Genevieve Sovereign stops by Happy Mag to run through her four-step process for achieving creative goals.
I’ve done quite a few things across a number of fields over the years, and people often ask how I’ve crammed everything in.
Thinking of all those things we try to accomplish… In our day-to-day living and across an entire lifetime, there are so many labels we create for them: Hopes, tasks, aims, duties, aspirations, targets, ambitions, dreams… Depending how we want to frame them to ourselves and to others.
I tend to call them “goals” in general and they each take time, attention and energy to fulfil… Resources that are finite in practical everyday terms and, as a result, can conflict when we overestimate how much we have of each – or how they align with other goals we hold for ourselves.
As an artist, one of my ongoing creative works is: Trying to fulfil goals while staying true to my values, drives and passions.
When modern reality enables us to accomplish almost anything (or so we’re told) and we’re inundated from every direction with demands for our time / cash / attention / energy, I think a kind of guilty overwhelm can take root.
We might ask ourselves, “Why haven’t I accomplished this yet? How is this still on my to-do list? What’s wrong with me, that I haven’t achieved this infinite number of goals I’ve set for myself?”
That’s when we’ve fallen into a trap. One process which helps me untangle from it is: 1) Pause. 2) Reorient. 3) Strategise. 4) Communicate and get it done. Let me explain what I mean…
Step 1 – Pause
The idea of pausing often arises as a “common sense” first step to overcome stressful moments, but frequently gets lost in the rush of thoughts / activities / emotions. Mentally embedding it as my default circuit-breaker has been worth the effort though.
Before ploughing into further overwhelm and/or feelings of distress, directing my inner dialogue to a question like “Do I want to conclude this current moment?” is powerful, and calls for a conscious commitment to change something.
Recognise if you’re not feeling how you want to feel, and make a decision to change that. Easier said than done sometimes I know, but determined practice makes perfect – and no one else can do it for us.
Step 2 – Reorient
In my previous Happy Mag article I deep-dove into creative process, and how I view creativity as an ongoing effort we all engage in – through every moment of every day, whether we consider ourselves to be an “artist” or not.
We’re all creative creatures in my view – with our own personal inspirations, aspirations and motivations. I believe one element uniting artists especially is an impulse to manifest into this world something fresh and new and unfamiliar…
But at the same time is an undeniable fusion of things that have come before, embedded within the matrix of this reality we all share.
Synergies of ideas, techniques and viewpoints combining to offer something uniquely themselves when combined. Wholes that are larger than the sum of their parts.
Through that lens, everything we do is art. Our lives and lifetimes are uniquely our own: Never done before, and impossible for someone else to replicate. Therefore our actions within this world are purest creativity… Meaning now is the time to create our best path forward.
Step 3 – Strategise
So then, with a viewpoint shift and reconnection to personal agency, my next step involves a series of strategy-defining questions. This helps me clarify where I’m at, and where I want to go next. For example…
– What am I trying to accomplish here – what’s the outcome or goal I seek?
– How does this goal align with my personal values, worldview and passions?
– Where does achieving this goal fit amongst my priorities, and does it overlap with any others in any ways?
– How much resourcing (i.e. time / $ / brainspace / energy) would achieving this goal require, and do I have that readily available to give it?
I actually delivered a webinar segment called “From Inspiration Out” for the Australian Songwriters Conference group last year, where I walked attendees through these questions while recounting the release of my EP “It’s yours.”
For anyone curious, I’ve made those presentation slides and accompanying strategy resources of mine freely available per my last Happy Mag article here.
There are heaps of other helpful questions to ask also, to build a deeper understanding of specific goals and what it would take to achieve them.
The key is to enhance clarity around: a) What precisely I’m trying to accomplish, b) What the achievement of that goal requires, and c) Whether I have the available resourcing and motivational alignment to see it through.
Would the outcome be worth the cost? I might not know straight away, and that’s fine. I simply build that uncertainty into my decision – or let it all just sit for a while, until I’m ready to come back and fill in more of the blanks.
Step 4 – Communicate and get it done
Once I’ve found clarity around those critical questions, I have a better idea how to fit that goal into my life – without overextending myself, wasting time and resources in doing things that aren’t ultimately helpful, or otherwise compromising the core essence of my work as an artist / person. As a result, I’m far better positioned to dive in and get it done!
We don’t have to go it alone though. Another important thing I’ve learned, although it took me a lot of stubbornness and frustration over the years to sink in, is that being part of a social species can be pretty cool.
Reaching out to others – either for assistance, or as a sounding board, or just because they’re awesome to connect with – can be hugely helpful. It’s perfectly OK to ask people for help, information, opinions, thoughts – you name it!
We’re social animals primed to work together, and I believe communication is one of the greatest skills and gifts we’ve been given.
It took me a long time to appreciate it but I really do reckon: The more, the merrier sometimes. Learning together, creating together, experiencing together – it accelerates our growth as individual people, and as a collective.
Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually… Everything we create is a synergy of the things and people we’ve encountered in our lifetimes thus far.
So, the greater such interconnection we can build into life, the richer we are in my view. Speaking of, if anyone’s interested in joining me on this journey, I warmly invite folks to check out my website and socials per my website and other platforms.
Beyond that, I hope this ramble offers something helpful and/or interesting to consider. Life is artwork in progress IMO, a truly beautiful masterpiece…
Gen Sovereign xoxo