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Everything You Do Is Right

Graphic recording is a practice where you have to be confident.  I mean REALLY confident.  You’re standing in front of a bunch of strangers, repeatedly bending down and squatting in front of them (talk about confidence!), drawing whatever comes in the moment however it comes to you… as it happens, as fast as it happens.
The trick to being confident in your recording is to understand that not everything you do is perfect, but everything you do is right.  Actually, “understand” isn’t the right word here.  KNOW is the right word.  You have to KNOW in your bones that everything you do is right.  You have to trust yourself.
For me, this means getting my ego out of the way and simply do what I do.  When I work, I call it my Zen Practice.  More accurately, it’s a series of Zen Practices.  There’s my Hanging The Paper Practice.  There’s my Organizing My Pens Practice.  And there’s my Recording Practice.  With each Practice, I let go of my thoughts and my ego… so that all that’s left is me ready to receive and record what happens in the room.  When I’m in that state, I KNOW that everything I do is right.  I’m so empty, so receptive, there’s no room for doubt.
Here’s what I mean.  Let’s say I misspell a word while recording.  If I’m worried about being perfect, my ego will pop up and start freaking out over the mistake, and I’ll be out of the flow of the event.  I’ll miss more information, my ego will freak out that much more, and I won’t create a very useful product.  Plus, I’ll be exhausted from the mental beating I’ll have given myself all along the way.
When I’m able to check my ego at the door, a misspelled word is simply that.  No cause for alarm, no reason to freak out or lose focus.  I trust myself in this process.  I see the mistake, I know how to correct it, I do it, I move on… and stay in the flow of the event.  And by the end, people are amazed and delighted by the results.
What I do isn’t perfect.  But when I trust myself and stay out of my own way, everything I do is right.
How about you?
March 16th is ‘Everything You Do Is Right’ day.

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  • Posted by Jeannel
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great article as usual, Jeannel! I've talked to lots of graphic facilitators about being "in the zone" and acting as a conduit for the information and I think it is such a hard thing to explain - you've done a great job of tackling it. it's a bit the opposite to the idea of "so you've got these icons for everything in the world and then you organize them?" I know that I'm often as surprised as anyone to look up and see what I've done! And people come up and say, as I do myself when I'm not graphically recording but facilitating or part of the group attending, "oh, this makes it all make more sense - now I know what we're doing and going to do." Also, the more I work with other graphic facilitators, the more I realize that correcting mistakes is part of the art :) - using sticky labels, figuring out a drawing to cover up the wrong or mis-spelled word or the drawing that didn't work out (the horse that looks like a bulldog) or, my favourite, when a meeting went off in a whole new direction, cutting a new piece of paper to tape over part of the agenda that no longer applied and moving into the new agenda without skipping a beat or anyone even noticing. That's also a "practice." :) Thanks for your continuously hopeful and positive posts - love them!
    Aaron, your comments officially made my day! :-) Thank you!

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