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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to Spot a Confident Facilitator

How to Spot a Confident Facilitator

Last week I got to be the human highlighter in the room as I supported two awesome facilitators as their graphic recorder. About half way through the session, I looked down and noted that one of the facilitators was barefoot!

Wow, I thought, she has got to be SUPER confident! and...yep, she was!  Then I began looking more closely and discovered both facilitators shared, what I consider to be...

The Top Five Traits of a Confident Facilitator:

1.  Listens more and talks less.
When there is a moment of free air time, a confident facilitator turns the question back on you instead of filling the air time with their own opinions. ;-)
2.  Keeps you in dialogue, even when it gets sticky.
After years of being the human punching bag in post layoff facilitation sessions, I've seen that when participants were given a chance to talk things out, they worked it out.  A confident facilitator strives to patient, listen, ask open ended questions, let participants find their way, with gentle prodding.

3.  Is flexible with the agenda, but delivers the goods.
A confident facilitator is continuously weighing other possible interactive tools that may help your team explore a topic or come to a deeper understanding. When something isn't working, they reach into their bag of tricks for tool to steer you through the muck to the original outcomes you desired.
4.  Brings his or her authentic self into the room.
No matter where you go, there you are. When a facilitator feels comfortable enough to go barefoot in the room, it says something. It makes the space for you to embrace your authentic self and bring more of it into the room as well.
5.  Engages all of your senses.
A confident facilitator will not be put off by the CEO who tries to talk you out of doing game storming in your session. Participants will be grateful, because in the end, it will be fun, funny, filled with games, drawing, music, visuals, and rock solid deliverables. Afterwards they will say things like "I don't know what the #@%&* you did in there, but it was awesome!"

When you are looking for a facilitator for one of your sessions, keep this checklist handy and if you are a facilitator - be bold, be brave, and above all, be you!

Please send us any of your creative genius tips about facilitation.  We'd love to hear from you and post them to our readers. #creativegeniusyou

Get Busy Drawing

If you are a graphic recorder wanna be,email us to sign up for fall classes.  Who said you couldn't make money as an artist? ;-)

Genius Toolkits

We are coming out with some awesome downloadable toolkits to help you be the creative genius at the offset. To get in on the early-bird special pricing, e-mail us here.

Shout Out

I have had the great honor to facilitate numerous sessions for the Global Libraries team at the BMGF.  As their program comes to a close, I want to say thank you for being my secret think tank for new ideas. #awesomeyou
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Celebrate Your Freedom on Labor Day


Why do we celebrate Labor Day? 

In 1894 workers in the company town of Pullman, Illinois went on strike. In Pullman, everyone worked for the Pullman Railway Car Company. Where you lived in town was based on what you did: the workers lived in row houses, the managers in modest victorians and George Pullman himself lived in the opulent hotel where his business contacts stayed while in town.

There were town stores and a town bank. Rents were automatically deducted from your paycheck.  A
 national depression in 1893 forced Pullman to layoff hundreds of workers and reduce wages for those remaining, but living costs remained the same, and were deducted off the tops of their checks. Oh that sounds fun.

The workers went on strike and were joined by the American Railway Union. National transportation and mail deliveries came to a standstill, and riots broke out. President Cleveland called out 12,000 troops to suppress the chaos and declared the strike illegal. In the chaos that ensued, two men were killed by Deputy Marshals in Kensington, Illinois before the strike was finally over.

Shocked by the violence, people created an anti-Cleveland demonstration (boy this sounds familiar). Congress stepped in to quickly pass an act making the first Monday in September a national holiday,  Labor Day. This day was to celebrate American workers; their productivity and contributions to society and the economy.
If you are wondering what to celebrate over that ice cold beverage and awesome barbecue this Monday, here's an idea...because of this and other early labor strikes, you and I got to go to school as children and play during summer months. (Remember that when your neighbor's children wake you from your nap by shrieking while running through the sprinklers!) That's still not a luxury for children insome parts of the world.
Many of you reading are entrepreneurs running your own businesses. That's an amazing thing to celebrate! But if you aren't working for yourself, thanks for what you do to make the world a better place. PS you might end up looking like this guy in the Cliff Merritt labor cartoon books series:
Whatever you end up doing this Labor Day, celebrate that you are unique. You and only you bring your perspective, value, talent, skill and humor to the world.  You are free to make your own choices and decide where to put your energy and enthusiasm to your piece of the world. If you choose to call it labor, remember it's a labor of love. 

If you or someone you know are feeling a lack of freedom and want to shift what you are doing, go Draw Your Future, and catapult yourself into the "labor" that's right for you.

Special thanks to those who went before us and paved the way to our freedom!  Have a Happy Labor Day!



