What’s Your Creative Rhythm? or Your M.O.?

When I talk about “creative Rhythm” I’m talking about the way you do your best work. How you honor your own natural instincts, your own rhythm, your Modus Operandi.

Your M.O. is your Modus Operandi.

Modus Operandi is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as method or mode of operation. Habits of working, particularly in the context of business, but also more generally.

Are you honoring your Creative Rhythms? Your MOs?

At my First Grade conference my mom was told

“We love Kelly. She’s always happy and involved in a lot of things. We always know where to find her because of the mess surrounding her.”

Guess what. Nothing has changed. My MO was an “active girl.” Now I’m an “active woman.”  Not in the sense of being caught in the “cult of busy” but in that “I have so many fun things going on I don’t know what to do next!”

But knowing what my M.O. is doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. Society doesn’t always see my style as positive.

I might be seen as

…impulsive, flighty, can’t seem to settle on one thing. She has too many projects going at once and doesn’t have a steady job history. She tends to procrastinate and wait ’til the last minute.

OR as:

…spontaneous, interested in what’s going on around her. She’s creative, an idea factory, and always has lots of irons in the fire. As a result her career and experience is rich and varied.

She doesn’t dive in immediately, but works in her head, in her journal, in her sleep, and in the shower, and then, when time is of the essence, SHE GETS IT DONE! Edits the work, and voilà! Job well done.

I’ve struggled with this issue. Bosses can’t see that you’re “working in your head.” I’ve had conflicts with a business partner because she didn’t understand my “work style.” And don’t get me started on cleaning house!

Then in 2008 during Martha Beck Coach Training I was introduced to the Kolbe Action Modes. And it allowed me to, for the first time, know how to DO MY BEST WORK!

“The Kolbe A™* Index/Instinct Test is a graphical representation of an individual’s instinctive method of operation, or modus operandi (M.O.). The numbers in each Action Mode represent different points on a continuum, rather than relative values. Each point on the continuum indicates a positive trait. There is no such thing as a negative or “bad” Kolbe Index result.”

Four Action Modes®*

  • Fact Finder – the instinctive way we gather and share information.
  • Follow Thru – the instinctive way we arrange and design.
  • Quick Start – the instinctive way we deal with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementor – the instinctive way we handle space and tangibles.

Turns out I’m a 5-4-8-3: 5 (Fact Finder), 4 (Follow Thru), 8 (Quick Start), 3 (Implementer)

Here’s some of the advice it gave me in the report:

  • Communicating requires conative action

  • Ad lib. Improvise. Do presentations with only bottomline notes. Over preparing takes you out of your stride. Say it rather than write it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the mechanics of a presentation. You are able to read audiences well, but following a script or getting locked into an audio-visual format limits your ability to go with the flow.
  • Communicate your goals to others so that they may buy in; they need to know where you are heading.
  • Recognize that others need to put your brainstorms into context: those with more Fact Finder need details and those with Follow Thru intensity need to put your brainstorms into context.
  • Your forte isn’t in doing Implementor demonstrations, though you may enjoy using props to show a craftsperson what you want.
  • Humor goes a long way in bridging conative gaps. Communicate the commitment you are willing to make and the talent you offer without placing a value judgment on either yours or others’ forms of contribution.

It told me that I do my best work – that my MO – was to let ideas simmer, to percolate, and to do them when the time is right. (Notice I didn’t say “at the last minute”) Now I enjoy the extreme focus I get when I’m in “flow” on a project, not the built up stress of “shoulds” I used to put on myself…

This is what I mean when I talk about your CREATIVE RYTHM. What’s yours? What is your MO??

* Click this link to find out more about the Kolbe A™ Index and explore all the other “Science of Human Actions, Reactions & Interactions” at Kolbe.


Note for our So, do it! Salon members:  This is our topic this week.

Those of you who have the PLUS, or PLUS PLUS Salon Packages should have already gotten your Kolbe A Index. If you haven’t let me or Melanie know in a direct message here or by emailing hello@sodoitsalons.com

The rest of you are always welcome to to upgrade to either the PLUS or PLUS PLUS packages at any time. They both include the Kolbe A assessment and one-on-one time to work on your project.

Again, contact Melanie at hello@sodoitsalons.com and she’ll make it happen!

How Creative Rhythm Planning Works

Design INTENTIONAL PLANNING Practices

There are two things we know for sure:

1. Energy flows where your attention goes.
2. If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real. (thank you Marie Forleo!)

By using the concept of “planning with intention” we are making a conscious decision where our attention goes. By doing this, we’ll will reach our goals and have more time for our creative pursuits. Here are a few ideas. Identify what will work for you.

