This is a fun way to look at choices with new eyes. It works best when you (or a client, student, friend etc.) have multiple options and are having trouble choosing or perhaps prioritizing.
Use metaphors! Animals, methods of transportation, places on a map, water, toys, etc.
Lets say you choose an animal metaphor.
Assign an animal to each choice.
If choice "A" was an animal, what would it be?
If choice "B" was an animal, what would it be?
Continue for each choice.
Sometimes just the act of assigning the animal gives you a bucket load of information about a particular choice. If one of them is a skunk for example - that choice might be a stinker or at the very least requires you to exercise caution.
When it's more subtle, exploring the qualities of each animal will yield the new perspective needed to choose.
Shifting out of the same old way of looking at something can be very fruitful!
Here's a cool short cut to creating a project focused art calendar or adding fun and color to your daily planner or journal.
At the link below you will find a couple of free sheets that you can download and print out. Then it's cut and paste. I use adhesive sheets for that. You can back your 8 1/2 x 11 downloaded page with it then cut out what you want, peel off the barrier paper and stick it in your journal or calendar.
If you poke around the website you will find some other designs as well.
Artist and coach, Barb Kobe describes the "ART Paper Doll" as a symbolic, embodied art form. To me it's a fun, easy to access structure for personal discovery and expression and it has so many applications - including product development.
Let's play with YOU as your BEST, most successful, creative product creator/creatress.
If your best product creating self were an art paper doll, would it be a he, a she or something else? Would it be a child, an adult or an elder? Perhaps it has animal or plant characteristics?
Think about the strengths and characteristics your product creator/creatress brings. Don't over think this as you begin to gather images from magazines.
Find just the right head, hands and feet (or take pictures of your own). Find images to dress and embellish You. Include tools and props if desired. Really follow your intuition as you put it all together as a collage art paper doll.
When finished, take a moment to reflect on what shows up.
Are there surprises?
Does it speak to you? What is the message?
Try having a conversation with your successful, powerful product creating self. He or she just may have the answers you are seeking. Check in with him or her often through your product creating process.
If you would like to use a pattern for this process and learn about other ways to use art paper dolls, download Barb Kobe's free ebook - it's awesome - lots of great pictures that will inspire you! Self-Discovery ART Paper Dolls
Here are two fun sources for free printables to use with your planner or journal.
Both offer a variety of free sheets that you can download and print out. Then it's cut and paste. I use adhesive sheets for that. You can back your 8 1/2 x 11 downloaded page with it then cut out what you want, peel off the barrier paper and stick it in your journal or calendar.
The Free Tools Project - part of Book Boom Go, is an awesome resource for anyone wanting to refresh and hone their coaching skills. The site features free coaching demo's by master coaches and leaders in the profession. Each interview/demo segment is about 20 minutes. What a great idea!
Here are several examples:
Help Stressed Clients Reset Their Brains - Ann Betz
Capture AHA Moments to Evoke Transformation - Lorry Schneider
The Disappointed Dream Behind A Complaint - Marita Fridjon
Using Body Wisdom to Build Confidence - Sandra Richardson
This question is the starting place for Leader vs Leader. Using this deck of 64 historical leaders to facilitate conversations on leadership will give you plenty of material to work with.
By comparing two historical leaders to each other you encourage reflection and engagement.
One way to useLeader vs Leaderin a group setting is to pair participants up and give each a Leader vs Leader card. The pairs engage in conversation about the traits, accomplishments and impact of each leader to determine who was the better leader of the two and why. You then bring everyone together to share the learning. Expect this to be a high energy activity with lots of learning.
If you are engaged in leadership development through facilitation, coaching, training or teaching, this would be a great tool for you.
Fall is a great time to launch a program, class or workshop. Everyone is gearing up to learn and get focused. Here are two ready made programs and one awesome how to on creating your own workshops.
A Ready To Go Communication Workshop
Don't have a workshop ready to go? No problem. Communication is a topic that can work with so many audiences and niches. Say It! Hear It! is a 3 hour workshop completely developed with scripts, time-lines, agenda, activities, homework, participant folder & follow up. EVERYTHING is included, except the people. Extensive marketing & facilitation instruction included plus 10 activities and exercises.
How to: Produce a Profitable & Successful Workshop
If you plan to create your own workshop - start here. Learn exactly how to maximize every aspect of the workshop to create a greater profit and raving fans who can't wait to roll into your next program.
You will learn:
Everything from soup to nuts on how to run a successful workshop
A little secret about how to make an extra $2,000 to $3,000 on a small workshop
Exactly what makes an outstanding workshop and have the attendees rave and give killer testimonials
How to find the best space/location
How to fill the rooms and get butts in those seats
What you have to prepare for your handouts or offer letter
This training program is offered as a downloadable MP3 recording along with a PDF cheat sheet.
Icebreakers are often silly, light and playful, right? So, why do we use them, especially when there is an intense agenda, serious learning on the docket or significant training goals to be met?
