Have you ever worked so hard on something that it should “go” and then NOTHING happens as you imagined? This was my 2015.
I was being diligent with all my goals and marking them off each day and week before the launch of our new art playgroups and programs. I was excited (still am) and thought that it definitely was going to go has planned. Did it? NO
Needless to say, it was frustrating and confusing. Why and how can I spend so much time and effort on my goal but it still didn’t go as planned? Are you kidding me!
As I said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed 2016, I started writing down my new goals and then I froze. I began to doubt myself because my "goals" didn't go as planned - even though I was working and being diligent. Then I thought if I’m truly passionate about bringing creativity to the forefront of families and empowering individuals through art, then why not allow myself to create and see if I find some kind of a-ha moment in the process. Honestly, I was sick of sitting at my computer and trying to figure out Faecbook! It wasn’t getting me anywhere.
I traded my computer for 3 days for a canvas. I painted with my business partner and art mentor, Jean. In the process my inner thoughts kept yelling “what are you doing, you need to be at the computer! You do not have time to paint! You need to focus on your goals!” I had to work hard to quite that inner voice and I began reorganizing my thoughts. In the process of playing with colors and overcoming the fear of a blank canvas, I came to some realizations that empowered and helped me organize my goals for 2016.
The same question can bring very different answers depending how it is framed. The goal for this painting was to create a home learning different painting techniques and shapes. I was asked to imagine what a home means to me? Of course I immediately thought of my family and started organizing my home for the 5 of us. It was the traditional thought of a home having love, safety, laughter, unity. Then I was asked “what is your dream home that is only your safe haven to go to and be anywhere.”
What? A place where I could go, imagine and escape the demands of life for 5 minutes. Really? That’s allowed? Re-framing the question allowed me to open my imagination to a new level.
I learned, sometimes you just need to start. I had an idea but it was only an idea. I didn’t even know how to begin. I stared at a blank canvas for a few minutes and asked “now what?” The answer I received, “just start.” Still not fully knowing how to “start”, I just lightly started on the background. I didn’t know what direction to take and didn’t have answers, but I knew I wanted to start with blue. I love my background I created. Right now it’s what I love about my painting maybe because I just started even though I didn’t know what to do. I embraced the unexpected.
I learned, washing paint off my canvas is easier than I thought. I couldn’t get a part of my painting right that I felt comfortable and happy with. The color was wrong the shape was wrong. I felt everything was wrong and I wanted to give up. Jean kept asking me the same question, “what do you not like?” The answer was always the same. I didn’t like the roof on the house.
Answer…wipe it off. A simple answer but so profound. I didn’t need to change my whole painting, revamp it or throw it away. I just needed to wipe off the heaviness in the color. Thinking it can’t be that simple, I wiped off some of the paint. It took off the heavy color, and I suddenly loved the roof. I just had to lighten the color without starting all over. It brought a new direction to the painting. I’m not done with it but I can now imagine where I want to go with it.
So, did I come out with an a-ha moment that is going to solve my question of how to make my goals for 2016 launch and shine? No.
But I can remember these 3 lessons and transfer it to my life and business. I think these lessons can bring future a-ha moments when I’m open to the unexpected.
1. Allow myself to re-frame questions. New and unexpected answers will probably come to me. I read a wonderful story of a master teaching a student about asking questions. The student learned "there are no wrong questions, only unasked ones. We must ask, for without asking, we cannot receive answers. But it is your responsibility to ask. No one else can do that for you."
2. Just start. If I allowed the fear of a blank canvas to stifle my ideas, I wouldn’t have a painting that I’m beginning to enjoy. I’m now excited to think of the end result.
3. Modifying can be easier than imagined. Sometimes we are on the right path, we just have to wipe off some of the heaviness to see it.
I’m obviously back on my computer, but I’m back on with a new excitement for 2016. My inner voice isn’t yelling so loud right now and I feel like I can take on new challenges embracing the unexpected.
My advice for 2016 is when your goals/plans are not going as anticipated take a break and exercise your creativity. It will not be a waste of time. Here’s to a fulfilling 2016 unleashing your creativity with success, setbacks, tears and laughter. Enjoy!