Note: For the fullest experience, I recommend listening to the podcast, as the audio version always contains additional comments and tangents not found in the blog post version.
In the wee hours of Monday morning (my birthday!), I got back from a two-week trip.
There are so many amazing things to share with you about this trip.
I started my journey in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, at the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® UnConference, where I was completely blown away when my Master Trainer presented me with a surprise award — the Facilitator Development Award — on the first day.
I even got a trophy made out of LEGO® bricks by a Certified LEGO® Professional!
Then I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, for Jeff Goins’ Tribe Conference, where I delivered my speech, “Secret Weapons of Resistance Fighters,” to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.
Seriously, I’ve pitched similar speeches and had them rejected, but this was the right speech to the right crowd. All weekend people came up to me to thank me, buy my book, share their stories, and give me specific appreciations for how my talk had touched them and made a difference for them.
From Nashville I flew to Asheville, North Carolina, where I enjoyed a couple of rest days and deep connection with Daphne Cohn, host of The Creativity Habit™ podcast. What a gift! I met Daphne online years ago, and got to know her a little when she interviewed me for her podcast, but there’s simply nothing like spending time with someone in person.
The last leg of my trip was Life Is A Verb Camp, an indescribable weekend of creativity, connection, compassion, and courage, hosted by Patti Digh at Camp Kanuga about 40 minutes outside of Asheville, where I taught a Masterclass — a half-day workshop — called “3D Dream-Mapping with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®.”
This workshop helped participants map out a vision for a big project in 3D. In a nutshell, they built their superpower out of LEGO®, and how they will feel when they achieve their goal, then they built all the projects rattling around in their heads, before honing in on WHICH project to tackle next, the first step to getting there, the obstacles they might face along the way, and how they will overcome those obstacles.
Here participants Heather, Clarice, and Max are hard at work, building obstacles on the path:
Making connections (and laughing!):
Sharing ideas in 3D:
Putting the “serious” in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®:
Clearly, it was a full, rich two weeks!
What I want to share today, though, is a seemingly small moment from near the end of the trip. A small moment, which had big consequences.
It was a moment when I finally realized what I needed, and I actually asked for it.
All along the way, I’d been staying in private rooms.
I’d turned down the chance to save money and bond with other LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitators who had rented an AirBnB in Whistler, and who had an extra bed to offer me, and instead kept the much more expensive private studio suite at Nita Lake Lodge, where the UnConference was being held.
I’m really glad I did, because I wasn’t beholden to anyone to get back to lodgings in order to get to sleep, and I know from experience that sleep is a precious resource, and often really hard for me to get enough of. And I realized that if I was going to stay healthy for my speech in Nashville, and to get through the rest of the trip, I would be wise to stick with my private suite in the lodge.
I’m so glad I did!
Then in Nashville, I had a private room in a brand, new Hilton.
And in Asheville, I actually had an entire house to myself! Daphne’s next door neighbors were out of town, and months ago she’d arranged with them for me to stay in their house.
Now, I had originally booked a private room at Camp Kanuga for Life Is A Verb Camp, but several weeks ago, Tracy, a fellow camper that I knew from previous years reached out and asked if I’d like to room with her.
Actually, we were supposed to room together last year, but I had to cancel at the last minute when my husband had an emergency appendectomy while at a conference in Austin, Texas.
So when Tracy invited me to room with her, I don’t know what happened. Maybe my inner 7th grader took over: the part of me that still feels like nobody likes me was so pleased to be invited, that I just said “yes!”
Plus the part of me that still operates with scarcity mindset wanted to save money.
Plus the part of me that likes the idea of not being all alone got swept away in the romance of it all.
But then reality hit.
And reality bit.
Because reality is that I’m an introvert. I need my cave to retreat to.
And I’m a light sleeper. And sleep is a precious resource to me.
Seriously: if it’s a competition between sleep and food, sleep wins every time. Screw breakfast.
And it turned out that my poor roommate was getting over a cold and had a terrible cough. All night long. Plus she stayed up kinda late, and I didn’t want to ask her to turn the light out, even though my method for falling asleep is to read on my Kindle app on my phone until I doze off, which only works for me if the room is dark.
So yeah, the roommate thing just wasn’t working for me, even though I adored my roommate!
So. The next morning I went straight to the registration desk and asked if I could move to a private room.
And after it was confirmed that another room was available for me to move into, I told my roommate.
And you know what? She totally got it. She was not offended. She applauded me for asking for what I needed!
And I made a note to myself that from here on out, I book private rooms only when traveling.
I ask for what I need. And a private room is what this introvert needs.
There are many other lessons from my two weeks on the road, but right now this one feels the most important: ask for what you need.
So what do you need? Do you even know? You have to pay attention to your needs in order to ask for them.
This is where my Golden Formula comes into play!
Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good
First you need self-awareness to know what your needs are. Then you need self-compassion to allow yourself those needs, rather than chastising yourself for them.
So pay attention. What is your body, your soul, your heart, your mind asking you for? And how can you give it to yourself?
It may require you to ask someone else, the way I had to ask for a different room. Or it may be something you can give to yourself once you acknowledge the need.
What do you need? Life gets better when you ask for what you need.
Roman Booteen makes mind-blowing coins. Check out this one, with a teeny-tiny removable sword that unveils a golden grail when inserted in a special slot!
View this post on Instagram
Oh, and don’t forget to join me at my Creative Sandbox Community Virtual Playday on Saturday, November 17th!
Help me celebrate my birthday, watch me make art and talk about my process, create right alongside me, ask questions about whatever you want and I’ll answer them in real time.
You must register in advance for this live-only event (I will NOT be sending a recording). Go to virtualplayday.com to sign up!
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for the Creative Sandbox Way on the Apple Podcast Player/iTunes!
If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.
Now go get creating!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Subscribe to My Newsletter and Get My Manifestos!
Stay in the Know
Stay in the know with fresh articles and resources on building a thriving culture of creativity & innovation.