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This month I started the Masterclass with Lisa Call in which we start by setting goals for the year ahead

Now, I am, if I may say so, a master of setting goals. I probably don’t need a class for that. Except, I am greedy. And so I am not so good at limiting the goals to what I can actually achieve. I want to do it all and I forget that’s not possible.

Note, I am not saying that I don’t believe we can achieve anything we set our minds to. I am not saying we should set small easy goals. I believe in dreaming big and setting challenging goals, goals that are just outside your reach.

I am talking about the fact that if you are going to do set big targets, at some point you have to focus on one or two of those big, hairy, audacious goals at a time. Especially if you also have a full-time job and a marriage and a need to sleep from time to time. Splitting your focus means that you do several things pretty well rather than one or two things in an awesome way. That may be fine to you, a trade-off you feel works well. For me though, I increasingly came to feel compromised. The mental energy it took to switch from one project to another and to quell the self-disappointment that I was not fulfilling my true potential in any one of them became wearing. I had to accept; I can do it all, just not all today.

Yet, I fought against giving anything up. Isn’t giving up a sign of weakness, of lack of backbone and effort?

Um, no.

So often, once you start to place your attention in a certain place, the Universe seems to shower you with answers. In one week, three things happened.

1. I read Seth Godin’s The Dip, in which the basic premise is that successful people give up what they don’t have the resources to do really well in order to focus on where they can best succeed.

2. Michael Hyatt wrote a blog post in which he said,

“There is an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.’ This applies to platform building just as it does to most areas of life. The key to success is focus.”

3. Leo Babuta wrote on Zen Habits that he had “drastically and heartwrenchingly” but on hold nine projects to achieve “intense focus”. He wrote,

“And so, I am going through pain and letting go of many things I love to make one awesome thing. To give myself the opportunity of reinvention. To put my entire being into one creation, to aim myself unreservedly and with abandon into one spot in the Universe. Its game time.”

Now, I am not exactly known for doing things just because other people tell me to do so, so I did not blindly follow this advice and example. I did, however, feel empowered to realise that my instincts to trim down and focus were supported by such eminent advisors. I also felt quite smug that I didn’t have nine projects to have to consider giving up!

So, I’d like to say that I immediately took action. In fact I whinged about the decision to a long-suffering friend who quite rightly told me it was matter for me not her to decide. And I tried to whine about it to Lisa Call,but being the good coach, she is, she just made me pick a date to make a decision and then emailed on that date asking what it was.

Gulp. The decision is… Plan• Create •Succeed has to go.

The idea was great. But the blog as you see it bears no resemblance to the idea. It never will unless I am prepared to make it my main focus. Which I am not, because I want that to be making art. So this is my last post.

And you know, now I’ve been and gone and announced it, it feels good. I feel lighter and excited about getting on with learning to make better art.

I will, however, still be writing about planning, creating and succeeding but I am wrapping that up with my existing art blog over at www.helenconwaydesign.com. So please come over there and follow me and I’ll let you know how this focus thing is working out!

 

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