When we work with our clients on any size project, one of the first steps we do is to sit and talk, listen, and visualize. Creative lives and businesses can hold uncertain futures; there may be no direct path up, like with a corporate ladder. Creative projects can thrive in unpredictable ways; the end result of an exhibition or competition, for instance, can turn out better than planned since the art work and creative minds collaborating generate more ideas and a unique project-based symbiosis.
What's that saying my mother always says? 98% of what we worry about never happens.
This is where visualization comes in. It's a powerful tool to set your path straight and take actionable steps to fulfilling goals. This great article sums it up perfectly, especially this sentiment by Sarah Kathleen Peck:
Exactly. Here is a 2.5 hour step-by-step guideline to get you on your way to succeeding, instead of always having to swat away that annoying voice in the back of your mind:
1) Write down your goal. Say it out loud. Now set your timer for 2.5 hours and shut off contact to the outside world. Keep water and snacks near by. Do not let anyone get in your way.
2) Make a folder, physically or on your computer, and start keeping stuff there. Make it easy to find and have it stare you in the face.
3) Take at least one uninterrupted hour and visualize your goal. Write it, draw it or sing it. Whatever it takes to get you in the head space.
4) Now write down each and every step, no matter how trivial or scary, that it will take to get you there. What kind of cash do you need? What is your timeline? Do you need special stuff? Do you need to consult an expert? Are you completely changing your life or just doing a side project? All of these ideas matter. Write them down.
5) Now put these ideas in order to the best of your ability. Consider a timeline.
6) Now categorize each step so you know what you are in for and how much time you will need to spend: easy, difficult, requires, bravery, needs research, needs money, lengthy, cheap, fun, urgent, etc.
7) At this point you are either terrified, totally jazzed, or a combination of the two. Don't stop. Call someone or go find someone that you know and trust, and tell them. Show them your plan. Saying it out loud makes it real. Your 2.5 hour exercise is over, but that's not all. There's more.
8) Have a drink.
9) The next chance you get, start scheduling everything. After some sleep and a new spring in your step, you can begin scheduling these steps into your calendar and decide how you will hold yourself accountable.
10) Get an accountability buddy who will kick your ass, or practice self-deprivation of something you love that you will NOT get until you finish a step. No one ever said this was easy.
Keep going, and know that your plan needs to remain flexible. Things will not go exactly as you dreamed, but they might even be better. Assess your plan after each step, reorganize time and get new perspective but do. not. stop. Because at the next party you are the person who gets to modestly boast about all of the progress you have made on launching your side business or writing a book, and you won't be the guy wishing he has the balls to do it.
Need some assistance telling your unique story in a beautiful, clear and compelling way? Get in touch, we'd love to chat.
This post was originally published July 10, 2014.