I woke up at 5:00 am three days in a row this week. Which would be great if I’d gone to sleep at 9:30, but I didn’t.
I was obsessing on my iPad till midnight.
I don’t know about you, but five hours, even six hours of sleep is not enough for me.
I’ve been staying up late, even though I know it’s going to bite me in the butt the next day. And then I’ve been popping awake really early and my spinny, thinky brain won’t stop spinning and thinking, and I can’t get back to sleep.
I’m in an insomnia fugue.
I go through these every so often. A lot less now, since I’m on this prescription migraine medication, Topamax, which hasn’t, alas, eliminated my migraines, but it has made me into somewhat less of a walking time bomb, and it’s also had some lovely side effects.
For example, it melted away the recalcitrant ten pounds that I was trying (rather unsuccessfully) to learn to accept and embrace.
And it’s also minimized my inherited tendency towards insomnia, which is awesome!
(It has also, oddly, made me poop more frequently, which is a bit of an inconvenience, but one that is well worth the trouble, considering the trade-offs.)
Clearly, given this past week, Topamax’s power against insomnia is clearly limited. Like Superman, it apparently has its Kryptonite, and it seems we have found it.
So what is making my pop awake at 5:00, especially after staying up so late?
And what is keep me up obsessing until midnight?
(Though I do have to interject here that, in the scheme of things, my staying up till midnight is a vast improvement, because a few years back my normal set point was 2:00 am! And that was really killing me. So midnight as my “Oh, geez, you stayed up way past your bedtime” mark is kind of amazing. And I want to take a moment acknowledge that! Kudos to me!)
Anyway, back to the WHY? What is going on?
Well, I’m in this very interesting transition in my life. My definition of who I am in the world is changing.
I would say I’m reinventing myself, but that’s not accurate. I’m not starting over from whole cloth; I’m evolving.
I am starting a brand, new business, however — a creative consultancy to bring all the work I’ve been doing with creativity and play for the past seven years into the corporate and organizational sphere, to work with teams. And I am excited beyond measure a about it!
And it’s still very embryonic.
I’m still figuring out what this new animal looks like — what kinds of clients I want to serve, and how I can best help them.
Right now it’s a swirling stew of uncertainty and new learning — hence the insomnia.
The learner in me wants to stay up all night gobbling up, soaking up, sponging up every piece of everything that’s in any way related to this new direction (and there’s a lot). I never want to sleep — I want to just go-go-go! Absorb-absorb-absorb!
Plus I’m anxious about how to make all the pieces and parts fit together. Which may be contributing to my popping awake early in the morning.
Here’s what I know so far:
The Easy & Fun Part: My Tool Kit!
If only I could build a business selling my tool kit! Alas, nobody buys tools, they buy results. They buy what’s in it for them. They buy transformation.
Tools are merely how you accomplish those results and that transformation. Tools are the methodology.
Of course, we practitioners love our tools! These are mine.
Techniques and philosophy drawn from the world of theater and performance, that get people engaging with each other. Improv activities are great for all kinds of applications, including leadership development, team development, effective communication, innovation, the ability to “think on your feet,” and more.
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
Yes, you read that right — LEGO® as in the little plastic bricks you probably played with as a kid. I’m getting certified next month in a methodology called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® that uses those same little plastic bricks.
I was introduced to it at the Creative Problem Solving Institute back in June, and I was instantly hooked.
And next week I’m bringing the Master Trainer I’m studying with, Jacquie Lloyd-Smith, onto the podcast! So stay tuned and you’ll hear all about this amazing methodology, which gets the contents of your mind out onto the table unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
It’s so funny, I’m an artist, I have a daily doodle practice, I sometimes doodle very primitive “sketchnotes” in my journal, and only recently did it occur to me that — duh! — this is something that I can bring to my corporate work!
I mean, hello, there are people who get paid to doodle for companies as their full-time job!
They’re called graphic recorders — they stand in front of a huge sheet of paper with a bunch of markers, and capture the contents of a meeting or keynote in doodles.
Now, I don’t actually want to be a graphic recorder, but I could see incorporating graphics, and maybe training teams in visual thinking, visual communication — essentially in how to use their existing skills to communicate more effectively.
These are actually different, but related skills. They all involve being in front of people and holding space. It’s my jam, guys.
What I See Myself Helping With
This is the $64,000 question.
I’ve been working with my coach to drill down and try to figure out my niche, but ultimately, I think it will emerge only as I start to do the work.
One of my sayings is, “You can’t think your way to creativity; you’ve got to do something!” I have a feeling the same may apply here.
That said, doing something includes writing and drawing!
And today is the first day of my 2017 Create & Incubate Retreat. And what I decided I wanted to do at this year’s retreat was visioning for my new business!
As the retreat approached, I just couldn’t get myself excited about spending five days painting or doing mixed-media.
But I’ve had really bad experiences in the past of going to retreats and working on work.
In fact, my very first art retreat, with the Friends of Calligraphy, way back in 2002, I was trying to build up my ketubah print business. My spousal support had just run out, and I had agreed to make prints of two designs in time for different clients’ weddings.
I had planned to go to the retreat as a vacation, to make art for me. But the deadlines were looming, and instead I had to spend the entire retreat working on those damn client deadlines!
I was so stressed! It was a miserable experience!
I had constant migraines, and while everyone else was all blissed out and relaxed, I was working like a dog on work deadlines!
I vowed never to do work at a retreat again.
Well, years later I adjusted that vow to never do client work. Never do any work that isn’t totally compelling to me.
Last year at the 4th annual Create & Incubate Retreat, I spent a lot of time making calligraphy videos for Instagram. Which was fun, but it wasn’t really for me, it was more for external reasons. And at the end of the retreat I felt like my energy was split, like I was half on social media, and only half at the retreat.
I didn’t like that.
So this year, I’ve been really trying to tap into what I want to spend my precious time on at the retreat.
And the one good thing about insomnia fugues is they often give me a lot of information. They can tell me what is really compelling to me right now.
And what is compelling to me is this new business I’m bringing to life. And immersing myself for five days, using my writing and art to vision around that feels really juicy.
So that’s the plan! I’ll keep you posted.
And that brings me to this week’s Something Cool, which is Diane Bleck‘s #21DoodleDays!
It’s not too late — the lessons are each super easy, and you can jump in any day.
Stay tuned for an interview with Diane — the Doodle Girl — on the podcast next month!
She is on a mission to unlock Insights, Inspiration and Ideas for companies large and small across the globe. As an Innovation Strategist, she leads and facilitates workshops with leaders across business functions to create award winning content that inspires team to take their business to the next level. And in her spare time she has created The Doodle Institute where she is the mentor and coach for almost 4,000 students around the world teaching them how to DOODLE YOUR DREAMS.
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
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“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
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