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A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

If your life basket spilled out upon the ground, what would it say about your passions and your life? What do you see in this picture? Could you pick out the person from a group by looking at this picture? If you had to create a life picnic moment, what would be in your basket? IMG_0721

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Hi Ya’ll!!

DonnaDuffATC Love Chinese food. My favorite part is the Fortune Cookie. I keep the fortunes as reminders. Some make their way into my art. This is an Artist Trade Card. It is the size of a baseball card. Quick little art pieces I trade with others. Most of the time I hate trading them because I am amazed how awesome they turn out. This little fortune was ironic. I live in the Great Green South. We in Georgia are known for a slow laid back ways and accents. Each area of Georgia has their own flare to the southern ways and sound. But overall, we have this need to gather and laugh at each other. Nothing like on a hot summer’s day to kick back on the porch with a tall glass of sweet tea, some friends, maybe a few guitars or corn hole to pass the time. We are expert story tellers. Nothing like a gathering after a fishing trip. The small bass on the hook will become a life threating experience to reel in the whale out of the local creek. And, heaven forbid you get the privilege to hang out at a family reunion. The stories will flow ! Storytelling is an important part of life. We pass along important information in the form of stories. Life experiences, helpful hints, family histories, and much more find their way into the story telling format. There is nothing better than a great storyteller. I bet you know a few you enjoy listening to when they are around. A great storyteller’s stories will live on in your mind for eternity. What are some of your favorite stories? What stories do you enjoy telling? If you have children, it is important to share stories with them as well as encourage them to create their own. Well, maybe not ones to get out of trouble but some of those are rather comical to parents. There is a difference between lying and storytelling. The art of storytelling is slowly disappearing. Revive it. Bring storytelling back into your daily life. There is a storytelling business model which creates great results. Boring meetings can become lively using this strategy. Believe it or not, the Harry Potter books started as bedtime stories the author told her kids. Big things can happen if you have a great story to tell. Explore the many options and uses of storytelling in your personal life and business environment. “Let me tell you about the time….”

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Fill the page… will you pass this challenge?

“Fill the page.” Those were the only words spoken by the professor in the first assignment in my first master’s class. In front of me was one of those manila drawing sheets of paper I remember so well from my elementary school years. Surrounding the paper were an assortment of creative goodies I was told I would need for the class. Of course being at artsy sort I went a wee bit over board. I had colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks and a bottle of glue, PostIt notes in assorted colors and patterns, a regular pencil. markers, and  my beloved gummed eraser. Oh. MY. GOSH. So many decisions and no clue what he wants!

If you asked a child back in 1968 to fill a manila sheet of paper, the child would not hesitate. In fact, the child might jump right to coloring and drawing before ever being told what to do. Creativity and excitement of the manila piece of paper and coloring tools was an invitation to indulge in a fantasy moment of wonder. Asking a child in 2015 to do the same assignment anxiety and an endless string of questions will flow. What happened over time?

It is a sad fact that individualism and creativity has been stifled. As adults we have become a society of pleasers, followers, and suck ups. Our ability to creative and dream without judgment or guidance is a thing of the past. And we wonder, why are so many people frustrated and cannot seem to make decisions.

Manila paper is a thing of the past. Very few adults and fewer children than in the past, have drawing tools such as crayons and markers. But you can draw  with anything, even a stick in the dirt if you must. I challenge you to “fill the page.” Discover what is hiding in that creative mind of yours that so wants to come out and play upon the paper. This is a wonderful exercise if you are at a roadblock in your job or life. It might help if you turn on some music to encourage your creativeness to flow upon the paper. You will never know until you try. Stop by the store and grab some crayons or markers. As an adult, there are no rules. You can even buy those scented ones if you want.

I would love to see your “fill the page” challenge results.

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Getting the Purple Paperclip

So what’s up with purple paperclips? How often do you see them? To be honest, it is bigger than just purple paperclips though there is something very special about those.

What is a paperclip? By definition it is a bent metal object which holds things, particularly papers together. I focus on the, “holds things together” part.  During legal meetings it is easy to “fall apart” emotionally. One might lose their edge needed to make a point or reflect upon the subject being discussed. The likelihood of seeing paperclips in legal meetings is high. Staples are not often used because they mess up the corners of the papers, and it is much easier to pass papers around when not stapled. Paperclips are just so much better for legal and high-end meetings for paperwork. I use the visualization of paperclips to symbolically to remind my clients to breath, they are not alone, and that they are happy reminders to maintaining balance. When a paperclip appears it is a positive mental reminder of things we have discussed.  There are many other uses of paperclips in my practice, this is just one.

