“Most have lists for their groceries. Few have lists for their lives” – Robin Sharma
Something that often gets overlooked in our hectic world are our goals; the things we want and work hard for every day of our lives. We all have them in some way shape or form, but are we really utilizing the power of ones goals?
Having done this myself at the time I transitioned into photography fulltime, I am a firm believer that successful goal setting can move your life forward in ways you might find hard to believe.
So what’s the secret to successful goal setting?
First, you have to divide your goals into all the categories of your life, not just one broad “life” category. Next you have to actually write them down!!! Putting them in writing does the trick!
Here’s how I break mine down:
- Personal goals – What are my fitness goals this year? How about the guitar lessons I’ve always wanted to take? Or learning Spanish?
- People goals – How can I better my relationships with people overall? Who do I wish to improve my communication with? Who do I want to meet and why?
- Photo goals – How many shoots do I ideally want this year; which kinds; where? What’s my “dream shoot” this year? Photo goals can easily be broken down further into endless categories and goals.
- Play goals – In my time off, what do I want to do? Where do I want to travel this year, whether it’s related to a shoot or not? What play goals have I been pushing off year after year?
- Prosperity goals – What are my financial goals? What will it really take to make me feel “comfortable,” as well as how am I going to achieve that? What do I need to save each month in order to get that ___?
Here is what each goal must have:
- Action steps
Lets run through a few simple examples:
Play goal: Vacation
Specificity: Kaua’i, Hawaii
Timeframe: Dec 2012
Action steps: save $2500 or more, earmarked just for vacation; block out a week no later than May 2012; book by end of June 2012
Benefit: Time off to relax and enjoy a year of solid hard work. Vacation soothes the soul and gives me something to really look forward to like nothing else.
Photo goal: Make more vendor contacts
Specificity: 6 new strong vendor contacts
Timeframe: wedding season 2012
Action steps: Meet a new vendor every job and contact them the week after the wedding. Try to maintain some kind of relationship with all of these from a season of shooting with hopes that 6 stick and they come to benefit me in future wedding seasons.
Benefit: More work out there, more leads, more brides, more revenue
The great thing about lots of these goals is that they feed into one another. Take the above goal; more vendors yields more brides, which yields more revenue, which increases the likeliness of saving $2500 for vacation. Something vital to mention is that the whole idea is to work toward something specific and not give up until you’ve achieved it, regardless of how long it takes. This isn’t a race. You go at your own pace and you aren’t in a competition with anyone else.
Things to remember when setting and achieving goals:
- It’s an ongoing process. It’s not “set it and forget it.”
- Goals need to be updated and checked on constantly.
- Achieving a goal means you set new goals, taking you to greater heights.
- Once you realize that you are achieving your goals, the process of goal setting will impact your entire life.
Its worth mentioning that when I first started goal setting I worked with a life coach. This really helped me maintain accountability for the things I was setting out to do. Ultimately it was up to me to accomplish them, but having someone monitoring and teaching me was a great benefit. You don’t necessarily need a professional coach, however. Even pairing up with a friend or making a small group to go over these with would help you stay on track and accountable.
As a freelance artist, it’s very easy to feel and say we want to do things in our career and in our lives. But speaking of them or thinking them only gets us so far. We must put them in writing in order to truly bring them to life. At the very least, the sheer exercise of identifying these goals will draw us closer to achieving them.
About Brian Friedman
New York-based photographer Brian Friedman started out as a road manager for the legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes. But it was during Haynes’ 20-city tour, that Brian began photographing Roy and discovered his passion for image making that put him on a road to a new career. Since then, he has sharpened his skills and his eye to become recognized as a photographer of choice by noted entertainment personalities, politicians, corporate leaders, event planners and of course, brides and grooms from all over the world.