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Airfoil Group - Zakia Dixon profile pic Zakia Dixon @ZakiaDixon

Thinking outside of the box, while painting inside the lines

Posted on August 3, 2017

Shared from the Airfoil archives.

After attending a group painting class, I was reminded of the perfect balance between following the rules (painting inside the lines) and having the creative freedom to still have fun and make it my own. 

My five insights to working with a twist!

1. First always be clear on the outline
We arrived to the painting class and they had the outline of the image drawn up ahead for everyone. This would be similar to your employers’ handbook. These guidelines are well thought out and set in place to keep a cohesive work environment. To keep everyone focused on the overall picture (the one you signed up for), be sure you are clear on the expectations before you go rogue and express your creativity; you must first demonstrate your ability to follow the basic rules in order to be given the freedom to reshape them.

2. Don't be afraid to make a mistake
In the painting class, we were reminded that if we make a mistake, it’s no big deal and we can fix it. Wouldn't life be grand if it was the same… oh wait, it can be (of course there are always exceptions). If you make a mistake don't be afraid; own it; acknowledge it; ask for help if needed; and make it right! The mistake may actually take you in an unexpected direction that totally surprises you in the end!

3. Be creative
Take the opportunity to be creative in your work and the environment you are in. Although we were painting inside the lines, we were encouraged to be creative in that space and make it our own. Finding the balance between rules and creativity is half the fun. You get to explore new ways of doing things and you also get great insights into just how creative and fun the people around you can be, too!

4. Allow some time for the paint to dry
We took a few breaks during our session to just let the paint dry.  Wow…you mean we can't just paint and paint for hours? We actually need to take a break? Everyone needs some time to "let the paint dry," sit back, visit with others, hula hoop, whatever! You are not doing yourself or others any favors by working nonstop. Working nonstop doesn't mean you care more or are more dedicated. Stepping away to recharge is needed, whether it be for a lunch break each day, at 5pm each night to be home with your family, or taking a vacation and actually turning off your phone… everyone needs time to "let the paint dry."

5.  Admire the finished product
At the end of the class we all got up and checked out each other's finished product. Naturally we compared our own to others, but overall we each found something we liked about all of them. No two paintings were the same, yet we all painted the same picture. You are in charge of the life you want to live so why not have some fun with it. Following the rules while exploring the opportunities to create a new way is what life is about.

Trusting your leader, staying inside the lines and being creative can produce some great works of art!

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