In one year from today, Where do you see yourself? What obstacles will you have gone through? What aha moments will you have had?
What will be some major changes you will have made? How have you made a positive difference in other people's lives and your own? What are 1, 2 or 3 significant new skill sets did you take on.
In a year from today, I will be creating large paintings for offices and private spaces that help people feel relaxed and at peace. In 2017 I became aware of some significant social research about the physiological impact of landscape paintings. 700 studies in 5 countries showed nature photography and landscape paintings were effective tools to create healing environments. Consistently patients in hospitals with nature imagery had better health outcomes, whether patients looked out windows onto nature or enjoyed large landscape paintings. IN both cases they used less pain medicine, had lower blood pressure and left the hospital sooner. Staff morale improved and retention increased when nature - even symbolic nature imagery from paint or photos - was introduced into the environment. The American Medical Association endorsed the studies and recommended landscape paintings and nature photography as part of hospital decor because the results were so significant. I kept thinking about the value of this blood pressure lowering imagery in other high stress environments. Law or accounting offices; companies asking their employees to work very long hours; people wanting to amp up the feelings of relaxation in their homes. Imagine the impact of making spaces beneficial mentally, emotionally and physiologically.
I had spent years backpacking, traveling and enjoying landscapes that I drew upon to create my paintings. I found when I shared them that they tapped into other people's memories also. People talked about their own good memories too. The paintings helped people access their memories and feelings.
One of my biggest struggles was overcoming my fear of imperfect action. Showing up was the only thing that worked consistently. I had to stop fine tuning my presentation, fearful I'd be dismissed, and move into the world where I had the chance to meet customers. I had to become comfortable meeting people constantly and not taking their reaction personally when they didn't get me. I had to use my skills and knowledge to build community. I had to recognize the value of the service I provided. Why did I hesitate even though I had gotten good feedback and results? I had to answer to my own ghosts and past prejudices against myself - about not being good enough or worthy enough. And I did.
Public speaking was another place to step out of my comfort zone. It was a process to find my best stories and present them to the right audience. In 2017 I wrote 4 separate talks. Rolling those out in 2018 required I step out and, once again, be okay with imperfect action. Speaking on a stage and telling stories I'd never shared before felt scary and vulnerable. When I heard the response of people who llistened to my stories, I realized what a big difference I could make. That response kept me going. Soon my nerves relaxed and I was making a difference.
During 2018 I graduated from cold calling for all my opportunities, realizing that people valued what I was doing. I began asking people if they knew one or two people who would be interested in my message - my paintings or the speaking.
I felt like I spent years learning to find my customers. Thankfully moving into 2018 I knew my customer avatar pretty well as I had dedicated 2017 to understanding my customer so well. I knew I had a valuable servce to provide. Now I needed to find the visionary professionals who knew they would benefit from my work.
One Ah Ha moment was when I realized I needed to hire someone. I knew my numbers really clearly. How was I going to grow? Or remodel the studio? I tripled my financial expectations and immediately saw the holes in my business plan. I realized I needed to triple sales if I was going to manage some construction in 2018 and hire someone.. That meant rethinking who I met and how I approached them. I created a synergy between Live Painting, creating paintings and public speaking. My new hire would be working on media relations and improving organizational systems.
By making 2018 the year I showed up every day, I was ready for all the growth into my future. The fun and engaging process of bringing my work into so many people's lives. I knew in my heart it was my job to genuinely understanding my customers - how people benefit the most.
Closing 2018 with 40 new collectors feels like a great way to close the year of confidence that began with many mental challenges to owning my work 24/7. Knowing I increased the well being they and their clients felt in the space I helped enhance was the best feeling I could imagine. I felt valuable and like I was living my own best purpose.