Evaluating Success

May 13, 2009 | 1 Comment |

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Evaluating Success

Specify your standards for success to help you realize how far you’ve come and when you’ve arrived. Identify your standards before you begin projects. When you see your criteria, you may refine them, setting an even better course. With the clarity that comes from creating and organizing a list, you’ll be more likely to set an effective action plan to achieve each goal. New ideas will emerge!
Here are a few tips to setting standards for success.

1 – Keep it simple. You’ll understand your standards better and be able to share them with others more easily.
2 – Make it measurable. You’ll be able to make more objective evaluations during and after your efforts.
3 – Seek support. Collaborate with others who have additional skills. They’ll be able to help you accomplish specific tasks more successfully. They may also provide you with useful feedback.
4 – Celebrate success. Before moving on, enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and reenergize, both with yourself and with others.
5 – Review and revise. Take time to evaluate your progress both during and after a project. Course correction is both the secret to getting there and to going farther.

Identifying your standards for success doesn’t keep you from exceeding them (quite the opposite), it will help you find useful perspectives and enjoy the successes you have achieved.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Take A Break

May 12, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

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Take a Break
Stuck? Take a break!
When the solution to a problem eludes you … Go for coffee. Take a walk. Take a nap. Sleep on it. Sometimes, you may need to do this for many days in a row.
Often, taking a break works best after you’ve done the necessary preparation or research on a given problem. Get the known (what you know and what others know about a particular challenge) out on the table and into the light of the day. Finding the know will help you find the unknown. You’ll identify all the involved components and become more aware of what’s missing. But, the unknown usually won’t come to you when you are in an analytic state. It usually comes whey you are in a receptive state. Taking a break creates a space that you will fill naturally. Nature abhors a vacuum. Use this to your advantage.
Really let go. Get the problem completely off of your mind (which means out of your field of vision). If you find you can’t stop your mind, do something else with your full attention. You may be so fixated on a problem that to get your mind off it, you have to make yourself do something else that’s entertaining, exciting, or challenging.
You might think letting go is a sign of a lack of commitment or a form of quitting. It’s not. Many times it’s an absolutely necessity. It’s a way of taking a necessary rest. At some point, everyone and everything needs rest – even your mind.
Once you’ve had the experience of benefitting from letting go, doing it again will become easier for you.

Learn to be more creative.

Energize your creative life.

At the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Chris Orwig took a walk with me and we talked about a life in the arts. He’s been asking many other artists the same questions.

What inspires you?

What makes a photograph good?

What character qualities should the photographer nuture and develop?

Advice for the aspiring photographer?

Seriously consider answering the questions yourself.

Answering questions like this can energize and focus your creative life.

You can listen to my responses on his blog here.

Check out Chris’ work here.

Check out my workshop Illuminating Creativity.

Tonight from 7-9 in San Francisco at the Academy of Arts, I lecture on my work and creative process with an eye towards advances in technology. The lecture is free and open to the public – sponsored by Canon.

Here’s an excerpt.

I often encounter resistance to new practices in photography. Some say, “You can’t do that.” I reply, “I just did.” They respond, “But that’s cheating.” I counter “Whose game are you playing?”

There’s no such thing as cheating in the creative arts. There is such a thing as misrepresentation. As creators we all share a responsibility to disclose our process so that viewers can react in informed ways. This has never been more true than today, where technology challenges many of the assumptions that were almost too easy to make in the past. This cultural dialog is an important part of understanding where we are today, how we got here, and where we may be going.

Listen to my artist’s statements here.
See my work here.


Many people think you can’t learn to be more creative. “You’ve either got it or you don’t.” This attitude does a great disservice to everyone. Everyone is creative. So why are some people more creative than others? There are all kinds of reasons. Two reasons stand out above all the others – attitude and skill. In both cases, practice makes perfect. The creative principles and strategies applied in a wide variety of fields can all help you become more creative. You can learn to be more creative. As Micheal Michalko says, “The artist, after all, is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of artist.”

Read to my Creativity Downloads here.

Listen to my Creativity Tips here.

Learn about my workshop Illuminating Creativity here.

Each issue of my free enews Insights offers creativity tips. Get Insights here.

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Be Open to New Opportunities to Learn

Receptivity is an essential quality necessary for creative success. There are many kinds of receptivity and many ways to become more receptive. Versatility increases the number of opportunities available to you. Practice makes success more likely.

While you can prepare for success and increase the chances that success will happen, you can’t force a breakthrough. Breakthroughs are often unexpected and come in unexpected forms.

Highly creative people are open to new opportunities. They understand that being open minded means being open to different opportunities to learn.

Don’t pass up opportunities to learn. Be open to new opportunities. And realize, they may come from unexpected sources at unexpected times.


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