Precious Gifts

It’s been eight months since my last blog post. It’s been a pretty tough year. I have experienced both a very traumatic birth, yet resulting in a remarkable gift (hello Billie Grace), and a sudden, devastating death (Dianne, forever in my heart). These two extreme events, both surrounded by an accompanying hospital experience, have taught me much more than I could appreciate at the time.

Where there’s pain, there’s also light; life changing moments, valuable experiences and wonderful memories. With pain, and the slow process of healing wounds, comes strength, resilience, wisdom, optimism, and a valuable gift of experience that will not only change you, but become a precious gift to share with others.

Watching the professionals within a hospital environment, from reception to nurses, students, doctors and surgeons, and observing how they all work seamlessly together as a team to care for their patients was quite insightful. Looking back on this only recently, has made me realize that often people are quick to cast a negative shadow on hospitals and their service, but we can actually learn a lot from their culture. Everyone has each others back, roles divide and seamlessly transition, there’s different and unique skills, levels of experience… and all working towards the same goal – bringing people back to good health, and often back to life.

When times are tough, whether in your personal or professional life, adopting a mindset of hope and belief that with pain also comes precious gifts of experience, will help you become a stronger and wiser individual. And if you’re working in teams, no matter how small or big, recognize that each individual has their own precious gifts to offer and encourage them to share. With the right combination of skills, respect and ‘can do’ attitudes you’re positioned to do your best work, collectively and seamlessly, to achieve a big common goal. It’s much more enjoyable when everyone is in harmony and can celebrate shared successes.

Everyone has precious gifts, don’t be afraid to share them as we really need you to.

Creative Blocks: Create Your Space

It happens to us all, when our minds are overloaded and we’re under time pressure to come up with yet another great idea… the creative block.

Whether you’re a writer, strategist, designer, photographer, illustrator… it may hit anyone creative that’s responsible for coming up with ideas, whether verbal or visual. Staring at your computer screen will not help you. Leave it alone, it’s not going anywhere but you can. Create your space to boost your creativity.

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I have given a few talks to design students recently in both Melbourne and New York and this has come up as a consistent and valid question – “how do you overcome a creative block?” There’s no rule book here, it depends on the individual, but here’s my perspective and what has worked in the past:

PLAY: have some fun doing what you love (music, games, gallery, explore, read…)
CONNECT: be with people that relax you, distract you, make you laugh.
DAYDREAM: give yourself a break, switch off, stare at the sky, whatever does it for you.
MOVE: it could be a walk, yoga, swimming, running (away from people)…
LOOK: go out, watch a movie, flick through books or magazines, but not on your laptop!

Lastly, most importantly:
PERSEVERE: don’t give up, it will happen. You’re creative and it’s only natural to need pauses. Creating space to switch off from your immediate challenge will help open your mind to free flowing ideas.

Tailor your own list of what works for you and keep a reminder nearby. Do something daily, or whenever you can. If the space you currently work in doesn’t allow you to do this (conveyor belt creativity line, enclosed corporate environment, no time to pee let alone step out…), BE THE ONE TO CHANGE IT. Create the space that works for you and allows you to do your best work. Then get on with it.

What do you do when you hit a creative block?