As part of my three week down time in December I spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year and where I wanted this year to go. I identified my key word: luminous; and core feelings: creative, well, devoted to the divine and peaceful.
I figured out my intentions for the year, some of which are:
- Grade 6 flute
- Grade 1 piano
- Another music exam, possibly a second in either instrument or grade 6 theory
- see 12 live performances
- read 50 new books (last year I read 113 books, but I didn’t track which were new, I suspect that only about 40 were new)
- To have my photography in a bigger exhibition that is bigger than the tiny one I did this year.
- To get the kitchen done
But at about 3am on 1 January I realised that I was selling myself short, I wasn’t really stretching myself to what I really wanted to achieve this year. I didn’t have that Big Hairy Audacious Goal – a BHAG, taken from Jim Collin’s Good to Great which I studied on my MA. Hurrah for insomnia and a dreadful cough!
So, my seriously big BHAG is to earn £X through my own creative work, regularly by the end of the year. And yes, I have got the SMART version of that written down so I can clearly tell when/if I achieve that.
I havne’t defined exactly what that will look like at this stage, because I have realised that staying open to opportunities is the best way to achieve intentions. Also life tends to chuck things at us that we can’t possibly expect.
I’ve spent a lot of time since I’ve become a Christian knowing that God wants me to do something, but also being aware that I am in this very fragile and somewhat broken body. I can’t achieve and strive like I used to, I don’t have a lot of energy to rush about doing things.
I have spent a lot of time in prayer and meditation and it is clear to me that he wants me to be working for Him with the written word and communication… I don’t know more than that at the moment, so I am trusting that this is what He wants. And I am holding up my end by acknowledging that and putting it as my BHAG, but being aware that He will make it happen as he wants. I have a feeling that photography comes into play too, but that’s not so strong a leading, so that might still be me and my ego!
So, just to put it out there I write in various forms – blog posts, marketing materials, ghost writer, articles, and anything else! I can use a variety of tones and voices as appropriate.I am especially interested in writing articles and guest blog posts about anything I write about in here or in my work blog.
I’m not sure at the moment how the photography is going to be a saleable offer, I’m certainly not going to be doing wedding coverage. The same with music, I am not going to be out gigging, it is far too exhausting for me! That’s what I mean by being open to what happens, rather than getting the whole year planned out.
Having the minutia planned out would mean that I would likely to be missing out on various opportunities, not to mention having to stick to the plan as written, which would be terribly stressful! Having a BHAG is a kind way of working, as it Big, Hairy and Audacious, so if it doesn’t happen, well it was ridiculous in the first place! But, I have set my intention, and that is where I am heading.
I wrote this first thing, and then during my morning walk (still on the 1st) I realised that there is another BHAG that is so super audacious that it needs a new hyperbole world for it!
It’s to be in a position to apply for an artist’s studio. I can hardly bear mention it to be honest, as it is just so far out there in terms of being achievable and not in line with what I’m doing. I feel so uncomfortable that this bit isn’t appearing on my work blog, only for you here. I have wanted a studio for so long, and I really don’t know why, or what’s driving it, but I spend a lot of time thinking about it, so I’m being open to the idea, maybe it’s another nudge from God? Or maybe it’s ego again. It’s difficult to know.
To be in a position to apply (let alone get on the waiting list) I have to have an artist CV and a portfolio. I also have to be able to financially justify it, so BHAG #1 contributes towards BHAG #2. So I am a long way from this goal, probably much further than goal #1. Still, it was a very clear feeling that I should write it down in my book for this year, so there we go!
Like my word of the year I know what I need to do daily to be working towards it. Coincidentally working towards my BHAGs will help towards my small intentions, as well as my word. I can forget about it day to day, because I will be writing, playing music and doing photography every day, which will help towards the BHAGs and Luminous. At the end of each day I assess how I’m doing with Luminous on a scale of 1-10 and each month I will figure out what I need to do to work towards my smaller goals and BHAGs.
Have you stretched yourself this year, while still being kind to yourself?