Early one morning, I walked up an urban Queen Anne hill about 50 feet behind a blind man with a walking stick. I have seen this man many times. I remember his independence and courage. He regularly walks up this busy hill to his work, home, or office. This was the first day I ever walked behind him.
There was construction ahead and he walked under the scaffolding that ran the length of an apartment building. He kept walking but about 8 feet from the end of it, his cane hit the scaffolding. Then it hit the other side. He stopped, looking confused. His shoulders began to sag and he reached out to grab the scaffolding. He had no idea what it was.
There was another man walking between me and the blind man. So he did what any shy, busy, inconvenienced young man would do, he detoured into the street to get around the slow and distressed blind man. I was disappointed by his shyness.
As I approached, the blind man was starting to look panicked and turned around in a circle.
“It’s scaffolding.” I said.
He turned to me, his eyes opaque and sightless, listening intently to the sound of my voice.
I kept talking.
“You are under some scaffolding. There is construction here, but if you keep walking three more steps uphill you’ll be out from under it and on your way.”
“Oh my god, thank you!” He continued, “I thought maybe I was in the street.”
Could you imagine his panic and disorientation?
“No, not at all. You are still on the sidewalk and well on your way.”
“Thank you, again.” He said.
“No problem. Have a nice day.” I walked on. He seemed to think I had done enough, but I wondered if I had.
Everyone needs a guide.
It is impossible to see or know it all. It pains me to accept this. There are moments when it can feel like my deepest and darkest fears are manifesting, I am a failure. But maybe instead, I’m a few seconds from impossible-to-see lightness.
There is no hope in understanding a marriage. It is bound by love and faith, not analysis. There is love in one another and more importantly love in what they create together. This home, this family, this feeling, this conversation, this intimacy, this strength, the gift giving, forgiveness and courage they form together and this friendship only exists in this marriage. It is incomprehensible… and a wondrous fact.
Are you looking for inspiration? A little down to earth reflection and renewal? Want to stay current on what’s new and what to expect from Marika? My emails are food for thought packaged with color, soul and humor.
The sea is a literary being. It’s waves finger the sand with hieroglyphs and symbols leaving a puzzle of stories. We have slight moments to code-cipher that which we can’t know with any sense but the heart.
At my studio party on Saturday, a few people asked me last night if it was hard to let my paintings go. And I answered no. As I’ve let them go one by one I have prepared myself for each sale and it has felt good. I love my new profession.
That night was a good night. Beyond expectations.
Six of my originals sold and all ten original watercolor pendants as well as many prints and scarves and cards. At one point there was a line for sales and our house was hard to move in. My husband commandeered me; no more socializing, I had to help him take credit cards.
After everyone left, I finally had a glass of wine. The next day I tried to let it sink in. There is a strange disconnection that occurs for me as I watch my goals unfold. It takes me awhile to quit doing and just absorb the reality, the lovely reality. I’m flying.
My husband, family and I chatted about what went well and what could go better. I had a goal for 2015 to sell 10 original paintings, I’ve already exceeded this. I need a new goal. My son says maybe I should set a goal to make ten million dollars. 🙂
He knows I like to say anything is possible.
After the Studio Party
As I looked at this bare wall I ached a little bit at this mass departing. In a good way, it is bittersweet and joyful, but there is a little ache. Painting is an act of love and I love each one like a child or piece of me. They are moving on to loving homes.
The sale of the originals are the hardest parting. They carry the handprints of my thoughts, reflection, and the love and ache of painting. And the people who bought them will forever be stamped with the memories and emotions embedded in them. We are merged in some way, some friends and some strangers. That is what makes the parting so sweet and satisfying.
In memory and appreciation the following originals have moved on or will be shortly moving on.
And the watercolor pendants which lived such a short life in my hands! They are all gone! I love them and like children, I’m excited for the next phase of their lives.
There is lots of good news but the best news is I’ve got some serious painting to do!
And I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the community. What a wonderful lift off. Thank you!
This post is a continuation from Part 1 posted last week. In order to be successful with Part 2, Part 1 is required reading. You can’t make magic by skipping steps. Come on, you know that. 😉
Step 3: Plan
Yes, I know, planning isn’t really the way it works in the movies or in fairytales. Unfortunately or fortunately, real magic does not require a magic wand, staff or mirror. And magic isn’t going to happen if you just wish for it or say some magic words. Sorry. Life would be easier wouldn’t it? But then, it wouldn’t be such an adventure either.
Like any good potion though, it does require ingredients, and planning is one of them. So we must add a Plan to our potion.
Remember, you are an apprentice. Like any good apprentice, you will have to work hard, study and learn in order to make this potion work. Think about Harry Potter, he had Hogwarts, a whole school and curriculum to study magic! Even Gandolf the Grey learned, toiled and practiced until he became the White Wizard. Don’t you want to be like him? I do.
If you want to practice magic, you must commit to being a student of magic. You must always plan.
It will help to think of your plan as a treasure map that will help you get from where you are now to your Idea.
You are building a map to attain your Idea. The more detailed this map, the better.
So lets do it.
1. Articulate Your Idea
In words, pictures, writing, song, you must spend time really understanding your Idea. You must know this Idea inside and out. You must create a vision of what the world would like if your idea came true. How would your life change? What will you have accomplished? How will the world be different? What artifacts will have been created as a result of this idea?
See yourself in the middle of your idea. What does it feel like? taste like? sound like? Put yourself there and then describe it, record it, perform it in whatever method works for you.
Be as specific as possible.” I kinda think it will look like this…”, “I’ll try…” or “I hope…” does not cut it! Use direct action words, start with ” I will…”
Paint exactly what your Idea looks so you know it when you get there without a doubt. This is your treasure, treat it like a treasure!
