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The Your Ladders Blog

There are a lot of things to think about when you're navigating a performing arts path. These blog topics will help.

The Muse Mapping Mini-Training series!

 

From November 4- 11 I'm doing live mini-trainings about my new Muse Mapping program. They will be live on Facebook and Instagram (in stories) at 1pm ET. I'm also simulcasting in my Awakening the Muse Within Facebook group (have you joined yet?). 

This video is the introduction. For the rest of the trainings I'll go through each of the six steps in the Muse Mapping system with a specific topic in each section. 

I created Muse Mapping to help folks navigate their creative path on their terms, with tools that they develop for themselves. The program (which starts November 18) will run for 8 weeks, with videos and worksheets, weekly group coaching calls and a private Facebook page. I'm really looking forward to helping folks start 2020 off the way they've always wanted to--with a plan for their creative journey.

Interested in talking to me more about the program? Here's an application that you can fill out. Let's talk and make sure we're a good fit before you invest in...

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The Balance: Unlock Your Creativity

On October 23 & 24 I'm going to be doing a free, live masterclass, "6 Ways to Unlock Your Creativity".  [Sign up here to save your spot.]

You're curious, but you're hesitant. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • "I don't have time to be creative"
  • "I don't have the talent"
  • "It's too late--I'm too old to learn xyz"
  • "This has been my dream for so long. What happens if I'm not good at it?"

If they do, this is precisely why you need to join me in this masterclass.

See, it's all about balance.

The balance of patience and passion. The balance of fear and confidence. The balance of being an apprentice and becoming a master.

You don't get rid of doubts, or fear. You balance it with intention and passion.

At one point in your future life, what would be worse.

Trying to do something creative and failing?

Or not trying?

Not trying. Every time. Creativity adds a measure of joy to life. Not the outcome--the process.

You need to finish the book. Learn how to play the instrument. Get on...

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Have fun. Do nothing. Recharge.

 

You know, we often want to accomplish our dreams tomorrow when we're living a creative life. Our mind is always going, we've got a million ideas, a million projects, a million things we want to do and we have the lack of patience in order to get there. You know, how can we get there faster, what can we do, what shortcuts can I take? And so today as part of the August recharging, reflection, relaxing conversation that I'm having I want to offer this thought to you. That the journey of a thousand steps begins with one, right?

We hear that all the time but let's sit back and reflect on what that means. We all have artistic dreams or creative dreams or things that we want to accomplish and I think that's really important. As a matter of fact, I spent July talking about goal setting and had such great conversations about it that I'm offering a free webinar on August 21st about goal setting. About how you can do it more and what that looks like for artists. How it's different for...

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Morning Routines

 

I am going to talk about three important Rs for the month of August, and they are: to recharge yourself, to relax, and to reflect. This time of year is a perfect time of the year for that because, for many of you, and I include myself in this, I feel like September is the beginning of the new year. If you work in the performing arts, it's the new season starting. If you have anyone in school or you teach, it's the school year starting.

So August is the time right before we start again for a new season, for a new treadmill, or for a new adventure. And for creative folks, it's a time that I'm going to encourage you to take a moment to build up some routines and some systems that are going to help you recharge throughout the year. I understand that most people, a lot of people, in the arts are working all the time. We really don't have seasons. People are gearing up or preparing or auditioning and doing everything else. But in these 90-degree days and in this season of sun and long...

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Creating the steps to reach your goal

Goals can seem daunting, but know these two things.

First, goals are the big picture. You can break down goals. When you add the SMART goal frame, you’re creating objectives around the goals. Strategies provide the “how” and tactics provide the “what” to different steps. 

Another way to look at this is to take the goals and break them down into smaller steps that you can check off the to do list. Add due dates next to each of these steps to make them actionable.

The second thing to remember? That small steps, taken consistently, will get you to your goal. This make not seem to be true all the time, but it is. Forward momentum gathers steam.

Let’s talk a bit more about breaking down goals into actionable steps.

