The Artist:
This role is not defined with the “usual” definition of artist.  Rather, think of this role as looking at information in unusual ways and making new connections that transform the information into something different.  
Key to this role is the concept of “connection” and “creating something new.”

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles facing you when you hear about this role is the issue of artistic ability.  So many people will immediately say…”Oh, I can’t draw, I can’t do this role.”

This role is not necessarily about your ability to draw, but rather your ability to connect one thing to another, and in doing so, see something that is new and different that can result from the connection.

It is important that when you are in the role of the Artist, you need to “do” something to whatever you are looking at….you need to transform and manipulate the information.  And when you are “doing something” to that information, be careful not to seek the “right” way to do it…here the Judge can enter the scene and get in the way of your actual doing something to that information.

The strategy associated with the Artist is “C.R.E.A.T.E. !”



How can you develop your Artist?

You can select any of these seven components of the C.R.E.A.T.E.! strategy and work on that component.

For a start, I’d like to suggest  the “C” component….Connect.  The exercise I am going to give you will help you start connecting ideas/concepts.  As we are about to begin I would like to point out that this is not a pure math equation of  1+1=2.  Instead I hope you get something that is not the expected, not the predictable….hence a creation of something that you were expecting.

Follow these 10 suggestions and see what connections you come up with:

1)    FROG + BUBBLE :  ________________________

2)   PENCIL +  LEAF:  __________________________

3)   DANCER + VELCRO:_______________________

4)   MOON + RAINDROP:______________________

5)   BUBBLEGUM + MICROSCOPE:_______________

6)   FERN + KLEENEX:_________________________

7)   DRUM + SPAGHETTI:______________________

8)   WARRIOR + MARSHMALLOW:_______________

9)   MONEY + CATERPILLAR:____________________

10) CUP + DISCOVERY:________________________


A Coaching Note: 

Were your connections obvious ones or were they novel and unexpected?  What you want to shoot for is breaking out of the obvious and expected response.  For instanceDon’t take the first idea…push and work it to get something new and different.

One technique to use while doing each paring above is to say the words out loud…reverse them in order…close your eyes when you do this as it may help you break through the “obvious.”


Let’s try it again….

I am going to re-arrange the words and their combinations.  Try it again and see how you can “give yourself permission” to just play with this and see where it takes you in connecting these thoughts and coming up with something totally different than the two root words.

1)    CATERPILLAR  + CUP:  ___________________________

2)   MICROSCOPE + DANCER:  ________________________

3)   DISCOVERY + PENCIL:___________________________

4)   BUBBLE + WARRIOR:____________________________

5)   MARSHMALLOW + DRUM:________________________

6)   LEAF + BUBBLEGUM:___________________________

7)   RAINDROP + MONEY:___________________________

8)   VELCRO + FERN:_______________________________

9)   SPAGHETTI + FROG:____________________________

10)  KLEENEX + MOON:_____________________________


What results did you get on this second round of connecting?  Were your results a little less obvious and more novel?

You can also try connecting different words, or re-arranging these 20 words again to keep practicing your expansive connecting ability.

Feel free to work on other Artist strategies so you can expand the power of your ability to C.R.E.A.T.E.!

Oh, yes…don’t forget to have some fun along the way…that is an amazing ingredient that will help with you getting some interesting results!  Don’t underestimate the power of laughter and endorphins!



THE EXPLORER: an Archetypal Role of Creativity



This blog will focus on the Archetypal Role of the Explorer.

Think of the role of the Explorer as that role you play when you go out and about to discover new information.  

Key to this role is the concept of “discovering” in a way that is not blocked…of seeing what’s right under your nose!

I’d suggest that you keep a couple of thoughts in mind as we learn more about the Explorer role.  First,  it helps a great deal if you know what your objective is as you prepare to “explore and discover.”  Secondly, develop a “sponge” outlook….by this I mean get ready to soak up and absorb everything.  And lastly, and I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, “If you only look where you always look then you’ll only see what you’ve already seen!”

The strategy associated with the Explorer is “D.I.S.C.O.V.E.R.

Discover strategy_1.png

How can you develop your Explorer?

You can select any of these eight components of the D.I.S.C.O.V.E.R. strategy and work on that component.

