I love this perspective on art and business. Here’s a great way of defining an artist: "Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done." Seth Godin, Linchpins. Using Godin’s definition of an artist, I know you’re one. Maybe not 24/7, but sometimes. Like when you close the deal. Or when the boss is excited about your proposal. Or your kids thank you for something.
My buddy Pat Eardley and I have been working a lot with goals lately, researching the kind that work and the kind that don’t work as well. It’s more than clear that setting goals of any kind, in any way, is better than not setting any goals at all. Goals give you a blueprint for making decisions to move yourself forward.
However, the thing is, the best outcome with goal achievement is the person you become in the process of reaching your goals.
What I see and my clients usually appreciate is seeing your daily work as your art and yourself as the artist, even if you’re selling office equipment. That’s the way to set yourself up for success.
Here are 5 things you can do to BE the Artist at your office and enjoy the Art of Work. As we’re getting to the end of 2011, it’s a great time to reflect on your recent achievements and what you want to experience next year.
1. Revisit and review your vision, your intention or what you’re really about.
What is your gift? Have you thought about it lately? It doesn’t have to be ending world hunger. Actually by taking care of yourself and your family, you’re already part of the solution to world hunger. What is it that you love to do, that people thank you for?
How do you use this gift at work? At building relationships?
Your vision for yourself may or may not have anything to do with your professional or academic training. You might be surprised at the career paths taken by people who study painting and work in software, corporate trainers who become professional chefs, linguistics experts who work in health care. Life is more fun that way.
Write it down. No one’s going to correct your grammar and your vision or mission can be as simple as being an extreme encourager, or someone who connects the dots, someone who’s always got a different perspective on things.
2. Omit complaining and criticism from your vocabulary. Otherwise known as "Impeccable Speech."
If there’s a legitimate problem, develop some possible solutions and take them to the appropriate person. Complaining to Derek about how incompetent Sally is will never solve anything. Criticism and complaining only drain your precious energy. Be vigilant!
3. Schedule time each week to be an artist at your office.
Sometimes I call this time to do nothing, but I think it sounds much better to call it "artist time." Creative solutions need space in which to emerge. They do not come to people who are 100% crisis driven or adrenaline addicted.
Time off, even if it’s in your office with the door shut, is time to think about the "what if’s" in your work and in your life.
Write them down.
What if you worked one day a week from home?
What if you started writing a blog or a newsletter for your clients?
What if you opened an account on Etsy?
What if you actually wrote down the composition that you hear in your head every day?
What if you wrote an ebook and sent a copy to all your friends and your favorite clients?
What if you hired a part-time virtual assistant to free up more time for your artistic projects?
What if you hired a coach to help you excel?
4. Write yourself a permission-to-be-imperfect slip.
Art is by definition, imperfect. Only factory-made goods may possibly be perfect.
Perfectionism paralyzes. Give permission to people not to get you. You’ll be fine.
Set the goal of becoming better.
5. Lighten up and have some fun with being an artist.
What does "having fun" look like to you? Do you even know?
Some fun ideas from me and my clients include:
Eating tapas for dinner. Or bringing tapas to work to eat at lunch.
Reading a romantic novel (bought used) at a coffee shop.
A road trip.
Playing with an art kit. Crafting alone or with friends.
Whatever is fun to takes some time and energy. It’s a way to refill your well of creativity.
What do you do to create art at your work or business?