The other day I asked my daughter to give me an art lesson. She was thrilled to be my teacher. And I learned so much more than how to draw the way she does.

The insights here can help you nail your next creative project, inspire others, and sustain high levels of energy while “on the job”.


Insight n1: The way to tackle any project is bit-by-bit. This applies to any creative project. To divide is to conquer.

My daughter draws the coolest cartoon girls. And I wanted to learn how she does it. She somehow knew, though, that I couldn’t just copy her art all at once.

So she started me off with the eyes — the right eye first : I had to draw one arched line above and then another below, and so on, until I had the outline of an eye. She then had me add details, like the eyelashes.

Piece by piece. Bit by bit, until I had the full right eye.

Then she had me do four other variations of a right eye before moving on to the left eye on the other side of the paper. The left eye had to match the different versions of right eyes I completed on the right side.

When we were finished with lesson n1 “OCCHI” (the word for “eyes” in Italian), she allowed me to move on to lesson n2 “BOCCA” (the word for “mouth” in Italian).

We continued on in this way, with only one yummy pancake break, until I had all the component parts to make my own female cartoon character, which I then was able to piece together with ease.

Then I held my breath as she graded my work. 🙂

I passed with flying colors and lots of smiley faces, which left me with another potent reflection…


Insight n2: Everyone we know has something important to teach us. When we stay open and invite that teaching, magic happens.

My daughter is my greatest teacher, and she is teaching me all the time in subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways. Inviting her to share her talents with me — to lead me in learning something she’s so good at — was validating for her in a way that simply praising her gifts could not match.

We can give that same much yearned for attention and validation to anyone in our lives. As Emerson put it, “…every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” The key is to stay open and look for the lessons… to look for the light in our friends, family, and colleagues. When we do this, we all shine more brightly.


Reflection n3: Move while you work!  

While we were concentrating on this project, I noticed my daughter kept moving, shifting and adjusting the position of her body. She was… STRETCHING! Without realizing or being told to extend her quadriceps, hamstrings, or whatever else she was flexing…  

And it made me realize: this is how it’s supposed to be! This is our NATURE.

I used to be like that — we all did. Most of us lose it after being constantly told, “Sit still! Don’t move!”. Yikes…

Well, I’m making a personal commitment to stop sitting still! And I’m following through right now. As I write this post for you, I am circling my hips and shimmying my entire body. It feels great. It enhances my focus, lightness, and ability to stick with what I want to focus on.

You can find a few more ideas about how to keep moving while you work here.

And I would really love to know if you have any other tips on how to stay active while at your desk! Please leave a comment below. XO


Photo credit @albertobogo