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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-083: A conversation with Ms. Karen Deloach

With Ms. Karen Deloach

ET-083: A conversation with Ms. Karen Deloach

and your host Wayne Brown on January 16, 2024

Episode notes: A conversation with Ms. Karen Deloach

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

Welcome to week three of January 2024, and I’m very excited today because we’re country hopping to chat with our guest, Ms. Karen Deloach, whom we find sitting in Germany for this conversation, although her base is in South Carolina in the US.

Karen’s an award-winning artist, art teacher, author, minister, wife, mother, grandmother, and speaker as well as coach. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting and drawing and an MA in studio art.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

As a teacher, you do want your students to strive for excellence. So there’s that balance you walk between having a no criticism zone, which is what the right brain requires to really explore and innovate, and getting better at it. And so for me, she was always presenting the skills needed to achieve what her standards were asking for. Whereas in college, I felt like they kind of put us in a room and said, in six weeks, come up with the paintings, and then at the critique tore them apart. So there wasn’t the balance between giving the tools needed to accomplish it and accomplishing something. And even there was no, “This is better than last time.” I got more positive feedback from my peers than I did my professors. We were trying to encourage each other through, because I wasn’t the only one getting negative feedback. And they thought they were doing good. They thought they were holding a high standard. I’m sure they weren’t trying to devastate my life…

Today’s Guest: MS KAREN DELOACH

Karen’s written three art books, “How to Draw,” “How to Paint,” as well as “Art History, and Appreciation,” which are all used in her college as well as her online classes. Through her best-selling books, her training courses, and sold-out live events, Karen has inspired hundreds of thousands of creative entrepreneurs as well as workplace executives worldwide to add fun and imagination into their workplace.

Karen’s proven that it doesn’t matter your age, your skill level, what your creative needs are, if you have the desire to add a little more creativity and imagination into your work life, your leisure time, you too can have that spark lit with expert personal training and accountability.

As Karen says, she’s on a mission to empower the artistic expression of Christian creatives, to enable us to communicate with confidence, to release the spiritual anointing deep inside, and get soul healing through making and looking at art.

Final words from Karen:

Some people, if they’re in cubicles, allowing the freedom to decorate their cubicles, allowing them the freedom to maybe listen to music while they work. Some people work better if there’s a track running in their head. I know my sons are that way. I’m not, I like it quieter, but my sons like music tracking. Understanding that now with headphones, we don’t have to bother anybody else with our music. We can have our music and still be, it can excite, just be helping that right brain get engaged. Some people need more movement. One of my sons is a kinetic learner, and for him, sitting at a desk isn’t going to be his best way to operate. Maybe you have some people on your team where the desk is just the place for the books.

Maybe they need to pace, they need to pace to get their thought process. They need to move and/or lay down on the floor. I mean, it sounds crazy, but that for some people, their brain works better if they’re not just sitting up, they need to move. Taking sketchbooks with you or a notebook with you and being able to jot ideas down, doodling a lot of people, like even in a meeting, they’re not taking notes, but they engage better if they’re doodling while they’re listening in the corporate boardroom, you’re just doodling just moving their hand. And I always did that on the phone. I’m doodling the whole time I’m on a phone. Yeah. It’s not that I’m not listening, it is just, you’re engaging your subconscious in a way that is making you more aware. And you know what? These strolls I’m talking about where you’re consciously becoming aware of your environment is engaging that part and making… That awareness is gonna make you better at your job. And no, I don’t understand it. I’m not a scientist, but I believe in it and I see it happening…

[music]

0:00:05.3 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. Welcome to week three of January 2024, and I’m very excited today because we’re country hopping to chat with our guest, Ms. Karen Deloach, whom we find sitting in Germany for this conversation, although her base is in South Carolina in the US. Karen’s an award-winning artist, art teacher, author, minister, wife, mother, grandmother, and speaker as well as coach. She holds a bachelor’s of fine art in painting and drawing and an MA in studio art. Karen’s written three art books, How to Draw, How to Paint, as well as art history and appreciation, which are all used in her college as well as her online classes. Through her best-selling books, her training courses, and sold-out live events, Karen has inspired hundreds of thousands of creative entrepreneurs as well as workplace executives worldwide to add fun and imagination into their workplace. Karen’s proven that it doesn’t matter your age, your skill level, what your creative needs are, if you have the desire to add a little more creativity and imagination into your work life, your leisure time, you too can have that spark lit with expert personal training and accountability.

