Heather Hansen

Improve Your Memory & Your Mission Statement

Can you draw? I’m dismal at drawing. Even when I was a kid, I couldn’t draw. One of my best friends in grammar school was Lisa Graves, and she could DRAW.  (Still can–check out her work here. ) Lisa would try to help me to draw, and I was able to draw a frog (5 upside-down U’s, pretty much) and a dog’s face (2 circles, 3 upside down U’s and a U for the tongue). That has been the extent of my drawing skills. But if I want to improve my memory, it’s time for me to break out the crayons. Because a recent study shows that drawing improves memory performance dramatically. 

In this study they had people draw pictures of words in a list, or just list the words. Those that drew the pictures were more likely to remember the words. Then they had people draw the “definition” of a word or write it out. Once again, those who drew were more likely to remember. The most exciting aspect of these studies was how drawing was able to help those with dementia improve their memory. Drawing  does something in our brains that improves our memory.  And we can use that better memory to help us become better advocates. 

You may recall a few weeks ago we discussed that the foundation of advocacy is knowing what you stand for, and I recommended that you create mission statements for your business and for yourself. In my experience, though, many people don’t remember mission statements because they are often long and unclear. But what if you were to draw your mission statement? My personal mission statement is to bring joy, curiosity and kindness to my endeavors. If I draw those things (whatever they mean to me), I am much more likely to remember them.

Try this with your teams and yourself. Discuss your mission statement, and then draw it. In a week or so, see how well you remember your mission statement. I’d bet that the pictures stuck with you even more than words do. When it comes time to stand up for yourself, you have to know what you stand for. And drawing a picture, even a bad one, will help.

Heather Hansen

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