Using the InspireMe! cards
to Slow Down, Look Around


Using the InspireMe! cards
to Slow Down, Look Around

From the desk of our Agile friend and Coach, Deborah Preuss


Did you know that our InspireMe! coaching deck includes exercises to try?
Here’s how we used them to slow down as we kicked off a coach retreat.

(Let me know what experiments you try!)

InspireMe! Try This card

I recently had the honor of helping 40 agile coaches kick off a CoReDay in my own city, Karlsruhe, Germany. Knowing they’d be coming off of trains, buses and bikes, I wanted to offer them a few moments to slow down, breathe, and choose a direction, before the delicious day began.

I invited them to “clear their desk,” to put aside urgencies and other people’s opinions, and to get a feel for what was really important for them today – it could be anything from problem solving to skill building or listening or teaching.

In the cool Blue Box by supplies last…order the
InspireMe! card deck for an Agile friend (or two).


Then I invited them to consider the “stance” in which we’d approach our interactions that day, drawing particular attention to Generosity, Authenticity and Courage.

And at the end of my talk, I wanted to experimented with the InspireMe! cards that Lyssa, John and I crafted this year. Their arresting images and heart-felt encouragement are designed for *exactly* this crowd… but there was no way they could thoughtfully read even a few! What to do? I found inspiration the Try This  card called  Pro-spective.

I offered them 5 minutes to set a direction or intention or goal for the day, in any way they liked: sit quietly, write, go for a walk … or peruse the InspireMe! cards for a spark or impulse (with a warning: do not try to read them! Just grab one that sends you in the right direction.) I’d laid out two decks: on one side of the room with the pictures facing up, and on the other side of the room, another set, flipped so people could see the big words at the bottom of each. (I find words harder to process fast, but some people prefer them.)

At the end of 5 minutes, I invited them to rejoin the circle, and NOT share what they’d decided on. (We who facilitate groups know: even the most inspired plan must be held very lightly, with readiness to throw it out the window when something more resonant appears.)  Instead, I asked “what two words do you want to speak into the room, as we start the day?” We quietly went once around the circle, and then on to our practice sessions!

I was surprised how many had chosen words from multiple cards … and then were reluctant to give them up afterwards! A smartphone photo would have to do…

(click to enlarge, to read these cards)

Just a few InspireMe! Cards


Since then, I’ve thought up several more ways to use them with a group, for example:

  • for a large group, shuffle two decks (same number of cards as people in the room) and have each pick a resonant card on a theme (your teams, your future, etc.). Then find the person with a matching card and take turns explaining your card’s significance. It will be noisy!
  • The advice, exercises and images on the cards were carefully selected to address, and sometimes challenge, the work of Agilists and other change agents. We hope you’ll pick a random one for yourself when journaling, or put “the right one” on your desk for encouragement for a week, or try the 15 Try This exercises… and create your own!

    How do you use them for personal reflection? How will they inspire your teams? I’d love to hear what you try in the comments section below!

    • brandon deal
      Posted at 19:37h, 03 April

      one of the aspects i love most about my new job is the ability to participate in our agile advisory services team to ensure we remain current and keep our practice moving forward (a position that requires many of the leadership/facilitation skills i’ve been building on since the bootcamp)…

      as part of that participation, i was running through some last-minute preparations for a big presentation last week and decided to consult my inspireme deck for a little early morning inspiration…and the one i stumbled across couldn’t have been more timely:

      “i’ve learned that people forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

      i’ve co-facilitated many multi-day training sessions but, with this being my first solo presentation, i was admittedly super nervous…until i got that little piece of perspective and realized that in moments of nervousness, i should default to what i know…and what i do best — connect with people.

      sounds simple, but it seriously changed my entire outlook/approach just an hour before go-time…and led to an extremely successful (and self-fulfilling) event where i spent most of the time having conversations rather than lecturing and talking to slides. the feedback was great too!

      must feel good knowing your impact is allowing others to find theirs…