0:01:35.1 WB: As Karen says, she’s on a mission to empower the artistic expression of Christian creatives, to enable us to communicate with confidence, to release the spiritual anointing deep inside, and get soul healing through making and looking at art. So please ready yourself now, and perhaps even given that we’re speaking with an artist today, you may even want to practice a little doodling while you listen. Regardless, please sit back and prepare yourself for the insight shared by our guest, Ms. Karen Deloach, as we explore ways to embrace your creative, authentic self to find true passion and enjoy life.

0:02:18.2 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:31.9 WB: All right, well, welcome to week three of 2024 Team ET and to all our new listeners, welcome. It’s great to have you with us. For anyone that is new to this podcast, you may not be familiar with that name or the term ET. Essentially, I’m referring to our listener base as a team and ET stands for Executive Talent or leaders by another name. So our aim for the podcast is connecting you with leaders from around the world, from different industries, different callings, but who all share a similar desire, I want to say, to speak about their experiences, their learnings and their insights so that as a result, you may be able to fast track your own journey. Today, with my guest, Karen Deloach, we’re going to be delving into some of the challenges that we may be causing as leaders, whether it’s intentionally or unintentionally causing for our team members through our behaviour, our actions, even our words. Karen Deloach, welcome to the ET Project. Such a pleasure to have you join us for this conversation.

0:03:45.0 Karen Deloach: Thank you, Wayne. It is a privilege to be here. Thank you so much. [chuckle]

0:03:50.8 WB: We’re gonna get into the story of who you are, what you did and work our way through. But I know that you talk a lot about your early school years and the outcomes that sort of followed. Would you share some of the challenges and setbacks that you encountered early in your life?

0:04:10.4 KD: I’d love to. I appreciate that. I didn’t know I was gonna be an artist. When you’re a child, you just know that the paper’s not big enough and you start coloring on the walls, which gets you into big trouble. Your parents not realizing you’re gonna be a muralist someday and get paid to paint on people’s walls. And that’s one of the things I talk about with my clients, is what kind of hints are there about who you are creatively as a right-brained person before you’re six years old? Did you love doing little plays in the playground? Did you like singing everywhere you went? Did you dance? Did you bang on drums? Was everything a drum to you? Coloring, was it just so much fun inside the lines or outside the lines? You can look at your own childhood. As I look back at mine, I had both that coloring outside the lines thing and doing plays in the playgrounds ’cause I also have a degree in filmmaking and I teach filmmaking. So These were hints to childhood. And so When I did eventually go to college for art, it wasn’t my best thing. I could draw. I had had really good drawing instruction, but I wasn’t a good painter.

0:05:21.6 KD: Even though painting was my major, I got into painting and that’s where it all fell apart because my instructors, even at two different colleges, over the summer I went to another college trying to get a different opinion, used four letter words to describe my art. And it was devastating to me. I mean, my sensitive right brain, which is your creative center, was crushed to find out no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t please them and I really believed I wasn’t good enough, that I could never be good enough. And I don’t know how many people have had that experience. They tried to play the piano, weren’t good enough. They tried to dance, weren’t good enough, tried to draw, you know, just had that feeling, “I guess I’m just not supposed to do that.” When you ask a room of five-year-olds, do you like to do painting or drawing or coloring or dancing or drumming? 99% of them say, “Yes,” but you ask a room of 15-year-olds that same question and maybe 10% say yes. What happens in those 10 years? And that’s something you were addressing at the beginning when you were talking about maybe we’re contributing to this issue, not even realizing it when we’re promoting and educating and training people’s left brain, logical thinking, memorization, critical thinking, all of those skills are important left brain skills; are also measurable and testable.

0:06:51.1 KD: Meanwhile, the right brain, the other half of our brain is at the least dormant, if not crushed, wounded, maybe just trivialized. Whatever was there as a five-year-old, as a six-year-old is still there. That’s my contention and that’s what I’m finding is it’s never too late, you’re never too old. But for me, as a wounded 19-year-old art student, really believing that this major I chose I wasn’t good enough for, had me devastated. And I switched majors to sculpture and became a ceramic artist and I still am and I still love it, but inside I wanted to paint.

