Begin 2017 with YOUR Vision and Work Backwards

Happy New Year!  I do hope that everyone had a fantastic time spent with family, friends and loved ones.

I love the holidays because I take advantage of the break in order to read to relax.  And that’s not to say that my mind wasn’t hunting for ideas to share with you regarding marketing and audience development.  In fact, I found many inspirational articles, books and blog posts about ways to further the development of relationships with audience members and innovative strategies we can use to market our arts practice.

However, I did discover that many articles tended to encourage their readers to move quickly past what many had expressed to be a begrudging 2016 and count down their top suggestions for forging ahead into 2017.  These included ideas about goal setting, the use of new technology in order to improve personal productivity and organisation, and noting daily rituals of top successful individuals that help make the most of their productivity.  As I do my best to avoid doing the same, I’d rather share my favourite advice read: work backwards.

Wait, what?  Work backwards?  Yes!  Almost every article or blog post seemed to agree that the best way to work forward throughout 2017 is to work backwards.

What does this mean?  How do we work backwards?  As I am sure you have already done, been doing, or plan on doing, to help kick-start your year take some time to set some goals.  What do YOU want to achieve in 2017?   It’s important to set both personal and creative practice goals.  And I suggest that the perfect place to start is by using your most valuable tool: your imagination.  Creative individuals have a lucrative gift of imagination.  Put it to good use by closing your eyes and imagining…it’s December 31st 2017.  Answer for yourself the following questions: what will you have accomplished by December 31st?  Be specific: where are you?  What are you wearing?  Who is around you?  What have you earned financially (and emotionally)?  Remember, there are no right or wrong answers so dream as big and as detailed as possible.

Next, work backwards: what will you have accomplished 6 months from today (by June 30st 2017)?  Where are you?  Who do you associate with?  What have you earned financially and emotionally by this time?

Continue asking yourself these questions for 3 months (or March 31st), 1 month (or February 9th) and 2 weeks (or January 23rd) from now.

Lastly, read out loud what you’ve written, reading backwards of course!  Start with your achievements in 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.  Might I also advise to read these goals backwards (AND forwards for extra points) everyday to keep yourself focused, motivated and persistent. I hope these goals showcase a productive and successful 2017!

Discovering an Inspiring ‘Flow’ to be a Philanthropist

I love going on holiday, especially when reunited with family and friends.  Holidays are great moments to rejuvenate the soul. I find that reading on my holidays really rejuvenates my soul.

During this holiday, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the inspirational writing of Lynne Twist, THE SOUL OF MONEY. Twist is a global activist, fundraiser, speaker, consultant, and author focused on influencing change for the way most citizens of western societies relate to money. In SOUL OF MONEY, Twist addresses the three most common money stresses – 1.) there is never enough; 2.) having more is better; 3 having a lack of is just the way it is – and theorises that by changing our relationship with money we will naturally create a stress-free lifestyle and actually grow an income over time.

How? Twist suggests to live with mind of sufficiency. She says that everything should be thought to live like a flowing river, especially money. Money is constantly available to us no matter our perceived financial situation – there is enough to supply everyone and everything. She encourages her readers to think about what we spend our money and where it actually goes to, rooting our purchases in similar values and beliefs we hold true of ourselves. Twist says, “Whether you are aware of it or not, you make an impact each day with your choices about how you live and how you allocate you resources. If ‘money talks’ it is with our voice. Each financial choice you make is a powerful statement of who you are and what you care about. When you take a stand and have your money reflect that, it strengthens your sense of self.”

At one point in the book, Twist reflects on the life of Mother Theresa who built her organisation caring for the poor with no money. Her institution is now a multi-million dollar business. Mother Theresa believed that she always had enough and when she needed more, she trusted God to provide.

Twist ultimately believes in a “you-and-me” world, opposite to our current state of living in a “you-or-me” world. “None of us want our children or our children’s children to live in a your-or-me world where they have to fight for survival. We want those children to be free, self-expressed, living in harmony and collaboration, with reverence for life and the resources we all share. All of us want a you-and-me world.”

What is my point? What am I inspired about this book? I am inspired by Lynne’s words confirming that we are all naturally philanthropic. Twist acknowledges through her 40+ years in fundraising, “I have found that everyone everywhere wants to contribute their money to make a difference in the world…Philanthropy at any level enables people to get back in touch with [a flowing] relationship with money. In philanthropic interactions, we can return to the soul of money: money as a carrier of our intentions…money as a currency of love, commitment, and service; money as an opportunity to nourish those things we care most about.” Philanthropy, remember, is the act of giving back to a cause, idea, organisation or person that betters the future of the community. We all have values, passions and strong beliefs about what contributes to a positive community but how often do we take the time to acknowledge those beliefs? Are we too shy to take a stand and proclaim to others who we are?

If you are interested in exploring more philanthropic opportunities, especially by supporting Melbourne independent artists, please contact me via email at bcausearts@gmail.com. I would be honoured to connect you with an artist who shares similar passions and values with you.

For more information about Lynne Twist and her work for The Hunger Project, please visit www.lynnetwist.com.