• Shandra Stephenson

2019 Resolution: Stop being a starving artist..

Updated: Jan 22, 2019





"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." -Pablo Picasso

Going from Grit to Great


Ah, another year has begun and the resolutions are flowing strong.. Anyone else feel like they set out with the best of intentions every year only to fall off track shortly after and end up in a pit of guilt and anxiety? That would be me!


So, how do we keep our resolutions? How can we rise above and conquer our goals and dreams? I wish I had an easy answer, however, this is what I am still dealing with.


This year, I plan for things to be different. Truly! Maybe it's the fact that I just recently turned 30 but I am inspired, motivated, terrified and desperate for change!


Over the last 10 years of running my photography business, I have had this constant feeling like I am on this never-ending hike on what feels like Mt. Everest. I will ascend a few meters, then drop 20 more.. and so on.

I have been dragging my feet, feeling stuck, and losing my momentum.


The problem I have always faced with goals and personal improvement is knowing the steps to take. I am an optimist at heart and have a large imagination-- so coming up with goals and ideas is not hard for me, however, breaking these down into smaller, attainable pieces-- now that is nearly impossible.


Combine this with generalized anxiety, perfectionism, and OCD and you have a "perfect" storm for never reaching a goal.


I often struggle with comparison and find myself getting lost in thoughts of: "how come I'm not as successful as that person?", "My work is not good enough, no one will be interested", etc. These thoughts are not only harmful but they also are not productive. When I am stuck in these thoughts, I have no room to think about steps, I have no room to work on plans and strategies, to implement new ideas.


It's a classic thought-trap that many, if not all of us, face at some point. How do we get over this? Again, no simple answer.


Currently, I am working with an Art-Therapist to overcome this block and learn more about why it exists and how I can push through it.


Some of the things I have learned in the past that are helpful though: - Come up with a thought-attack: Have a nagging thought that is always there? Come up with a rebuttal to this and start practicing talking back to the thought when it pops up.

Eg: Thought: "I will never be as successful as X" Rebuttal: " My success will not look the same as someone else's- I work hard and am worthy of appreciating that" - Create a support network/person for yourself: Find someone you trust and allow yourself to check in with them, ask them what they think when these limiting beliefs pop up. What do they tell you about your belief that you will never be successful? I'll bet you they don't feel the same way and that they have some useful advice. - Set SMART goals: As mentioned above, I am guilty of setting myself big and lofty goals but not making them attainable. A good format to follow is this: S- Specific (Who, what, where, when, why- needs for the goal) M- Measurable (What metrics are you going to use to determine if you have met the goal?) A- Attainable (Do you have the tools needed to follow through?) R- Relevant (Is this goal realistic? Is it within your means?) T- Time-bound (Setting a limit or time-frame for which the goal should be completed by)


You can find plenty more resources online if you search for goal-setting ideas.


I am really hoping I can turn things around this year and start to value myself and my work more appropriately. I think once I have built this esteem and worked through this block, I will be able to take myself out of the #starvingartist category and into the #thrivingartist one instead.


This will take a lot of grit and reminding myself that it is possible but I have no doubt that I can go from grit to great.

I'd love to hear what your goals are or how you work through mental blocks!


--Shandra

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