There are so many people who have a lot to say on how to succeed as an artist. I can pretty much sum it all up in this- the more you do, the more likely you are to succeed. But why do some people grasp success while others don't for unequal effort? So I'm going to tell you what not to do, instead of what to do. So you can avoid failure.
I think why you and I are here together is that we seek the same thing, to reach people, offer value to people and be successful at it. With the same goal in mind, I can tell you right now that there are other people out there that have more experience doing this than me. Yet, I feel that we all are on a journey and while we are on it, we learn, and what we learn we can share.
Do you ever feel like you are sinking or swimming against a current when all you want to do is share your work? This is how I felt for a long time, until I got focused and made a plan. If you don't know in which direction you should be swimming, you'll keep floundering and you just may drowned in your business. No one likes to fail right? If you don't have a plan, your plan is to fail- Ben Franklin.
But How to Plan?
Let's talk about having a BIG picture of what we want. If we have nailed down what we want, then that is our destination. It should be a simple thing, but a lot of people don't know what they want in life, or where they even want to go with their business. They just let the circumstances or sometimes even others direct the path that they go on, and then they look back at their lives with regret and disappointment because they never got where they wanted to go.
So simply put, you got to get focused on where you want to go. Pick your destination. Mine is to become a well known artist. Too vague. Mine is to reach 1 million subscribers on Youtube and to make a living from my art. Still too vague. Mine is to reach 1 million subscribers on Youtube and to make $100,000/year with my art and lessons. This destination is clear, and it is not unattainable either. Now I can make choices now that will put me in that direction, where as before I didn't have a clear place I was headed. Now it is your turn...
Where we are at now and where our destination is, is our journey to get there. Now we can zig zag, go down a trail to some other destination and get lost and never even make it, doesn't sound fun does it. Like you I would like to get to my destination as quickly and painless as possible. BUT just realize that all that destination has to offer....was on the road to get there. So if this is the case than you should seek the best experience on your journey right! The reality is this journey is full of obstacles and they are going to make us stronger. "To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping." Chinese Proverb
I would like to follow that with stepping in the RIGHT direction. Some of the best authors I know Tolkein and JK Rowling have talked about their process in creating a series of some of the most successful books today. Their process, IS their journey to the destination of becoming well known authors that reached more people then I can even fathom. What they have in common is very important, they took the crucial step to plan their series before they even started to write one word in their first book. They knew what was going to happen in the last book before they even started the first one. They saw the big picture and at first their book was their first destinations before they could make it to well known author destination, and THAT is the planning I am talking about.
It is not only clearly choosing our destination, but planning our path to get there. The plan is our path and we may find a better path as we go down it or take some shortcuts, or decide that we need help. But most importantly we will know that we are on the right path.
If we want to avoid planning, we are truly setting ourselves up to fail. Even if like Eisenhower said the plan was nothing, but it truly was everything. What do you think he means here? I think he is saying that the plan is extremely important but it is changeable as we go on our journey. For example, my dear friend always wanted to be a mother, after finding she couldn't have children, her plans in life changed only in that she adopted four boys. We are going to get sidelined like that, but if we know where we are headed, we just climb over the obstacle and keep going on the path we chose.
As we take one step at a time we will get stronger and learn more. We will have to do things beyond our comfort level that will stretch us further then we thought we could reach.
If you consider yourself a "non planner," become one. Choose it right now. Planning may come easy to some more than others, but you have to take charge of yourself, your business, and your life.
I would like to invite you to make a plan this month. A great book to read to help you is "The One Thing, The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results," by Gary Keller.