Joint Base Charleston


Doodling is fundamental

By Lt. Col. Jennifer Judd | 628th Force Support Squadron commander | July 09, 2014

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- You are an artist. Whether you believe it or not, there's power in your mind to make shapes, letters and patterns. If you take that power and apply it in your everyday life by making doodles in the margins of your notebooks or the stickies on your desk, then you are actually harnessing your brain's ability to focus. It seems counterintuitive, but research exists that demonstrates doodling -- the act of simple drawing or sketching -- can actually help with the creative thinking process. Whether you think you have talent for drawing doesn't really matter. What matters is just putting pen to paper.

We've recently been challenged by our AMC commander to "lead boldly." In this time of resource uncertainty, overwhelming personnel program changes, intense customer service challenges and missions across the installation that don't take any breaks, it has been hard for me to figure out how, exactly, I should be leading boldly. Instead of fretting and trying to define it all at once in an email or a PowerPoint slide, I took out my favorite set of markers and a big sheet of white paper. A few hours of doodling, drawing and making fun letters took my mind to another place but also started me thinking about different ways to view "bold leadership." I wrote myself questions and then a few answers; those answers then led to more questions until I had the page full! My creative thinking was unleashed and my quandary became less daunting. I now have a graphic representation of how I intend to embolden my leadership style.

I want to share it with you as an example of how a square of paper and a pen that makes dots, lines, words and letters can be tools for you to take your mind to a different place. You can doodle your way out of frustration or confusion by letting your mind wander. Even if you claim you can't draw, it's about freeing up your thinking and letting your pen take over -- you never have to show anyone. Find your inner artist and doodle away. You may be surprised at the results!

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