“There are things that you don’t even realize that you can do.” In a recent podcast, B. Mure tells about graphic facilitation:
I didn’t really know it was a skill to have: to listen to people and very immediately draw something related to what they were talking about and present their ideas in a visual way.
Sometimes this is also called making “sketch notes.” He goes on to talk about a general phenomenon where you discover that you can do a thing that you never thought was a thing:
There are so many things that, if you are not given the opportunity, if somebody doesn’t see that within you, or thinks maybe you should just come along and try this thing that I’ve organized, there are things that you don’t even realize that you can do.
I think there are two parts of this that are transformational, that I’ve experienced myself and occasionally been able to spark in others.
- Naming a pattern of actions or behavior: this is an act of creating that is rare and powerful. Discovering something is a skill that one can be good at and apply with intention is aided by that skill having a name.
- Recognizing the spark within someone else: seeing a capability, especially latent potential, within someone and naming it, inviting that person to experiment with a new skill, encouraging creative action in the world.
There should be a word for the making of words that is more than coining a term, where the naming of a thing helps people do (or not do) whatever that is.
I’ve thought a lot about how the term mansplaining has helped a generation notice and often modify behavior. I learned about restorative justice as a framework for transforming guilt into responsibility. I remember when, at an early RailsBridge workshop, I applied lessons from my kid’s preschool to the challenge of how to teach without grabbing the keyboard (“Use your words”).
I love the idea of a word for a skill providing a path to developing that skill, connecting to a community, and finding paid work.
The whole podcast with Dan Berry and B. Mure is worth listening to for any creative folk or if you enjoy comics or visual storytelling and want a glimpse of that world.