Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She is also a contributing editor for American Artist's Watercolor and Workshop magazines and she writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik. Find out how you can be a guest author.
Why do we lack confidence to forge ahead? We don't know where to start and feel overwhelmed. Too much information doesn't help us clear our minds and seek the next action step.
I know what my goals are, but attaining those goals requires action... daily action. The process is slow. Some days I have trouble getting started and if I ask myself what's holding me up, it could be any number of things. My husband and I have been using Scrum - a management system developed for software engineers. I'm finding Scrum useful for prioritizing and accomplishing my everyday tasks. Each evening, we review 3 questions: What I did today, what I plan to do tomorrow, and what's holding me up - what got in the way of my progress? There's no analyzing, self flagellation -- just stating the facts.
So... how does reviewing daily action relate to building self-confidence? What I've discovered is that building self-confidence has more to do with my ability to solve everyday problems than with how I was raised (which by the way was to think poorly of myself). I was repeatedly told that I'd never succeed at anything. Although those voices of the past still plague me, I "show them" with positive daily actions. It's amazing how insignificant, repetitive daily action increases my confidence over time.
Working on a daily action plan eliminates all the fuss surrounding who we think we are and what we might accomplish. It also takes lofty dreams and organizes their implementation into do-able (but less exciting) steps. While dreaming and planning are fine and have their place, it's the day in, day-out DOING that what will change the world.
Want to change the world
- at least your world? Make a list.
This kind of list is not as exciting as listing big goals, like where do you want to be in five years. This list deals with "right now".
Where are you, right now, in your career? What have you accomplished so far? What have you got going for you? What can you do today, tomorrow, this week to eliminate your current roadblock?
What's in your way of getting today's work done?
All the talking, planning and dreaming in the world will not help me get today's work done - only action will. It's disconcerting that as soon as I begin to take action, I hit another roadblock.Sometimes it's technical, sometimes it's because I don't have the right supplies on hand.
So now I ask you, my fellow artistic travelers... are you ready to take action, day by day, working through the issues, problems and "dips" in order to reach your version of expertise? I promise you it will be sometimes tedious, even boring, but the rewards of daily, focused work will lead you to the success you dream of. There are no shortcuts - it takes daily concerted action The good part is that ultimately, hard work results in joy. Remember, if being a remarkable artist were easy, original art wouldn't be worth much.