Rise Up to the Challenge
What did you accomplish in 2017?
Did you build or work on something you can be proud of?
If so, you have a chance to build on that momentum in 2018.
If not, you have a clean slate to get your hands dirty and put in work.
I say it all the time, but you have insane amounts of potential buried inside you. Yet the road to mining it won’t be easy.
You’re gonna deal with plenty of shit to get to the sunshine as mentioned in last week’s episode.
This year is your opportunity to rise up to the challenge of taking initiative, being prepared to say yes and knowing when to say no.
Create Your Own Door
Opportunities are out there to be had, but they won’t knock if you haven’t built a door. This one is straight from Tony Diaz of Industry Print Shop on episode 56.
It all boils down to being proactive instead of reactive.
I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not gotten uncomfortable and started sharing my art on Instagram.
I’d be stuck in my last miserable day job had I not busted my ass working outside of work to build a stellar portfolio.
You can’t sit around expecting opportunities to be wrapped up in a Gucci bow and gracefully fall into your lap.
Nothing in life worth having comes easy and to achieve something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Creating your own luck by building a door looks like:
- sharing the early stages of your work even though it looks like trash to you
- starting a side project and marketing yourself through social media
- reaching out to someone to collaborate with even though they may say no
- going with your gut even though others advise against it
Get out of the bitching and complaining business. Be proactive, hire yourself and join the door building business.
Be Prepared When Opportunity Knocks
Building a Door Through Blogging
Back in June 2015, I took the initiative and started blogging. To be honest, I sucked ass in the beginning, but little did I know I was launching my public speaking career.
Only a year into blogging, I was offered my first speaking gig by my good friend Diane Gibbs in February 2016. Diane is a door builder for other people and she makes things happen. The opportunity she gave me was a keynote at a conference called Flourish in Mobile, AL with attendance ranging from 100-150 people.
When she asked if I was interested, every bone in my body wanted to scream out “no.”
What If I Said No?
Looking back on it now, this was a monumental moment in my creative career. If I would’ve declined the challenge, I wonder where I would be today?
Thankfully I said yes as I practiced my ass off and gave a solid first speech.
A few weeks later I got a call from Mike Jones, the creator of Creative South. He offered me a speaking slot at a conference that sells out at 800 people each year. Again, every bone in my wanted to scream no, but I rose to the challenge.
Blogging and speaking have since led to teaching workshops on how to prepare and give a killer talk.
Side note: I’ll be teaching a workshop on this both at Creative South and Crop Conference in 2018.
If you’re showing up and investing time into your self and your work, you’re bound to manifest some opportunities. The question is, will you be prepared to act on them?
Want to help the show grow?
Be Okay With Saying No
Something valuable I learned in 2017 was the power of saying no, even though I wasn’t the best at applying it.
Simply put, “if it’s not a Hell Yes, it’s a definite Hell No.”
That’s an easy way to measure opportunities that come your way you’d think?
However, I got to a point where so many things felt like a Hell Yes. This caused me to grind myself to exhaustion and neglect relationships.
November was a hard lesson learned as I:
- spoke at a conference in Texas
- completed not one but two murals
- taught a lettering workshop
- got the podcast back to a weekly format
- stressed myself the fuck out
This was all outside a 40 hour day job too. While these all seemed like Hell Yes opportunities, I could’ve said no to a few of them for the sake of my sanity.
Learning when to say no to a great opportunity isn’t easy. It’s hard to see past it and realize this isn’t the last opportunity that’ll come your way.
Something I’m also applying is writing down a short list of focus priorities within a season. In Q1 of 2018, my focus is solely on building the podcast and delivering killer speeches in February and March.
That means saying no to great freelance opportunities, teaching lettering workshops and anything else that pops up.
Knowing what’s most important to focus on should hopefully make saying no to Hell Yes opportunities a little easier.
Stake Your Claim
No matter where you are on your creative path, I hope you constantly mine for that potential buried within you.
Stop looking for the easy trail and seek out mountains to climb in 2018.
It all boils down to how badly do you want it and what are you prepared to do to make it happen?
Rise up to whatever challenges come your way this year. Prepare for your opportunities that manifest from climbing mountains.
Remember, don’t expect a damn thing in this world to be handed to you. Stake your claim and take it.
- I’ll be speaking at AIGA Raleigh Thrive Conference Feb. 23, 2018
- Diane Gibbs
- Mike Jones of Creative South
- Crop / Pop-Up Crop
- WMC Fest
- Podcast theme music by Blookah
- Podcast edited by Aine Brennan
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