By Carolyn Edlund
Prioritize Your Life over Your Work
I’ve been working with an artist lately who is doing a lot of big vision planning and goal setting. Today I received a long email from her. This one sentence jumped out at me:
I am fortunate to be able to afford to grow my business slowly, with attention paid to the lifestyle I am creating for myself as an artist.
This artist is working smart, because first she envisions what she wants her life to be like.
- How does she want to live?
- Does she want to travel?
- Does she want to work only twenty hours a week?
- Does she want to live in a certain part of the country, or the world?
- What else is equally important to her – family, healthy living, a cause that she supports?
Deciding how you want to live, rather than just deciding how you want to work, is essential to making your plans successful in the long run, and making yourself happy while you are doing it.
Years ago, I didn’t do this type of planning when I started my own studio business. My biggest assets were that I didn’t think I could fail, and that I was relentless at pursuing sales.
But I overbooked with the goal of maximizing sales, and ended up traveling a lot when my children were small, doing far too many shows. I ended up feeling burned out and unhappy.
Even though I was doing what I loved, my life didn’t reflect that. It was hectic, overwhelming and burdensome. I earned more money that year than I ever had, but it wasn’t worth it.
So I ended up making drastic changes in my business to get my life back into balance. I needed to learn that lesson. Success doesn’t have a dollar figure on it. Hard work is important, but at what cost?
What if I had started with the big vision, as my current client does, of the lifestyle I wanted to live? What if I had known to put that first?
Think about your own priorities. What choices do you consider most important? What does success look like to you?