Commit to INTENTIONAL PLANNING sessions

Weekly.

Pick a consistent day/time to look at the week ahead.

  • Sunday evenings work well… or Monday mornings. How about end of the day on Friday? The important thing is to make it a habit by finding a time that works for you.
  • Put it in your calendar.

Daily.
Plan tomorrow at the end of today.

  • Increase your success by ending each day with a short time to look – with intention – ahead to the next day.
  • Schedule it. Again, write it on your calendar

“The Intentional Planning workshop was great.  I wished we would’ve had more time or that there would be a part 2!  I really like Kelly’s approach to planning.  I’m enjoying the planner. And I’m excited about journaling.  I call it my “5 Minute Journal.”  I set a timer for 5 minutes (at least 1x day) and just write.  When the timer stops, I stop.  ”
– Shelley Gilbertson

Long term.

In addition to short-term planning, long-term planning is key to staying on track.

Start with an Annual plan, a Manifesto or a Vision Board.

Identify you areas of focus for your year. I used to do 10 – but I’ve narrowed my focus to 6!. The 3 areas you want to focus on in your PERSONAL life and the 3 focus areas in your WORK life.

“If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.”  — Einstein

Write your areas of focus somewhere prominent – like in the beginning of your paper planner – and then “picture it” – create a visual representation of your focus areas. Again, do this right in your planner so you can review it every day.

These appointments are as important as any other.Put all of your INTENTIONAL PLANNING sessions in your calendar as appointments with yourself.

Weekly INTENTIONAL PLANNING sessions.

Manifesto

Each week, start by re-visiting your personal manifesto – written and visual. Are you limiting yourself to your chosen 6 areas? Peter Bregman, Author of 18 Minutes, says to make sure that 95% of your time is on what I’m calling your “manifesto.” Let the remaining 5% be for the stuff that comes up in life.

By keeping your own personal manifesto in the front of your mind, you will more easily stay track.

Get your own Creative Rhythm undated Planner here.

 

Or click here to download a sample and try it for yourself! CreativeRhythmPlanner Pages

Thinking Differently

Using the 4 Primary Aims of Life as a my guide

I can’t help but  “think different.” In fact Linda Rasch recently helped me discover that this is actually “my why” — my reason for existing.  (based on the concept from Start with Why by Simon Sinek.)

And because of this I’ve always had trouble with the idea of the typical year-end planning that everyone does.

Next year in my PERSONAL LIFE I will . . . and in my PROFESSIONAL LIFE I will . . .

boxes! boxes! boxes!  My life never ever fits into those boxes.

My work feels like play and is my passion. Which means my PERSONAL life is solidly enmeshed with my PROFESSIONAL life and my CREATIVE life is part of both.

So how can I set goals or intentions that are in clean-cut LISTS or in nice little BOXES??

I can’t! That’s just the way it is!  Then several years ago I was at a Lisa Sonora BeamGorgeous Genius creativity retreat in Mexico. While there I read an article in a Yoga Journal called AIM HIGH.  It introduced me to a concept that shifted my paradigm. Don’t you love when that happens!

“Purusharthas”

the 4 aims of life.  Or “the blueprint for human fulfillment.”
  • dharma (duty, ethics)
  • artha (prosperity, wealth)
  • kama (pleasure, sensual gratification)
  • moksha (the pursuit of liberation).”

This concept led me to change the way I created my future and to in turn, create the LIFT VISION KIT.  A different way of envisioning your goals and dreams.  Take 2 minutes to watch this…

There are three different sets of cards – and one set is  inspired by the “4 aims of life” – A fun creative tool for looking forward.  And for activating your Reticular Activating System (RAS).

Use your words, use images…

…and “create your future!”

Happy new year.

 

 

TIME DOESN’T FLY.

We say “time flies.”

But time doesn’t know how to fly.  Time only knows one pace – it just plods along, day after day. What flies is our attention – from one thing to another.

To look back with a sense of peace we need to stop managing time and start managing our attention and our energy.

We each have a say in where our attention goes and the amount of energy that we put toward the things that are important.  Decide today that you are going to be in charge of your calendar.  Not the other way around.

Let me share 3 tips that will be instrumental in moving you forward – at a pace that is right for you. Then you will be able to wave the “I did what I said I was going to do” banner:

  1. COMMIT.  Set your intentions,  then schedule them.  And I mean SCHEDULE them. Write them in your calendar, in ink.
  2. CURATE. Cull your list to 3 items on your active get-to-do list. The master lists will always be waiting.
  3. FOCUS. Your energy flows where your attention goes. Do what you must to defend your attention. Close a door, go to your room or get out of the house.  Work in short bursts.