We are coming out with some awesome downloadable toolkits to help you be the creative genius at your offsite. To get in on the early bird special pricing email us



What to do with that extra wall space?
Put up a blank sheet of paper and put some pens by it. Let your team interact with you.
Or let us help you at your next all hands meeting. We'll capture key comments in a picture so they last longer than a word cloud. ;-) 



if you are looking for a place to help make a difference for girls around the world, here it is:
Live Your Dream a self-motivated community of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead a better life, while gaining inspiration in their own lives.  Check them out and do something today!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Simple Way to Reinvent You or Your Business


When I hit Broadway I thought I had made it.  While our show lasted only five short months, during it’s run, Largely New York was seen by everyone from Kate Hepburn to Spike Lee and the general public in between. It was awesome.

I was a performance artist, and after our show closed, I wanted to continue to write and perform my own material. An off Broadway house featured one of my pieces, which got good reviews in NYC, so I took it back to Portland, where it completely bombed.  "Can't sing, can't dance, can't write - don't bother!" read the headline in the Sunday arts section. Decimated by that review, I thought, Why am I in a career whose success is determined by what other people think?! In that moment I realized it was time to move on. I abandoned my acting career and literally left town – moving to the Bay area.

When I got there, it hit me. I had spent the first 30 years of my life as an actor, so if I wasn’t going to act anymore, who was I? And what in the world was I going to do next?

Time for reinvention.
Yay and super ick.
I had to let go of who I thought I was.
Then brainstorm who I wanted to be – neither of these things were all that fun. #meanit

How did I make the process of reinvention easier?
I asked the universe for help. Literally when I'd get out of bed, I would step out into my little garden, open my arms wide, close my eyes and whisper, yell, or sob (out loud), "Show me...what I am supposed to do next?! Please, I need your help."

Then, and here’s the hard part, amidst worry, fear and the distractions of the internet and life, I forced myself to…LOOK FOR SIGNS.
The universe sends you and I stuff all the time.  Even you, Mr. or Mrs. CEO.  But our eyes have to be open to see those tips. Sometimes I would make myself pretend I was dreaming and there was a symbolic GPS wayfinder that I'd have to decode. Your innate decoder works too, and it will work better as you continue to work with it.  Put on your inner 3D decoder mindset and get busy! As you decode those messages, take action on what you get. If it doesn't make sense, ask to get it again, and again until you are ready to do.

This is the best leadership tool you can teach yourself or your team. Listen to the clues around you to help you solve your dilemma.

In my case, it wasn't long before one of my new friends in my new town heard my story and happened to be going to graduate school where they had a program that he thought I might be interested in. Sure enough I went to the informational interview, found out I was interested, and the rest is history. (for that chapter anyway!)

Whether you are facing a major change, mid-life crisis, or a leadership challenge and you need to know what to do next, the best resource for your next step is right here, encoded in the world around you.

Time for some reinvention?  Ask your question, look for and decode the signs, and then get busy and do.



We are committed to helping you be the creative genius in the room with our new toolkits:
  • Designing an Dynamic Workshop
  • Changing...the Game
  • Drawing Solutions - Visual Thinking 
  • Vision to Reality, Snapshot of the Big Picture of You

Toolkits coming soon!  If you are interested in being part of our early bird pricing signups, email us



You don't have to know how to draw to begin to engage your team with a visual. Just get a pen and get up there. When you draw a picture, synapses fire, new ideas come forth and a shared picture means you are on the same page - literally. If you don't know how to draw, even better, you'll give people the chance to take more risks too.



Every so often you meet a family and you!
Shelly was the guest speaker, and her husband, El, did the 6:15 AM workouts (ouch).  Their two children were an awesome addition to our youth program line up. I debuted a new Creative Genius Storytelling game = super wow stories.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nap Your Way to Creative Genius


Everyday around 2 PM I find myself slightly woozy. An early riser, though I make sure to have a perky style gluten free no sugar lunch, I can still find my energy lagging when the little hand hits the 2.
Never much of a napper, when I read John Medina's book Brain Rules and came to his suggestion about napping and how a 10 or 20 minute nap would refresh and reboot your brain for the rest the day, I thought you must be kidding! Who has time to nap especially when you sit in a cube?! Well okay, I don't sit in the cube, BUT I do often spend full days onsite with clients vying for someone’s cube.

One day when I was working at a large non-profit in Seattle who shall not be named ;-) I found a “quiet room” with a couch in it. A quiet room!  What a great idea and I needed quiet – I had a swirling headache from too many flowcharts and decimal points. So I slipped in, shut the door and lay down on that comfy couch just for a second.  OMG. I actually napped! I experienced five luscious minutes of drooling slumber!

