One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Visual Thinking: Have a Strong Vision

A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do. — Leroy Eims

Leadership starts with a vision. Whether you're leading a country, a company, or simply yourself, you must have a vision. A strong one. Because the stronger the vision, the more likely success will be.

That vision, strong or not, always begins in your imagination, or the mind's eye. That's where you start to see things as you'd like them to be in the future. Or the way you wish things could be right now.

Getting that vision out of your head and onto paper makes it more concrete. That allows you to see your vision more clearly, to flesh it out, and to better communicate it to others. It also allows you to see what may be missing or what may not be necessary. A tangible drawing makes your thinking and communication much more efficient!

Drawing out your vision and keeping it someplace where everyone can easily see it, keeps your vision front and center in everyone's mind, which fuels the motivation needed to continue moving forward. A physical image also allows everyone to see how far you've already come, hopefully prompting you to celebrate those successes along the way.

So pick up those markers and start drawing! Remember, you're drawing to communicate here, not to create the next Mona Lisa!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Creativity: Failure & the Creative Life

Why are we afraid of failure?
 

It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating. And perhaps it makes us feel weak and small inside.
 

When’s the last time you failed? How did it make you feel? Do you remember your reaction?
 

Perhaps it was a test. Poor performance at work. An interview. Suggesting a new idea.

Were you nervous? Did you cry? Get angry? Did you shy away and never try again?

Oftentimes these emotions are uncomfortable. Although difficult to experience, they lead to some of the most important lessons, opening up many doors for us later on in life.

We live in a culture where everything appears to be perfect and “normal” on the outside. Our social media accounts portray this.

The reality is that life is messy. We’re not always perfect people. And if we try to always stay within the lines, we’ll never know what lies beyond.

It’s important to allow ourselves to be open to failure and rejection, because on the other side is a reward - either a lesson to be learned, or you achieve what you intended.

This doesn't mean to be stupid with our failures, but rather, to be smart with our intentions and our reactions.

It’s not the failure itself that’s important. What’s important is that we learn from our failures and implement these lessons into our lives.

Ask yourself: If I fail at this, what’s the worst that can happen?
 

Failure is one of the most important tools for a creative life.
 

When we’re comfortable encountering failure and rejection, only then will we be able to experience results that we’ve never seen before.
 

A creative life is one that has experienced failure multiple times - not recoiling from it, but embracing, learning and implementing its lessons.

Failure is a steppingstone to personal success and creativity.

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Creativity: You ARE Creative

Many people don't consider themselves creative because they can’t “draw” or “paint”.

The reality is that creativity can take on a variety of forms - many forms beyond the physical realm. In fact, creativity starts and is born from our internal world. Our goal is to figure out which medium best portrays our personal creativity.

Thus, we must make sure we cultivate an environment that is conducive to creativity. But how do we do that? How do we know what that environment looks like? Isn’t it different for everyone?

Yes.
 

The first step, and the most important step, is to become more familiar with ourselves.

We must be able to recognize the types of things that stir our heart, set our soul on fire, and make us come alive. Because once we recognize them, then we can begin to replicate them.  
 

And the only way to find out is by trying out a variety of different things, as creativity demands quantity.  

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Learn More About Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking - The Artist's Mindset: An excerpt

“Art is not limited to what one can create with their hands - that is far from art. Art is taking an idea, an experience, an encounter or a thought, and making it somehow visible. This visible form can come in the way one dresses, sings, writes, shops, speaks, or listens to music.”

-Meredith Illig

@meredithrosepoetry

Learn more about visual thinking

Creativity: We All Have It — Reignite Yours!

Think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember your personality? Do you remember any quirks you had?
 

And if you can’t remember that far back, think about the little kids you know, whether family, friends, or even strangers.
 

They all have one thing in common - they’re at the the most creative stage in their life.
 

Children are at a stage where they haven’t been conditioned to many routines and norms. They are completely themselves - unfiltered and raw.
 

...Always asking why

...Not caring too much of what others think about their appearance or their actions

...Saying whatever comes to mind

...Not holding back any ounce of laughter
 


As we grow older, eventually we don’t question as much
 

Eventually the routines of life become mainstream
 

Eventually our imagination grows stale
 

We hold back our laughter more and more
 

And eventually we lose the perspective of what could be in exchange for what is

Creativity gets taught out of us


Our teachers telling us to write in 12 pt. Arial font.


Our parents not having enough patience to answer all of our why’s.
 

Our own inflicted judgements
 

We become afraid of failure. Of messing up. Of saying the wrong thing. Of being judged.
 

To the point where we’ve lost ourselves in exchange for a mask that society has handed us.

We have unlearned creativity.

We all have the ability to be creative, but it's our job to learn it again.

Visual thinking is a great way to jumpstart your creativity, whether personally or professionally, alone or with a group. Simply watching someone else create something can inspire creative thinking and actions. Contact me to bring the power of visuals to your next event, meeting, or project and reclaim your creativity!

Visual Thinking: Get it! Grab it! Go for it!

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While visual thinking makes things simple, it certainly does not dumb them down. Part of the simplicity comes from removing unnecessary parts, leaving behind only what you need to work with. That allows you to really see exactly what it is you do have to work with. This often leads to that, "Oh, now I get it!" moment when everything finally seems to fall into place and make sense.

Once you can see things more clearly, you are able to make better decisions. Sometimes, things become so obvious it doesn't even really feel like you're making a decision at all. The right choice just jumps right at you. Or if you do need to think about it for a minute, it's much easier for you to grab it and run with it.

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.
 

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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 Hand-drawn visuals are far friendlier than standardized fonts and stock photos. And hand-drawn visuals are even more inviting when created live, right there where everyone can see.
The drawing above was created during the opening remarks at the Women in Cyber Security conference the end of March. It was then displayed near registration to welcome late-comers. Not a high resolution file shown here, just taken with my iPhone in the moment.

To see the whole set of visual notes from the Women in Cyber Security conference, check out this Flickr album.

Visual Thinking: Visual Biography

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Abstract ideas can be fascinating, but our brains really prefer things to be concrete. That way, it's much easier for the brain to make sense of them. And remember them.
A great way to make your own short bio more memorable and engaging is to make it visual! Mine is above. As you can see, the key facts are worked into my logo. That helps folks remember a bit about me when they look at my logo, wherever it is.

A visual biography can be much more powerful than a paragraph or two listing your accomplishments. So if you need to give a quick bio for a speaking engagement or whatever, make it visual!

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking & Creatvity: Make the common new

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We look at letters every day. Online. Text messages. Street signs. Starbuck's coffee cups. Letters are everywhere.
When we see things all the time, we often stop really looking at them. Common things can become invisible.

When that happens, it's a great time to get creative with them. That causes you to look at things in a new way. Explore them from a bunch of different perspectives. Really look at them. See them in a new light. That's where a lot of new ideas are often found — sitting there right in front of us, in plain sight!

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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People often think I do a lot of drawing while taking live visual notes. If you really look at the image above, you'll see there's really not much drawing there at all. Just some squares, a couple of circles, and an arrow. That's it!
When you write words inside simple shapes, those simple shapes start making your own notes a bit more visual. They become more dynamic. More interesting. The image and the message become more unified. And far more powerful. 

A great way to make your own notes more visual is to write some of your words inside simple shapes — circles, squares, triangles, arrows, etc. Give it a try!

The image above is a close-up of a 4'x8' drawing, created live, in real-time during a Design Thinking workshop. Be sure to check out the entire image!