2017 Goals

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Image via Drew Ellis, found on Pinterest, obvi.

We’re fast approaching the end of 2016 (phew!), and now is the time that many of us are making resolutions for next year.  Somehow it seems more important and serious this time around, as if suddenly a switch has been flipped inside of me, and I now understand the consequences of inaction.

Most of my goals for next year focus on financial stability and growth.  I want to pay off my credit cards, and make room to start saving towards our goal of buying a home.   Of course, I want to make sure I’m working enough to afford to do all of that.  If possible, I would love it if the work was rewarding and fun, but I won’t get ahead of myself here…

Aside from that I’m trying to prioritize my efforts so that they fit into the following three categories.  I’m going for improvement, not perfection, with happiness as the main goal. Continue reading “2017 Goals”

The End Goal is Never The End

During these last few months I have really been thinking hard about what I want, and what I need to do to get it.  I waver back and forth between finding a mentor to guide me for a few years and taking a leap of faith to go out on my own.  Currently, I’m straddling that line with freelance work.  I’ve taken the steps to register my own business (no easy task with the way Illinois government offices are designed to provide confusing information), but fallen short on actually starting.  In a way, I see this blog as a step towards my goal of total creative independence, but I have days where I’m unmotivated, or question what my purpose is.   And then I remember – I specifically set out to have no purpose so that this project could evolve along with me.

Part of my problem is that I’m always looking to others to determine what I want, and using their accomplishments as a scale to measure my own success.   Of course I’m never going to feel good about how I’m doing if I only look to others how they are now, and ignore their process along the way.   I am trying to remind myself in moments of frustration that everyone at the top had to start from somewhere, and the most important thing was that they started.  Easy, right?

The below quote has lately been popping up all over the internet in various forms, and I think it’s applicable in so many ways.

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Image via Pinterest

I am majorly guilty of spending way too much time on Pinterest and Instagram.  What starts out as something that is fun and inspiring, usually leads to me sinking into a black pit of despair.   My life and accomplishments are not picture perfect, and therefore unworthy.  It doesn’t even matter if what I see online isn’t what I wanted for myself.  Someone else has it, and now I can see that I don’t.  Sigh… 

My career path has taken many twists and turns over the last few years.  Some of it has to do with the fact that if something is not in line with my end goal, I find it hard to continue on that path.  Some of it has to do with the fact that I made incorrect assumptions about how I would feel and what I would learn while pursuing certain opportunities.  I was lead starry-eyed into a hot young design firm, and killed myself trying to fit into their mold.  It wasn’t me.  It wasn’t right.  Generally, my fight or flight response defaults towards flight, and I flew.

So here I am, attempting to stick with something I decided to do, even if I don’t exactly know what that fully entails.   Below are some key points I’m trying to remind myself of daily.

  • Small triumphs still count.  Why do I have to wait until I’m world-famous to feel like I’ve had a successful career?  Can I stop for a moment and feel good about how I handled that client meeting last week?  Can I be proud of the hard work I do on a daily basis?  Pretty sure the answer is yes.
  • The end goal is never the end.   Thinking only about the end goal is often enough to stop me in my tracks.  I imagine this state of perfect satisfaction once I achieve X in my career.  But that imagined state is just a snapshot, and not the full picture.  What happens when I get what I wanted?  Experience tells me I’m going to want something else, and the cycle will continue.  I have to be ok with how things are in the present, and if I’m not, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate my priorities.
  • I can appreciate what others do without being convinced that I should do the same thing.   This is a huge one or me.  Earlier this week, I listed to the FOMO episode of Andy Miller’s Creative Peptalk podcast.  It was perfect timing for me, as I do tend to see other successful creatives, and feel pressure to do as they do.  What’s great for someone else is not necessarily great for me, and vice versa.

I’d love to hear from others – what are some key things that helped you through a turning point in your career or personal life?