Now for the purple paperclip, it has a meaning. When you see a purple paperclip it means wealth and prosperity are heading your way. I know, it is an old fortune teller’s thing but just seeing one reminds me to keep focused. To not let frustrations and challenges get me down, forward thinking and a positive attitude bring wealth and prosperity. Creative Tidal Wave uses the purple paperclip as a symbol of how the principles and alternates presented can bring a positive impact to businesses. Positive bosses create positive employees which present positive atmospheres to clients creating a productive and prosperous business environment. This moves the business from a negative to a positive in many ways.

What objects remind you of positive thoughts when they mysteriously appear?

Find the purple paperclip

Find the purple paperclip

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Castles Built in the Sky

Do you have big dreams folks have told you were unattainable? Does dreaming the impossible seem impossible? Are your dreams so lofty you need to hop a ride on Pegasus to get there?

Think my original castle was being constructed somewhere near the planet…star…whatever it is now, Pluto. It was such an unheard of dream. It was a concept so foreign yet very needed but no one was quite sure how to interrupt it. I bet creator, Gene Roddenberry,  of Star Trek  series had the same experience in 1966. Can you imagine the idea of flip phone communicators, voice activated computers, and the GPS being introduced in the 60’s? Totally rad science fiction but the reality is, in 2015, some of those way out scifi devices are now old news. Gene Roddenberry’s wild imagination of high-tech gadgets and gizmos are common everyday things we use now. I doubt he thought toddlers would have handheld iPad like devices found on the Enterprise. Dream he did! Maybe his imagination sparked some young watcher to bring those neat devices to us today.

There will always be dream snipers. Their  words and negative reactions can be like an atom bomb exploding a dream into zillions of micro particles becoming space dust. But like in Star Trek and Star Wars, you can create defense shields. There is a learning curve and timing involved. The number one dense is to surround yourself with positive folks who believe in you. During a massive negative lasts you can seek affirmation and encouragement. Yes, use that communicator device to relay your need with a faster than light response! Use symbolic objects to remind you of your dream. My two are lighthouses and starfish.  I also read, The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley almost daily to remind me why my dream is so important.

Remember, your dreams are yours, no one else should take those from you.  My castle dream on Pluto is now in Carrollton, Georgia. Few believed it would ever find roots on the planet Earth. Many moons ago I told a friend of mine that by the age of 50 I wanted to see my dream come true. It is a week from my 51st birthday so I am still within the 5-0 timeline. Thank you, positive believer friends, Loren Eiseley, lighthouse, and starfish for being my deflector shield all these years.

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I can’t, my ears don’t match

It is true, my ears do not match. One is pointed. I must have faery blood somewhere in my family. The other is… well, I think I must have troll blood in me as well. It has been a life long issue. The first thing my husband did after my children made their grand entrance in this world was check their ears. I can report neither has my ears. I feel sure he would have scheduled plastic surgery that very moment to have something done.

The school bells are ringing along with the cruel words and actions of bullies. It might not be mismatched ears but each of us has something we are taunted about. I remember not wanting to go to school on days my mom made me wear my hair up in a ponytail. I would get sick. I would find every excuse to not go. I would take the pony tail down wearing mess hair just so my ears were not exposed. Those days still haunt me. The bullying which wasn’t handled well caused a life long self-esteem problem.

Let’s change the attitude. I am. Yes, they are an odd pair, the faery and troll ears I am blessed with, but they make me unique. The media has warped our sense of beauty and has created a false illusion for the need for visual perfection based upon unrealistic models which are enhanced. We allow bullying, in fact it has become a way of life. Stop the cycle now. Teach your kids not to judge or make fun of folks due to outward differences. Appearances fade but a good heart stays true to the end. If you must judge a person, do so by their actions not appearances. Being unique is not a bad thing. I am now embracing my inner faery, though I am told I have troll moments when angry. Now if I can just get those faery wings to grow.

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Environmental Impacts or Simple Causes for Frustrations

You are dining in a popular restaurant around lunch time but during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. Just a meal with a friend but with some business talk on the side. You notice both of you are getting very frustrated. It has escalated. If you have a background in environmental impacts you might have caught it like I did before it became an indirect disturbing emotional moment. People often will lash out at another for no known cause other than something is irritating but not obvious. Let’s look at the environmental impacts which might be causing the disturbance resulting in irritation.

