This is one of my favourite times of the year, that period after Christmas is gold - nothing is pulling my attention, there’s no rush to be anywhere and it gives time to take stock of the year past and plan the year coming.
2018 has been kind and gifted me with a lot personally and professionally. It’s also delivered some lessons, can you resonate with any of these 5 things I’ve learned from another year of making a full time living creatively?
Number 1 – Reaction Vs. Action
This year I said NO to what wasn’t serving me long term in order to make more room to say YES – it’s scary and full of discomfort to say no to income as a self employed artist, but it’s also empowering.
I realised that 2017 was full to the brim with projects, I felt like I was productive and in constant action because I was busy doing all the time. But it was doing for doing’s sake. It wasn’t the type of action that is clear, considered and will push forward the long term – really I was reacting to what was there. 2018 was all about getting more strategic.
Are you saying the right Yes?
Number 2 - Acknowledge Your Weakness
In February I got the flu which fully wiped me out for a week and had me on low power for a few weeks following. I calculated that I directly lost £700 for that one week off through lost classes and postponed portraits, and that’s not accounting for the weeks after that I only worked on the bare minimum .
This gave me a good kick to acknowledge that too much of my income stems from in person contact whether through teaching or creating portraits in real time. Therefore, new income streams need developed.
Where’s your weak spot and how will you strengthen it?
Number 3 – The importance of YET.
This year, I fully committed myself to writing and updating my new website with studio notes and nurturing my clients through twice monthly emails with tips, inspiration and real insights into the studio.
But I consistently hesitated and had to barrel roll through my insecurities because I was stuck in the impostor syndrome loop that we each hold onto. The ‘I’m not a good enough’ story we tell ourselves when really we’re missing the most important word on that phrase….Yet.
‘I’m not good enough/or I can’t do this or [insert your chosen phrase]…yet.’ That one extra word rephrases the entire sentence from one of finality to one of journey – it puts the emphasis progress.
My writing is definitely not perfect or ‘good enough’ in my eyes [yet], but it’s progressing.
Are you seeking perfection or progression?
Number 4 – The next level.
This year, I’ve quietly contemplated where I need to go to fulfill my version of success. The word ‘success’ is highly personal and subjective – it varies from person to person, often month to month or year to year. Success, whatever that means to you, can then be broken down into stages or levels we have to climb.
This year I focused in taking my teaching to the next level because I want to build relationships with my clients and work in a deep tailored and meaningful way. So this year I set a mission to develop reoccurring classes ,full day or weekend courses alongside developing twice monthly emails full of tips, insights and encouragement because I’m in it, with my clients, for the long term.
I pushed my comfort zone with next level courses like a weekend retreat at the 5* luxury Ashbrooke House (2019 scheduled) and Day Courses across the country. They were big, scary and ambitious but some of my favourite experiences of the year.
What’s your next level?
Number 5 - Set a Must do List
There’s ‘Have to’s and ‘Must do’s’. Have to’s are all the things that we have to do to keep life and business ticking along. Must Do’s on the other hand are things that’s on your heart, that don’t need done right now, but are super important for ‘right, what do I want next?’
Sometimes, by the time we get through all our have to’s, there’s not much time or energy left for the all important must do. So this year I set one small must do each month into my diary.
This has been so successful that next year I’m stepping this up further and putting the have to’s to the back-burner and setting one big must do, slam bang in the centre with ‘Balancing Act,’ A Solo Show scheduled for October 2019.
Regardless of extra workloads, higher income goals and a whole lot of travelling for 2019, Balancing Act will launch. It’s extra, extravagant, tonnes of additional work…but it’s on my heart and it’s on my next level list so that makes it an absolute must do.
When I’m following what’s on my heart, I’m not worried about the admin piling up, getting my head around yet another new marketing trend or how this year’s profits will compare to last year’s. Because none of it matters. I’m here, in the moment and focusing on what must be done.
What Must You do?
What lessons has 2018 given you? I’d love to hear your answers, feel free to comment below, I’ll read every reply.
And if you’d like an extra bit of accountability and encouragement to work on your must do’s in 2019, I send out 2 emails per month with insights from the studio, ways to make time to work on your creativity and lessons on developing your art.