Focus Your Time, Money & Energy
My birthday is coming up in November. That’s when I take the day off work to record all I am thankful for in my personal and professional life.
The list for this past year is long, and makes up for some of the not so great things that also happened. I’d rather focus on the upside.
I want to enjoy the experience of looking in the rear view mirror, so I’ll sip a hot cup of cider with a cinnamon stick while I write the list with my favorite fountain pen.
When I’m done with the reflection, it’s time to shine my creative high beams.
I get out my colorful fine point markers along with a great big piece of watercolor art paper and draw a vivid mind map of what’s to come next year.
I’ll hang that up on my office wall, where I can make changes over the next month, before I write my goals.
How do you take stock before you move forward?
If you need a few new ideas, read on ….
Before you read the rest of this tip, take a moment and finish this sentence: “If I could have anything I wanted as my artist's lifestyle, it would be…" Get right into it as though you were already there.
Don’t try to make your vision more “reasonable” or achievable right now. Go for your deepest longings. When you can picture what you really, really, really want, you are more inclined to find the unflinching dedication to get there. We’ll get the “how” later, for now think about the “what.”
Now, draw a picture or write down what you want, but don’t stop there. Think of that brief exercise as a sketch for your art life masterpiece.
When you shine “high beams” on your future instead of groping your way forward in the dark, without a flashlight, three things happen:
You Increase Your Opportunities
Your mind latches on the image of what you want as if it were already real and sees ways to get there. Opportunities seem to "just happen" seemingly "out of the blue.”
You Decrease Your Distractions
You use your desired life to decide the relevance and effectiveness of anything that pops up. You eliminate or reduce the distractions of anything that doesn’t move you closer to your desired future.
You Grow Your Confidence and Your Competence
You develop your attitude, abilities and skills to become your future self, you increase your results. Getting more results makes you feel better and happier.
If you could create a life EXACTLY as you would like it to be, what would that be like?
Dream big at this stage, and don't let the limitations of others’ advice, attitudes, past experiences, or self-defeating thinking get in the way of what you want to achieve. Reality will impose enough obstacles. You don’t need to add more.
Create a Mental Movie of Your Future
Athletes use this type of visioning exercise, to imagine winning and actors do so for performing. For this to work, you need to “be” inside the movie, not watching yourself, from the outside. It also works best with an extraordinary level of detail. Engage all of your senses to imagine you can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear each moment in your dream future.
Free-Write About Your Future
Some artists prefer to write about their vision by hand. For this exercise, release yourself from the rigors of spelling and grammar, and just record words, thoughts, fragments and phrases, as they come to mind.
Envision Your Future Life Roles
Your life encompasses a number of roles besides your work as an artist. You can do this exercise in a written narrative, free-writing, sensory visioning, or sketches. List all of the roles you are in now and add any you want to engage in.
Take Your “Artist’s Life” Inventory
Some of my clients prefer to begin with what they’ve already achieved before considering what they want to do next. One way to accomplish this is to create an artist’s “Bucket List.” As in the popular movie, create a list of all the things you want to do as an artist…the only difference? Include the things you’ve already accomplished, along with those that remain to do- that way, you can “cross them off” your list at the start, and feel well ahead of the game.
”Report” on Your Future
Imagine you’re a reporter for a major newspaper, tasked with writing a feature article on your “future” artist self. Use the journalist’s approach, and the six key questions: What, Who, Where, When, How and Why. Don’t forget to write a catchy headline that sums up your genius.
Once you have your dream future firmly in focus, you can convert that vision into reasonable, accomplishable goals and actions.
Make Lists of Preferences
Put your imagination to good use to “design” your ideal art career and an artist’s lifestyle that will satisfy and sustain you. Write down what you’d like to do more of and less of what you don’t like so you can design your future in that direction. If you need a little inspiration, check this list “Thinking about ideas and content freely – with the deadline far away”at minute 12:39 from the Ted Talk: Stefan Sagmeister: Happiness by design.