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A weekly kick-off e-message from Katherine Eitel 
to breathe life back into your practice, your team, and you!

March 21, 2011


OOPS!  And THANK YOU to the sharp eyes of our Lions Den members who called to our attention our "Constant Contact mishap" in paragraph 2 below, where half of the paragraph disappeared in the earlier edition

 We'll try it again below...  Have a great week! 

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The Lioness Principle asserts that when a Lioness helps her cubs learn to hunt, she is actually not teaching them as much as she teasing out of them the instinctual knowledge and greatness that they were born with.  Her primary job is creating an environment and providing tools and experiences that will be the catalyst for this revelation to unfold within them.  She must provide safety, tiny skill sets in the form of play, and tons of encouragement to try, try, and try again. 
people with puzzle solutionAll the answers, innovative solutions, and creative ideas to the challenges you are experiencing are already within you or "in the room."  You, your family, your students, and/or your business team have amazing untapped resources just waiting to be unlocked and unleashed.  I know this is true from practical experience.  Over and over, business owners and teams, educators and students, come to me looking for answers from me, other teams, other educators, the latest books, courses, and current schools of thought.  Without exception, creating the right atmosphere, asking the right questions and pushing the edges of their comfort zones at the right time evokes amazingly creative ideas and solutions from the very group or person that, prior to that moment, had been looking everywhere but within themselves, for their answers.  And their answers are almost always a far more perfect fit for them as well as being much more deeply embraced by their team as they feel ownership in the creation of them.
On more than one occasion, business owners have said to me, "My team is always more creative and involved when you're here."  But if so, why don't they ask the next logical question, "Why?"  Occasionally I experience a truly unmotivated, apathetic student or employee but usually it's a lack of fun, safety, encouragement, appreciation, or respect on the part of the business and its leaders that fail to bring out the phenomenal ideas and solutions lying just beneath the surface of their employees or students.
My advice:  Ask them.  Tell them you need their help, value their input, and have confidence in their intuitive intelligence concerning the roadblocks you're experiencing.   Promise them every idea will be respectfully considered and welcomed.  And then sit back and let them talk.
Whatever you do, don't start shooting down their ideas and pointing out all the reasons why they won't work.  Just keep 'em feeling great about contributing and eventually you'll evoke some amazing, mind-blowing solutions.  And for goodness sakes, have some fun with the process.  People are at their most creative when they are excited, relaxed, confident, secure and having a blast!
Try this meeting opener to loosen up the group and get the creativity flowing.  

Paper Clip Exercise 


Provide for each participant:
  • Paper clip
  • Several pieces of blank paper
  • Pen/pencil
paperclipThis is a great exercise to get people warmed-up to think and brainstorm creatively.  Start by dividing the team into two groups, moving them as far apart physically as is practical.
Instruct the teams, when the bell rings, they have five minutes to brainstorm any possible use for a paperclip (besides clipping papers together.)  Encourage them to think creatively and list things such as back scratcher, key chain, hold a broken necklace together, etc.
Tell them that no idea is too bizarre as long as it can be done with a paperclip and the prize goes to the team with most items on their list when the timer goes off.
When the timer goes off, have the teams read their lists.  (There will be lots of laughs!)  Give prizes to the team with the most items on their list.
Debrief this exercise around these questions:
  • Why were so many ideas generated in such a short amount of time?  (nothing was ridiculed or deemed too silly, quantity was more important than quality, etc.)
  • How did the laughter and silliness add or detract from the collective creativity?
  • If one or two ideas are determined to be the best, does it matter that so many don't make the cut?
  • How could this experience help us as we go forward to creatively brainstorm solutions to our roadblocks or ideas to move us forward?
  • What ground rules could we put into place today to help the process stay expansive, positive and productive?

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"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
- Erich Fromm

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JK iliopsoas
with Pilates Instructor, author, speaker, & educator,
Juli Kagan. 
This Week's Video:  Iliopsoas - Front Hip Stretch 

Learn more about Juli and view her Video Library at:  

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