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Every week I do Exploratory Calls with people from various places that contact me because they are attracted to things I do and teach. This week I found myself repeating several statements to the folks I chatted with … which made me think “this would be a good eZine article” … so here it is:

I’m Attracted to This Stuff, Am I Nuts?
My work covers quite a swatch of territory … from basic and intermediate instruction in “working visually” to leading edge personal growth and resistance-busting methods. All the stuff I am into could be defined as ‘innovative’. I’m decades into it, so it all seems “normal” to me. So I find it a bit surprising (and even jarring at times) when I encounter folks who live in more conventional worlds. There definitely is an acclimatizing curve involved, dependent on the kinds of environments and belief systems you typically inhabit.

smileyface-questioningSooooooo, to answer the question of whether or not you are foolish or even nuts to be attracted to innovative or creative stuff … No, I can reassure you — you most certainly aren’t foolish, far from it.

You are sane, in good company and part of an evolutionary arc that is happening. You are waking up (further). And getting ready to do your part in making yourself and the world a happier, more fulfilling, more efficient and balanced place. But, here is the rub; sometimes waking up more isn’t a cake walk (i.e. easy). It takes study, effort, and developing stronger belief in yourself, your instincts and your capabilities. And, sometimes you will be ahead of the curve (i.e. the people around you).

Can I Apply This Stuff to My Current Work? Will They Cover It?
Some folks get on a call with me and they want to know if my course(s) are applicable to their current work, and ideally, will their employer pay for it.

visual-groupIf its Visual Skills, and you are in some sort of position where you work with groups and/or individuals … then yes, there are probably immediate aspects of your work where you can start to integrate the visual way of working into. Many of my students in The Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals and Magic Marker Retreats have their enrollment covered by their employers.

To find out what your case is, you’ll need to run the course by your boss, HR Dept or whatever signing authority you have and see how they respond. And, other participants opt to cover the registration themselves (either because they are self employed or because they may want to use what they learn outside of their current position).

If its SHIFT-IT Coaching whether the online class, Home Kit or privately with me or one of our growing legion of Certified Visual Coaches … chances are your work won’t cover it … cause SHIFT-IT is a deep personal strategic planning process where you often end up subtly or drastically shifting your status quo.


Most employers find that a tad threatening (they want you to stay where you are). However that said, I have had some wonderfully progressive bosses cover their employees, often because the boss has done SHIFT-IT themselves and truly values the genuine path of their employee, regardless of whether they stay or shift else where.

Receptive vs Non-Receptive Workplaces:
Some students have very receptive work places (especially organizations that are already familiar with graphic recording and graphic facilitation … which has a 30+ year proven track record by the way). Others students have bosses and/or work environments that aren’t supportive (they don’t get it, they are threatened by it (it is a very transparent method after all), or they just want you to do what your usual is).

Sometimes my students end up transferring to positions and cultures that are receptive. They find places that are a better match to their attributes and values. As it’s not fun doing the round hole and square peg’ thing.

So hidden within the discussion around taking my course is actually a much broader issue of being seen, accepted and valued for who you genuinely are. Not easy for employee or employer alike … but better in the long run for everyone when these issues are eventually made visible and addressed. Cause work is hard enough without truly being valued for who you are and what you can offer.

Might This Be an Alternative Career Path?
sun-lgIt might. Underneath the attraction to my work is sometimes an attraction to a bigger thing that I represent. People project different symbols onto me: freedom, creativity, success, security, rebelliousness, etc. There is the hope and desire for possibly a whole different way of life not just the learning from the course but what you can ultimately do with it.

Some folks are content to use the various stuff that I teach within their current roles. If they are internal they roll the skills into the current work they are doing. If they are external, they roll the skills into their existing practices. For others, they want to make the transition from being a paid employee to creating their own independent practice. It’s not just a course per se, what they are really wanting is the bridge to a new lifestyle.

How Long Will It Take to Be Self-Sustaining?
Well, again “it depends”. What do you want to be doing? Where do you live? What is the marketplace around you? Do you want to travel? What does sustaining mean to you? And what do you bring to the table (aptitudes, skills, tech ability, network, contacts, hustle, chutzpah, gumption, etc)? All of these things are extremely important and go into answering that question. Being good at your craft is only half the equation, with being good at Business Essentials being the other half.

Take a Deep Breath and Focus on Just the First Step:
At the end of these kinds of exploratory calls my aim is to soothe the person. To reassure them they don’t have to have it all figured out this red hot minute … in fact, you won’t. You, like any of us who have made this shift, just need to take it one step at a time. Your steps will unfold as you educate yourself.

If you are intrigued with the visuals, then start with the basic skills class. Later you can take the advanced retreat. If you need to get clear about what kind of life you want to build, then do SHIFT-IT. If you know you want to go out on your own (or already have), then The Biz Essentials Kit. If you want to be a Visual Coach, do Certification. For most of the courses I also have Home Study Kits and I can adapt private coaching and private training to meet your needs too.

toolDon’t try to bite them all off at once. Take your time. Build your foundation. Then build on that after you have stabilized. Building anything takes time, dedication and focus.

If there is a will, there is a way. You will get there! And hopefully enjoy the journey while you are at it!

© 2015 Christina L. Merkley


Yes thanks, please do, I just ask that you keep it completely intact (as is) and include this blurb with functional links:

Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Inner Alignment techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other Process Professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: and

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