As I was (trying) to fall asleep the other night a wave a realization flooded over me. I have been, and always have been, an interpreter, a translator and someone who helps people communicate.
Ok, let me step back for a minute.
As an Early Childhood Educator and Family Support Worker:
When I was in high school, while everyone was figuring out “what to do for the rest of their life” I sat there, embarrassingly confused because all I had a desire was to be a mother. My limiting beliefs told me that I’d likely not ‘make it’ in the world because I had no desire to be a “professional” aka. Doctor, lawyer, etc. I’d always looked after children since I was barely out of childhood myself. I loved communicating with small (and older) children. I loved helping them navigate the world, their feelings and give them the words that they were looking for, but struggled to find some days.
So off I went to college and studied Early Childhood Education – worked at an amazing non-profit family centre where I worked with children and then more closely with parents.
As a Facilitator
Through my work at the non-profit I developed skills and knowledge around community development and facilitation work. I facilitated over 100 workshops and sessions while I was there. I realized how much I LOVED reflecting back to the participants their own wisdom. They said their own truth and I was a sounding board to reflect back to them what they said. After I moved on from that place I volunteered with other small community groups helping facilitate small teams through community initiatives. Giving and creating safe space for people to have a voice and express it in a supportive environment.
As an ASL student
In my early 20s I took night classes two times a week and on occasional weekends for 6 months for ASL – American Sign Language. I have always been fascinated with deaf culture and the physical communicative language of ASL. I love being able to communicate with people who I meet randomly who are deaf and sometimes even helping translate their needs to others who they are trying to communicate with.
As a Mother
Similar to my world as an Early Childhood Educator – it’s a fun and interesting challenge to help my own children communicate their own ideas. I love trying to follow children’s thought patterns and see the sparks of 'ah-ha' moments while they are communicating their ideas. Childhood is a messy place of immense learning and I love helping my kiddos navigate language and their world around them, helping to interpret things along the way.
And now, as a graphic recorder and visual language strategist
One of the largest questions I get while working is “how did you get into this”. I realize that people are really interested in hearing a part of my journey and how in the WORLD did I get to a place in my life where I find myself in front of a crowd of people drawing on paper. As cheesy as it may sound, I feel like many things in my life added up to where I am today - such as all the things I just explained here! I believe that throughout my love for helping translate, interpret and help people communicate their own ideas, passions and thoughts led me to the world of graphic recording and graphic facilitation.
I use creativity and simple images to interpret the ideas that flow out of meetings.
I use thinking as a way to help communicate people’s thoughts in a way that’s tangible.
I use listening as a way to translate in simplified language where people feel like they have a voice, they are heard and seen.
I help connect neurological pathways. By pairing visuals with the message of the speaker or voices in the room, it engages both sides of the brain. Increased connections means increased understanding and action.
How do you help translate the world around you? Are you doing it more in a subconscious way? I'd love to hear about your journey. Feel free to email me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.