In high school, I took up the very unusual hobby of wood carving. After school each Thursday, I would join about 15 men (most of them over age 60) to practice the art of making stuff out of wood.
I bought my own tools and showed up ready to learn.
The guys would give me little rough cut models to start with and I’d carve and whittle until I had a handful of something resembling an animal. Some of my end products were a dog, snake, and pig.
One afternoon, one of the guys called me over and said, “Let’s try something new today.” He plopped down a flattish bit of board on the table in front of me.
“It’s called relief carving,” he explained, and began to show me new tools and new techniques to remove wood from a flat surface in order to bring an object up out of the wood.
I was hooked. This wasn’t simply hacking. This was carefully shaving away a bit here, a bit there. Not too much, not too deeply, not too fast.
My favorite relief carving ended up being a chess piece of the Knight (a horse). The piece was about 11 inches tall and eight inches wide. I worked on it for several weeks. Different gouges (special knives for relief carving) helped me shape the horse head, mane, and the frame around it. By the time I was finished, it was soft and beautiful.
What interests me, and what made me think of relief carving after all these years, is much of the work I’m doing with clients these days is about the process of removing.
I don’t use a gouge anymore (and my many clients appreciate that) but I do wield a mean Sharpie marker on a flip chart. Especially during my VIP Days, clients and I will begin to remove what doesn’t need to be in their businesses (or lives) anymore. We cross out what doesn’t belong on their schedules. If it doesn’t serve or doesn’t excite, it goes on the “Don’t like/Don’t Do” lists.
It’s such a pleasure to help them whittle away their frustrations. To hack out obligations. To highlight their likes and loves.
And the finished product? Relieved clients who see something new for their businesses and lives which they consciously choose after spending time carving away what doesn’t serve them.
When you need relief, you know it.
It feels like:
- Disease (dis-ease)
- A major health/family crisis (or both)
- Subtle knowing something needs to change
- Desire for “something more”
- Knowing there’s more (but not being sure of the what or how)
- Feeling itchy or antsy (but not in a “I-have-poison-ivy-way, though)
If you feel this way, now’s the time to make some room to discover what’s up.
Begin identifying what’s not serving you so you can reveal what’s left. What’s important. And what’s missing! What makes your heart beat a bit faster – scared but ready? And finally, identify what you really want (and what DO you want, by the way?).
When you’re stuck, it can be difficult to do this alone (even if you do it for others). I can help.
Let’s get carving – the end result is a whole lot of relief.
Make Some Room,