To the left is a table of ladies who are obviously celebrating a gathering to exchange holiday gifts or maybe a birthday. To the right is a bar full of gentleman who are obviously not on the job because they have definitely indulged a bit more than normal at 12:30pm. The noise level of these two groups is escalating. Surrounding you are parents and grandparents out with children who would have otherwise been in school at this time. Normally at this time of day you have your business lunch folks or those grabbing a bit on the job. Little marketing and business tricks, keep the place cool and the music fast paced so people move in and out quickly. This  strategy could be a bonus if you targeting the business folks. It is a psychological trick to get people to eat faster. Business lunch crowd needs to keep up a fast pace and music can definitively shape that behavior. So back to the trouble spots. Fast loud music means the partying groups are getting so loud it was hard to hear. Loud people laughing and doing what loud people do often can upset kids causing them to become more irritable.  Irritable children scream or cry which makes parents raise their voices. Do you see a  cycle here? The other folks elevate their voices to talk over the party folks, crying children and upset parents so the noise level is steadily increasing as more people dine. All folks get anxious thus causing them to get frustrated but never aware it is due the increase noise levels. Oh, and not to mention being cold. Must note that the temperature dropped a few hours earlier from a warm spring like temperature to now a nice polar breeze.

What could management do? Well, someone needs to always be aware of the public dynamics happening, it could influence your bottom line. Because this wasn’t the typical week day lunch crowd the atmosphere should have changed to a night-time one. Slower music does calm the savage beast or lunch party crowd goer. Raising the thermostat a few degrees to welcome folks out of the unexpected cold helps as well. Since the restaurant clearly was divided, place the happy party goers to the right and the lunch bunch even those with kids to the left. I am willing to bet there would be an increase in appetizers,  desserts, and drinks bought that day because folks would have been cozy and desire more food while socializing. A few tweaks would have made a big difference.

Awareness is the key. Have someone who has experience in environmental studies to come into your work place to see where small changes can be made to help improve sales, staff or client behavior, or deal with some frustration to which you haven’t been able to figure out the cause. You might be surprised what small changes can do.

Tomorrow I will address another example of environmental impacts at the work place.

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Celebrating Creative Freedom on the Fourth of July

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution Česky: Originál Listiny práv, prvních deseti dodatků k Ústavě Spojených států amerických Deutsch: Die Bill of Rights genannten ersten zehn Zusatzartikel zur US-amerikanischen Verfassung, die den Bürgern bestimmte Grundrechte garantieren Español: La Carta de Derechos de los Estados Unidos, el término por el que se conocen las diez primeras enmiendas de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never thought about it this way until a friend mentioned it to me today. We are lucky in the USA to be able to express ourselves in so many creative ways. Our freedoms have afforded us the privilege. Via the arts we can sing, dance, paint, build, cook, and write in ways others cannot due to censorship and regulations.  We should honor the rights so many died so we could express ourselves which is protected by the First Amendment, freedom of speech.

With freedom does come responsibility. We should never abuse the right to express ourselves in a negative or abusive fashion. We should also respect the right of others to express themselves though it might be different from our beliefs and ways. As much as I enjoy Facebook and other means of social media, I find many who abuse the right with an onslaught of bashing and unnecessary over use of foul language. Sometimes such might be appropriate but not every other word. Nor is it ok to slander others in a revengeful or spiteful way. Sadly, so many children are following in the negative path of influential adults. Internet bullying, texting inappropriate pictures, etc. are becoming the norm amongst children as young as 8 years old.

Today, make this Fourth of July a celebration of creative freedom. From this day forward, make a difference by promoting the positive and avoiding the negative. Influence the young in the way our freedom of expression was intended, to encourage and motivate. Confronting wrong can be done without the use of a string of expletives and nasty pictures.

I hope where ever you are you celebrate today with fireworks painting the night skies, an abundance of colorful foods, with laughter and song, and lots of stories of your families journey to celebrate the event. Happy Birthday, America! Let Freedom ring for many more years to come.

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Do not let embarassment control your emotions

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another CPR for the soul moment.

