energy and let me know in the comments how you got on.

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >>