Last month I signed up for a six-week creative expressions group led by Asma Al Hamiz, one of my good friends and an Emirati facilitator specialising in this area. The aim of the sessions was to help us process our emotions and thoughts daily using non-verbal methods, utilising different forms of art expressions such as poetry writing, 5Rhythms and creating visualisation boards.
While I learnt new forms of expressing myself non-verbally – extremely useful when you work in the marketing field where you meet lots of people and need to constantly think outside the box – the lessons were also applicable to running my business.
Here’s some of what I gained that might also help your enterprise:
• During the first meeting, we were asked to create a visualisation board, to browse different magazines and materials provided and to cut out images, phrases or material that spoke to us. All of this then had to be pasted on to our mood board. Visualisation boards are crucial tools to help you realise your dreams. Writing down your goals and pasting images of what you would like to achieve, or how you see yourself, then gets implanted in your subconscious mind. Over time you will notice that you have achieved the goals that you set for yourself.
In an interview with Jack Canfield, the American entrepreneur and author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, he discussed how he earned his first US$1 million. He took out a $1 bill, and wrote down six zeros next to the one. Within a short period, he had signed a book deal and received that amount.
• In another session, we learnt how to process our emotions and thoughts using poetry as a medium. You do not need to be an avid poet to do this, but the aim of the exercise is to jot down what you feel at that moment without putting too much thought into it, and to do this regularly. This process is also known as journaling. From a young age I have always written a diary, only stopping a short while ago. I did not necessarily write a lot every time – some days I wrote a couple of pages, other times just a sentence.
That was my personal journal. But for my business, I have a daily journal, an exercise I started four years ago. I write my goals for the day, something that helps keep me in track. It also serves as a good point of reference when I want to refer to a specific period of time.
• In the hour-long 5Rhythms class – a dynamic movement practice, also known as meditation through movement devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s – I learnt to immerse myself in the moment. The practice allows you to become more aware of your body and to only focus on what is happening at that particular time.
It was a totally unexpected experience for me; at the end of the session it felt as though a huge endorphin rush was coursing through my body. Taking a break to deeply immerse in something that you enjoy – whether it is dance, cycling or painting – is healthy for your well-being and for your business. It elevates your mood, contributes towards your health, and also enhances your productivity. For the three days that followed I was still in that same elevated mood state, and I felt great.
Entrepreneurs face numerous issues every day and often do not like to talk about what is bothering them, or causing them emotional distress. Instead they focus on the business, burying their concerns without processing them. However, over time this can have a negative effect on the business as not dealing with issues as they crop up can lead to stress, lower productivity and could result in tensions between you and your employees.
Look at alternative ways to process your thoughts – whether daily or at least once a week. Think of your mind as a bowl filled with different things, some that may be rubbish weighing you down and causing you fatigue. Indulge in a mind clean-up whether by journaling, meditating or simply doing what you love. You will be surprised at how lighter and more productive you will feel.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.
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