We all make mistakes.  When we make mistakes we become embarrassed. There are two choices: over react and try to cover or to admit and make amends. Sometimes it is human nature to overreact and belittle the person who caught the mistake. No one likes being blindsided because they were not prepared or informed. But then again, no one should ever go into a situation knowing accountability is the topic and not be ready. No doubt there will be an embarrassing moment to deal with when the facts are on the table. What is worse is to respond by intimidating or shaming the person who was right. Guilt coupled with embarrassment is a deadly combination when a person in power is involved.  Even during the confrontation the guilty party should not become defensive by rattling off excuses and trying to avoid the obvious. Behavior in that way only grows the internal frustration of the guilty. One should never skirt the obvious, just own up to it and move forward as quickly as possible.

So what happens after all the wrong emotions come spewing out? There is still time to make amends though the work will be much harder to correct. Do not continue the cycle of rage from the embarrassment and guilt that grew because you were unprepared. Own up to the situation and not keep fueling a fire. The bigger the fire grows the more likely you are to get burned especially if it was started on your behalf to create a smoke screen. Do whatever it takes to correct the problem. Most importantly, take a moment to step outside of yourself to recap the situation from another point of view. If you were to discover the problem, what would you have done? If children are involved it is without a shadow of doubt emotions will run high. Understand in a position of power, one should understand the emotions coming to the table. It is your duty to listen, consider the options, and then form a plan of action to correct the mistakes or over sites. If it is a situation in regard to others you are supervising, then hold them accountable. You can still stand on their behalf but never should one raise an employee up in a meeting if it is clear they have violated a law or legal procedure. Do not lower your accountability or professionalism based on friendship. A true friend holds all accountable, especially friends and family out of love and respect. Even better, pass the meeting or confrontation on to another supervisor to safe guard your emotions will not be involved. Sometimes we must admit we are too close to the subject or people involved, save yourself from an embarassing situation. It is not a sign of weakness rather a sign of a professional who will pass it on to someone who can be objective.

For the person who was trying to do the right thing by catching the mistake bringing it to the attention of those who could fix it, know you were doing what was right. Often people will over react in hopes you would back down. Also, when embarrassed people will turn on anyone, even their family and friends. Exposing a wrong will cause even the most pleasant sort to shape shift into a person you have never seen before. The emotions will uncover a very insecure and aggressive nature in some. Do not hold it against them but still hold them accountable. It is upsetting when this occurs, just know it will pass but do not allow the person to continue a reign of terror to control you from doing what is right especially in regard to a child or person with needs. Be respectful and never lower yourself to the inappropriate emotions that you might feel.

To parents, teach your child early how to deal with embarrassments and being confronted when wrong. Own up to the mistakes with a positive course of action to make amends. Not everything can be fixed but if it can, chose that route. Never resort to bullying and emotional outbursts as a means of response. On the flip side, teach them to always be ready, check into all avenues before confrontation occurs. It is good to stand by friends and family but if they are wrong, try to get to the root of the issue before it escalates. Keep emotions under wraps until there is a justified reason to express them. Never bully as a response to being wrong. Intense emotions and bullying can cause a negative blow to the soul. It is better to prepare while young to deal with frustrations and owning up to mistakes than it is to correct the onslaught of extreme emotions as an adult.


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Once Upon a Time in a Land Not So Far Away…

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, Fitzwilli...

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…there lived a creative. Life had potential. Everything was explored and investigated to the extent the mind could conjure. Colors could be heard and tasted. Sound was seen and  felt. Nothing was simple. Life was complex in a pleasurable way. Nothing was as it seemed, it was only limited by the constraints of the mind. With limitless possibilities the days were filled with nonstop wonders. “No” did not exist. Lessons were learned by doing. If something did not manifest in a positive it was not perceived as a negative but a detour to explore another option.

One day another happened upon the creative. “You cannot do it this way,” the creative was told.

“Why not?” Replied the creative.

“It is not possible, take my word,” the other said.

So the creative took the other’s word and stopped doing. When other challenges and wonders came the other repeated the statement and the creative stopped. Soon the creative grew tired and wished to no longer explore because the voice of the other would say it couldn’t be done. The creative withered away in a small empty room because there were no possible ways the voice could counter.

How many times have you been the creative? How many times have you been the voice of another?

There is a happy alternative ending to this story.

“You cannot do it this way, ” the creative was told.

“Why not? Replied the creative.

“It is not possible, take my word,” the other said.

“That’s okay, I think I will challenge your thinking because I am certain it can. If not then I will find another way,” the creative said with confidence and a smile.

Let’s encourage our children to forge on to discovery and imagination. Let’s encourage adults to push past the limits engrained their minds from the past to take risks without guilt or fear. Let’s be a world of creatives once again.

The End… well, of course not, creativity never ends it is always a beginning.

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