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

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

We spoke recently with Alexandra Sandys, who attended Draw Out Your Future in May 2021, to ask some questions about her experience.

 

Values

 

What motivated you to attend the programme in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the programme would address?
In 2020, I had made some big changes in my life and thought I knew the direction I was heading. However, I had a difficult start to 2021 which impacted greatly on me and affected my confidence. I had previously attended some shorter sessions with Emer and had found them to be joyful and uplifting, so when the Draw Out Your Future course was offered again I jumped at the opportunity, hoping that it would rekindle my spark.

How were these problems affecting you?
I had no vision for how my future would be and was feeling very lost and demotivated.

What other solutions did you consider?
I considered doing some one to one coaching but felt that being in a group and engaging with the experience of drawing would be of most benefit.

What reservations, if any, did you have about joining the programme?
I had some reservations about joining the programme because I knew I would not be able to attend a couple of the sessions and also because I was feeling so demotivated I was worried that I would not keep up with the tasks in between the sessions. I was reassured that I would be able to catch up by watching the session playbacks and that the amount of time spent on tasks between sessions was manageable and largely down to me.

 

 

What elements of the programme really resonated with you?
I really resonated with the way Emer helped us to think about our values and what is important to us. Doing this with the visual templates was very helpful and I loved creating them and having a visual reminder.

What, if anything, surprised you about the programme?
I was surprised by how much I looked forward to the sessions and by how much impact using the visual templates had.

What did it feel like to be a participant on Draw Out Your Future?
Emer has a very natural, relaxed and engaging facilitation style that made me feel comfortable online in a group of people that I didn’t know to start with. It felt like we were taken on an exhilarating journey where we were invited to set aside all limitations and allow our imaginations to visualise the kind of life we wanted to create. There were then loads of practical tips and tools to enable us to take the steps to make this happen.

What would you say have been the impacts for you in Drawing Out Your Future? (personally/professionally)?
The impact of attending Drawing Out Your Future on a personal level has meant that I am well on the way to achieving my goal of improving my physical fitness level. I have increased my training and entered my first triathlon event in over 5 years. On a professional level, I have identified a change in direction that I wish to follow, developing a seasonal and nature-based approach to teaching yoga. I have just applied (and been accepted) to train with the Institute of Forest Bathing to become a guide which I believe will complement this approach.

 

 

How would things be different for you now if you decided not to join Draw Out Your Future?
I think if I hadn’t joined Draw Out Your Future I would not have set the clear goals that I did, or had the motivation to take the first steps to make them a reality.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the programme?
It’s a brilliant way to give yourself the time and space that you deserve to consider the direction you want your life to go. The drawing aspect is fun and creative and introduced in such a way that it never feels daunting.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Emer for creating such an inspiring and nurturing course. I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to create more joy in their life or needs some support to get back on track.

 

Alex Sandys is a freelance Mental Health First Aid Instructor, a Yoga Teacher and a Storyteller. Alex is working towards combining her skills to enhance people’s connection with the natural world and improving their mental wellbeing.

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

 

Feel inspired by Alex and keen to draw out your future? Book your place now for the next Draw Out Your Future 6-week course which starts on November 9th 2021.

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.

Case Study: Anat’s Story

Case Study: Anat’s Story

We caught up with Anat Shabi, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 2

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
As a facilitator, I used to spend hours guiding and capturing group learnings on flipcharts (remember those?) I wanted to simplify the communications and believed that simple graphics would add an element of clarity and fun.

Whilst I loved the idea of graphics, I lacked confidence in my ability and had no idea how or where to begin.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
Simple graphics now feature in many of my social media posts. They make for a refreshing change and get my ideas across with greater clarity. Prior to this, I used to spend ages looking for the right image to go with my post. Now I can just create it.

More recently, I have created postcards with build instructions for mindful Lego®SeriousPlay exercises. Postcards are pretty small and as such I couldn’t squeeze much information onto them. The use of graphics helped simplify the text and introduce an added element of fun.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 4

 

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
It seems that people are more appreciative of a post that looks a little different. My social media posts which include graphics tend to generate more responses.

In addition, at a time when most communications occur online, the use of graphics has injected light-heartedness into my presentations, appreciated by my audience.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 1

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
Simple graphics have enhanced my communications. They are a great attention grabber and have worked well to help simplify wordy narratives.

On a personal level, the use of simple graphics has boosted my confidence in my ability to draw. It is a fun, colourful and mindful exercise which has stimulated my creative thinking with surprising results.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Just do it! Emer is a wonderful guide, making the learning journey simple, exciting, and easy. You will be surprised at your own creativity!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Emer for making something that seemed beyond my reach attainable, and so much fun.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 3

Anat Shabi is a business development facilitator and coach based in London. She works closely with Healthcare managers to help build strong platforms for team growth and success.  Her workshops are enriched using Lego®SeriousPlay, an innovative and creative tool that helps to explore thinking, expand on ideas, and build strong connections.

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

 

Feel inspired by Anat and keen to get creative in 2021? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Already been on Secrets of Simple Graphics? Reignite your passion with our *brand new course* Even More Secrets of Simple Graphics starting April 26th. Find out more here >>.

 

Case Study: Beth’s Story

Case Study: Beth’s Story

We caught up with Beth Collier, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
enjoyed drawing as a child but stopped when I was about 10 years old. I always thought I had more enthusiasm for drawing than natural talent!

How are you using what you’ve learned?
It’s sparked my curiosity for more artistic endeavours – and renewed the joy I once found for drawing. I’ve done more drawing (including Emer’s videos) with my daughter, and a Picasso painting class. I did a hand-lettering course, a course on making GIFs, and I’ve also been teaching myself how to use Canva.

 

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I’m having fun and I’m learning – and that was the goal.

I have shared a few of my drawings on LinkedIn, and I hope it encourages people to try drawing – regardless of their ability. I believe they can improve their skills – and use drawing or other artistic endeavours to have fun.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Go for it! Emer is a kind and supportive coach, and you CAN learn how to draw simple graphics.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you, Emer!

 

Beth Collier is a communication, creativity, and leadership consultant based in London. Through team workshops and 1:1 coaching, she helps her clients become more capable and confident speakers and writers, and more creative thinkers and leaders. She weaves her experiences from 15+ years in the corporate world (and plenty of pop culture references) into her writing, which can be found on her website.

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

 

Feel inspired by Beth and keen to get creative in 2021? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

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.

 

Did you like this?  If you would like to be the first to hear about courses we are running, as well as receive regular visual thinking tips, then sign up to our newsletter.

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.

 

Did you like this?  If you would like to be the first to hear about courses we are running, as well as receive regular visual thinking tips, then sign up to our newsletter.