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Five gifts I’ve received from my graphic facilitation business

Today’s my birthday. (Yay! Happy birthday to me!)
As I gazed out at the overcast Austin skyline from my hotel bed (I’ve been on travel on my birthday for the last five years) feeling all warm and cozy, I suddenly remembered:
“Zoinks! I’m supposed to write a blog post this morning!”
It’s not something I’d want to skip, even today, because I love getting to connect with you in this way. Our little conversations are a real gift to me. . . as are so many gifts I’ve received by starting my own business and embracing my role as a graphic facilitator.

Here’s just five of them:

5. Getting to shop at art supply stores on the regular. Prior to starting my graphic facilitation business, a “supply run” meant going to the local office supply store. Hum drum. When I started Big Picture Solutions, my supply needs changed: pads of drawing paper, pastels, measuring tapes that looked like rubber duckies (an essential, I’m telling you!), colorful folders, artist tape. . . and the markers. Oh yes, the markers! Suddenly, every supply run was taking place at a candy store! It really gave me permission to play with different mediums and tools to see what really made my heart sing as I worked on the page. Which leads me to the next gift:
4. Getting to be playful! Before starting my business, I worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years. It was a serious sector doing serious work because we were trying to achieve some pretty serious results for our communities. One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from working as a graphic facilitator – and building a graphic facilitation business – is the deep understanding that results and play are not mutually exclusive. Rather, one is necessary for the other to emerge. It’s pretty darn liberating to realize that we can have serious fun as part of the process for achieving serious results. This sometimes messes with people’s heads to experience and realize this, but they always end up getting – and appreciating – the connection. Which leads me to the next gift:
3. Getting to be a positive provocateur. Shaking things up comes with the territory in this business. After all, we’re going in and drawing big pictures on people’s boardroom walls during important (translate = serious and high-stakes) meetings and events. Simply doing what I do as a graphic facilitator serves to positively provoke new thinking for the group, because when we change the way we work, we change what becomes possible as a process and a result. (Didn’t Einstein have a quote about this? ;^) I gotta tell you: I don’t just love being in this role; I THRIVE in it! And that leads me to the next gift:
2. Getting to be more self-confident and self-assured. For decades in the nonprofit sector (prior to starting my business), I was absolutely comfortable being “the power behind the throne” and not being on the throne itself. Being behind the throne left me less vulnerable and didn’t require me to take any public risks. Well, if working as a graphic facilitator takes a certain level of personal confidence, imagine owning your own business as one! EVERYTHING you do is a risk, and every action you take requires you to be vulnerable. Drawing in front of people in real time? Vulnerable. Squatting and bending over repeatedly with your bum facing large crowds? Vulnerable. Putting your heart and soul into what you do? Vulnerable. Asking others to say “yes” to your particular flavor of services? Vulnerable. The confidence and believe in myself that developed as a result has been a tremendous gift, making all sorts of things possible which I never could have guessed! And this leads me to the next gift:
1. Getting to know you! Working as a graphic facilitator with amazing clients on inspiring projects truly expands my horizons and feeds my soul. Without being willing to take risks and allowing myself to be vulnerable, giving myself permission to play, drawing big ideas while provoking bigger thinking, this never would have been possible. I never would have started this blog. You never would have read it. And we never would have met. We never would have shared ideas or inspired each other or laughed or cried or drawn forth more of the best in ourselves, week after week, year after year.
And that’s really the greatest gift from all of this work. Not the drawing, not the projects, not the insights, and not the business success. . . but you.
Because I always cannot WAIT to see what YOU draw forth. :^)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a birthday to get on with! ;^D
Big hug,

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  • Posted by Jeannel
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Happy belated birthday! ☺ Thank you for this blog post! As I'm about to become a graphic facilitator/recorder myself, working on my first project at the moment (one part at the clients place, the other one in my "studio"), it helped me to see what to be grateful for. Made my day - ever since number five showed me, how happy I am to work with all this stuff and my hands. That's gonna be one great adventures journey! ☺ Looking forward to reading all your other posts! Cheers! Thorsten
    Oh yay! :^D Thanks, Thorsten. . . and you are in for one great adventure, indeed! Let me know how your first project ends up going. . . I'd love to hear! :^) J

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