I had a mini-jolt listening to my current audiobook ‘Unlabel’ on my way home Friday when the author said something about his ADD – can’t remember exactly what, but it fit me – always being distracted by things I want to learn and things I can do. It’s a dangerous place to be if you are self-employed and responsible for creating your own income and even if you just want to live a full life. I think most of us in today’s world have ‘ADD tendencies’ – not the full-blown illness, but enough that our lives are constantly derailed. But I believe this ‘ADD’ is a thing I CAN push aside. I can have laser focus and a life on smooth running tracks. We all can.
So, here comes my start to 2016. I don’t ‘do’ New Year’s resolutions; they usually just give you one more ‘experience of failure’ and let’s face it, most of us have enough of to go round and share with every passing stranger if we wanted to right?
Damn! You see! I just went off and checked something on Facebook because my phone pinged! Ok, ‘focus, focus, focus…’ phone is now on silent. Simple tools, like ‘mute’ buttons, to help you achieve your goals ARE worth using.
So, it’s not quite a New Year’s resolution because I’ve been working up to this all last year, but I have decided that I MUST get back on track with my personal business goals this year. I have been derailed by taking on the M-F day-job which has proven to be a real energy drain as there is never a moment when, in my position, I can say I have completed my work: it’s one of those roles where the pile of things to do is sky-high and messy and there’s no time allowed to sort it out…yuh know?
Happily, we now have a new, very organized and capable Boss who is, using Project Management techniques, gradually, bringing things into a manageable focus – and that has helped immensely! It makes such a difference, and can for you too –simple project management tools really help with many small businesses – especially creative ones and are easily applied to home and personal life; they can really help move you forward to a clear view of the light of day.
You CAN change your reality and have time pockets popping up regularly available for LIVING!
Over the years, I have read and practiced MANY techniques – starting with ‘The Secret’ and some ‘Clear your Clutter’ book – can’t remember which one. I subscribed to some blogs etc…and as the internet of how-to’s has grown (of which, yes, I know, ironically I am a part), I have gradually realized that you can really have WAY too much guidance in your life and that the real ‘secret’ is that there’s a reason there’s no film called ‘Think It And They Will Come’ … because it is DOING things, ACTION, Building it, that makes things happen!!!
The Secret in a nutshell: If you think it, you will be it
The REAL secret: if you don’t do it, you can think you ass off and you’ll never be it.
ACTION IS EVERYTHING
I’ve written before about how it pisses me off, the mega-bucks industry of telling people they can bend the ways of the universe by focus and all good things will fall into their lap…I believe VERY strongly in our ability to create a positive energy that helps make things happen - what many people would call the power of prayer, but I believe just as much that without laser focused action, no amount of mental, cerebral, spiritual focus will make things materialize.
Luckily the real secret is actually quite doable
By all means choose a few guides and help books – they are all useful, including ‘The Secret’ which I credit with helping me move from a negative life cycle into the positive one I am now in. BUT don’t get trapped in hoarding how-to books!!! Just use a few, and let them lead you to your own conclusions.
Trust that you CAN: trust in it being really possible and you will find your locks clicking open. You have to make a definite personal choice to allow that to happen. If you don’t, no amount of reading and coaching will unlock you.
Sign up with a coach: If you can afford it (and think carefully about how you decide if you can/can’t ‘afford’ it –this is an investment that should enable you to break out of a negative cycle and start to experience success) sign up with a coach. I signed up officially for my friend Debra Ross’s coaching sessions – Life by Choice – to help me find the laser focus. I had gotten quite far with various books and mini-coaching sessions, and blogs – Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action blog being the one I have had most really useful help from, he also provides coaching to creative people. BUT, I realized I was not, in my current circumstances, able to make my personal goals happen. Recognizing the need for specialized help is a positive, sound business move.
Clear your inbox clutter! The ‘unsubscribe’ button is your friend!!! How often has your plan to ‘get things done’ disappeared into a crazy-maze of internet surfing initiated by that oh-so-interesting-but-really-is-it-really-useful-e-newsletter? (you can get them back when you really DO have more spare time...)
Now, my ‘Aha’ moment BREAK IT DOWN! Chip, chop, section off, divide and conquer! Break it up into small enough chunks that you can get yourself on the road to a whole life-changing EXPERIENCES OF SUCCESS (Arnold Mol, ‘CreatingWinners in the Workplace’ is a good book even if you are a solopreneur)
Make your goals achievable – mini goals – yes, you (may) have your big goal – you may not, and that’s also ok – don’t build an Iron Curtain for yourself by not doing anything because you can’t figure out your life’s dream/ purpose…it will come as you unlock things for yourself
|What's your Target?|
Use Project Management Techniques – Goals (the big end result) eg Success as an artist may be a good goal, but heck! How the hell do you get there? Break it down into steps. Baby steps.
Mine for my first week of Life by Choice coaching is to: Create a workable workspace
Physically moving just those tools and materials out of my badly messed up studio, into my clear living room – so I can work (leaving the big Iron Curtain of clearing my studio aside for now)
Clearing the mental clutter – writing a list of all the ‘little’ things I have to do – for house, family, colleagues, friends…and ticking them all off one by one by making the conscious choice to do them regularly during my breakfast, lunch and evening. NOTE- do not use up all your rest time – this is a non-negotiable – just do a bit each day in each period and you’ll see how doable it is.
Choose a small selection of my photos to work from. This is also to be done while having a glass of wine on an evening – relaxing…enjoying browsing my photos. BUT I have to do it efficiently – once I have enough to get going, then I…GET GOING! Avoid rolling down another slippery slope to ADD-dom! It is NOT necessary to find absolutely the best, perfect things to work on – that is a fairy tale place! Good enough is exactly what is needed!
Write one blog a week – well ;) here I am…doing it (and while reminding myself of my goals and objectives)
Now, back to the rest of Project Management: Set your goals, then it’s simple – break them down into (if needed) Objectives – so ‘To become a Successful Artist’ – what are your steps?
Maybe ‘find inspiration’ (pick your voice)
Maybe ‘learn X technique’ (keep it laser-focused…DO NOT derail off to A, F,K and Z techniques too!)
Maybe ‘Hold a mini-exhibition’ NEVER be afraid to show your work and get it out there – you don’t have to achieve greatness all-in-one, but you do have to build it step-by-step and believe in yourself. And a piece of extra advice – do market research at these first showings – it will help you decide how to have your authentic voice and the market be really good profitable friends (I am still on this step btw!)
Ok, next Project Management steps are – BREAK IT DOWN into ACTIVITIES – all the little steps needed to make these Objectives happen – AND note some ways in which you will MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS – real measures – eg 10 paintings completed; 1 exhibition held…
Set timeframes – give each activity a deadline – make it realistic – DO NOT set yourself un-achievably short timeframes – allow yourself to succeed by setting reasonable time-frames. NOTE not lazy ones either – I have chosen WEEKLY GOALS for this reason – I need to see it done and feel the success.
Before I knew of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ I had made my own wall-stickers saying ‘Do it, then it’s done’ this was long before any self-help books or internet blogs…like me, you DO have what it takes inside you. Believe it, unlock it, do it. Succeed!
End Note: I will be, finally, moving my blog over to Island Effect I do hope you will join me here - please pop over and subscribe there so I can see that you are still going to be with me :)
I will post a mix of my work as it evolves as well as my journey and things I learn along the way. Also, there'll be places and things that interest me - especially as I set out to be a tourist in my homeland Saint Lucia...so lots of things .... for now, these posts will be in both places
Thank you to all those who share the love and comment here - it is always like a surprise gift! Comment here or on Island Effect both make me very happy!