Wednesday, February 17, 2016

defining yourself, your art and creative business

We live in a time where we are bombarded with so much information. Through social media we are able to look into other people's lives, we face advertising and all kinds of messages about the people we should be and the life we should be living and it can be challenging to stay true to yourself or even know who you are and what you stand for. When you are growing a creative business, it can be even more challenging to know what makes you and your business unique. I think the best place to start is to quiet all the noise out there, stop looking at what everyone else is doing and get back to the basics of your life and the things that define you! Before you can set out on a path of growth for a creative career you MUST take time to really reflect and identify all the things that are unique to you.

I feel lucky to have always known that I want to be an artist, having this foundation has helped me stay on the path of working towards my dreams but along the way I've had to do a lot work and reflection about who I am and what makes me unique. Regardless of the place you are at, I think it is so important to take time to "quiet the noise" and really connect with things that make you special and unique. 

Today I wanted to share the things that I reflect on when it comes to defining my art and my creative business.


WHAT IS YOUR UNIQUE STORY?
We all have a story that is completely unique. Taking time to think about and reflect on your history will help you be aware of the things that make you different.

WHAT DRIVES YOU OR INSPIRES YOU?

Understanding the things that drive and inspire you will help to keep you productive. Keep in mind that your inspiration and drive may change and evolve over time but staying aware of those things will keep you connected and moving forward toward your goals.



TIP: I like to keep visual inspiration in my office and my creative space. From inspiring quotes to inspiring pictures and goals, keeping reminders of what "drives you" close at hand is always helpful. Since a big part of my business drive these days is providing for my family, I have photos of my family and loved ones all over my office. In those moments when I am feeling "BLAH" or discouraged I am able to be reminded of why I am working hard.




WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?


There is no sense in spending time and energy on things that make you unhappy. I think it is really important to pause to identify the things that bring you joy. Even if these things don't turn into business opportunities, they have the ability to provide authentic inspiration for your art and your business goals. They also have the ability to help you make decisions about your brand as you move forward.





WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

Taking a little time to identify your strengths and weaknesses can shed light on the things that are working (or not working) in your life. While it is pretty easy to name your success, it can be a little harder to focus on failures and weakness. But understanding your challenges, the things that are not working and areas where you are weak can really help you grow and better define where you want to put your energy.

WHAT OBSTACLES AND CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE?
This is not always a fun question to answer or even think about but understanding the things that get in your way or make your goals and dreams difficult to reach will only help you overcome those obstacles. 



WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS AND PASSIONS?
Identifying your interests and passions will help you stay true to yourself and away from copying and comparing. Even if some of your interests may not tie directly into your business they may be the things that fuel your ideas and your inspiration.

FOR EXAMPLE: I love food and anything relating to food! While my business is all about art, I often find inspiration for color, texture and pattern at the grocery store, in a restaurant and in the kitchen. My passion for food is always inspiring me and the different ideas that I come up with! 

WHAT ARE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
Regardless of how big or small they are, acknowledging your accomplishments is such an important way to stay encouraged and inspired. Taking a look at things that have been successful is also helpful when making decisions



WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR LIFE, YOUR CREATIVITY AND/OR YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE?
Setting goals for all the different areas of your life is one the most important and powerful things you can do for your creative business. While it may feel scary to name the things you want (because it can be disappointing if those things don't happen) but taking time to really set small and BIG things you want for your life will help you focus your energy and give you a direction to move in.

TIPS:
When you take time to reflect on who you are, forget about over-thinking and write down whatever comes to mind first. 

Do your best to forget about trends, fads and people that you admire. At this point, it is important NOT to let other people influence who you are.

Don't be afraid to explore the little things of parts of your life that might seem small. Sometimes it is these tiny details that make you really special. 

Keep in mind that we are always growing and changing (especially if we are creative) which means the definition of who we are, direction, our goals and interests will likely evolve with time and experience and that is ok!

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