As you learn more about yourself and your Idea, you will come back to this vision, over and over again, adding facts, tweaking and rewriting. That is life. But the Idea is the same, do not waiver from the Idea. You must believe ( see step 1).
2. Create Goals
Goals are the key markers to getting to the treasure. Think about a treasure map. It will take 2-5 years to get to the treasure, but in three days you want to cross the river. Crossing the river is a goal. It is the smaller steps towards getting to your Idea, it marks progress and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It gives you hope. You will need hope.
Magic. Is. Hard.
The bigger your Idea, the more goals you will need. Why? Some goals will be easier to attain and some might come easier than you think. If you have the goal, you will know you made progress. It will give you hope and keep you motivated.
What can you achieve that will mark your path on your way to your Idea? Think about this, research this question, read some books and talk to people. They will have different ways of getting to your Idea and they will be helpful. As you think and research start brainstorming goals.
Write or draw each goal on a separate piece of paper.
When you create your goals make sure they have these components:
What will happen?
Keep creating goals. Brainstorm all the goals you can that will help you feel closer to your idea. Remember you are putting each goal on a separate piece of paper. This is important!
It’s a mess isn’t it? Maybe even overwhelming? Here is a sad truth; somethings must get worse before they get better. (Sorry…suck it up…and keep goal crafting.)
Once you have a good set of goals, let’s make it better. Detangle them. Make a map.
Which goal needs to happen before others? Which needs to happen first? Which ones last?
Lay each goal out from first to last. Some goals can run parallel to each other, overlap a little and some will happen at the same time. This is ok. This is great!
How Will You Know?
Now that you have a Map take a look at the first few goals and ask:
How will I know that I have accomplished this goal?
In other words, how will you measure this? If you don’t know, go back and rewrite your goal. You must have a way of measuring your goal. It is simple, if you don’t, you won’t know that you have achieved your goal.
Because seriously, how can you celebrate if you don’t know what you are actually achieving?
This is the fun part! What is the use of goal if you don’t have fun? You Must Have Fun! Fun is deadly serious necessary business.
Create a reward system for attaining a goal.
You want to make $1000 dollars in a month? When you do, have some chocolate, drink some wine, buy your favorite sweater in that catalogue, ring a bell, dance, do it all and just make sure you do something that makes you feel good.
When you achieve a goal, record it somewhere. Create a book of goals you have achieved, or put it in a fancy box, sing a song or paste it on a poster. Make it colorful. Make it real. Make it feel like your goal really did just happen!
You want to watch the pile of achieved goals accumulate.
This will make you powerful!
The more powerful you feel, the stronger your magic.
As much as ideas define you, goals define the attainment of your Idea. Without goals, a map, and a celebration, no magic.
Strategy is the how, what, where and who you need to make your goals happen.
Think of your treasure map. Are you going to go through the woods or over the mountains? Are you going on horseback? How will you get a horse? by boat? by caravan? running or walking? Will you do this alone? bring your family? what about friends? when will you do this?
Pick 1-3 Goals that you are comfortable starting now. These should be ones at the front of your map.
Ask of these goals:
As I stand right now, do I have what I need to achieve this goal?
Do you need additional
to attain that goal?
You may need to take classes, educate yourself, practice, research, read, meet people, talk to people, develop yourself or stop doing something that is killing your time. You may need people with those skills you don’t have and who want to help you.
If you need more of the above, make a goal to get it and add it to your map.
Refine your goals. Make sure you have everything you need to make them happen. Be honest with yourself.
Are you sure you have the right 1-3 goals to start with and everything you need to achieve them?
Let’s move on.
Think in NOTS.
Ask the following of your goal;
What can I possibly do to make sure this goal does NOT happen?
No, seriously. Try it out.
Here is an example:
Goal: Sell $1000 in paintings this month.
My list of NOTs:
Let no one know I sell paintings. Do not price my work. Do not reasonably price my work. Do not show people my paintings. Do not talk to people about my painting. Do not show any enthusiasm for my painting. Do not love my painting. Do not post my work online. Do not share it on facebook or other social media. Do not contact galleries about my work. Do not contact interior designers about my paintings. Do not ask people if they want to buy my painting or commission my work. Do not actively search for people who like and buy art. Do not seek out ways to provide alternative affordable options for buying my work.
Now try it. Go on, get it out of your system. Give me all the NOTS you can think of. Take your time. It kind of feels good to get negative…in a productive way.
Is it clear now?
The point is:
Plan to Give Your Goals Opportunities! Lots of Opportunities!
I must say it again. A goal will never be achieved unless you plan to give it opportunities.
After you have listed as many NOTs as possible, delete the NOTs and you have the beginnings of your tactics.
Now get specific.
Spell out the when,where and how for each tactic.
Your tactics need to be flexible, this is a strategy. Make sure you have more than one tactic for how to achieve a goal. Why? One tactic will be more successful than another and sometimes it will surprise you!
Here is an Example:
I’ll share my work every week day (when) online on Facebook (where) and twice a week on my blog (where and when) These posts will include a picture of my work, a description, price and a means to contact me (how).
I will contact via email or phone (where) one potential buyer once a week (when), introduce myself and my work and ask for a brief meeting or studio visit to discuss my painting (how).
I will hold an Open studio party at my studio (where) once a year when (March 28th to be exact!) and invite people to review my work, purchase prints, paintings, commissions and socialize.
Now, you have a lot of work to do, don’t you?
I’m tired too.
I’ll leave you to it. It takes time to articulate your Idea, create your goals and build your strategy. And like all the steps, they are dynamic and you will return and tweak them. Over and over again.
But the more time you spend thinking and working on your plan, the stronger your magic will become.
It may seem like we are close to done, but we are only half way there. There are 3 more steps and they are just as critical as the first 3.