The Sandbox Blog

This is where I share studio notes and thoughts from behind the scenes here at Creative Sandbox Solutions™ HQ. I’m all about process here, and I’m transparent about mine, so you can learn from both my wins and my mistakes.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy — drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.

Great Performance Doesn’t Just Happen

Great Performance Doesn’t Just Happen

“You’re a fantastic bass player!” he said.

In truth, I’m an advanced beginner, at best.

But I’ve been rehearsing with the pop-up band that my synagogue assembled for the Grateful Dead Shabbat Service at the end of this month, and it just so happens that Grateful Dead songs are a great vehicle for beginning bass players.

“Easy” keys. Lots of open strings.

And if that’s all Greek to you, suffice it to say, the songs are not complex or difficult to play.
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What Banana Yellow Dragons Have To Do With High Performing Leaders And Teams

What Banana Yellow Dragons Have To Do With High Performing Leaders And Teams

My husband is an unrepentant generalist. (Kind of like his wife.) He calls himself a Human Swiss Army Knife®.

His YouTube account is filled with science stuff, makers, back-to-the-land folks, tiny homes, auto mechanics & car reviewers, inventors, movie trailers, earth movers (seriously — he likes to watch people dig!), and lots and lots of electric cars.

The other day, as we were making dinner he told me about a new (to him) luxury car make, BYD, made by a Chinese manufacturer.

BYD, it turns out, is an acronym.
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How Do You Want To Measure Impact?

How Do You Want To Measure Impact?

This week I kicked off a series of leadership trainings for a creative agency, to help their top leaders, influencers, and high potentials:

✅ Connect better with audiences (be they clients, or internal audiences)

✅ Tell stories (as opposed to spitting out information)

✅ Think on their feet (so they’re not thrown by unexpected questions, or situations)

read more…

The Worst Job Ever

The Worst Job Ever

I was asked recently about the worst job I ever had.

I knew immediately which job earned that label in my life.

It wasn’t the data entry job on the ancient software that took 20 seconds to register each entry.

Though I nearly died from boredom.

And it wasn’t the research assistant job at a hospital, which turned out to be another boring data entry job in disguise. (I quit after 3 days).

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How This Misunderstood Improv Principle Can Lead To Stronger Teams

How This Misunderstood Improv Principle Can Lead To Stronger Teams

Raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase “Yes, and…”

This principle from the world of improv is referenced enough in popular culture that when I mention it in workshops, typically at least half the room raises their hand.

But what does it really mean?

This tool may be the best known improv tool, but it’s also the most misinterpreted.

Contrary to popular belief, “Yes, and…” does not mean to literally say “yes, and” to every offer you’re presented with.
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Play as Recess vs. Play as Strategy

The CEO was on the right track when he scheduled quarterly half-day off-sites.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fast-growing company was all in-person at company headquarters, with just a couple of exceptions who live several hours away.

Like so many other businesses, the shut-down forced them to go remote, and now the CEO is determined to keep it that way.

The problem is, the personal connection just isn’t there when they’re on Zoom all the time.
read more…

Everything Old Is New Again

Everything Old Is New Again

New! New! New!

Or is it Old..?

Here’s what’s on the horizon for 2023!

Happy New Year!

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, laden as they are with overblown expectations (a bane of creativity).

But I do love the idea that we get an opportunity to start fresh.

Of course, January 1 is not our only chance to do so — we can actually start fresh anytime — but at the crest of the New Year, the collective energy is in the air to look at what we’re ready to let go of, what we want to change, and how we want to redefine ourselves.
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What’s With the Sandbox?

What’s With the Sandbox?

“What’s with the sandbox, Melissa?”

People often wonder why I named my company Creative Sandbox Solutions™. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared the story, so I thought I’d share it again.

I used to sing spontaneous operas about my cat when I was little. I wrote “novels” about talking animals. I drew so much, we should have bought stock in the Crayola company.

But really early onthe Comparison Trap started to sink its teeth into me.

In first grade, when I couldn’t draw race cars as realistically as read more…

Let’s Blow Up Interviews and Play Together!

“Can we create escape rooms for interviews?” Christopher asked.

He meant it as a joke. Even followed it up with an “LOL.”

But actually, he’s onto something.

Christopher Lin, the host of the podcast Leading People First, wrote a post on LinkedIn — a mini-rant, really — about the problems with interviews.

“You will NEVER know a person’s true personality during interviews,” he starts.

My friend, Kathy Klotz-Guest, wrote this in response: read more…

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