Shiftin’ “IT” – How I Do What I Do

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

– The Cheshire Cat, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

"Tangled Web #5" ©2010 Ayn Hanna "16x10" Textile Painting (cotton fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread) mounted to 24"x18" canvas

One of my readers recently asked, “How are you able to get your art done while also juggling a family and full-time day job – How do you do all that you do?  This seems to be a pretty popular question, so I’m going to try to answer it.

Lucky for me, I’ve always been a good planner.  And, I’ve also had some good training in project planning, organizational development – strategic planning and visioning, and graphic recording (drawing and writing down plans/outputs from meetings in organized ways).

I am currently a Shift-IT coach-in-training.  Over the past year I have been working to complete the coursework to become a certified Shift-IT coach, facilitating several clients through the Shift-IT personal strategic visioning and planning process.  I’ve been using the Shift-IT process on my own strategic visioning and planning too.

The Shift-IT process is a set of 7 process steps and 17 visual map templates – a strategic planning process for individuals – designed by Christina Merkley (aka “The Shift-IT Coach”) to help individuals make “shifts” in whatever areas of their lives they want more satisfaction with, and to identify, soften, and soothe the internal resistance we often have to achieving those shifts.

How I do the things I do

In a nutshell, here’s what I have found works for me to achieve my goals (and how I have used the Shift-IT process for my own planning):

1. DREAM BIG: I start with developing a clear vision of my goals – who and what I want to be and have by a certain date in the future.  Within the Shift-IT Process, this step is called “Focus on your Future” and one of the key outcomes is the Magnetism Map (Clear Vision of your Future).

2. CREATE A “TAKE ACTION PLAN” and WRITE IT DOWN: I use a framework for planning out my major strategies to achieve my vision goals, with detailed tasks, dependencies, and timelines associated with achieving the strategies brainstormed and WRITTEN DOWN on sticky notes, which I then group and arrange on the wall.  Within the Shift-IT Process, the applicable map is the “Take Action Plan” where you identify your big action areas (strategies) and then write down the “mini-tasks” needed to achieve them.

Take Action Plan

3. MEASURE PROGRESS to achieve GREAT RESULTS: Any tasks that haven’t started yet sit on the left hand side of the wall.  Tasks that are in progress are moved into the middle of the page, and adjusted to the right as they near completion, and then completed tasks are moved to the far right of the wall. I am a visual person and I love being able to actually “see” the progress I’m making as sticky notes move across the wall to the right!

My dynamic 2010 Take Action Plan

4. REPEAT STEPS 1-3 to keep revising my Vision and Plan as I accomplish goals and new goals emerge:  As I complete tasks and strategies, new goals emerge (We’re not the same people now that we were yesterday or even 5 minutes ago).  One of the coolest things about achieving goals is how new goals-new rockets of desire-emerge along the way….we’re never finished creating our next selves!

5. HUSTLE and NEVER GIVE UP:  Work smarter and enjoy the journey!  Always get back up, dust off, check parts, take note of new learnings, and move on.

Proof it Works

I have achieved AMAZING results in the progress of my art career over the past year and I attribute a good deal of this to using the SHIFT-IT process.  This SI process is powerful – it’s like putting rocket boosters to whatever “IT” is you want to shift – I’ve experienced it personally and had the privilege to witness it with my clients as well.

A few highlights of achievements that I have accomplished (or will before 2011 is complete) with my art career that just one year ago were mere goals and tasks written on sticky notes stuck to my wall:

1. I have had work accepted into several local, regional, and national juried exhibitions, received my first award, and had my work sell during the show.

2. I held my first ever (and now annual) open studio show.

3. I have been accepted into the Fort Collins Studio Tour event to be held in June 2011, so now will be hosting 2 Open Studio Shows in 2011.

3. I created a website AND a blog AND a Facebook Fan page for my art, and on April 6th, I’ll be celebrating my 1 year anniversary of my blog.

4. I will be teaching my first Visiting Artist Workshop, Art Cloth: Unique Hand-Printed Fabric, this summer at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride, CO.

5. I have been invited to participate in a 2 person show at a local gallery space in Fort Collins in the fall this year.

This is a quick overview of how I approach goal setting and action planning.  There’s certainly more to it than can be captured in one blog post, so if there’s interest, I may dive into more details in further posts.  Thanks for reading and joining me on my journey!


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