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Do we really need to focus on our goals?

When I decided to become a professional artist 2 years ago I set out a five year plan.

From costs, to marketing to everything.

Now, some of you know I already run a tech company. Business isn’t new to me, I jumped in about 17 years ago.

Do these steps, get those results. This works in tech.

The art business I’m finding a whole lot more of a muddy journey. And when I look around, I’m on a different path, just slightly but enough different, than I had intended.

My goal, my destination if you will, was to be another James Hance or Karen Hallion. Painting fandoms for lots of people. Doing some official work for the studios. That sort of thing.

These artists, and others like them do great work. I am so not slamming them here at all. They are my inspiration. My light in the beginning when I used to lose confidence.

But my path slipped sideways into something I never expected: making my art work. Raising funds for mental health and women’s shelters. Supporting my local and global communities.

I was emailing with my friend Salley about this unexpected but welcome twist. And I got to thinking about how we do things. Or how we do them in North America anyway.

We set our lives up with goals. Destinations.

Do these things, arrive here.

And we are attached to the outcomes so much.

You did the things, You aren’t where you’re supposed to be. How come?

Or you get there and realise that there’s something better over the next mountain. You need to get there instead. The destination doesn’t fit or isn’t satisfying and it sullies the whole effort it took to get there.

And it got me thinking about happiness and life and what the point of it all is.

I think there are no destinations. That arriving at some place, some goal, doesn’t matter as much as the journey does.

Now I know this is almost cliché but bear with me here.

We don’t know where we are going to end up. And I’m not talking about the whole life is short thing. But more sometimes we plan and things change around us and in us.

Sometimes growth changes us so deeply that the destination we’re reaching for doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter because every day is the destination. The journey is the whole fucking point.

And while I still have my five year plan in the back of my head for this art hobby turned art career, I’m not clinging to it so rigidly. Because if I did, I wouldn’t be doing the work I am doing right here and now.

I wouldn’t be encouraging all of you to find your creative flames and to blow gently on them to make them brighter.

I wouldn’t be writing my book.

And I wouldn’t be painting to make a difference.

Goals are important, absolutely. But we shouldn’t be clinging to them so tightly that we miss the twists and turns that come with the journey. That we don’t adapt to changing situations and opportunities.

And life is muddy, messy and unexpected. The trick is to find joy in the journey and not be as attached to the outcome.