0:07:37.1 KD: But I accepted that belief that I was not good enough. And as a result, 20 years, I would try to paint. I started having children. I wanted to do their portraits. I love doing people. I love doing scenery. And it wasn’t acceptable in the Abstract Expressionist era to do that kind of work. And so I kept trying though and I couldn’t finish them for 20 years until I got a mentor. I got somebody that came alongside and said, “I went to the Chicago Art Institute back when they taught the foundations and the fundamental skills.” And he taught me how to paint. And I was able to get my skills developed enough to overcome those mindsets and get some healing to my right brain that was crushed over those words. Those words are powerful. That whole,” Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Lie. They do hurt us, especially when we’re young and vulnerable and have our sensitive right brain there.

0:08:39.0 KD: And so getting healing, getting the skills I needed to be able to accomplish what I wanted to do as a painter. Of course, we’re always practicing. We’re always getting better. I’m always taking lessons, even as I’m a teacher, because we always want to get better, of course. But I’ve been able to do it as a profession and love it. So I’m a big advocate of getting mentors and getting healing and finding out how to activate our own right brain.

0:09:09.7 WB: Clearly, the negative comments left a deep scar. 20 years is a long time to step away from something you’re obviously so passionate about. But what I was curious about when I was doing some research was you also mentioned your junior high school art teacher, we’ll call her Miss S., only because I can’t pronounce her second name. But Miss S., as your junior high school, to use your own words or to paraphrase, she practiced a lot of tough love as well. But it was obviously a different type of tough love to that which your college professors introduced and I’m curious, what’s the distinction?

0:09:50.9 KD: That is such a great question because as a teacher, you do want your students to strive for excellence. So there’s that balance you walk between having a no criticism zone, which is what the right brain requires to really explore and innovate, and getting better at it. And so for me, she was always presenting the skills needed to achieve what her standards were asking for. Whereas in college, I felt like they kind of put us in a room and said, in six weeks, come up with the paintings, and then at the critique tore them apart. So there wasn’t the balance between giving the tools needed to accomplish it and accomplishing something. And even there was no, “This is better than last time.” I got more positive feedback from my peers than I did my professors. We were trying to encourage each other through, because I wasn’t the only one getting negative feedback. And they thought they were doing good. They thought they were holding a high standard. I’m sure they weren’t trying to devastate my life.

0:11:01.6 WB: Yeah.

0:11:02.7 KD: But they did, those words matter. I can’t tell you how many adults talked to me about some teacher, somebody who said, “You can’t… You’re coloring outside the lines, you can’t color.” And them just taking that into their soul, into their sensitive right brain and saying, “I can’t color.” And really believing it for a very long time, having that mindset. And it may not just be coloring, It may be, “I can’t sing.” But how many of us sing in the shower? Now, here’s what I’m discovering. As I’ve been studying. Yes, I’m very right brained in my arts, but I love the science behind it. So I’ve been studying the science behind our brain. Obviously I’m not a scientist, but I’ve been reading the reports and even singing in the shower. Now I haven’t read any statistics about how many people sing in the shower, but this is what scientists say. Singing in the shower activates your right brain. And sometimes you’re just singing, enjoying the acoustics of the steam and rub-a-dub-dub, you’re singing your favorite song. Nobody is around to criticize and you can just have fun. And as you’re finishing in the bathroom, some ideas come to you. Maybe the solution to a problem at work or a problem in the family, something you hadn’t thought of just kind of pops up because these connections, these neurological connections between our right brain and left brain, the more we use both sides of our brain, truly the more brilliant we are.

0:12:40.5 KD: It’s not an either, or. We’ve just built up our left brain. We value our left brain and we have trivialized the value of the right brain. Even Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” And he said, actually, “Creativity is more important than knowledge.” These are quotes from Albert Einstein. So there is something that we’re underutilizing. And I think this is true, very true in corporate world and leaders who have teams of people that they want to encourage. How do they do that? Steve Jobs famously said, our tech company is a marriage dance between technology and humanities or liberal arts. There is this left-right connection that he valued. I mean, even Apple boxes, the hardware comes in, is beautiful. And he made every part of it have an aesthetic, a visual aesthetic that he’s known for, that Apple is known for the beauty of their products. Why? Why is that important? Because we’re human, we’ll never be replaced by AI. The right brain will never be replaced by AI because that’s our humanity. That’s the part of us that’s unique, has our unique fingerprints, our unique stamp on whatever we bring to the table. There is always room for every person’s giftings, whatever they are. And a lot of them are underutilized, underrecognized, trivialized, and maybe even wounded.

