Checking in and celebrating achievements
After the challenges I wrote about last week when I was trying to do all things possible and invent extra time in the universe, the upshot has been an amazing week and this made me think about how it is so important, especially after crazy busy times like this to stop and take a pause to reflect on how things have gone.
Some of my art pieces that went into the exhibition last weekend
Often, as creatives we have intense periods of working time, building up to things like exhibitions, as above, or craft fairs, events and also seasonal peaks and troughs and it’s so easy in those quieter times to be straight on to thinking about the next thing and planning forward.
Of course, that is an important part of the process too, but equally important is to think about how far you’ve come since the beginning of the Year, how much you’ve grown in your creative field and the lessons learned along the way.
It’s not always the done thing in British terms, we’re not very good at celebrating our achievements, but if we don’t check in with those little wins, we miss out on seeing the overall bigger picture and understanding what the key things are to do next towards our big vision.
So here are some Top Tips for celebrating your achievements:
- Get yourself an Accountability Buddy – This works brilliantly, trust me. As people often working on our own, it’s sometimes difficult to self- manage and like I say, record those wins for the week. I set this up with a friend and literally every week, on a Friday, we list our achievements on a text and congratulate each other on what we’ve done – having someone to sum up your week to makes you realise how much you’ve achieved in total and you spur each other on.
- Then once a month, meet up with that friend, run through your main ones again and then do some goal setting for the next month – just saying it out loud to someone makes it way more real and you’re much more likely to do it, because you said you would – and so continues the circle of achievements.
- Get yourself a nice journal, one that makes you excited to write in – For this it doesn’t have to be work / project related – any little wins in life are worth recording – to look back on when you’re old and grey and to also raise those feel-good levels that can help against a whole host of mental health issues.
Megan Hamer, in her book ‘Write yourself Happy’ sites research that says; If you write positively in a journal for just 3 months, even if you then stop, the effects of that positive action last at least another 3 months – how great is that?
Just one of the many lovely journals I have dotted about my house!
- Use your expertise, for free – so by this I mean, if something has really worked for you, share that knowledge, especially to people who are just starting out; For one, it makes you feel really good to help people, and two it solidifies in your mind that yes you feel qualified to help and by acknowledging this your confidence and self-belief will grow.
- Join encouraging Facebook groups in your area of interest. These are often run by really inspiring and encouraging people who invite you to celebrate success of a weekly basis as well as supporting each other in the group. These are great places to find new creative friends and build relationships, as well as being able to ask specific questions that you need help with and access areas of expertise.
Two great examples of this are: Creatively Human run by Ruth Poundwhite who does a podcast under the same name and also Exciting Emails by Vix Meldrew. Both extremely supportive and you discover new things that you hadn’t even thought of! Others are listed in The Curious Cave.
- Tell your friends and family – this can be a tricky one if they don’t necessarily ‘get’ what you are doing or trying to achieve. I get mixed reactions, although mostly positive, some, especially my older family members just don’t understand me doing a million projects (ok slight exaggeration but it feels like it sometimes!) and why can’t I just focus on the one thing of writing a book, which is what I initially started out doing?
But the reason I say tell them, is because slowly, the people who are not quite fully onboard will start to take your ideas and vision more seriously, and that can only be a good thing for your own self-belief and make what you are trying to do feel more like a ‘real’ entity, plus they will be more understanding if you need some support (e.g childcare whilst you are selling at an event), if they are bought into your dream too.
So now I’ll fill you in on my week, in three stages because I fully believe that you reap what you sow and karma has a big part to play in that if you help and support people along your own journey, then the good times come right back to you.
This is also how I talk to my son about his daily achievements and learnings, it’s a great way of celebrating all your successes as a family;
1) What did I do for others this week (over and above the normal mum / wife /dog/ life duties!)
- Promoted several local businesses and individuals via my social media accounts and conversations to help them with their business, plus they are people who have creative passions and a great sense of community themselves and this deserves to be shouted about!
- Used my local picture framer to string and mount all my art, talked to him about his own ‘coin art’ and offered him marketing advice on setting up a name for his art, other ideas for his collection and Instagram account to get his name out there.
- Donated a voucher for my workshop as a raffle prize for the art exhibition
- Delivered another creative writing workshop, helping others to access their creative side and have fun with it.
- Went along to the creative writing group I belong to – i.e. supporting her business
- Helped out at the exhibition, raffle, washing up, setting tables etc etc
2) What have others done for me?
The amazing green goddess salad from Miriam’s
- Three ladies came to my workshop and gave me fabulous feedback and we had a great time
- My friend Clair posted a blog post piece of creative writing that she started via a task on my workshop and it has received lots of great comments, plus she acknowledged my workshop being the inspiration which is lovely! This is her story if you fancy a read!
- My family have put up with pictures strewn across the house, bits of bubble wrap everywhere and very little housework done in the run up to the exhibition!
- Inspired me – Sam Bunch – Collecting conversations book, Gale at writing group, Miriam on new business ideas, my fellow artists with their amazing work, to name but a few…
- Made me laugh – my son especially this week with the ‘out of context’ words he uses sometimes and my mum with the best reply text ever when I told her I’d sold my ‘Castle Hill’ picture which she thought was ‘wonky’ – her response text was – ‘Some people like wanky castles’ – I nearly spat my wine out at the pub having dinner!
- Fed me extremely well and healthily – The picture of the green goddess salad above, it is sooooo tasty!
- Made my abs work (and hurt the following day!) to get into bikini shape – courtesy of my Pilates teacher, Kim!
- I’ve been invited to be on the panel of something very exciting, but I can’t reveal all yet!
- And finally I had my best art exhibition yet, people bought 5/7 of my main pictures, 4 smaller pictures on my table and over 40 cards, plus so many people came up to me with lovely comments about my work which has given me lots more confidence as I’m still a relative newbie compared to the other immensely talented members!
Just one of the many amazing pieces of art available at the exhibition, this one from fellow member Karen Bedford
3) And finally…..What have I learned?
- That hard work, albeit tiring, pays off
- That pulling together with people who really understand your vision, makes a huge difference
- That I need to plan more in advance! (story of my life) – Things always take longer than you think
- To not order paper bags in a rush and pay a big delivery charge to get quicker, when in-fact they are tiny and only useful for a small amount of my cards!
- That promotion across platforms works – you need to tell people and then tell them some more so they are aware of what is happening – it builds momentum and you take them along in your excitement of what’s to come
- To listen to your body and rest when it’s knackered (easier said than done, but I have booked in a spa session this week!)
- To finish things off – record those sales, note what worked, plan the next stage – that’s what I’m up to this week.
- Finally; To always be grateful for the support and opportunities, say Thank you, a lot, make sure people know how appreciated they are.
Hopefully you’ll find something that resonates with you in these tips, and I’d love to know what works for you. Writing this and having conversations with other creative friends has made me now want to set up a local accountability and achievements group…. Another idea to add to the list!
Have a great inspiring, celebratory week and hopefully next week I will have caught up and be on time!
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
P.s The featured image is the starting of a painting of the church we got married in, 15 years ago today, now that’s an achievement to celebrate this week!!