With all this talk of goal setting – it’s made me think. How do we not let ourselves down by setting ourselves up for failure? One answer, among many, is to get involved – ask others – network – learn more and approach experts.
Today, I am enthused and motivated to write this, because one of my goals does actually feel that little bit closer, and in no small part down to the belief and advice of another person, or people. There is no way I would have finished my novel had I not had a mentor. Before, I was stuck with a lame and disappointing story, writing draft after draft, banging my head against a brick wall and not really knowing what to do or where to turn next. In front of me was a sea of information, far too deep to swim in. But once I’d honed in on a network of people in the same boat, I came across a mentor. I was encouraged, drew breath, gained strength and the channels became ten times clearer. It’s this – the importance of having a support network I’d like to share.
Imagine, for example, your goal is to be good at calligraphy – so you can impress your friends with beautiful greeting cards, menus and invitations – maybe even make some money. In reality, your handwriting is terrible, because you’ve been brought up on computers, never had lessons, or never had the time to develop it. Plus, you feel you’re not creative, and you don’t really have the time anyway. Then you find an expert and you take a lesson. He sees something other than a dumb-wit Neanderthal with a piece of charcoal in their fist. Why? Because he can see you’re doing something to change; to develop. So he teaches you, and things begin to get better. You try, try and try again, and you improve – with a certain beautiful curl, or a dot. And the more time you spend on your craft, the more your creative doubts in your own ability are diminished. Now already your goal is in view, almost tangible.
I happen to believe we are all born creative, artistic, studious and clever – good at maths, good at sport, and good at business, drawing, or writing. It’s the growing up part of our lives, the bit where we compare ourselves to others, that slams home all the inhibitions we get bogged down with. Once you clarify your own desires and needs – what you want, you’re half way there. So take the next step and get a mentor(s). This moment and this person in your life will become invaluable. All it takes is for someone to spot… just something. A little belief goes a long way, because when you see they believe, you believe too. And this goes on to unlock a thousand creative doors inside you: you see in colour where you were blind; you feel and touch, where before you were numb; you hear on another pitch, where before you were tone deaf. You become unafraid to set new goals and you start achieving more as a result.
I’ve only just begun the long road to my end goal – I have vision and determination. But most importantly, I have a mentor to help me achieve my goal. That goal? To get published. There. It exists. It’s here in black and white. I used to be afraid to say that. But now, knowing there is support and people out there that believe it’s possible, the journey is so much easier.