For a start, I’d like to suggest  the “O” component….Out of the Rut.  First, are you in a “rut?”  What makes you say that?  Is the “rut” helping or hindering you?

So now I am going to ask you to challenge yourself.  Here are 3 out-of-the-rut challenges.

1)  Go to work via a different route.  Observe what happens (write it down…. the “R”   component).  Try doing this for at least a week.  What did you discover by doing this?

2)  Change up what you do during your lunch hour/break.  Record what happens here as   well and see what insights or ideas emerge. 

3)  When you prepare to write something or read something (it’s your choice here, or   you can apply this challenge to both) think of the environment that you normally   write/read in.  Now do something that shifts/alters your environment in a couple of   ways.  With this now-altered-environment, write or read what you were going to write or read.

What happened?  Anything different occur?

These are just 3 simple challenges to help you on your way to being able to explore more deeply and yield a richer discovery than what you might typically do.

If you have any significant “ah-ha’s” I would like to hear about them.

Review the other D.I.S.C.O.V.E.R. strategy components and experiment with each one.  This type of work will help you build some “Explorer” muscle and help you exercise this right-side of the brain oriented role.   

The Archetypal Roles of Creativity

roles icons.png

In the first two blogs you focused on determining your brain hemisphere orientation.  To take this to the next step we will be exploring a concept, the archetypal roles of creativity, developed by Roger von Oech in his book A Whack on the Side of the Head.

There are four major archetypal roles:  the Explorer, the Artist, the Judge and the Warrior.  To begin, I’d like you to take a “creativity snapshot”. 

Using the grid below, think of what you know about these four roles, primarily associating your thoughts about what each of the four words mean to you…what is an explorer, artist, judge and warrior?  Taking that knowledge, then respond to the next questions.

What role do you think is your strongest role?  Put a “#1” in the blank space of the
E A J W grid, under the appropriate role.

EAJW #1Grid.png

What role do you think is your weakest role?  Put a “#4” in the blank space under the E A J W grid.

Of the two remaining roles, which role is the stronger of the two?  Put a “#2” in the appropriate space.

Mark the last slot with a “#3”.

Review what you just completed.  Does it make sense?  Any surprises?

Now, let’s move on.  Think about your day today.  How many different roles have you played?  List them out…what were your favorite ones?  Your least favorite ones?  Ones you felt confident in?  Ones you felt you didn’t know what you were doing while you were in that role? 

Now take that insight and let’s apply it to the four archetypal roles of creativity.  First, you have capacity for all of these four roles.  Some are more comfortable than others while other roles bring you a sense of accomplishment since you may have more skills in one role compared to other roles.  In the same way that you play many roles in your daily life, you have some preferred roles, some “avoidable” roles, and some roles that generate confidence while others generate doubt and possibly feelings of insecurity.  Nonetheless, you are capable of performing all four roles!  And in fact, you do.



The Explorer:

Think of the role of the Explorer as that role you play when you go out and about to discover new information.

Key to this role is the concept of “discovering” in a way that is not blocked…of seeing what’s right under your nose!

The Artist:

This role is not defined with the “usual” definition of artist.  Rather, think of this role as you looking at information in unusual ways and making new connections that transform the information into something different.

Key to this role is the concept of “connection” and “creating something new.”

The Judge:

Regarding this role, think of this new definition of the Judge --  when you are in the Judge role, you take the transformed information (received from the Artist) that has resulted in a new idea and impartially weigh the value of the new idea and decide what to do.

Key to this role is the concept of “hearing the whole idea” and "impartially" evaluating it, not evaluating it based on your biases and paradigms, but to the greater context in which the idea is presented and exists.

 The Warrior:

When you are playing the role of the Warrior, you are championing the new idea and you take it from the stage of "what might be" to that of "that which is real." 

The key concept here is that of "championing" something and then moving on to the next critical step...implementation"...making it happen!


All of us are very familiar with the role of the "judge" in our lives.  Judging is strongly ingraned in all of us.  Judging sometimes becomes a problem when we quickly jump to a conclusion without listening to the entire thought of what is being presented to us.  We stop listening, sometimes simply because of who is talking to us, and then quickly dismiss what's being said.  I would suggest that we work on deferring our "judge" and leaning how to Judge (from the perspective of this new definition--i.e., fully listening and then impartially evaluating what is in front of us...put it into context).


