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LIFESTYLE

Shifting from Ideation to Practice

Focusing Your Lens
By Vickie Swann
22-Jun-22
Shifting from Ideation to Practice


(Photo source: Vickie Swann)
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Zooming In: This article focuses on the complexities of living your passions, your values, and your true self. There will be all sorts of challenges, roadblocks, and unknowns. However, with these come opportunities, joy, and new adventures, especially if our passions and values are at the core of our decisions, actions, and communication. Let’s not wait; let’s identify the passion, values, and joyful steps to explore so there will be a path that leads us from planning to practice. 

As I arrive at my family home after two and a half years away (due to COVID restrictions), feelings of peace, happiness, and comfort immediately settle in. This same sense has been felt outside my home-a familiar holiday spot, a favorite local eatery, and any place with forever friends-anywhere with the sounds of healthy chatter and laughter, a vibrant hustle and bustle, or comfortable silence after the endless excitement. Considering much of our time is spent outside these areas, it’s vital for us to take steps to ensure we have these same feelings of safety, support, and happiness both personally and professionally. 

In my series, Focusing Your Lens, the spotlight has been on creating a space that provides that familial sense of happiness based on your values and passions. In this final article, my hope is to guide you through a few exercises to shift your thinking from ideation to practice. As we enter into an extended holiday, I encourage you to take a few moments to focus, reflect, and plan some immediate steps you can take to get closer to creating enduring enthusiasm that encompasses yourself and those around you throughout your day, wherever you may be. 

Enter this with a compassionate mindset where there are no right or wrong thoughts or responses. Work through them as a dynamic reflection, alone or with a trusted friend or colleague. Create a timeline that works for you and allows you the space to dig deep and discover all the possibilities that lie ahead. 

Each exercise* will follow a Focus-Reflect-Commit format providing you prompts to ignite your thinking, reflect on your current practices, and create small steps to move you closer to your desired outcomes. So, grab your favorite writing tools, find a cozy spot, and get started! 

What’s Your Passion?

Focus: Respond to this prompt with a freewriting exercise (Remember, don’t worry about it being perfect, just keep your pen moving across the page. The purpose is to center your thinking around the topic.): 

What brings you joy? 

Reflect: Using personal and/or professional perspectives, answer the following:

In what ways do you incorporate your passions into your daily routines?

What possible adjustments could you make to be more intentional with creating time and space to support your passions in your daily routines?

Commit: Take steps to bring your plans to practice! 

Make a list of two or three actions you can commit to taking over the next few weeks to be more intentional with supporting your passions in your daily routines. 

Who’s Your Champion?

Focus: Respond to this prompt with a freewriting exercise: 

Who is someone that rejuvenates and inspires you, that makes you feel valued, empowered, and/or special? 

Reflect: Using personal and/or professional perspectives, answer the following:

What specific qualities does this person exhibit to make you feel this way?

How do you encourage and empower others? 

Which personal quality would you like to share with your colleagues, friends, and/or family and why? 

Commit: Take steps to bring your plans to practice! 

Write a thank you note to your champion(s). 

Think of two or three people you could be a champion for. What specific ways could you support them? 

On a sticky note, make a list of five things you are grateful for. Post your list where you’ll see it often. 

Follow Your North Star

Focus: Respond to this prompt with a freewriting exercise: 

What values are at the core of your decisions and actions?  

Reflect: Using personal and/or professional perspectives, answer the following:

What intentional steps do you take to honor your values both personally and professionally? 

How do you respond, internally and externally, when your values are challenged?

How do you create opportunities and experiences that radiate your enthusiasm for yourself and others? 

Commit: Take steps to bring your plans to practice! 

Create a personal mission statement centered around your values and passions. 

Write three questions you would ask in an interview to ensure alignment of values.

Write an ideal job description centered around your passions and values. 

*Exercises can be found in PDF or Google Doc format. 

There will be all sorts of challenges, roadblocks, and unknowns. However, with these come opportunities, joy, and new adventures, especially if our passions and values are at the core of our decisions, actions, and communication. My hope is that, at the least, I can provide a ray of sunshine for others, model my values and passions with grace and compassion, and inspire others to do the same. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, Focusing Your Lens. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, so be sure to add a comment below.

If you would be interested in further discussions or collaboration, let’s chat! And thank you for the chance to share my journey and passions.

References:

Donovan, Melissa. Adventures in Writing: 101 Creative Writing Exercises. Swan Hatch Press, 2012. 

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Vickie Swann is a professional educator that has worked with teachers, students, and families in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. She is passionate about environmental sustainability, empowering others, advancing competency-based skills throughout the curriculum, and developing compassionate humans.

LinkedIn: Vickie Swann

Twitter: @vrswann 

Email: [email protected]




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