It took me a while to get here.
At the last Rally (Rally!), I spent a disproportionate amount of time thinking about what makes a supportive workspace — for me, at least.
Because that’s where the biggest gap is in my own version of the Book of You. So I started poking around, and before long I was deep into monster negotiations with the various parts of me who think that I don’t get to have space for just me.
And then I learned about tools.
Here’s how it started.
They were very emphatic about this. No crayons!
Even though they know from experience that I do my very best work at Rally, which is the most playful and loving space in the entire world.
The monsters were divided in two factions. The ones who think it’s DECADENT and FRIVOLOUS — that I should do without because I can.
And the ones who really, truly want me to have everything that will help me do my best work but say we can’t afford it and anyway what will people think.
But then I couldn’t remember why the crayons were so important.
It was all fascinating, but at some point I realized that I wasn’t sure myself why I get to have crayons. It was like I couldn’t really be on my own side. Interesting.
So I sent the monster brigade off to the Room of Infinite Mashed Potatoes (it’s kind of like their safe room), and took a minute for myself.
I wanted to get clear — for me — about why it isn’t really decadent or frivolous to work in a space that encourages me to approach everything I do in the most playful, creative, and expansive way possible.
I wanted to remember what it’s like (and what I’m like and what the creative process is like), when there is construction paper and crayons and yoga blocks and a hammock.
Obviously the crayons were a symbol. But they weren’t just a symbol.
The investigation behind the investigation.
Okay, so having a Wish Room that is a supportive space to work is not decadent or frivolous because…??
And the response.
- If something helps me work better, faster, more efficiently and get more things done, that’s a reasonable business investment.
- I’m pretty sure that other people (read: “boring grownup people”) spend money on desks, bookshelves, filing cabinets and office supplies.
So really I’m just taking what would be a perfectly reasonable budget for the home office of a CEO of a growing company, and directing it towards different things that serve the same purpose.
- If I were an artist, I’d need paints. If I were a sculptor, I’d need clay. If I were a designer or programmer, I’d need software. Tools! Tools!
In which I start to claim my tools.
Well, I’m not a sculptor. At least not in ways that aren’t metaphorical. But.
But I’m an inventor of culture and a writer and a teacher and a creative professional, and I need tools too.
My tools are yoga blocks and magic markers and I need them to do my work well.
Without having to know what I do.
It doesn’t matter what I do. Even if I have managed to run this company for five years without knowing what I do or being able to define it even slightly…
That doesn’t mean I don’t get tools!
I am a …
Creator of alternative communities.
Director of a preschool/yoga studio/unusual co-working space (the Playground!). Head of a corporation. Owner and CEO (Chief Eccentricity Officer, thank you).
Writer, creativity consultant and pirate queen.
Highly unconventional teacher and educator. Wild-eyed inventor of ideas, concepts, words and worlds
I am all of these things and I get to have tools!
And these are my tools.
These are my tools:
- Yoga blocks and blankets.
- Stuffed animals, cushions and a napping area with a hammock.
- Music and snacks and rugs to roll around on.
- Crayons, markers, construction paper, and glitter pipe cleaners.
- Stencils and glue sticks and color everywhere!
- Puppets, toys, stickers.
- Costumes and wigs and sovereignty boots and stripey socks.
- Feather boas! And over-the-top hats for every imaginable occasion.
- A slide and a trampoline and a slackline!
- Headphones and ear plugs and hiding places.
- Boxes and boxes and boxes.
- Bubbles to blow and magic wands to wave and magical force field spray.
My tools are pretty, powerful, sparkly, sweet, funny, childlike, welcoming. They are thoroughly unapologetic about enjoying themselves.
They want to play.
What about you?
Tools for everyone!
If you were a graphic designer, you would need software.
If you were a painter, you would need paints.
If you were a photographer, you’d need a camera and a dark room, or access to one.
If you were a knitter, you’d need yarn and needles.
If you were a baker, you’d need flour and pans and measuring cups.
You are a destuckifier. And a creative thinker. An inventor of metaphors.
A maker of culture and an explorer of internal worlds. And so many other things.
What are your tools? Play with me?
I am a ___________________ and I need tools!
These are my tools!
And comment zen for today.
As always, we all have our stuff and we all take responsibility for our stuff and make room for everyone else to have their stuff. It’s a process.
So we let people have their own experience and we don’t give unsolicited advice.
That’s it. You are more than welcome to join in, and we can cheer each other on. Yay! Tools!
Let the Tool Revolution begin!
I’m pretty sure that’s it’s just one guy.