0:14:17.2 WB: As you think back to that time when you were at college doing painting as your major, what could they have done different that would have reshaped and reframed how you looked at their critique?

0:14:33.7 KD: Well, again, this is hindsight, right? Because as a young student, I’m just devastated crying in the corner. So I didn’t know, I didn’t know. I just thought they were mean. But, in retrospect and being a teacher myself and an art teacher, utilizing… I just feel like that marriage of the tools and the techniques needed with the encouragement to do better. It’s a wonderful balance. And as I try to get to know my students every semester, I teach college art. And I realized that because I’m in South Carolina, a rural community, a more rural state, and my students are from rural areas, they don’t have a background in art and in the creative.

0:15:20.7 KD: And they’re trying really hard to move forward and taking courses to, very left brain courses to, either be in the medical field or engineering or mechanical fields. But they have to take a humanities class. So I got one shot at them, right, to awaken their right brain and make them do art. But I also wrote the textbook that was geared… Most textbooks for art in college are written by art historians, which is an amazing field. But guess which side of the brain they’re utilizing for the 90% of the time, left brain. And I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “It was the most boring class I’ve ever had. I fell asleep during the slideshow.” I don’t want to cry. What? Here’s our whole history of our Western world. Or sometimes if it’s world, world art history, beauty and inspiration. Instead, you’re falling asleep. What’s wrong with this picture?

0:16:09.4 KD: So as I wrote my book from an artist point of view, from a left brain point of view, with a target audience of people, I got one shot at them. I put 1800 images in this 600-page book. I wanted them to look at it. Even if they never read the book, I wanted to make an opinion. I require them to select an artist, select some artwork. What moves you? What do you like? Have an opinion. Everybody has an opinion about what music they like, right? What music we listen to. But do we have an opinion about what kind of art we want on our walls? A lot of times people don’t. They don’t know what they like or what’s good. And what is good art? And what is bad art? What is good music? What’s bad music? I mean, my sons are musicians, and my husband’s a musician. They can tell really good instrumentation. They know when there’s a good musician and it’s tight. They call it tight. I don’t. I’m not trained in that. I just know I like the lyrics, and I like the… I like the way it sounds, and it’s… Got a great beat, Whatever I can, do it…

0:17:11.1 WB: This is why it makes you feel…

0:17:11.8 KD: Yeah, exactly. How does it make you feel? And these are things that are not what we usually hear people asking in a corporate environment. How do you feel today, everybody? [laughter] I want you to get this job done. I don’t care how you feel, right? [laughter] But we do care about how people think and what they’re thinking and are they… What they’re thinking and how they can contribute to the whole corporate whole ’cause you’re trying to create, as leaders, a group of people that are working with you, not just for you. They have a job with you and that’s when you’re truly utilizing the full scope of your employees or your co-workers, however it’s structured, is if you’re all utilizing and engaging in both left brain and right brain. And it’s not hard to do. And there’s some very simple things people can do to engage their right brain. They don’t have to be artists to do it.

0:18:14.8 WB: You mentioned something at the very beginning of the conversation. I just want to double back or circle back to it if you don’t mind about. Did you have that creative juice when you were still a very young child and were there really signals that have led you down that path? And I’m wondering from a leader’s perspective now, how would a leader tap into that awareness to strengthen the relationship? It could be super powerful to sit with your team and try and unpack what is really their passion. What is it that really…

0:18:52.4 KD: That’s great.

0:18:56.0 WB: Yeah, yes. I think…

0:18:56.7 KD: A lot of times people don’t know, they can’t even tell you.

0:19:01.1 WB: Yes.

0:19:01.1 KD: You spend your life, if you have a family and you have a job or even if you’re a CEO or leadership in a work environment. And if you’ve been at it long enough, you probably are in a type of leadership position. You’ve poured your life out. You’ve poured your life out to your spouse, to your family, to your business. And for a lot of people knowing what they feel passionate about may have taken such a backseat that they have to think about it. What has driven me, besides wanting to be excellent and wanting to be successful, to have successful children or it’s children that can be independently successful.

0:19:40.5 WB: Yeah.