  • Don’t skip steps.
  • If you aren’t sure of how much time a step will take, do your research. Ask folks. Give yourself more time then you need. 
  • Some steps can be taken concurrently with other steps. Others need to be...
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Make them SMART goals

We talked about the dreams you have for your creative life, and about creating goals for those dreams. This week we’re going to start thinking about how to turn them into actionable steps, i.e. SMART goals.

Have you heard of SMART goals? For your artistic life, let’s define SMART goals are goals that are: 

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measureable
  • A: Attainable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Timely

One goal  for me would be write a book. A goal, but not a SMART goal.

A SMART GOAL would be write the first draft of a thriller by the end of August.

Now, if my ultimate dream/goal is to get that thriller published, that’s going to be many more steps. We’ll talk about that next week, and how to break the timelines for goals down.

Goal setting for the artistic side of your life isn’t done in a vacuum. The rest of your life has to be factored in. You likely have goals in other areas of your life. Don’t pretend that goals in one area don’t affect another. Spend this...

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Setting goals for your artistic life

Last week we talked about dreams. This week let’s talk about making some of those dreams into goals.

I say “some” because some dreams may stay dreams, at least for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t mean you should discard them. Dreams make life interesting. Stay open to your dreams morphing as you continue working on your goals. Your imagination may help you make your dreams more attainable as you build your artistic practice.

When you attach goals to your dreams, consider these things:

Your dream may be several steps. Make each of these steps a goal.

Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. In fact, know that you can’t. One goal may have to be finished before you tackle the next one.

Don’t rush it. The beauty of an artistic path is that you get better and better at your craft as you travel on it. Be patient with yourself, and learn what you need to learn before you go on to the next goal.

Remember to celebrate every time you...

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What are your artistic dreams?

We all need to have artistic dreams. Big dreams. Dreams that feel out of reach. Dreams live in our imagination

Goals are destinations toward which efforts are consistently being made.

Dreams can inspire goals. They should, especially for artists. Dreams alone aren’t enough to create reality, though. Goals do that.

Often dreams feel like amorphous thoughts not tethered to reality. I would argue that creating goals inspired by your dreams helps them come true. I’ve talked about this before--the journey is the point for artists. The destination is part of the journey, but can’t be the reason for doing your work. We all know that once you reach your destination (opening night, publication day, the beginning of a tour, etc.) you’re going to get back on the ride. 

Throughout this month I’m going to talk about goals. I’ll add weekly assignments to these blog posts, and talk about them on Instagram and during the Facebook live I’m doing on...

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What are your core values?

If I asked you what your core values are, what would you say? 

If you’re running a company the answer should trip off your tongue. Mission, vision statements, and core values are integral to non-profit organizations. But I would argue that any arts organization should do the work of figuring this out, and letting folks know. 

Your mission statement is what you do, and what makes you unique in the way you do it.

Your vision statement is a future look at what the world will look like if you succeed in doing your work.

Your core values are two or three words (or short statements, but I prefer words) that mean so much to you you’d rather go out of business than go against them. What does that mean? If your core value, as an organization, is new work then doing Macbeth is problematic. If your core value is respect and your artistic director is a bully, that’s a problem. 

As an artist, and a human being, establishing your core values provides you with a...

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It Isn't You

Did you see this article? It's about a study that was done on creative people in the workplace, and how having passion for your work comes at a price. The price is that you aren’t paid enough.

"Artists know passion exploitation well: because they take pleasure in performing, taking photos or writing, onlookers see the opportunity to do this work as a privilege in its own right—and use that reasoning to justify a lack of compensation or benefits." Quite the quote, isn't it? I highly recommend reading the article, and the links. CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE.

One of the challenging things about being an artist is the gaslighting that goes on. For those of you who don’t know the term, it comes from a 1944 movie with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. He’s trying to convince her that she’s crazy, and his methods include telling her that she’s imagining things when the gaslights get brighter and dimmer. The term is now used to mean convincing people that...

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