PART III — WHAT DO GROWTH AND SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?
This is part three in a three-part series on seasonal planning as a creative entrepreneur featuring my annual planning workbook, The Creative’s Almanac.
In the same year I turned 29, Olivia had a baby. She took maternity leave for three months while I continued on in the same pattern of no real plan, no long-term vision. I quickly burned out on my own, attempting to work through ideas and keeping up with inquiries. Sadly, there was one crucial piece missing from our work that season:
Defining growth and success.
When you define what growth and success will look like for you in any given season, you give yourself permission to allow what is to be.
“Allowing what is to be” sounds philosophical and silly, but plenty of aspects of our culture encourage us to hustle, push through, make it happen.
Some seasons just aren’t built for hustling, though. Instead, we need to allow what is to be.
Sometimes, years like 2020 happen and we have to redefine what growth and success can look like in the middle of a global pandemic, a crazy election cycle, and a year fraught with loss, fear, and anxiety.
Or sometimes, your business partner has a baby, and getting together to work for 6-8 hours a day like you used to is impossible. If that was our definition of success in 2019, then by definition we failed.
But what if we had said, it is enough to keep the inbox afloat. We will feel successful if we make it through the first six months of new-baby-life with our friendship intact and fresh ideas for our business when she’s ready to come back.
What if at the start of this pandemic you told yourself that growth will look like having hard conversations and taking baby steps in your business? And success will look like wearing a mask and staying alive? Would you have been successful this year?
Defining what growth and success will look like for you during the upcoming season, or the next 90 days, means reframing what you believe growth and success “should” look like.
It’s all too easy to play the comparison game with success. Even though we each have our own mental pictures of what it means to be successful, they often involve the long-term vision of success — mostly likely shown to us by someone else who has achieved that vision — rather than the short-term thinking of how can I feel successful today, at this moment, over the next few months?
Defining growth and success for this season of life is the puzzle piece I missed for many years. It caused me to burn out quicker, increased my anxiety, and made it nearly impossible to figure out if I was even making any progress.
Having our own definition of growth and success for just the next 90 days allows us to avoid the fear of failure, to acknowledge our own capacity to handle what life throws our way, and to lead our lives with more grace.
The Creative’s Almanac has been my guide in trying to navigate what the next ten years of life could look like, and what I can do over the next few months to bring me closer to that vision.
I’ve been using this system for the last few years, entering each new year with a stronger sense of purpose and clarity around what I want. 2021 will be no different — grab yours here and find some clarity for your life in this year that has left us all feeling uncertain.