0:19:40.7 KD: So what is it that I want? What is it that drives my values and passion and what can get my juices going? And my whole family loves to read. We homeschooled and we’re all readers, even though it was hard for my ADHD son to learn to read, he is an English teacher now in Germany. And I’m just amazed. I know that if he had stayed in regular school, he’d have flunked out. He’d have never made it under normal, normal school because he just was too distractible and it was too much, too social. Now he can be social. He is told me about being involved in creating these groups over here in Germany where they start, he starts the story and they all take on a character. And every month they meet and they continue these stories together that they kind of co-write. And it’s just the coolest thing. I’d never even heard of it. And again, they’re in bands. He also does… They do shows. They’re entertainers. So, yeah, what are you passionate about? What’s still there? What did that little girl, that little boy get excited about before they were six. And it’s something to think about.

0:20:58.4 WB: Yeah sure.

0:21:00.3 KD: Because these are still there, those creative juices, as you described, they’re still there. And when we do incorporate them, it’s not left or right. It’s that combining that is so powerful. You’ll never have brain fog. You’ll never lose your mind if you’re worried about those kind of things, if you are engaging both sides of your brain and it brings healing. If you already experiencing some problems, engaging that half one whole hemisphere of your brain in new engaging ways and it can be very simple ways, you’re gonna find a lot of that just dissipates, stress.

0:21:40.8 WB: How did you find news? Sorry to cut you off. [laughter] I’m curious. So how did you get to this realization? It’s always something that I’m intrigued by is how people come to these realizations later in their life. What was the trigger for you?

0:21:56.7 KD: Well, part of it was seeing the healing power of art actually happen. Not just for me, but you sometimes you can’t be as objective about yourself. [laughter] But I had a student and a teenage student. He’d been in my studio because he had ADHD and dyslexia. Total problems with his academics. His mom brought him to my studio, and he started excelling at art and sculpture. And because he found something that he was really good at, it enabled him. And again, now learning a little bit more about the brain, hit those those left brain snaps, he started working better with his, I mean, right brain started working better with his left brain, and he was able to graduate. So he’s now a new graduate, and he was still 18. I started entering his artwork in local youth art competition, it’s the biggest one in the lower part of our state.

0:22:51.9 KD: And he would win them. He even won Best in Show. Unfortunately, three months later, he had a brain infection that caused a stroke, and he became paralyzed on the right side. He had such a bad infection. They had to remove his skull. He has a plastic skull, wasn’t expected to live. He lived, I’m happy to say, but he was paralyzed. He couldn’t speak. He had no communication skills yet, they were struggling to keep his hand right hand from… And he couldn’t barely walk. So as soon as he got released, his mama brought him back to my studio, and I endeavored to teach him to draw left-handed. Now, he was good with his right hand. He was an award-winner. Very quickly, he learned to draw and write left-handed. And in a short period of time, he started being able to talk. I guess he had damage to the prefrontal cortex. [chuckle]

0:23:47.1 KD: Again, I’m not a brain scientist, but, so those are still struggles he’s had to talk. He talks great now and walks great now. But at that time, this being able to draw and write as good with his left hand as he did is right. I didn’t understand he was starting to bridge these gaps to the point where his neurosurgeon called me and said, “I’ve never called anybody’s art teacher before. What are you doing with David?” [laughter] He’s not only stronger with… He’s weak than I am, and I’m a surgeon, but he’s getting healing to his right brain and his left brain. And I can see, don’t stop what you’re doing. We’re doing the medical things that we can do, but you’re bringing something to the table that is actually restoring his brain.

0:24:36.7 KD: So when you asked me that question, what changed my mind about… Or what got me passionate about this. I mean, that was literally physical healing. But it also is that emotional part of just his art changed his life when he was dealing with being ADHD and being dyslexic. It changed his mind and attitude. “Yes, I have gifts. Yes, I’m good as an artist.” And even then, he got that huge setback with the traumatic brain injury, but he could still learn to do it left-handed. So I got to see in the same young man, art have power to bring healing in more than one way, in more than one way. And he still is doing great in his life. I’m happy to say he has a life worth living. He can communicate, he can even talk now.

