Visually exploring burn out

Cathy M. writes about her experience of Visual Explorer cards as introduced to her by her CCL feedback coach.This is a great illustration of using VE for one on one coaching, and also suggests a self-coaching process, in this case on the topic of burn out.

During my attendance at CCL for the Leadership Development Program, I was blessed to have TZiPi Radonsky as my feedback coach. Prior to attending CCL, I was going through a bit of professional and personal “burn out”. During my feedback session, TZiPi offered me a deck of cards that had a photograph on each card. My assignment was to file through the deck and pull out any cards with pictures that spoke to me in some way. I flipped through the deck and pulled out 7 cards that contained scenes that evoked peace, tranquility and joy in me and 1 card that represented destruction and burn out.

Two interesting things came from the experience:

1) My initial reaction to the burn out card revealed a picture of a bridge embankment that had been destroyed by a tornado or bomb. This demonstrated how I was feeling at that moment. After the empowering, feedback session with TZiPi that followed, I looked at the cards one more time and I couldn’t find the card with the destroyed embankment. I realized that the picture I originally saw as destruction was actually a beautiful bridge crossing a canal leading to a forested area. I was stunned at how being in a more peaceful, clear thinking place completely transformed the picture into something of beauty. Additionally, I never could get the picture back to the original view.

2) The second awareness I had from the card experience came about 4 weeks later. I had been working hard on my CCL goals which included getting back to a state of peace. I began noticing a sense of calm and tranquility in the following weeks and enjoyed recognizing things around me that previously gave me joy. These included:

a. Snow skiing – so I began planning a ski trip with friends this winter.
b. Music – so I purchased tickets for a Christmas concert with the symphony.
c. Nature – so I made a point to notice the sky through the Fall leaves above me on a lunchtime walk through the woods.
d. The beach – so I gathered several girlfriends and went to the beach for the weekend.

A few weeks later, I revisited the cards that I had chosen at CCL (TZiPi sent e-files of them to me) and I was amazed to discover that all of the activities I had planned and accomplished were depicted on the cards I had chosen with TZiPi.

This was quite remarkable. I was pleased to see that the things that evoke peace and joy for me are true even in times when I am in a non-positive place. And, I was impressed that visualizing things I enjoy motivated me to make them happen.

This was an exciting activity!

Cathy M.
CCL attendee, September 2008

About Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth

Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth are Senior Fellows at the Center for Creative Leadership. Many thanks to Steadman Harrison III, CEO of GO, and Senior Associate for the Center for Creative Leadership.
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