Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Visioning® in Business

Learning from the Masters

My original career was in art and design (Mattel, Hallmark were my clients). In my second and third careers as art therapist and author, I worked for Disney as a corporate consultant. While doing management training and talent development with theme park designers at Disney Imagineering for ten years, I stood back and observed the design process in a way I never did while actually designing products. It was the opportunity of a lifetime: watching the Imagineers work their magic. We introduced Visioning® collage work for personal and team goal-setting, a technique I was already using with my private art therapy clients. The Imagineers ate it up with a spoon. Working with one of my co-authors, the late Peggy Van Pelt, we saw the staff's creativity and skills in innovation increase many times over. It was a privilege and honor to be around this amazing brain trust of world-class talent. Some of the Imagineers I knew actually worked directly with Walt and what stories they told!.

One of the most enjoyable experiences I had was sitting in on "blue sky" design sessions when Imagineers were brainstorming new theme park ideas. I felt very much at home because they did the same thing we do in Visioning®: putting images and words onto the walls without editing or critiquing the ideas. "The sky's the limit", was their attitude in these sessions. That's why they called it Blue Sky. In Visioning® that's the "grab what grabs you" phase of collecting images and words from magazines. Without worrying about practicality, feasibility, or affordability, we open our minds to think outside the box. The famous "box" we are trying to get outside of, the one we are trapped in, is really our old ways of doing of defining ourselves and of doing business.

If there ever was a time when we needed to get outside the old business box it is right now. There's not a moment to waste, collectively or individually. And change starts with each one of us. Innovation is no longer a luxury, something to think about or take a seminar in. These days, innovation spells the difference between surviving or capsizing.

In my book Visioning, I often quote the Imagineers and Disney himself. In fact, I live by his golden words: If you can dream it, you can do it! Walt should know. He innovated so many "impossible dreams," such as Snow White, the first feature length animated film (released in 1937). That was towards end of the Great Depression of the 30s. Things had been improving slowly yet steadily during the New Deal when Roosevelt put millions back to work on government funded projects (just as President Obama is doing). However, in 1937 the economy took a sudden downturn again. People got scared. Was the country headed for another total collapse?

From a rational, left-brain point of view, that would not have seemed a good time to introduce a new film genre. There were those who thought no one would sit through a long "cartoon" and that Walt was crazy. Well, "they" were wrong, and the rest is history. Snow White was a blockbuster, became a classic and paved the way for a whole new kind of film which became Walt Disney's gift to the world.

Another leap forward into a new form of entertainment was the first Disneyland, and all the theme parks that spun out of it. Walt's "focus phrase" (as we call it in Visioning®) was "to create a place where the whole family could have fun together." Financiers thought Walt was "madder than a hatter" when he approached them about investing in his new scheme. But he listened to his heart and forged ahead. With Herbie Ryman (art director of Fantasia) creating full color renderings of Main Street and other attractions in Walt's mind, they made their Vision boards. Then, in another stroke of genius, Walt borrowed the idea of "commercial sponsorship" used in television. Walt got Carnation, Dow Chemical and other companies to put up the money for sections of Disneyland. They used these stores and attractions as advertising for their firms. Now that is creativity in business.

I take tips from the masters of innovation. They all say the same thing. Listen to your heart! (Step 1 of Visioning®). Think outside the box (Step 2 of Visioning®) and the way will be clear, the clouds will move aside and the sun of your own inner and outer resources will shine through. And there will be wonderful surprises.

Change is what is needed now. And it starts with you. Visioning® your way to a new job, career or business is within your reach. All it takes is scissors and glue, some magazines and paper. Go for it!

For more on the process, go to:
Or read Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. You will want to check out the chapters that have to do with finding work, abundance and a career path that is right for you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Visioning® Your Career Goals

Visioning® at Work

Media news about the economy, millions of job losses and a collapsing real estate market have thrown many people into panic. It would be easy to sink into a personal depression watching the global economy sink into a financial depression. But it doesn't have to be that way. What better time to do Visioning® for career, business and job goals than now? These are not times for the faint of heart and Visioning® relies on listening to the heart. As they say: When the going gets touch, the tough get going.

