Design for Personal Impact | Design Thinking Workshop Reflection

How do you design your time in this world?

On January 5th, I tagged up with another facilitator from the OpenIDEO DC chapter to employ design thinking techniques towards envisioning 2018. With a group of about 35 design thinkers and enthusiasts, we kicked off with appreciation for 2017. We asked everyone to think about the best of 2017 and to consider themes as they surfaced. We then pivoted to 2018 and encouraged everyone to develop three aspirations for the year. From there we began to map out our thoughts. With 2017 bests and 2018 aspirations, we prompted everyone to think about how they might work towards achieving aspirations for this year. Folks worked in pairs to talk through their ideas and began mapping. Along the way, folks were prompted to consider their underlying motivations, the pitfalls and people+places that offered them inspiration. The ultimate question everyone asked themselves was this: If today was January 5th 2019, how would I seek to describe 2018? 

We gallery walked. We shared our aspirations with one another. And we began, as a community, to understand that we all desire to make an impact in the world. We all actually do desire to be part of something much bigger than ourselves. Many also learned that discovering their purpose in life is easier than it seems...that meaning comes from meaningful experiences and that building capacity to accomplish more is possible. 

Further, charting all this out with others and identifying ways to be held accountable were the lynch pins identified in supporting successful achievement of personal impact.

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I've added quick sketches of the few ways to visualize 2018 that we offed to workshop participants. For those that didn't make this session or simply seek to begin again before we turn the corner into February, check in.

For a more detailed visual dive into your personal "data" that maps pivot points and defining moments, consider tying into a future workshop or 1:1 session. 

Keep your eye on...

...the prize? Not quite.

This past week I found myself in the passenger seat of a tow truck in the middle of Washington DC. The driver kept yelling "Keep your eye on your rear view!"...and I did so half shuddering/half amazed at what I saw in the mirror.

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It was astonishing to witness this vehicle being towed out since this garage since it's reported to have one of the lowest clearances in the District. Be mindful that Jeep is a high-riding SUV, with a roof still adorned by a bike rack left over from tri-racing days. I'm happy to say it was a successful towing/extraction feat. No new scratches!

Why share this story among all the many positive things that have actually happened since last posting...? Well this unfortunate event - getting caught in a DC parking garage with a bad starter on a newer SUV - highlights a few ReLearnings worth holding onto, and I believe to be fair game for reflection:

  • Stop, look & listen. At any moment, someone could be speaking truth you need to hear - whether it's your client generously trying to help you jump-start your car, the towing scheduler or the expert tow driver. In my case, it was all three last week. And the clear ask to keep my eye on the mirror not only demanded my full attention to what was happening (a miracle towing job!) and bare witness to it, I heard loud and clear the Johari Window come back at me. Take inventory: have you done that recently?
  • Recognize your blind spots. How does what you see in your rear view help you frame or re-frame your thinking in the present moment? What are your blind spots? 
  • Let go. In my case, it wasn't just the "stuff" I needed to let go of, it was the idea around what that vehicle had been representing in my life. Weird...a bit of hoarding that I needed to release. At MYBO right now, we are focusing on aparigraha (the concept of non-hoarding, non-possessiveness). Drop in and work through this question for yourself while practicing during the month of May: what are you clinging to that no longer serves you? what can you let go of?
  • Be IN fully to the experience: let's face it, what else was I going to do anyway but sit and watch? Well honestly I did have a choice in that moment. We all do. I could have pulled out my phone or stared straight ahead avoiding what I knew would lead me down a thought trail that could be very painful to unpack but...Why miss a moment? Take every opportunity to be in. When it gets uncomfortable, dig in deeper: find your breath, relax your jaw and loosen your grip.

There is a lot more to say on all this, and several methods and visuals that help work through many of these concepts...Interested in learning more? Stop by MYBO on Friday evening and sweat it out with me! Stay after to explore visual approaches. 

If you're in the middle of unpacking or simply avoiding the view, STOP and LOOK. Take a higher path for yourself and share in that choice with those around you...we will all be better for it.

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In other news: if you weren't following TEDxFoggyBottommarkerninja or me in April, take a moment to check out recent updates here. More to come on the TEDx visual digital experience for a second year - and the provocative talks. Also keep a lookout for facilitation reflections from an amazing workshop we held for the kids of Casa Chirilagua last month too!

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Lastly, it's an amazing time to visit my neighborhood #DelRayVA. Check out the league of local artists on Sunday, May 14th coloring the streets @La Bella Strada

Potential.

This past week, I was asked to intentionally reflect on what my best self might look like both to me and to the world. It was a remarkable experience to take a week away and share with colleagues how I might make more of each moment, in showing up as more...as my best self...to realize my human potential.  

While we centered the discussions around our work, the conversation held deeper implications for everyone. Let's face it, we can't always leave "home" at home when we come into work. And with the ever-increasing rate of virtual work, home and work blur. While many might argue that boundaries are necessary, I am a believer in the power of bringing your whole self to your profession. I am also a firm supporter of eliminating the term of "work" from the vocabulary. Why? ...We all seek to do what we're passionate about to some extent. When you are passionate, focused and centered (your best self), what you do is no longer work.

In reflecting on my human potential (loosely defined as the "self" open to limitless possibility, the "you" that provides both inward and outward the most satisfaction, optimism and joy), a series of questions and several personal truths rose:

1. What is my energy demand?

2. What is the foundation of my best self (in terms of physical, emotional and meaning)?

3. What are my strengths? Where do I need to grow (respectful of those same terms)? 

4. How does my energy supply meet my demand (assess fuel, moves & recharging mechanisms)?

5. What is my experience? How does my perspective influence the experience? Truths: my interpretations impact the way my body responds; every thought, feeling and action is controlled by the brain.

6. What beliefs and values drive me? What inspires? What motivates? What can I do to sustain my connection to purpose (proposing here that my meaning is derived by this connection)?

7. What is my sentence? Am I better today than I was yesterday? (Drive by Daniel H. Pink). Truths: the only constant is you; autonomy, mastery and contribution (meaning) form my satisfaction.

8. What are my habits, patterns & practices? How do they help or hinder my potential? Hint: Tiny habit format (kudos to BJ Fogg). 

9. How does this all integrate for me? What insights impact my essential intent (which should technically align to "my sentence")? 

10. How can I move towards my best self? How can I access renewed energy? (proposing here that moving to my best self requires a moment in recovery/renewal).

Our brilliant guides throughout the week mentioned several times that "You can't separate the dance from the dancer."

Translation: Start with your own dance.

Johari Window

Indeed the use of a 360 feedback assessment was most helpful (particularly in attending to question #3 above). A proposed method to consider such results is the use of the Johari Window. I have flirted with this 2X2 many times prior and agree with its value. If you've not used it or simply want to try it on, I've added a personal visual spin to this post. Check it out.

Give a shot at working through these questions for yourself. Spend time and reflect on your potential. Use the Johari Window to think about what areas pose personal growth, and what strengths you should be maximizing! Questions, or seeking accountability? Me too!

Let's co-create. Cheers!