0:25:24.8 KD: And he’s got a great sense of humor about it. So that was powerful for me. It wasn’t just, “I got healing through art and getting better at it.” I’m also an actor. My children are all actors. We’ve got various forms of the arts that we walk in. And I rarely see somebody that only has one talent. It’s amazing how many talents people can have, even latent talents. One more story about healing, and this is a little different nature. It was an adult student who got a diagnosis of stage four breast cancer, six months expectancy of life. She was a very good ceramic artist. And I brought her into the studio with me during that time. I said, “I got a great big project. I need help.” And it was a huge room installation porcelain, room installation taste and see sweet shop.

0:26:20.9 KD: Everything was gonna be chocolate, but it was gonna be made out of porcelain. And she came into the studio with me in between radiation, chemo, surgery, reconstruction, when she could, she was in the studio with me. She didn’t know if she’d be at the show in nine months. She was there standing, working with me. 10 years later, she is still cancer-free. And she credits not just the medical help, but that she had a project. She had something worth looking forward to every day to focus on that was creative, that was beautiful, that was fun, and seeing it all put together was just fabulous. We refinished, we went to thrift store, bought these chairs and refinished them and made little cafe tables and claws and made it look like a whole shop. People came in wanting to buy chocolate to eat. I’m like, “Oh man, out of porcelain it’ll break your teeth. Can’t eat them. [laughter]

0:27:14.4 KD: And then I ended up with a whole show wanting to do with that. But anyway I saw, again, the healing power of the arts to heal in a very specific way to restore somebody’s life to give them the emotional and mental stability and hope and hands-on expression, self-expression is part of what makes us human. What do you have to be self-expressive with?

0:27:45.4 WB: What was it like for you after 20 years of believing, I guess, that you couldn’t paint so to suddenly somebody saying I’ll show you a new way. Was there a doubt, was there a hesitation? Or was the spark still burning so bright that.

0:28:02.4 KD: To be honest, when he started working with me, I wasn’t convinced that I could do it. That, I mean, you’re talking 20 years of believing I’m not good enough.

0:28:10.5 WB: Yes.

0:28:10.6 KD: I thought, “Well, I’ll give this a chance,” but I didn’t know it was gonna work, if it would work or not. It was so in deeply ingrained that I couldn’t, that I wasn’t good enough. I mean, there was that sense. And a lot of people think that too. And as a result of learning and getting the skills and practice it takes practice. It wasn’t like suddenly da da, it’s you’re working through through those doubts, working through those maybe wrong held beliefs and finding, “Wow, I can do this.” And do I think I’m great now? I wanna be better. I still wanna be better. I still want my work to get… And it’s getting better because it’s getting truer to who I really am and what I love, which is people and places.

0:28:56.3 KD: But it’s not instant. I didn’t find instant difference. I found it pushing through until saying, “Wow, you know what? I can learn this.” You know what, then I took piano lessons for the first time. You know what, “Maybe I can learn to play the piano.” I went back to school in my fifties for filmmaking, and I took things that was very steep learning curve. And that’s what I’m saying. These things are still in us. I’m saying that no matter how old or young you are, it is still there. You still have this brilliant hemisphere wanting to be released into all the fullness of creativity that’s there. And you’ll be a better corporate person if you do. You’ll be a better in them.

0:29:49.0 WB: Yeah, so in terms of Bob’s support, how important was that at that stage, given the negativity you had from your college professors? You still had the doubt, you still had the concern that you wouldn’t ever really achieve what you believed you could achieve. But how important was the support from this new person?

0:30:14.3 KD: It was life-changing. I mean, it changed my life. And what’s interesting is that Bob was, for his own art, paralyzed by… He was paralyzed by perfectionism, himself. He loved van Gogh and he… Van Gogh, I guess that’s a better pronunciation. And he felt like he could never be as good as the masters. And so he wouldn’t try. And which was really sad to me because I understood even then that you bring to the table you. Nobody can duplicate you. And even if you practice doing paintings from van Gogh or practice doing paintings from from your favorite artist, you’re still bringing you to the table. You’re not just… I mean, it’s a valid exercise to take a work of art that you love and to duplicate it just to see what they did, what their techniques. And there’s some master’s techniques that are fun to work with too. But you’re always gonna bring you to the table. You’re not trying to forge their artwork. [chuckle]

0:31:18.3 KD: You’re trying to learn from it. And it’s all valid. They’re valid exercises ’cause ultimately what you’re trying to get to is your personal self-expression, is having the tools. So what Bob brought to me were tools that helped me in my personal self exploration and expression. He gave me tools that I could truly start then blossoming as the painter that I wanted to be. And abstract expressionism is a valuable, valuable genre of art. It’s beautiful, and I appreciate it. It’s just not the genre of art that I choose. It’s how I supported myself in graduate school. I did abstract expansionist paintings and sold them to stores that sold furniture with the whole room.

