Here’s a helpful exercise for those of you interested in your own personal development, or to use with clients if you’re a professional coach or trainer.
Take a plain sheet of paper.
Grab some coloured pencils or crayons.
Here’s mine opposite.
NB this is not about being brilliant at ‘art’, as you can clearly see from my effort; it’s about thinking in a different way. You can add all sorts of flourishes to yours if you want to.
You’ll notice my tree has roots. These are obviously necessary to keep the tree upright and well supported.
You have roots, too. They are the people in your life who sustain and support you, they keep you well grounded and they are still there when your leaves fall off (metaphorically speaking).
Write on your roots the actual names of real people who support and sustain you. You might also want to add in some less tangible things like faith, or an organisation you belong to which plays a big part in your life. Add more roots if you need to. You can get very whizzy and have them longer or shorter depending on how important they are to you. The purpose is the thinking it prompts and the colour and creativity will aid your thinking. You’ll be thinking differently because you’re doing it differently.
Now you’ve got your roots (most important) we can pay attention to your fruit and blossom. This is what you give out. In a good year you’ll probably be able to bloom and fruit a lot. If it’s a lean year maybe not.
Taking some coloured crayons and add blossoms or fruit to your tree and these represent the people you support and care for. Some may be people you are supporting but would rather not: people who take a lot from you but don’t actually add anything to your roots section. You can give them a worm if you like. Once you’ve drawn your blossom or fruit in write the names next to the fruit.
See mine opposite. (In case you’re wondering that’s apples on my tree but you can have anything that takes your fancy. I told you this wasn’t about being able to draw recognisably.It’s interpretative…like, er Impressionist apples.)
It’s very likely you’ll have some of the same names in both and be nicely balanced. At different times you may end up out of kilter and be giving a lot more support than you receive. That may be perfectly OK for you but it may not. Only you can decide.
Once you’ve drawn out your tree take a long hard look at it,. Sit down with a cuppa and reflect a while. Is the tree how you’d like it to be? If not, what changes do you need to make to alter it?
I’m grateful for the inspiration for this exercise to Dr Sarah Morgan. Sarah was a lovely, generous woman who died in 2013 aged 65. Her doctorate in folk music was awarded posthumously. Every time I use this exercise I think of her and smile. Thanks, Sarah.
Thinking of making some significant and positive changes to your life in 2014? Check out the RenewYou days happening across the UK. Click here for more information. RenewYou is a one day course written by a woman, (me), delivered by women, for women.
Posted on February 10th, 2014 by Jane