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Focus on Imagination

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso In the book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, it features a metaphor of a seagull who refused to give in to the peer pressure of the flock to be just like them, to instead explore new possibilities and focus on flying. The book inspired me to focus on imagination this week. The lesson found within Bach’s book using the metaphor of seagulls and flying is one that if you truly desire something then nothing will stop you. Through the help of a mentor, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was shown that there was so much more to be discovered in life. Sometimes it takes someone else to help you to take your idea and turn it into reality. You hold the power to change, however first you have to want to change. This week, one of my podcasting mentees launched her podcast. It had been a dream she had held for a while and with my help, she made it her reality. In her new podcast, Lara Lauder speaks of the power of imagination and shares some inspirational stories from the children she has taught over the years. Check out Unlock Your Hidden Confidence by Lara Lauder episode 001! Over the last six weeks during the Neuroscience Professional Development Programme, neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw has taken me on a journey of change and of imagination. Recommending that when processing the course information, I should be aware of the impact that it has on me, my clients and other interactions, how the course makes me feel and what effect it will have on my work. I totally underestimated just how impactful the course would be, how it would make me feel and what effects it would have on others. Each week I have been inspired to write about my new learnings in my Friday Focus newsletters, in my blogs and across social media. I have also referenced topics covered on the course in my Focus on WHY reflections and observations episodes and many people have been inspired by the insights that I have shared. This week was the last session of Lynda’s programme and there was much discussion around humour, depression, divergent and convergent thinking, happiness, fixed and growth mindset, the senses, impostor syndrome and imagination. We focused on English Psychologist's Graham Wallas’s four step Creative Process, 1926: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. This discussion led Lynda to reference Walt Disney and his creative process which involved three stages: the dreamer, the realist and the spoiler. The dreamer stage allowed Disney to be free to explore anything, to let his imagination run wild with a ‘why not?’ philosophy. The realist stage would then look at the ‘how’, the practicality of bringing it to life. Then the spoiler stage would be where he was the critic and pull the idea apart. Disney had three different rooms to move him physically through these three brainstorming, storyboarding and critiquing stages and anything which survived after going through all three would eventually turn from imagination into reality. “Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever. Dreams, ideas and plans not only are an escape, they give me purpose, a reason to hang on.” Walt Disney In another powerful coaching session this week with Focus on WHY podcast guest and Community Engagement Expert, Julie Creffield, it dawned on me that I am only limited by my own imagination and that what stops me from achieving in life is all down to me. The coaching exercise enabled me to reflect back so much of my current thinking and I left the session with a framework for success with the overriding belief that anything is possible. Like me, have you perhaps been limiting your success, overthinking things, self-sabotaging, overworking or doubting your abilities? Have you not been fully engaging the scope of your imagination? “Are you willing to take The Big Leap to your ultimate level of success in love, money and creative contribution?” Gay Hendricks In his book, The Big Leap, Hendricks shares that it is recommended that you move out of your zone of excellence and into your zone of genius. Use your special gifts and strengths to break through your imagined upper limit problem to achieve your true potential. In a life where, according to Dr Lynda Shaw, “change is the only given”, it's time to explore your imagination and allow yourself to be creative without limitation just as you did as a child with that empty cardboard box! Never stop dreaming! Never limit your imagination! Focus on imagination!

ACTION POINT Write down a problem you are facing at the moment. Stop focusing on the problem and do something completely unrelated as this will allow your mind to subconsciously work on the problem. You will likely find a solution pops up. Next check to see if it works. Amy

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