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Tag Archives | business planning

Clear Vision: It’s all about the editing.

Jen Norton's vision board

My vision for my art business, in pictures!

I had a mini-aha-moment today as I was putting together a vision board for my business as part of my Hello Soul, Hello Business e-class. I’ve believed in the importance of making a vision board for some time. I’ve seen other artists make them. I’ve heard about them being used for therapy. And I even made my husband make one a few years ago as he was struggling to reach some of his personal goals. But I never sat down and made my own. I guess I just figured I make pictures all the time, how different could it be? I know where I want to go, right? But a girl can change her mind.

Today’s board creation project is falling after four days of pondering and writing about aspects of our businesses like their values, characteristics and soul missions. Through guided exercises, we have been digging deeper into our own truths all week, seeking to define what we have been put on this planet to do. So today I sat down with my scissors and old magazines to craft my board. Thought it was just a fun way to wrap up the week. That’s when I realized it’s not just about making a concrete form of your vision or having it posted as future reminder, although those are important parts. The magic is in the editing.

As I went through each magazine, words and pictures passed before me that held meaning and relevance. With each temptation, I had to make a decision: Is it REALLY relevant to my vision? Or is it just something that fascinates me, but that could distract me from my chosen path? And then came the time to glue it all down. My board was only so big. My collection of stuff was about three times bigger. More editing! More clarity to my vision!

I don’t know why this is such a revelation, really. My best paintings have been edited and “fixed” to to my liking before I let them leave the house. Each of my blog entries can take me several hours of editing. In both processes, there is a lot of thinking time along with actual action. I absolutely believe half the worlds problems would be solved if people would just think before they speak. Why would my vision be any different? It isn’t…I’ve just been keeping it on the back burner for too long, never quite finishing the final revisions. But here I am in the here and now, glueing down a clear vision of my vision, and I love everything included on my board. I only allowed one tiny distraction: a little picture of a dog with the words “My therapist has a wet nose”. If only my dog had thumbs…I could use an assistant!

My name was Jenny.

Jenny © Jen Norton

“When I was 4, my name was Jenny”

When I was little, my name was Jenny. If I could type it correctly on a computer, the “J” would appear backwards the way I used to write it. Although it’s been almost four decades since anyone besides a few family members has called me by that name, it has taken me a lot longer to drop those two last letters and become just “Jen” than you might think.

Not that people haven’t called me “Jennifer” or “Jen” for some time. But inside, I was still very much “Jenny” for years. Jenny was terrified of the world and debilitatingly shy. She believed you could only be loved if you were perfect in every way. She never asked for help. Even when she fractured her back at the age of 13, she never told anyone, which gives you a clue to her strength. Unfortunately for a long time, that strength was only used to hold up her safety walls. Fortunately, her mom gave her lots of crayons and paper behind those walls, which allowed her imagination to fly where she couldn’t. Eventually, she started venturing out…

Today I started a 10-week online class called Hello Soul, Hello Business* run by licensed artist Kelly Rae Roberts and Do What you Love for Life coach Beth Nicholls. About 200 other creative women and I are beginning by exploring the “Why” of what we do. We were encouraged to give our business a name, which is how I ended up back in my childhood. I would be willing to bet if we really could do what we love, it would involve doing what brought us joy way back before paychecks and taxes were part of our lives. It would include a willingness to share the adult wisdom gained from overcoming our biggest life challenges. I know that’s true for me.

I may be a very different person today, but if I am to move forward and do anything of value, I cannot leave Jenny behind. To forget her or lock her away would be to toss away the seed God planted in my heart as I came to this life. Together, we are on a journey to find the other “Jennies” out there and encourage them on their way to finding their true names. The next ten weeks for me will provide a roadmap. I can’t wait to see where we’re going!

(I dug this painting out of a pile of work done at workshops. This was from a painting workshop by artist Katherine Chang Liu** where we were encouraged in a different way to find out the “why” behind our art. There I am, hiding behind my mom’s leg (yes, she really had those horn-rimmed glasses), peeking up at the scary chaos of possibilities out there. I had forgotten about this painting until today!

*Follow #HSHB on twitter or find out more on Kelly Rae’s website.

*If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Katherine is going to be doing an Artist Mentoring workshop through the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society in June.