Here's three reasons why ice-breakers are an absolute staple for trainers
1. Connection and Relaxation
An ice-breaker gives participants a way to meet, connect and get to know a little bit about each other. People learn more easily when they know each other, and when you are all being a bit silly, you RELAX. It's harder to make up the internal stories that separate us when you feel connected and relaxed.
2. Expands Capacity for Learning
If you have been working with intense information; technical, emotional or strategic, participants can reach that place of "too full". Taking a break with an icebreaker, especially ones that are physical, humorous or down-right silly provides breathing room and that translates into - okay, I'm ready for more.
3. Energy and Motivation
Whether it's early morning and participants are just getting going or the lull after lunch an ice-breaker can breath life into the room. It can get people moving, engaged, energized and ready for the session.
Bottom line - ice-breakers can facilitate intense learning, support goals and make an intense agenda more digestible.
Having an ice-breaker tool ready when you need it, saves time and will make your event more effective and memorable.
Check out the ice-breaker tools in the Coaching Toys Store! Ice-breakers
Marketing is essential and the truth is, some of the things you try will work and some won’t. When you have a string of actions that don’t work it can lead to “marketing burnout”. One of the definitions of burnout is fatigue or frustration from devotion to a cause that failed to produce the expected reward. Signs of “marketing burnout” are similar to other types of burnout.
You might feel exhausted and start experiencing some work avoidance behaviors. You might feel disconnected from your passion and even wonder if you are on the right path. It can affect your mood, appetite and even relationships. It’s really uncomfortable to find yourself in this state.
As entrepreneurs, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be successful. This can create a sense of urgency. A constant stream of thoughts that come from a place of urgency, gotta get this done today, what if it doesn’t work, I don't have enough time or resources dumps stress hormones into your body. These hormones, cortisol in particular, wreck havoc on your mind and body. And science tells us we have on average 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day, just imagine if a large percentage of those thoughts are triggering stress - holy buckets!
Before you get too alarmed, know that burnout is a normal response to ongoing stress and frustration and there are steps you can take to get back on solid ground and even prevent burnout in the future.
Strategy #1 - Relax Meditation, mindfulness practices and massages are incredibly helpful but the real key is to learn to relax WHILE you are performing activities.
The stress response comes from an internal alarm that there is a threat of some sort. The alarm sets off a series of reactions that prepare the body to either fight or flee. All of this worked great when we were dealing with lions and tigers and bears but not so much when its in response to deadlines and expectations and internal pressure. A key player in the communication of stress is the vagus nerve. It runs from the roof of your mouth to the back of your head and branches into the thoracic cavity and down the spine to your pelvic region. The cool thing about this nerve is that it has two way communication.
Two ways to relax in the moment: 1. Use a timer set to frequent intervals. When the timer goes off, take a couple of minutes to relax your pelvic area (hips, sitting bones). When you relax/release/soften the core muscles in this area it sends the message up the vagus nerve that there is no threat and the brain can turn off the cortisol.
2. If you are looking at something or someone - even giving a talk on stage, take a moment to widen your peripheral vision and soften your focus. This too can stimulate a relaxation shift.
Strategy # 2 - Aerobic Exercise You know this one I’m sure. You have heard it over and over that it’s important to get exercise. Exercise helps manage stress, it increases serotonin and gives you a way to work off the stress of a failed marketing campaign. No matter how busy you are - take time for aerobic activity at least 3 times a week.
Strategy #3 Self Compassion & Perspective Getting mindful of the internal stories, beliefs and expectations that feed the stress machine is critical. I think one of the big internal stories related to marketing burnout is: because my marketing failed - I am a failure. On the heels of that one is: nothing I do will will work, my work isn’t good enough, I should just give it all up. Can you feel the pain and stress and anxiety in these stories?
The first step is to notice the stories. The second is to bring some compassion to them and begin to tease out the fusion between you and your marketing strategies. I know that you are not your marketing and it might take you awhile for you to embrace it too. Get some help from your coach around this if needed.
When it comes to marketing - well actually anything in life - it’s important to get clear about what you can control and what you can’t. Look at your marketing from that perspective and get some input on your expectations. I remember the first time someone I admired really spelled out the numbers in concrete terms (percent of an audience that will sign up for comp session, how many of those will show up and how many will convert) it was a huge aha. I had very unrealistic expectations - it gave me perspective. Get some perspective for yourself.
Strategy #4 Rest and Renewal
To begin to reconnect to your passion, your vision and your value it’s important to take a break and tend to your heart and your spirit. Your body desperately needs a break from the constant cortisol dump. Get plenty of rest, give yourself office hours and stick to them, take a vacation, get out in nature, nurture other interests and do things that 'fill the well'.
Remember - it's temporary!
When you recognize that you are experiencing marketing burnout - be gentle with yourself and create a plan to get back to the heart and soul of who you are. Remember - you are not your marketing. It’s a temporary state. When you are re-grounded, simply try something new and notice what worked and what didn’t. Marketing is after all a grand experiment.