Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What are you trying to accomplish?

I am an NPR junkie. It is on in my studio day and night. So I heard quite a bit of the Petraeus and Crocker show in the last few days. One thing struck me later in the day as I was processing some of what I had heard. One of the Congressman was asking them how will we know if we have accomplished our goals in Iraq? What is it we are trying to accomplish in Iraq? What will victory look like?

Did you hear the light bulb clicking on as well. I won't get into the political fray here. Too many other people do that very well. But what I loved about that simple question is the universality of it. If we don't have any idea of where we are going, how will we know when we have gotten there? How will we know what it will look like or feel like?

So, have you asked yourself this question lately....."What am I trying to accomplish?" What will success look like for you? The "for you" part of that sentence is very important. If we are trying to mimic what others have done without questioning if it fits our own needs and desires, it will be hard to put our heart into it. It is easy to get caught up into what we should want. But when we listen to what we really want, and begin to think about how that will look and feel, all sorts of things start happening.

There is a "law of attraction" theory I bump into from time to time on various blogs. I do not know much about it. But I do know this. When I have an idea of what I would like to be doing in my life, opportunities come my way. I don't think it is so much that I attract these opportunities, as I notice them when they present themselves. I think they are always there. Whether or not I pay attention or act upon them is what is different.

Opportunity is patient, and reasonably persistent. It will make another pass, and another, and still another. Waiting for you to pay attention, and to act.

If you are vague in your goals it is harder to know if you have reached them. And it is harder to see the opportunities that are in front of you to help you acheive your goals. "I want to grow my business," is not adequate. By how much? And how? Do you want to do shows? What kind of shows? Do you want to teach? What kind of setting, and what kind of classes? Do you want to grow your sales by 10% or do you want to double your sales? There is a huge gulf between those two goals, and both may be valid, depending where you are right now, and what resources (time, money, etc.) you have to put into it.

A month ago, I was thinking I had left myself with very little on the calendar for the fall. I was wondering how I was going to generate some wholesale business to ompensate. But then things started popping up. Two different Holiday Sales shows at non-profits came seemingly out of no where. A casual conversation with another artist, and the next thing I know I have added a show for October. It seemed a month ago that it was too late to make something like this happen. But happen it did.

So do some dreaming. What will success look like for you? How will you know that you are on the way to your dreams? Where and how will it happen? And be sure to share some of your goals with others. If you hold your dreams too tightly you may not be able to reach them. Invariably, it is through the help of another that we move closer to our goals.

This is not one of those, "been there, done that" kind of questions. Dreams are no more static that clouds in the sky. We need to be sure and check in regularly. How do we feel about where we are going? Is it still working for us? Or is it time to aim for a different star? Or are you just having a bad day? Bad days do happen.

Maybe you could paint a picture of what it will look like. Or write your obituary. This is a classic high school exercise to get kids thinking about what they want to do in their life. What do you want your obituary to say? Or maybe you could write a poem or a song about what it will feel like when you reach your goal. Above all, be open and honest with yourself. The answers are all there if you just pay close attention.

1 comment:

harriett said...

Most excellent post! I needed to be reminded of these truths. It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day, we need to, from time to time, re-examine what it is we want from life.