Connection of Creative Roles and Brain Hemisphere Preference

As you think about these four archetypal roles and your relative strength/weakness each of the four roles, there is a direct connection to the work you did identifying your brain hemisphere preferences.  

The roles of the Explorer and Artist tend to be Right Brain roles while the roles of the Judge and Warrior tend to be Left Brain roles. 

Another insight about the archetypal roles:  these roles are played out within certain situations and contexts of your daily life.  The role you play can change quite quickly and over the course of the day you will play many “life” roles and possibly all four of the “archetypal creative” roles.

How does this all come into balance?  Well, try this exercise:


EAJW Grid 2.png

Compare the brain hemisphere preference numbers from the first blog.

Recopy the EAJW grid numbers on this repeat grid:  what patterns do you see?

In the next blogs we will go into more depth on each of the four archetypal roles and talk about each role’s strategy and how you can develop skill in that role.


How do you build “Whole Brain” Muscle?

Brain muscle.png

In this second article I want to explore what you learned from taking the brief assessment that indicated your brain preference in the July 20th post. 

As you review your preferences, let’s remember that the brain is often referred to as a “muscle.”  The more you use it, the more developed it becomes:  you gain more skills, ability, and insight.  Ultimately, in order for us to derive the benefits of a we need to be using the muscles in our left and right hemispheres as the situations dictate, not just out of habit or based on what we “prefer.”

Let’s review your results.  I’m sure some of you found that you had an equal number of left brain and right brain responses out of the list of 18 preferences/functions.  If so, then you are somewhat balanced in your hemispheric processing.  Now how do you work that “brain muscle?”  What I would recommend is that you review both hemisphere lists and select one or two from each preference list  and try to do some work on building that skill/muscle.  What you are aiming for is to enable yourself to have as many capabilities as possible…all at your grasp, to better enhance what you do and how you experience those actions.

Now, if you have a rather obvious “skewing” of preferences for one hemisphere over the other…such as a score of Left 15 and Right 3; or Right 12 and Left 4, then it is obvious where you brain orientation/preference lies.  You probably already knew this before taking the assessment, but now, hopefully, it clarifies a bit more. 

So what might you do next?  In order for you to move toward the goal of getting your “whole self” engaged, I would recommend that you look at the list of 18 preferences for the least preferred hemisphere.  Pick out 3 items that you could work on…something that if you developed some skill around the action it would serve your dominant brain orientation well.

When you select these 3 items, I would recommend that you choose ones that aren’t a “big” stretch for you.  I offer this recommendation because since you are so strongly oriented toward one hemisphere doing actions that belong in the opposite hemisphere will be quickly scrutinized by your brain and you’ll reject them…they won’t be comfortable or easy or second-nature to you at all.  You’ll experience some form of resistance or rejection…so it’s necessary to take little steps as you build up some complimentary approaches from your least preferred brain hemisphere.  Further, I don’t recommend working on all 3 at once.  Review your list of 3 items and prioritize them:  then select 1 and work on that for a week or two.  See what happens and how this work actually compliments and helps your dominant preference.  It would be helpful if you kept a journal to track your reactions and your results.

I would also suggest that you look your dominant brain hemisphere.  What one or two functions could you work on to develop even further?  Think about all of this as a work out plan for your brain.   In the next section I am suggesting a number of activities and hobbies that you can do to develop either your left or your right brain.  There are also a few suggestions to work on developing the left-brain/right-brain balance.  Let me know what results you get!

Right brain.png

If you are LEFT BRAIN DOMINANT then try some of these ACTIVITIES and HOBBIES to develop the RIGHT BRAIN.


