Do you ever feel like you know what you want to accomplish but get overwhelmed in the process? I do. Whether I have given myself a goal of making a whole new series of paintings or dreaming of doing a workshop in Morocco. It doesn’t matter what the thing(s) is I am trying to accomplish, somewhere along the way my energy drops and I lose my way.
I recently was reminded of the solution to this problem by one of my artist friends and business mentor, Tom Miller, who recently facilitated an off site for the Art2life team.
It has to do with understanding the difference between thinking big, the mindset that allows you to come up with the big idea in the first place, and the smaller, more patient mindset of moving slowly, taking the small steps in order to accomplish your goals.
In the beginning when we set off dreaming and scheming that next big idea there is always excitement and passion. Finally we are identifying what we desire. It feels awesome. It is crucial we say what we want to do. Letting the cat out of the bag and setting an intention is the first step in accomplishing anything we desire.
However, once we start along the path to actually doing it, the luster and enthusiasm often diminishes. This is, I believe, because the mindset of thinking big is different from the mindset of accomplishment. In fact, they are opposite. This mindset of accomplishment is about moving slowly.
This second phase mindset is often one of patience, planning and small incremental steps. By its very nature it is just not as exciting. Imagining a series of 10 paintings all over 7 ft. tall is exciting. Cleaning out your garage or studio so you have more room to work is not. Adding to this problem is that there seems to be a million small steps, many of which feel mundane or tiresome, that all have to be taken in order for that dream to be realized.
What has been especially useful for me is to redefine these smaller steps, almost imbue them with more importance so I can stay on track. Here is what I do:
I create a roadmap. I write every step down I can think of that needs to be taken to arrive at my goal. I put them in order. These are like the stepping-stones to cross the river. It is relatively quick to do this and what you have at the end is a visual pathway with your goal at the end of it. There it is! All the steps leading to what you desire. This planning phase is exciting as it is so clearly connected to your desire. You are thinking big but also slow at the same time.
Even taking the first step moves you towards your goal. Not only can you see it, but also your progress is measurable which is super energizing. This is such a simple idea but it has made all the difference in the world for me. You might be in the weeds for a while but knowing where you are going by clearly seeing that star overhead makes all the difference in the world.
How do you accomplish what you desire? Please let the rest of us know by leaving a comment below. Thanks!
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.