It takes courage (a word that is rooted in the French word for heart) to face big challenges. When huge changes are happening all around us, we are called upon to change within. Using the Visioning® process, I personally jump started myself into new directions during our last big recession in the early 90s. The tanking economy served as a catalyst for me to listen to my heart. That's when I Visioned and bought my dream house (shown in a previous blog) for a savings of $133,000 from the original asking price. It was at the bottom of the real estate market in early 1993. Since I work at home, finding this house really altered my work and income producing ability. I now had a beautiful light-filled studio (shown here) for resuming work as an artist and outlets for exhibiting my art right here in Cambria (known worldwide for its galleries, shops and restaurants exhibiting photos and paintings).

In my dream house I also had room to conduct a private practice and small workshops in my home. I used hotels and meeting rooms nearby for larger conferences and training programs. All this within a few minutes of where I live. Through my Visioning® collages done after I moved into my dream house, I received guidance on new book and audio projects and innovative business enterprises that greatly expanded my work.

Visioning® has led to many exciting business enterprises for me: conducting workshops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, taking groups to Italy, conference and book tours in the English countryside in Glastonbury, trainings in old farm houses in the English Lake District near Beatrix Potters' house, afternoon tea in quaint thatch-roofed houses in the Cottswolds. The list goes on and on. They all showed up in my collages (made in the studio shown above) before they became a reality. Half the time I was incredulous as I created my collage. How is this ever going to happen? I would think. But if I was clear, the opportunities just knocked at my door and I let them in. And I got paid for all of that fun.

You can engage in Visioning® work that fulfills you and supports you. It's an inside job. For more information, go to To buy my book, Visioning, go to:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visioning® For Families

One of our Visioning® Coach Training Program trainees, Claudia Jean Hill of Maryland (lower left in family photo), has been using the Visioning® process with her family for the past three years. She was also Certified by me several years ago as a Creative Journal Expressive Arts instructor. Here is how she describes her experience with familyVisioning®.

Our family of children, including married kids with spouses, have met to create collages of our "Hopes and Dreams for the Coming Year". At first when several family members were reluctant, I made it my birthday party -- they felt a little obligation. But they loved it, and now it is an annual tradition.

Now we have a family (adult) collage session usually on New Year's Day. (The winter holiday makes it easier to include students home on break.) I have work spaces and "mood music" set up ahead of time.

We start with a non-dominant hand scribble/coloring, out of which I ask them to create a phrase that defines, "What is the desire of my heart for the coming year?" We go through the 10-steps of the Visioning® process, including right & left hand dialog with the Inner Critic. Then we have a sharing time before people split up to go home. It's wonderful to share with the people you love so deeply in this very different and personal way. It has brought us a lot closer, to understand what each is seeking in his/her life, along with what each struggles with.

Now that we have done this for 3 years, we have added some sharing time at the beginning, to review or tell what happened with our last year's collage. Last year my son in law had some very dramatic lifestyle and job changes that were right there in his collage long before they began to precipitate in his work! I invite the family to journal with the images on the collage with the non-dominant hand, which they sometimes do on their own or later with me. They all hang the collages somewhere they will see every day. Some of them simply let the collage incubate in their minds and others actively journal with it for the year. We have been amazed at how it affirms and guides our personal and family progress!

In my book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams there
is a chapter entitled "Visioning & Relationship." There you can read more stories about how people found their mates, planned their weddings and honeymoons, adopted children, and planned their empty nest years in later life.
For more information on the process go to:
Books and audios are available at

The family that plays together, stays together. Family Visioning® is just plain fun, and it works!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visioning® Coaching: Support for Dreams Coming True

One-on-One: The Visioning® Coach Process

Rooted in my 30 plus years of work with private clients as well corporate and job outplacement consulting, I've developed a method of one-on-one coaching based on my book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. Few things are more exciting than being mid-wife to other people's dreams coming true. Some clients work with me in person. They get to see the fruits of my own personal Visioning®: the very environment I live and work in. Clients who work with me on the phone, use my book which includes the illustrated story of how I Visioned my home and studio and the nearby coastline (see previous blogs). I also have a consortium of Certified Visioning® Coaches I have trained (listed on

One-on-one Visioning® Coaching always starts with the client making a collage, either at home or in the first double (2 hour) session. Again, coaching is done in person or by phone. Afterward, the client is guided through a simple interview during each session and given assignments to be done during the week between. Sessions are usually a half hour in length in a 13 week series. In these sessions, a certified Visioning® Coach also leads the client through journaling activities, Voice Dialogue, Embodiment exercises, and much more. There is "homework", such as journaling and regular viewing of the collage-as-visual-affirmation for keeping the momentum going. Clients move through the 10 steps described in the book with support and a sense of accountability to themselves.