1.Playing music


3.Applied arts

4.Creative writing

5.Aerobic dance


7.Nature watching


9.Video games

10.Wine Tsting





15.Listening to music





20.People Watching

21.Playing with children







1.Go dancing in a night club

2.Fly a kite

3.Play with modeling clay

4.Day dream for 15 minutes

5.Drive around in the car without feeling guilty about it

6.Run for pleasure not for exercise

7.Take 500 pictures and don’t worry what you’re going to do with them

8.Create a personal logo


10.Picture your life five years from now and then draw it

11.Play what your kids want to play

12.Dance without moving your feet

13.Take ten minutes to “smell the rose,” reflect on the sensations around you

14.Listen to music you love when you want to

15.Decorate with some natural accents

16.Come to tears without feeling shame or guilt

17.Find something your children have taught you and find some way to thank them


19.Observe an object and draw it without looking at your paper

20.Hum your favorite tune and make up your own lyrics

21.Play a musical instrument

22.Do some Origami

23.Play word association and memory games

24.Think up a strategy for something and then implement it

25.Look at the sky and identify as many different shapes/objects from the clouds


Left brain.png

If you are RIGHT BRAIN DOMINANT then try some of these ACTIVITIES and HOBBIES to develop the LEFT BRAIN.



2.Do-it-yourself projects


4.Amateur radio

5.Model building

6.Restoring cars

7.Car repair


9.Electronic games

10.Strategy games





15.Spectator sports




19.Team Handball

20.Weight lifting

21.Body building




25.Crossword puzzles



1.Predict what will happen tomorrow based on what you know happened today

2.Figure out how a tool or machine you use functions

3.Take a current problem you are having and break it down into it component parts

4.Take an impulsive decision you have made recently and look at it rationally

5.Convert your retirement dreams into a definite plan

6.Join an investment club

7.Play a logic game

8.Explore the functioning of a computer

9.Play “devil’s advocate” in a discussion

10.Write a critique of a favorite film/book

11.Assemble a scale model

12.Make a personal budget

13.Make a list of all you own

14.Organize your CD’s by category or alphabet

15.Make a family tree

16.Arrange your tools

17.Balance your checkbook

18.Create a short term plan for the next week

19.Be on time all day

20.Arrange your photo albums

21.Make a to-do list every day for a week:  review at end of day

22.Read a new book:  don’t skim through it

23.Clean up your computer’s desktop

24.Start a diary/journal

25.Learn a new skill or language


Striking a BALANCE…

To work on developing a balance between your brain hemispheres you might try any of the following suggestions:

1.  Juggling:

This activity demands an incredible amount of eye-hand coordination and gets both body parts and brain hemispheres involved in action simultaneously.

2.  Alternating Dominance:

To sharpen your skills, to off-set your habits, and to build your brain muscle, try doing common daily activities with your non-dominant hand and foot.  See how this stretches you and note what results emerge.

3.  Color / Word Test:

This exercise was developed by psychologist John Stroop about 80 years ago as he was exploring how the brain’s two sides worked together.

Round 1: Say out loud the names of the written word, no matter what color ink was used to write the word. 


Round 2: Say out loud the color of the letters of the written word, no matter what the   written word  is.

rev #2-2.png

Round 3: Say out loud the color of the dot squares.

rev #3.png

I would be interested in hearing from you about your experiences doing these exercises.

Part of the application of Stroop’s test relates to color and language as well as looking at the part of the brain between the two hemispheres that help resolve any conflicts of cognition between the hemispheres.

Unlocking the Keys to Your “Whole” Self

All of us have a desire to live the best and fullest life that we can.  Today we are bombarded with so many distractions as we go about living our lives, that is difficult to maintain focus on living a fulfilling life.  Despite this, I don’t think there really is anyone who doesn’t privately wish that his/her life was a thriving one.

We find ourselves pursuing a fulfilling life but, sometimes fall far short of it…frustrated, stressed out, exhausted.   If you are trying to figure out why you keep falling short of “thriving”, you can probably come up with so many reasons that it seems the effort of actually pursuing that “thriving” life is too daunting a task, leaving you to think that it is even out of your reach.

Yet….I think it is possible for you to discover your potential, unlock it, use it, and in doing so, get on your way to enjoying living life to its fullest.  So how do we do that?  One way is to tap into your “whole” self:  recognizing and using your logical/critical faculties as well as your intuitive/creative faculties.

If I asked you this simple question…”How many of you are creative?”…what would you say?  Many would firmly answer “no!”  Why?

