Taking Yourself to the Next Level

brainstormingAfter a while when we’ve been living the same lives day after day, hoping for the next opportunity to arise, our lives can start to feel a bit like that movie Groundhog Day. This can make one feel stagnant and like they’re just not getting anywhere with their goals. The problem is that this is the point where many people simply give up. “Well I’ve plateaued, maybe this isn’t my thing.”  In reality, this is the time to push forward even harder and keep persevering. This is the time to put pen to paper and brainstorm the next steps.

  • Ask yourself these questions.

Where can I expand? What skills can I improve? Is there something I can turn this into that may not be expected? Where are my connections? Is there an area I have not yet tapped into yet? Sometimes a little brain storming about our ideas and goals can be the jump start we need to inspire and motivate ourselves again to make the next step. So what’s your next step?

  • Realize that just having goals is not the point.

Only having an idea of what your goals are keeps you at a distance from them in a way.  Truly reaching your goals just means living out your vision on a daily basis and taking the steps necessary to making them solid. Instead of thinking about them as “goals” as a final destination, think about it as an ongoing evolving process that is malleable and can change at any time.  If you have an idea, just go for it, do what you can today to make it real.

Writing prompts: What is your process? How do you feel like you’ve evolved your business idea or project since you started it? How do you feel like you can improve upon your process?

  • Quality Content

Content can mean numerous different things, whether it’s articles on your blog, inventory to showcase in your online store, art or design pieces in your portfolio, content is basically *the* most important thing to function as a business.  It is extremely important to already have quality content or inventory to back up what you will be describing yourself as to people.  Creating quality content is probably the most time consuming step, but it is also one of the most enjoyable.

  • Make it professional.

The difference of whether you have a hobby or have a profession is completely up to you.  There is often a long period of time from starting your venture and when you actually start making money off of it.  If it’s something you love to do you’ll probably be doing it whether or not you make money off of it. Go for things you are passionate about, and then when you have some content built up, start functioning as though you are already a successful venture.  Get business cards, have a graphic designer make a logo for you, print out postcards and start distributing them around your community.  Develop a presence in social media and in your community to let people know what you are up to!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Creative Work

creative space“Creative work” has always seemed like an oxymoron to me. There is a fine line between solely going with the flow, and trying to wrangle out creative ideas on a regimented schedule.  Making visual art or music has to come naturally to me, or it seems too forced and we can often tell when ideas don’t arrive organically. Something that helps me pump out creative work on a regular basis is making sure the conditions of my environment are conductive for creative thought.

Five Tips on How to Do it::

  • Get organized
It’s not necessary to have a big mess in order to be a creative type, often times our mess works against us and our flow.  Having supplies stocked, tools where you can find them, and a dedicated space or surface to create your art helps you go right into your flow without having to look through everything every time you need to find something.
  • Make it inviting / inspiring
Make your creative space a place you want to be in.  I personally love multicolored changing lights to put me in the zone, and a bulletin board on the wall for snippits of favorite images or sketches of upcoming series.  Decorate your walls with art by your favorite artists or designers, or with art you make yourself.  Having visual cues around you to remind you of your vision and goals will help create an inspiring atmosphere.
  • Take Care of Yourself
This seems like it shouldn’t need to be said, right? But you’d be surprised how many aspiring creative people, myself included, that take this area of life for granted.  All that stuff you need to do for regular life maintenance, really needs to get done. This includes household chores, eating well, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep, also throw in some relaxation time and bubble baths or meditation. Keeping all of the basics in check will help you create an environment conductive to productivity and keeping your mind clear and ready to create!
  • Dedicate Yourself and Your Time
Have set blocks of time that you can dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.  Do whatever it takes to follow through.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you if necessary.  I like to have ongoing lists of the next small steps I need to take to get achieve my goals, that way when I am getting back to my creative zone, I know exactly what needs to be done and very little time is spent wondering what to do next.
  • Perfection is Not the Goal
Perfectionism is a great way to never finish anything. Aim for your “personal best” instead.  I like to make something as best that I possibly can, but at some point you just have to stop and the piece has to be completed. Knowing when something is “done” can be one of the hardest things to learn, but if you know that you’ve given it your best there isn’t anything else you can do. Plus, your “best” will become better with time and practice.