On Being an Artist

I’m not a huge fan of labels. I’ve resisted them for the most part. But recently I was in a situation where I need to accept a label – even prove that I was worthy of it.  This was a stretch for me.  I wasn’t sure I believed it. But apparently there are others who do. So, I’m publicly stating here:

I am an Artist!

Transitions.

This all came about after months – years – of “magnetic journaling” (more later!) and dreaming about my next ideal living space. I knew I wanted something interesting. Something urban. I wrote about a brick wall. I wrote about being near the river. I called it a “loft.”

So this winter, when I decided it was time, I started researching apartments.  And this amazing project called the Schmidt Artist Lofts popped up.  I remembered hearing about it, but I really didn’t think it was for me.  How could it be? I’m not an artist. I just work with artists.

Schmidt Artist Lofts is a renovation project (the old Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul MN) that is creating a cool live/work community for “ARTISTS.”  I love artists, but I can’t really call myself one… can I?  But, I decided to deal with that detail later.  They made it easy with their online scheduling doohickey, so I scheduled an appointment for a tour (a testament to making it easy for your potential clients!).

I was hooked.  The place had everything I’d been writing about as I’d spent the last several years living like a bit of a nomad.  And something I hadn’t thought about – I get to live surrounded by creativity. WHAT A BONUS!

What? Me? An artist? Ahhhh, go on! 

OK. Back to this “you must be an artist” thing.  The next step was to be approved as an Artist.

After some strong encouragement from my pal Beth, I began pulling together some of my experiments in visual art from the last few years and then I started to write.

Voilà! I now had an “Artist’s Statement.”  I was nervous to send it off, but i did.  It may seem silly, but I was super excited when I got the email that started out with the salutation:

“Dear Artist:”

Now

I’ve moved in, settled and I’m beginning to meet my amazing neighbors.  I get to walk by art on my way to my loft and next Saturday I’m going to be a greeter when we (that is, all the artists at the Schmidt Artist Lofts!!) welcome visitors for the Saint Paul Art Crawl.  So come on down and check it out!

Creativity is the ability to express ourselves and to look at the world in new and different ways coming up with unique solutions to common challenges.  In that way, everyone is an ARTIST.  So call me artsy fartsy anytime… I’ll wear that label proudly! You know I believe in CREATIVITY. ART. In fact I believe creative people are the ones who will change the world. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, then creativity is the opposite of that!

Design a Life with White S.P.A.C.E.

“white space” – the empty space between and around the essential elements of a design

A good designer knows that “white space” is critical to an elegant design.

And a good composer knows when to add silence to emphasize the beauty of their composition.

Designing a life is no different.  When you have the right amount of white space, your life will feel like a great symphony.  With harmony, rhythm and flow in all the right places.

By adding SPACE you will find the sweet spot where ABUNDANCE + CREATIVITY + PRODUCTIVITY intersect.

To do this, pay attention to the essential elements in your life.  And make sure that they have enough space around them to allow you to honor what’s important.

That’s it.  Just leave space around your essential bits, and your essential self will have room to emerge!

Clear SPACE in your life for what’s essential.  Make room for  STILLNESS | PLAY | ACTION | CONNECTION | ENERGY and clarity will emerge.  Identify the daily practices, systems, and personal rituals to help you do this.

STILLNESS.

Find time to be still every day. Traditional meditation, a walk in nature, whatever works for you. Whether it’s for 4 minutes or an hour. Schedule it.

The constancy of stillness… only from that place can you create your best work and your best life. — Oprah Winfrey

PLAY.

Play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply connected to our development and intelligence. And a strong correlation between success and playful activity has been shown. So make time to play! To laugh. Even a forced smile can improve your mood. Smile muscles activate endorphins + immune boosting T-cells.

To thrive in our wild new world you would be well advised to play until you can’t think. — Martha Beck

ACTION.

Do at least one thing each day that moves you forward and is in alignment with your calling.

Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.  – Japanese Proverb

CONNECTION.

Get together, call, email, or write someone a note!  Connect.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  ― Brené Brown

ENERGY.

Learn your own circadian rhythm.  Honor it.

During the day stretch. Stand up. Move around. DANCE. Do something to get your blood moving!

Science tells us we’re at our best when we move rhythmically between spending and renewing energy — a reality that companies must embrace to fuel sustainable engagement and high performance. – ― The Energy Project

When you Honor the spaces in and around the essential elements in your life, you will see your “essential self” emerge.  Try it. You’ll like it!