This is a revisiting and updating of an old post I wrote way back in 2012, The Change the World Mindset. I know you’ll love my take on this concept today and it will really help you hone your business dreams.
Do you have big aspirations for your art?
Huge, gigantic, lofty dreams?
When you think about being called to be an artist and how you want your art to participate in the world, you might be thinking big.
It’s actually what a lot of people suggest for any area of your life. “To be successful, you have to think big.” And that’s not bad advice…
If you don’t have large goals, you often end up complacent with day to day plateauing, rather than seeing a big-picture vision and constantly growing toward it.
REACH FOR THE STARS!
But I also think it’s important to understand what those big goals are going to look like in reality, to have a more tangible version of each goal, if you want your art business to take off.
It’s an essential part of the planning process.
Let me take a moment here to assure you that I’m not telling you to abandon your dreams, nor am I telling you to abandon them. Your dreams are wonderful and you are undoubtedly capable of them.
I just want you to look into your soul and discover what your dreams actually are.
So let’s take a look at some examples that will help you to see where you’re headed and plan for it, taking consistent realistic steps toward your goals.
My first example is one I hear from a lot of artists. “I want to change the world.”
Firstly, I want you to stop for a second and realize that you’re already changing the world. Practically everything you do is changing someone’s world. If one person has told you they love your artwork, you’ve changed someone’s world.
It might not be as vast a change as you were hoping for, but it’s a real change.
However, you probably want to make a bigger impact than just brightening one person’s day one time. You might even want to make people’s lives better long-term.
That’s an extraordinary aspiration! And I believe you can do it.
ARTISTS HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF POWER WITHIN THEM.
But it will be very hard to achieve this if you can’t quantify it.
How do you quantify “making an impact” or “making life better for people”?
What does that look like in your mind? Do you want to be Mother Theresa, eschewing most of your comforts and devoting yourself to service? Or are you hoping to just do your little part to make the world better like an Angelina Jolie or that woman in your neighborhood growing up who always brought food over whenever your family was having a rough time?
Could it be that your art isn’t going to “change the world” so much as “change someone’s world”?
Maybe, maybe not.
It’s your dream. But you need to define it concretely.
Do you hope to save someone’s life by saving their spirit through your art? Do you hope to pull people out of boring, uninspired lives so they live fully and memorably? Do you hope to be the catalyst to someone finding true love or passionate spirituality?
There are concrete, achievable ways you can change the world that don’t seem daunting or impossible like thinking of your goal as literally changing the entire planet.
Or perhaps after thinking on it, that’s still your dream, and you need to think about inventing something culture-changing.
DIG INTO IT, NO MATTER WHERE IT’S GOING TO LEAD YOU.
Let’s tackle another example. Maybe you have a more selfish dream. Nothing wrong about wanting a great life for yourself or your loved ones.
If your goal is to be making a million dollars a year…
Dive deep into this goal – is there something specific about the number? Something about a million dollars that is more tempting that $900,000?
Turn the goal on its head!
Tally up the aspects of your life that cost money (your home, car, food, entertainment, creature comforts, etc). If you were going to feel financially cozy, how much money would you spend on each of these things?
Add it all up and that’s the number you’re striving for.
It might turn out that just $4000 each month would give you that cozy feeling and take care of all your necessities plus extras. That’s only $48,000… not a million.
Or you might be dreaming a million – again, I’m not here to squash your dreams.
But I want you to know for sure.
What is the actual goal you’re having that fits your ideal life?
That’s the only way to make your goal achievable.
Let’s do one more big example. Becoming famous.
I hear this one from artists a lot, and they always say it reluctantly – like they’re embarrassed that they want to be famous.
Maybe that’s you too.
But it’s not a goal you should be ashamed of. And it’s not an impossible goal either.
Think of all the celebrities, all the political and religious figures, all the educational leaders… People get famous. Why not you?
But it’s tough to get there. The likelihood is that you either won’t be famous like that, or that you don’t want to be famous like that.
BUT THERE’S STILL A PULL O YOUR HEART FOR THE WORD “FAME”.
There’s something about that reputation and influence that you want. So let’s make this goal a little easier to see and understand.
Ask yourself what about “fame” is enticing to you?
Perhaps it’s that you want people to see you as a leader in the art world or in your medium.
Perhaps you want to feed off of other’s confidence in you and your talents to increase your own self-confidence.
Perhaps fame feels like an indicator of success to you and really what you’re looking for has nothing to do with fame and everything to do with having big opportunities, financial coziness, or the freedom to work on any project you want whenever you get an idea.
Or something else entirely.
The idea of fame could be on a smaller scale for you than “I want to be famous!”
Right now you are famous amongst your friends and family. They all know you very well. Clearly if fame is exciting to you, you want to widen that reach. But the question is – how wide?
Would you feel famous if you were the best artist creating watercolor portraits of television actors’ summer homes and those actors were coming to you in droves and telling each other how awesome your art is?
Susie the nurse in Kansas with 3 kids and a husband working in technology might not know who you are, but a whole lot of people would and you’d be selling as much art as you want to those actors.
YOU COULD MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS TO A NICHE AUDIENCE WHO LOVES EXACTLY WHAT YOU CREATE.
And you’d be making a huge impact on those people’s daily lives, and spiraling that impact to their friends and family who will ask about your painting, which is the catalyst for you becoming famous to them too. And it all keeps snowballing.
You might not really have a pull to be written up by an art critic as ‘the most influential artist of the decade’ and publicly hailed as provocative and innovative.
You might only truly have the desire to be famous to some people, probably the people who adore you and your art, will buy it, and will love hanging it in their homes to inspire them and their loved ones daily.
So my point here is that your goals are your goals because you’re passionate about a particular purpose behind them, not necessarily the word or phrase you use to encapsulate the dream.
If you really assess what you’re trying to accomplish, your goals are almost always in sight and you can begin to plan out actionable steps to reach them. Way less daunting!
What dream is driving you right now and how are you reassessing what it actually means to you?
Don’t forget to check out the new version of my business-plan-writing course.