So many of us early in our lives had some type of experience where someone told us that we couldn’t sing, couldn’t keep a beat, or draw anything that looked like something recognizable.  So over time, you “got the hint” and accepted the fact that “I’m not creative.”  The error here was not that you weren’t “creative” but that you weren’t “artistic.”  Yet, we often confuse creativity with artistic ability.  It is true that all artists have creative abilities:  however, not all creative people are strictly artistic.

Fast-forward to today, and think of the way you approach life.  You have a specific style that works for you.  Great!  Now, I am going to ask you… “is it a whole-brain approach?”  You may be wondering what I mean… basically I am asking if your dominant way of being in the world tends to be either left-brain or right-brain oriented.


Ned Herrmann, known for his work in creative thinking, coined the phrase “whole-brain” thinking.  His work not only focused on the two brain hemispheres (right and left), but also the cerebral and limbic areas of the brain.  Ultimately we want to be able to use those areas of the brain that are best suited for whatever task/endeavor we’re engaged with, not simply being comfortable and/or “stuck” using the brain dominance that we prefer to use for everything we do.

Let’s start by discovering what brain hemispheric preference you have.

This short survey lists eighteen different functions for the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  Read each one:  circle the number of those functions that you find you do frequently.  Then tally up the totals for the left and the right.

Click here to download this worksheet as a PDF

Left Brain General Functions:

•  Words (verbal)
•  Logical
•  Black & White
•  Numbers
•  Sequence
•  Analysis
•  Lists
•  Critical Thinking


The Left Brain prefers to…

  1. Think in words rather than pictures
  2. Take an intellectual approach to problem-solving
  3. Remember names more easily than faces
  4. Operate in a planned and structured manner
  5. Take multiple-choice tests rather than essay tests
  6. Keep a tight reign on emotions
  7. Make objective judgments
  8. Compare differences
  9. Experiment systematically
  10. Break a problem into parts before solving it
  11. Respond to verbal instructions and explanations
  12. Use concrete facts to describe things
  13. Overlook body language and focus on words
  14. Talk and write in order to communicate
  15. Operate amid ranked authority systems
  16. Do what others are doing
  17. Respond to sounds and pictures
  18. Analyze information by taking it apart point by point


Total Left Brain Preferences: ____


Right Brain General Functions:

•  Images (non-verbal)                    
•  Intuitive                                      
•  Color  
•  Rhythm                                         
•  Imagination                                  
•  Daydreaming                                 
•  Dimension                                     
•  Creative Thinking


The Right Brain prefers to…

  1. Think visually and spatially:  uses pictures and images dimensionally
  2. Solve problems using intuition rather than logic
  3. Recall faces rather than names
  4. Work in a fluid and spontaneous manner
  5. Answer open-ended questions
  6. Express feelings freely
  7. Make subjective judgments
  8. Compare similarities
  9. Experiment by intuition
  10. Look at the whole problem then try to note patterns and solve the   problem on a hunch
  11. Learn by demonstration, illustrations or symbolic instruction
  12. Use metaphor, simile and analogy to explain things
  13. Interpret a message through body language
  14. Communicate by drawing or manipulating objects
  15.  Work within level authority structures where all participate equally
  16. Do whatever it wants to do regardless of what others are doing
  17. Respond to movement and action
  18. Synthesize information by understanding how it fits with other information already stored in the brain

Total Right Brain Preferences: ____


Left Brain:  ____     Right Brain:  ____


Now that you are reviewing your results what do you find?  Are you clearly skewed toward one brain hemisphere or the other?  Or, are your preferences the same for each  hemisphere?

Over the next few months I will be taking you on a journey…a quest to unlock the keys to your “whole” self, that include both your critical and creative dimensions.

We will explore the four Archetypal Roles of Creativity, your creative C.O.R.E., visual journaling, and developing emotional expressiveness.  All of these phases will help you to exercise your brain in new ways that enhance your “whole-brain” resources and will get you on the road to fully living a rich and thriving life.

Learn to Become a "Great" Leader through Mindfulness

Let me begin this first Coach’s Huddle by asking you a few questions in hopes to frame an exercise that will make you more mindful and with time, a great leader.

  • How did you become a leader? 
  • Do you know what defines a “great” leader?
  • Are you mindful of yourself and others? 

How did you become a leader?