When I returned to my client I was so refreshed that I didn’t care that I was converting endless amounts of project plans from spreadsheet after spreadsheet into visual language. I was so happy!  I had discovered the power nap!
Whether you are a big time CEO, a project manager juggling multiple plans or a gal or guy with a 10-minute afternoon break. Try it. Find some secret spot to power nap - maybe in your car after lunch, or on that shaded fire escape off the alley, or just bite the bullet, tell your team you going to lie down under your desk and put a “do not disturb” sign on your computer screen.
Then set your alarm, sink into slumber and up your creative genius by napping and add your name to the long list of power nappers:
Arianna Huffington
Al Einstein
Tom Edison
the dog
ok this list is short ;-) to save space!




We created some toolkits to help you be the creative genius in your company.
Creating An Interactive Workshop in a Box
Changing...the Game
Visual Thinking for the Non-Drawing You
Snapshot of the Big Picture

Email us for early bird sign up & pricing.




Up Your Creative Genius is on the hunt for a 10-15 hours a week social media intern to help manage our social media presence across Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest and Twitter. Find out more here - send us a short video of why you would be perfect and let's get started.  This is a paid position!



Sign up here for an online Skype session to have your future visualized.Whether I draw it for you, or you draw it,  you owe it to yourself to step into that world you desire right now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Look Up, Leader!


See that awesome sky.
It seems that there's a lot of expectations of leaders in this brave new world of constant connectivity.  It's that insistent voice calling from the wings, "Come on, come on! Surely you can come up with something bright and shiny, brilliant and unique everyday!" Whenever that new thing arrives, big or small, it's heralded with wild trumpeting, a resounding cheer, bright neon arrows pointing to #yippee you! followed by multiple retweets from social media mavens across the clouds through FB/twitter/pininterest/snapchat (or that new social media thing I don't know about yet).

While some people are focusing on the glamourous flavor of the moment, I admit, I'm becoming more and more interested in those quiet, and equally cool, ideas that emerge from the soft spoken creative genius leaders who would rather not post anything, anywhere. How do we carve out space for these less flashy, simpler ideas from that quiet creative genius you in a world filled with constant noise, ads, posts, and techno stuff?

Here's a suggestion  and you can do it anytime you want, but it's especially effective when you find yourself glued to your phone or computer screen.


When you were a child, this was such a simple and innocent act.  In my childhood world, I'd be out messing around in the backyard with my bro, Jim, and suddenly I'd fall down into the grass and roll on to my back and I'd just stare up at that amazing sky.  Sometimes it was blue or light gray or bright pink. Sometimes it was filled with spacious emptiness. Sometimes it was swirled with wispy streams of overlapping and beautiful complexity.

The sky, full of clouds or clear pristine space, is a reflection of you and your potential - it's expansive and wide.

Looking up creates a simple physiological shift; a physical reminder that while your head might be caught in the drivel and doldrums of the day, that you are more than that brain. You are big and beautiful and expanding.

This past week I gave a talk for the Soroptimist International of the Americas in Vancouver, BC.  This women's club has been around for almost a century helping women and girls to reach their potential.  They fund programs to help support women's education, health, or to prevent human trafficking, or to provide resources and opportunities around the world. Check them out and support their work.

My audience in Vancouver BC was from many nations and these women drew the most amazing pictures of their dreams for the future.

The SI women continue to look up from all parts of the earth and in their willingness to serve others, they remind me what an honor it is to be alive. One of the leaders said during her lunchtime talk, "We are indebted to life until we serve life." - Raquel Arreola Ruiz, past President of Soroptimist International of the Americas. And so it is.

why not give yourself a break from your screen.  Right now. Go outside and look up, leader.  Remind yourself that there's a bigger picture and plan for you too. Stop a moment to appreciate the amazing and expansive world that surrounds you, that you're an intricate part of, that offers you the chance to expand beyond who you are and what you know.  Look up, leader.

"Oh my,  Bettina! Will you look at that!  Look at the sky!  It just goes on and on, and oh my goodness Bettina, I'm think I'm getting some kind of understanding here.  Bettina, this is what I believe God is like. Why God just goes on and on and.." - Pauli Moran, from the play, Farmgirls.



Pictured here:
the SI Team from Taiwan.
Awesome artists and
tireless leaders
joined me for a photo
my keynote. Thank you!



can change everything.
If you haven't drawn your vision
of the future for awhile.
Download that free template
here. Then watch this video
and get going! Look for our new
toolkit to help you work with
your team or organization!



The short one on the left won the
bike race in Gresham last weekend.

The tall one on the right is a 55+ bike
racer who made it happen with an
awesome lead out. This is what it
means to be on a team.  Find your
team and appreciate them. Guess
what? You reading this?  You are my
team and I am so grateful for

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