Learning from the Process by Emily Lewin

I'm sliding in a little late for Thursdays with Emily this week - oops! I know that Sarah already gave a great shout out to the people who helped us make this last workshop a success and I want to add my thanks to hers, we really could not have done it without all of the support from our guest speakers (Susan Card, Lora Rogers, & Brittney Stasi) and Amelies Rock Hill. We also have been incredibly supported by our families and communities and all of the encouragement has meant the world to us. Thank you all so much! design(3)It's always good after a big event to take time first to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing something new and exciting, and then to step back and see what you can learn. All of our work and preparation are like seeds that get sown into an event, and the impact we make, plus the lessons we learn, equal the harvest that we reap afterward. For us this event was full of new things, risks, experiments, and growth; the only thing this event had in common with other ones that we've done is that Sarah and I were working together. We'd never used a venue, catered food, gotten a city grant, sold tickets, included guest speakers, or presented on the material that we used. We also had a new version of our Manifesto, and our new Workshop Handbook. With all of that newness there was a risk that we'd encounter unexpected problems and potentially "fail," and in some ways we did. For instance, we didn't think to ask if the event space had a projector, or internet, or power until it was too late to get them. We'd never needed those things before so we didn't think to ask. The great thing about "failing" is that it shows you what you don't know, so that next time you can be better prepared.

We spent all of last month talking about our belief that, "No failure is final and every mistake is a new opportunity for discovery." Now, I have to stop here and make sure that I say, we in no way consider this workshop to be a failure. Quite the opposite in fact, we believe that this workshop was one of the most successful events we've ever done and we were extremely pleased with the outcome. That said, we also learned a lot of lessons along the way that have helped shape our next steps and future events. The fact that we're able to glean from those lessons makes this workshop all the more successful. If we hadn't tried anything new than we might not have had as many mistakes, but we also would not have learned and grown as much as we did.

One practical way that we've found helpful for breaking down our ideas and organizing them is to use index cards (pictured with the quote above). We put each point on an index card and then arrange them in order of priority underneath cards with time frames or priorities written on them. For this time we used, "Immediate Action Items" and "Current Longterm Goals" as our two headings. The great thing about the index cards is that they can be easily rearranged, relabeled, or removed during your discussion until you have the order you want. It's much easier (for us) than trying to organize our thoughts only on a blank white computer screen. Whip out some index cards and markers for your next project and give it a try!

We are so excited about the future of Bright Ideas, our Book, Blog, and Workshops! This past weekend gave us an opportunity to really evaluate where we are currently, and where we want to go. We're going to have some fun announcements coming soon about new social enterprise elements that we're adding to our business, along with other fun new things! We are thrilled to continue building relationships with the creative community in Charlotte, New York, and other cities across the country. We've worked hard to take the lessons that we've learned this past year and put them into practical action steps that we can reasonably accomplish over the next six to twelve months. There are many more new things to come!

If you want to keep up with this wild and fun journey that we're on make sure you sign up for our mailing list (we won't spam you)! We'll give you information about upcoming workshops, updates about our book, and some fun creative tips for living a lifestyle of creativity.

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11270267_10155545302660304_1004007486709715929_oEmily is the Chief Delightfulness Officer for the Bright Ideas Collective. She is a creative entrepreneur, born in the South, raised in Colorado, and loving life in Brooklyn, NY. As the co-founder of Bright Ideas she spends her time doing freelance photography, writing blog posts, drinking black coffee, experimentally cooking, laughing, playing minimalist puzzle games on her iphone, exploring NYC, and working a lot of odd jobs. You can follow Emily’s adventures on Instagram or Twitter, see what inspires her on Pinterest, check out her photography on Facebook, or read more of her posts here.