People often find themselves throwninto a position of leadership.  Most of those people havereceived little or no training on “how” to lead.  They’ve merely learned how to lead by watching other leaders in action.  Or, we have learned how “not to lead” by watchingmediocre and sometimes poor leaders in action.  On the other hand, some of us have had the good fortune to have worked with or know a “great” leader.

Do you know what defines a “great” leader?

The subject of leadership has filled many books and generated countless theories of how to lead.  One of my favorite books, Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, offers many helpful insights and actionable tips on how to become a great leader.

I’ve selected three quotes from their book that will hopefully inform and inspire you as they did me:


Are you mindful of yourself and others?

Mindfulness is really being in touch and in tune.  Being in touch and in tune implies that we live in a state of full and conscious awareness of one’s entire self, the people around you, and the context in which we both live and work.  We need to be fully awake and aware of our whole self and how we manage our self.  We also need to be fully aware of the social relationships around us, and how we build, sustain and manage those relationships.

The tenants of “great” leadership all revolve around mindfulness.  The four basic foundations of emotional intelligence and resonant leadership are:

  1. Awareness of Self
  2. Awareness of Others
  3. Management of Self
  4. Management of Other

To truly be a “great” leader, one must master these four principals.

In the next several issues of this newsletter we will explore these elements from both a conceptual (the what) and an experiential dimension (the how).  We will also be offering a Coach’s Workout/Tip, some practical “how  to’s”, so you can work on developing the skills that you need.

Coaches' Workout/Tip #1:  Mindfulness Radar

The Mindfulness Radar exercise gives you a chance to establish your foundation, to determine where you are on the Mind-Body-Heart/Emotions-Spirit dimensions.

If you have a blank journal, you may want to consider doing this exercise in that journal.  If not, I’d suggest that you get some blank paper and use those sheets for this first exercise.  (If you’re using loose sheets of paper, you might want to three-hole punch them and put them in a binder.)

Starting the exercise:

First, I would suggest that you sit in a place that is quiet, somewhere that you’re removed from distractions.

To help you begin this process, take a very deep, abdominal breath.

Breathe in (through your nose) from your diaphragm (slowly), expanding your rib cage, letting the air move up and fill your entire body.

Check to see that you’re not lifting your shoulders -- keep them relaxed. 

If you find you can’t do this successfully and find that your shoulders are rising up while you are breathing, then you’re doing upper chest or Clavicular breathing. 

To help you breathe correctly, i.e. diaphragmatically, lie down on a couch or the floor.  Place your hands over your belly button…inhale, slowly through the nose/exhale slowly through the mouth.  You’ll find that you revert to the natural breathing action of diaphragmatic breathing (this is how we first breathed when we were born).  

Repeat this process five times…each time inhaling and exhaling more slowly and deeply each time.  Try to increase the lengths of both the inhalations and the exhalations. 

You might want to close your eyes and totally focus on your breathing.

Now that you have focused on your breathing (you have also simultaneously lowered your blood pressure level and relaxed yourself) let’s focus on the four major dimensions of being:  the Mind, Body, Heart/Emotions and Spirit.



For two-three minutes, write down whatever thoughts are in your mind, now.  Capture everything…don’t judge anything…just write it down.



Trace the outline of this body.  As you do, scan your own body and notice where are the areas of tension, relaxation, soreness or good feelings? 

Write down the areas that you need to focus on.



Make a list of the emotions you’re currently experiencing.

Where do you feel the emotions in your body?

What do you need to continue doing today to sustain the positive emotions that are useful and serve you well?

What do you need to do in order to minimize or change your feelings that are distressful or not serving you?



Close your eyes again.  Focus on your deep, diaphragmatic breathing:  as you are relaxed and in a state of calm, visualize something or someone who inspires you.  Be there for a few moments.

What images come to mind?

How do these images inspire you to act today?

Imagine yourself radiating this image today:  what will you… Say?  Think?  Do?

Mindfulness Radar Review:

Once you have done all four areas, review what you wrote.  What themes emerge?  What does your Mindfulness Radar tell you?

Now, think about what you can do to practice being more in tune and in touch with your thoughts, emotions, body and your spirit? 

List one thing you can do, related to each area, that increases your mindfulness. 





Try doing each of these four things for a week. 

Record what happens each day.  Review the results in a week.  I'd be interested in hearing about your results.