0:32:08.1 KD: And so I sold many of them. And I know how to do that, but that’s not me. That’s not my passion. I love to do people, I love to do scenery and I love nature, I love God, I love creation. And we’re the only part of creation that can appreciate beauty and can appreciate creation and appreciate the sunset and sunrise and the beauty of our world. And I love to see people have a way to express that. If it’s photography, sometimes people their way they want to express themselves is through photography, teach a lot about composition and the rule of thirds and things that make photography better. How do you move into that arena? So not everybody wants to be a painter. Not everybody wants to draw. Drawing is a foundation for everything. But as far as the arts is concerned, but many ways to express yourself. [laughter]

0:33:06.1 WB: Absolutely. I’m just looking at the parallels with leadership and there’s so many there that you’re talking about. I can imagine, I’m thinking back over my own career now, the teams and the people that I had the privilege of leading. Some of them I could have done a much better job with I’m sure I probably disregarded their ability too quickly. And we moved different directions and I’m thinking back now as we talk, what could I have done differently? And so I’d really encourage all the leaders that are listening at the moment to do that little inner reflection yourself. And just think about the team that you’re engaged with right now and question yourself. What else could you try? What else could you do that may just be the right moment and the right space that actually helps people blossom where they’ve given up hope.

0:34:07.4 WB: Karen, you’ve got… You do so many things, by the way. I mean, [chuckle] we didn’t go through all the different things that you do. I mean, I know you’re a wife and a mother as well as a grandmother, but you also with your husband have a ministry. You’re a speaker. You teach obviously across different areas of art. You’re a coach. So how do you fit it all in, what’s the driving force behind Karen to make it all possible?

0:34:42.8 KD: Well, being older means that for 30 years I was a mom. I taught out of my studio at the home and had and homeschooled and was a homemaker. I cooked, my outlook was cooking. And when, when I was teaching drawing, I was drawing, when I was teaching painting, I was painting. When I was teaching sculpture, I was doing sculpture. But my kids were right in the middle. They’re studio babies. And I was very, very home-oriented for 30 years. I was not really promoting my career. I wasn’t doing anything online yet. So it’s like once they’re gone, when once they went separate, that part of my job, my life was done. It’s like, “Okay, what am I gonna do for the next 30 years,” right? I’m used to pouring out and giving, and I don’t wanna stop now. And 2020 is when the art history and appreciation textbook got written, took me about nine months to write six, after a lifetime of teaching and doing art, having an opinion. I love art history. That’s what’s fun about being in Europe. So much of it comes from here. [laughter]

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0:35:48.2 KD: Seeing the beauty is so fun. And I got to be in London for a week, and the Tate and going to all the museums in London is really fun too. But what I’ve been able to even teach my students is, “You know what? Every little village has artists. Every village has a little gallery of homemade things. Take advantage of what’s around you. You don’t have to go to the big cities to find it, to find something to enjoy and appreciate. But I’m a very active. It’s funny, one of those professors in my college said to me, the only thing you have going for you is your energy. And of course, he was in implicating I had no talent. [laughter] And I played soccer in college, I was an athlete too, and I heard him. I was also in every theatrical production, theater was my minor. So I understood what he was saying. And I didn’t take it as a compliment at the time, but I’ll tell you what, as I’m turning 70, having energy is a blessing. [laughter]

0:36:56.8 KD: I appreciate having lots of energy and keeping busy, keeping my mind busy, my creativity busy, and enjoy stirring it up in others. That is such joy. I surround myself with people that are in the creative world. And we’re drawn to each other. We are very spiritual, and we all love the arts in every way we go. We live in a town, Charleston, South Carolina, that is very artsy, has lots of water colorists and beautiful light. And so we meet at least once a month to go to the to gallery hopping, and then go out to eat and watch the sunset on the rooftop of Charleston over the ocean. And so it’s really a lifestyle of incorporating the right brain into the left brain. And corporate world being so driven it is creative. Those of you who’ve created businesses, it is creative. You are using your right brain. It’s not that hard to do. I mean, athletics, the very first thing I do with my art students, my drawing students, is get a ball throw and catch it.