Tobey Crockett, an artist living in the Cambria area, worked privately with me a couple of years back. As is so common with one-on-one clients, she discovered wonderful surprises and new talents as she engaged in the Visioning® coaching process. Starting with collage-making on her own, she did movement and Voice Dialogue in sessions with me based on images in the collages. This helps to make the dream more physical and open up personality traits and aspects longing to come out in relation to the dream.

At home Tobey did art and writing in her journal with the content of her collages, which led to a delightful series of paintings of her Inner Brat. She has gone on to create 3-D versions of this character as well. The energy and immense outpouring of Tobey's innate creativity was really something to behold. Once she got started, there was no holding her back. This was a whole new direction for Tobey as she discovered her Inner Brat, an aspect of our personalities which we all have but which we often squelch in the name of propriety and convention.

Tobey's celebration of her Inner Brat grew out of my Inner Child Work, which is part of the Visioning® process. The Inner Child work was presented in my bestseller, Recovery of Your Inner Child and brings a playful and creative dimension to Visioning®. And that is the richness and uniqueness of this process: it incorporates so many expressive arts techniques, like the Creative Journal, Voice Dialogue with art, embodiment through role-laying and more. See for more on the full array of methods. These methods all blend together naturally in the Visioning® coach process. That's why certified Visioning® Coaches are first trained in my Creative Journal Expressive Arts program. In order to help client's find hidden talents and new ideas and directions from the deepest well of creativity and innovation, the coach uses many expressive arts techniques. And this works for everyone. Not just artists and so-called creative people. We are all creative. We just need to tap into what is already there.

When Tobey (in gray in the photo here) joined me in sharing one of her fabulous Brat paintings at a Visioning® Coach Training Intensive, the group was so inspired by her story of discovery and deeper creative expression. For more about Tobey and her work, go to

There is an enthusiasm in the air when people tell about how their fondest dreams came true. You can experience this for yourself. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose but the blues. Get more inspiration from the dozens of career change, job and business stories in my book Visioning. (

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Visioning® in Community

Creating Group Collage Mandalas

One of the most exciting and fun ways to do Visioning® is with your friends, family, club, class members or co-workers. It is being used in church groups, at conferences, with school children, and in business for team building. Any kind of community can create a shared Vision and empower their dream. There is strength in numbers.

The photo at the right was taken at one of my Creative Journal Expressive Arts Certification Training intensives. We first walked a labyrinth on the grounds of our El Rocio Retreat Center in Mission, Texas ( then went into the studio to make 2 mandalas (8 pieces each) with the focus phrase: "Visioning® my year of CJEA field work." For more information on CJEA training which includes group mandala work, go to and click on "professional training". There are also guidelines in my book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, for couples and groups wishing to "dream together."

Visioning® Peace

A few years ago a group of us in Cambria got together, under the leadership of veteran Visioning® artist, Jennifer Star, a graduate of my Creative Journal Expressive Art Training Program. We were given pie shaped pieces of art paper and, after journaling on the five senses of peace (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound), each woman was asked to create a visual interpretation of what peace looks like. From the combining of these pie shaped collages we created a Peace Pie Mandala. In fact, we created two of them, and mounted them for display.

Jennifer took the mandala out into the community of Cambria and spoke at a Rotary Club meeting where she displayed the mounted mandalas (back to back). Her website, features a kit that can be purchased for $25 (including shipping in the U.S.) consisting of:

• 8 pieces of white drawing paper
• 1 template for an eight-piece 4 foot diameter mandala (like the one shown below)
• 1 sample invitation to participate in a Peace Pie Mandala Workshop
• instructions and list of materials needed for putting on a workshop
• templates for a variety of mandala sizes and numbers of pieces are also included

In the summer of 2007 Jennifer was invited to be a presenter at the Third International Women's Peace Conference held in Dallas, Texas. She presented "Peace and the Divine Feminine" to a group of 20 women from around the world. The group created 5 finished mandalas of 4 pieces each. One of the conference coordinators, Jo, bought Jennifer's Peace Pie Mandala kit and produced a mandala with other conference coordinators which was on display at the event. Many women reported feeling very moved by the experience, especially family members who were there creating mandalas together.

You can see the mandalas from the Peace Conference at the mandala gallery on For more information about creating collage mandalas with groups of any kind, contact Jennifer Star at

If you would like to bring a certified Visioning® Coach to your community to lead a workshop, contact us at: