Jenna*is one of those artists who surprise me time after time. She has a real grasp on the throat of her inner critic, and she has big plans. That’s always a good combination.
What surprises me is not that Jenna never stumbles, falls, makes mistakes, slides into the morass of crankiness or wraps herself around her axle–she does all of those things. What surprises me is that she doesn’t make up stuff. She keep her life and her place in it in focus.
1. She gets up again, after every slip, trip, and stumble. People who stay down discover that others step over them on their way to their own plans.
2. She doesn’t make excuses for herself. She analyzes her situation and learns from it. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it again, but she will learn something different from it. The more you learn the more tools you have to move ahead to your goal.
3. She starts the fix with herself. “What do I need to do here to make my situation better?” “What do I need to do to move my plan forward?” No waiting for the magic wand. Choosing your own moves allows you to feel in charge of the direction and speed of travel. I’m pretty sure that’s a law of personal physics.
Here is her Personal Manifesto she wrote last week. Right underneath it is her
* * * * *
I want to be an artist.
I want to live somewhere so beautiful that even in the wind and rain I am drawn to go outside and revel in the sights, sounds and smells and take those into my studio to inspire what I do.
I want to have an abundance of time to sketch and refine and develop my own ideas so that I produce art that is meaningful to me.
I want to develop a discipline and a regular habit of creating art.
I want the company of a mentor or teacher who can help me improve and encourage my achievement.
I want my art to be good enough to sell in an upmarket gallery, not a market stall.
I will be confident and able to put myself amongst other artists whose work I admire.
I want to feel passion at the colors of a sunset and joy in the colors of pebbles.
I want to continue to explore and play, but I want to find my niche, my craft, my calling. I want to develop my skills and get really, really good.
And I want to feel so caught up in the moment that the act of creating art is almost a spiritual experience.
I WANT TO BE AN ARTIST: This is my manifesto.
What do I need to get there?
- A space
- Financial support
- On purpose
* * * * *
That’s a lot to want. And a lot to demand of oneself–to know what you need and what you have to do is a brave first step in getting it. But it takes courage to declare yourself. And even more courage to declare yourself to yourself.
What would you declare about yourself?
On Wednesday, I’ll give some pointers for writing a personal manifesto–and how to make it happen.
–Quinn McDonald needs to work on getting more sleep and choosing her commitments more carefully. That is what she is declaring.
* Not her real name. Coaching clients are promised anonymity. I have her permission to use her manifesto in this blog.