0:38:06.6 KD: If you don’t have anybody there, use the wall, because that’s eye-hand coordination. That’s the first skill when you’re learning to draw what you see is having your eye and your hand work together. So sports are a great outlet. And how do you feel when you’ve had a walk? Everybody feels better. That release of serotonin, and now scientists say, “Looking at beauty releases, serotonin,” the happiness chemical, you feel better. You automatically feel better. Getting out of the shower after having sung, been singing you feel better. Consciously, you don’t realize there’s actually been some chemistry happening and some serotonin release. Taking a walk during your lunch break, now not with your Fitbit watch, not counting your steps, which guess what? Our left brain, right? This is not your aerobic exercise, 15 minutes, because the scientists are saying 15 to 20 minutes a day is all it takes.

0:39:05.1 KD: If you do something purposefully that engages your right brain for 15 to 20 minutes a day, you’re gonna be more brilliant. It’s going to start making those connections between left and right brain. It’s not that hard. Take a stroll, look around, smell the pine trees hear the birds sing, and the children playing in the swing sets or the crunch on of the sleeves under your feet, or just breathe deeply and smell or sit on a bench, or don’t bring a notebook to take notes and just free stream thoughts or not. Whatever really feels right to you. 15 to 20 minutes a day. My husband and I were already doing that every night, just 15-minute walk around the block, 15, 20-minute walk around just connecting seeing people’s lights or the sky where the moon is tonight, and the stars. And just not realizing this is releasing serotonin. This is already is connecting us, but also connecting us to our world and to our own right brain. Simple as that.

0:40:11.0 WB: Is there anything, as we’ve been talking today that comes to mind, let’s say final words of wisdom, if you like, but a message for our leaders, what could they perhaps do as leaders that would have an impact for the team that they’re leading?

0:40:32.1 KD: Some people, if they’re in cubicles, allowing the freedom to decorate their cubicles, allowing them the freedom to maybe listen to music while they work. Some people work better if there’s a track running in their head. I know my sons are that way. I’m not, I like it quieter, but my sons like music tracking. Understanding that now with headphones, we don’t have to bother anybody else with our music. We can have our music and still be, it can excite, just be helping that right brain get engaged. Some people need more movement. One of my sons is a kinetic learner, and for him, sitting at a desk isn’t going to be his best way to operate. Maybe you have some people on your team where the desk is just the place for the books.

0:41:20.6 KD: Maybe they need to pace, they need to pace to get their thought process. They need to move and/or lay down on the floor. I mean, it sounds crazy, but that for some people, their brain works better if they’re not just sitting up, they need to move. Taking sketchbooks with you or a notebook with you and being able to jot ideas down, doodling a lot of people, like even in a meeting, they’re not taking notes, but they engage better if they’re doodling while they’re listening in the corporate boardroom, you’re just doodling just moving their hand. And I always did that on the phone. I’m doodling the whole time I’m on a phone. Yeah. It’s not that I’m not listening, it is just, you’re engaging your subconscious in a way that is making you more aware. And you know what? These strolls I’m talking about where you’re consciously becoming aware of your environment is engaging that part and making… That awareness is gonna make you better at your job. And no, I don’t understand it. I’m not a scientist, but I believe in it and I see it happening.

0:42:29.1 WB: Anywhere that people that have liked listening to what you’ve been talking about where should they go to follow or connect with you? Is there anywhere in particular?

0:42:42.6 KD: I appreciate that. Yeah at karendeloach.com/gift. I’ve got a booklet that talks about some of my philosophy of this. And I’ve got a pop-up podcast that should be ready by this time. This comes out in three weeks they can have for free to get more ideas and more practical suggestions and can contact me that way. Also, I’d love to speak, being able to get online and speak to corporations that may have some opportunities to speak to their people directly and try some exercises together. It’s so much fun. [laughter] Yeah.

0:43:18.1 WB: Fantastic. Well, Karen, it’s been an incredible conversation. Thank you so much for being a great guest on the ET project.

0:43:26.8 KD: Thank you. We thank you. It’s been a privilege to talk to your audience. God bless.

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0:43:29.4 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

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