A month has passed already in this new year, and hopefully you have started working on your goals that you set for 2012. In case it is going slow… we are here to lend you a helping hand, and with her permission we have copied Janet Bloch’s letter that she sent us in December. Janet Bloch is an artist, educator and an author. She was WMG’s Gallery Director from 1993 to 2000, and still serves as the Gallery’s Senior Advisor. She has more than 15 years of experience helping artists achieve their goals. In her new workbook, Strategic Marketing Tools for Visual Artists, she offers the same sound advice that was available only in her workshops and private consultations.
Create an Action Plan for 2012:
“When the New Year rolls around again, my heart fills with hope and excitement. I may be annoyingly optimistic to some, but that is because I have experienced the joy of fulfilling the goals I have set for myself at the year’s start.
Over the last decade, one of the tools I have used to accomplish my goals is a strategic plan. Another term for a strategic plan is an action plan, and action is the key to success. Here I will share how to create and use this plan in order to support your own vision. My expertise is in helping artists stay focused and achieve their goals, so when my book was published this year, it gratified me to hear from people who are not artists that found the chapter on Strategic Planning helpful in achieving their goals as well. Please feel free to pass along this information to anyone you think would benefit from it.
The first step to the plan is to set aside some time to daydream. Imagine yourself six months from now. What would you like to achieve by then? In my work with clients, I’ve found that breaking down a strategic plan into six-month increments produces optimal results. It is a long enough time to make real headway and a short enough time to stay focused on the goal.
Now transfer your daydreams into writing. Make a list of everything you can think of that you’d like to achieve in six months. Both processes are important—letting your mind fantasize and then putting pen to paper will allow a picture of your sincerest desires to emerge. Once the goals are down on paper, the harder work begins as you prioritize your top three goals. Suspend your imagination and scrutinize each goal, asking yourself honestly if this goal can realistically be achieved in six months.
If you have to stop doing things to achieve your goals that are important to you or your family, such as going to the gym or helping your kids with their homework, you are setting yourself up for failure. I would bet that the biggest reason people abandon their objectives and create a cycle of self-sabotage is by setting unrealistic goals. I once heard a wise speaker who said everyone asks her how to get their too busy lives into balance. Her answer was that if you are too busy, your life will never be in balance. Please do not use a strategic plan to beat yourself up by creating impossible goals.
Download my Six-Month Form. Once you have settled on three goals that are attainable, prioritize three actions that you can take each month that directly relates to one of your goals. Determine actions that need to be done continually and consistently and write those actions down in every month in the six-month period. As an example, if an artist wants to send a CD to three galleries that they think are good matches for their art, I would suggest one action be to visit those galleries every month.
Now turn your attention to the actions that are one-time activities. Where in your six-month plan will those activities be most effective? Perhaps you have a contact at one of the galleries who has offered to make an introduction for you. Are you actually ready for that to take place or do you still need to get your work photographed or your statement written? Perhaps you need to do more research on your own before you take advantage of this valuable resource. To follow this example, in the sixth month, you could plan to take your contact to lunch.
To ensure success, do not be tempted to fill your life with too many actions. Only commit to three actions each month. Take it from my experience with dozens of clients—three actions a month are plenty.
One of the most challenging yet beneficial characteristics of a six-month strategic plan is that it forces you to eliminate all activities that do not bring you closer to your six-month goals. It helps you see that, for example, “taking a workshop in papermaking” or “attending a conference on art licensing” just don’t fit in your plan right now. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever do those things; it just means that for the next six months you’ll make the concerted effort to only take those actions that serve your vision.
You begin to see why reaching your goals have not been easy. Good luck to all and I wish you a productive and joyous 2012!” -Janet Bloch
For more detailed information on Strategic Planning and other topics go to www.janetbloch.com.