They say the simple act of writing something down is the first step towards achieving that goal, task, or desire. At the very beginning of 2016 I put a glass dry erase board in my home office. I took a step back and thought about what I wanted, all the goals I wanted to achieve that year. I am not a New Years resolution type of person, but setting goals is something to work towards and helps build upon the success already achieved. With multiple colors of dry erase markers I graffiti-ed those goals onto the glass in hopes that I would see everything to completion over the coming year. There are pivotal moments in 2016 where I thought my abilities to complete my goals were not just sidelined, but benched for the entire year.
Its very difficult to take an idea, usually with minimal resources, and make it successful. An idea is just that, an idea. It doesn't become something tangible unless effort is put forth. For some people, effort comes with ease when they have the proper resources to take an idea from inception to a more concrete tangible form of success. When beginning new projects or making career moves it require a certain level of tenacity and resilience. You have to be as strong as the idea is in order to see it through. You have to believe in your idea and believe in your ability to see it happen. Starting and stopping a project is not the same as having a project fail. Failure is major contributor to the success of future projects. Without failures, there is no opportunity to learn, grow, create new ideas and projects. While reading a friends blog recently, I came to the realization that I hade quite a few failures from the end of 2015 into 2016. I didn't see them as failures at the time, because I kept on working, trying things, working, creating ideas, and working. When we refuse to continue to work we are saying two things, I give up and I can't. Can't means you wont. Can't is a form of accepting failure. Accepting failure can be broken down into two categories, the "I give ups" and the "I can and will make this work," attitude. Giving up means you're hanging your head low and walking away defeated. In contrast, I can and will make this work attitude will allow you to reposition yourself and pivot your ideas and resources in such a way that you'll make things work. That is the hardest thing to do, reposition yourself to become successful. It is easy to walk away and forget. It's harder to refocus, restructure, and reprioritize your goals. Outcomes change by other influencers, but if you stay determined, you will be successful.
This past December I cleaned off my glass board. I wiped it down and removed every mark I made back in January. Each line that I cleared away was like a light bulb going off. Everything I wanted to accomplish, I did. I had completed every goal I had written down. Holy shit. I know, right? I was impressed and proud of my hard work. See, the thing is, I am a note taker. I have yellow post it notes as reminders everywhere. As a busy creative professional, my mind is working on 3 different things at once. Post it notes are my to-do list, reminders, and general notes, outside of my iPhone. I keep short term goals written on them while the larger goals stay written on the board. I do not look at those goals daily. I do not want to be overly stressed out to complete them, which sounds a bit moronic to say, but it really isn't. My days range from back to back to shoots to days of editing, meetings, planning shoots. If I was to be focused on the list I created, I won't be focused on the work I need to do, which usually shapes how well a goal will be completed. The goals themselves, they are either physical and tangible objects or they are things if desire, such as future work, travel, various components of projects or entire projects themselves. That is not to say that I write them down and walk away and don't look at them for 12 months, I do. I just do not make a daily habit of checking the board. While writing down ideas and goals is a simple mechanism to ensure their success, there are obvious things that need to occur. The most obvious, write them down and continuously work to be successful. For me, I work to produce to work. My work is a reflection of who I am and enables me to be successful, which helps me build on the list of goals I make.
To be successful, you need to be a leader. I'm not taking about a President, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the class president. No. You need to be your own leader and guide yourself to the right path of success. There is no guidebook on how to be an entrepreneur. It does and simply can not exist. What works for company A will and might not work for company B. Parallel to that, what works for me as a photographer might not work for someone who is a graphic designer.
Laslty, you can not force success. You can not force your ideas to happen or to just snap your fingers and your goals are met. If you can do that, if you have that much resource, which most people do not and will not, congrats on being a .5%-er. Think about this: if you focus to intently on one thing, you're bound to neglect something else. Negelecting anything is to reject everything. Ideas, especially in the creative world are stimulated when we work. Placing to much focus on a goal is a wall building device that shuts out influence and inspiration from other forms of work and ideas. This type of practice is a means of rejecting the collaboration of a multitude of other resources, which can likely assist in the completion of any goals.
Focus on creating a list of goals and ideas. Work. Work hard and often. Keep your goals in mind and check in often. Work on your list and on bulding the resources and network you need to make your goals happen. Sometimes we need the support of a community or a few other creatives to make our goals come true. Keep working. Fail. Realize that you have failed and celebrate it. Failing means you've tried, attempted, came close, or will come close to makeing your goals a reality. Get a board and write down your goals. It can be a simple piece of paper shoved in your wallet or it can be an entire wall in your office, basement, home, or wherever else you want to store your goals and ideas. Don't give up and keep failing.
What I failed to do, failed at doing, or failed trying to do is irrelevant. What matters though, is that I realized that I failed and am not deterred from my goals. If I was, if I do, take no pity on me, for I will have become a quitter. Quitters don't share success or inspiration with you, they complain and whine about their failures because they are stuck on them. No one wants to work with someone who constantly fails and complains about it. The difference between healthy failing and the quitters mindset, they don't want to be successful through hard work, they want instant success given to them. I haven't found the Success Store yet or the page on Amazon that sells success.. No one is going to just give you anything. You have to earn it, work for it, desire it till it hurts.
Here are a few of my goals for this year:
- Increase revenue for my businesses.
- Scale my business.
- Reduce expenses.
- Retain more profits while reducing expenses.
- Shoot 5 ad campaigns.
- Network with Creative Directors, Art Directors, Photo Editors.
- Travel more.
- Travel for work.
- Plant roots in New York City for work.
- Get published.
- Learn another language (French and Polish are on my list.)
Go be successful. Go write down your goals.
The above featured photographs are from a portfolio building shoot that I had at the Boro Hotel in New York City back in January.