Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Experience with the 100 Day Challenge

In April, I decided to sign up for this program called the 100 day challenge.  At the time I was exhausted and getting burned out, I was frustrated with lack of results....and yes I do tend to be impatient...and yes I am a bit of an overachiever.  I always have this desire to grow, to change, to get better results and to become a better version of myself. Part of my exhaustion was due to overworking, teaching too much and doing some teaching that was really not a good fit for me at a local University for two semesters.  So as I was doing my usual digging on the internet for new ideas for marketing my art and getting more sales I wound up stumbling on someone's blog....don't remember whose know (you know how that goes) and she gave a long list of resources some of which I had read and just weren't for me and at the end she mentioned this program called the 100 Day Challenge.  I went and checked this out and listened to some interviews by the creator on YouTube. Again, I felt this instinct saying you gotta try this.  The Challenge started before tax time and before my 2nd semester was over! Not the right time I thought - excuses, excuses. Looked it up and a third objection - it cost $200....a 4th objection - this is just Tony Robbins motivational stuff.... Fear, Panic, what will people think of me bullshit. So, I signed up. I thought, What's the worst that can happen? I lose $200. What's the best that can happen? I learn some powerful lessons that actually change the course of things. BINGO. SIGN ME UP.

I signed up and kept it secret for quite a while afraid of judgements against it.  Anyways, I can happily report that it was an incredible experience - not easy, but incredible. Therefore, I STRONGLY recommend the program to anyone who wants to see some changes in their life, in any area. This is not just for artists or entrepreneurs, it's for everyone. It's not just to make money or lose weight, it can be for developing mindfulness or spending more time with your family. Doesn't matter. The program is general and designed to walk you through any goal and keep you motivated while working on it. You are the one that makes it happen though, by taking action and following through.

Disclosure: If you have weird beliefs about making money or are too much of an idealist to think that you should be a starving artist.....READ NO FURTHER. 

My goal happened to be a painting sales goal. They encouraged you to set a big goal, to be clear on what you wanted. I already knew what my ultimate goal was for a yearly salary...but it always seems so far off in the future and I always felt like, "Hey what control do I have over whether or not people want to buy my paintings?". I thought gosh I have my work in galleries across the country and I'm doing everything I know how to do otherwise to make an income. Other thoughts included, "Geez, I hate marketing stuff. I don't want to be a sleezeball salesman. It should be about the art. People will judge me for being superficial and caring about money....yaddy yaddy yaddy."  Truth was I knew there had to be some other ideas, other options and I already knew I was putting off a lot of things that would improve my circumstances. Although I was at a point of burn-out, I felt there was no better time than this when I'm sick of what I'm currently doing and need to re-focus.

So I set a big goal. It was 1/4 of what my eventual hopeful income will be...which just happened to be more painting sales income than I made all of last year! I thought wow, this will be damn near impossible. But I started the program with such excitement anyway, not with doubts, determined to give it everything I had. The daily videos the challenge sent kept me focused on how to reach them and on days that I was sinking back into comfort zone or wanting to give up the program kept the flame lit until I could see some more results. By 1/2 way through the 100 days I had made more than 60% of my goal! I was so elated....then the next 2 weeks I saw very little results ....and started to think this was all I was going to be able to do. I started to get tired of trying. So there were a few days that I put out very little effort and felt bummed. I realized I didn't want to end like that, I would rather not reach the goal doing everything I could than to not reach it and wonder what if I had really given it my best shot.  By the end, I am happy to report that I reached 95% of my goal!!!!!!!  The goal was not simply about the money, it was about doing what I needed to do....not blaming others and feeling powerless for what income wasn't coming in.  I took back responsibility and in turn felt more powerful and in control (not in control of the outcome mind you, but of my own actions and mind).

Here are the most practical applications I learned my the challenge:

1. Get clear on my goals. Understand WHY I want to achieve them. What will that success look and feel like?
2. Brainstorm ways that I can reach these goals. Just take a piece of paper and start righting down ANY idea that comes to mind...don't judge it or say that's a stupid idea.
3. Set daily, weekly, even hourly ways to reach your goal and keep track of which goals you met.  The biggest thing that helped me once I had a list of brainstorm ideas and actions was to plan out my day in 30 MINUTE SEGMENTS. Yep, 30 minutes. This was a life changer for me.
4. PRIORITIZE. Sometimes I have so many little things I have to do that I'll do those all day and have no energy for the very important stuff. What is going to move you closest to your goal the fastest? Take action on these first!  You can't get around some daily to do's. Do them last, do them first...I don't care...just do them fast and only the ones that HAVE to be done. Are there things you can hire out? Automate? Just not do?
5. FOCUS AND FOLLOW THROUGH. Things I had been putting off because I just dreaded doing it!! a.k.a computer crap....or spending money on advertising,etc. OUCH. Now, I realize just how little time they actually took once I took action and how painless it was. BIG RESULTS on both of these. Also, there is no bigger self esteem booster (in my opinion) than doing things that you have been procrastinating for 2 years. Yep, that's right. You heard me. 2 years. Sigh.
6. RECOGNIZE YOUR HUMAN-NESS.  You're gonna have days that you want to give up and quit. It's okay. Go back to your WHY's on your goals. Think about how you're gonna feel having reached them.....and take a day off!  The program actually reminds you constantly on how important self-care is , that you are well rested, well fed, spending time in nature and with loved ones. You actually perform better and new ideas come to you when you do this. But when you rest- rest - don't be anxious that you don't have your nose to the grindstone. Be in the moment.
7. DO SCARY AND NEW THINGS.  Execute the ideas that scare you the most and the ideas that you've never tried. Be open to new ways of reaching your goal.  We tend follow what's been modelled for us....I mean you only know what you know how to do, right? Wrong. Open up to other ways...look for other options.  One thing that happened to me was I started getting requests for commissions just out of nowhere. I've rarely done commissions before, but I was open and said YES. The commissions brought in 30% of my sales goal.

I don't get anything from the 100 Day Challenge for sharing this information with you, but I am so happy with my experience I want to share it in case anyone else needs it right now. I believe  the next section starts in September. Check it out here:

Here are some other resources worth checking out:

Maria Brophy: Art, Money and Success Book

Book by Jeff Goins: Real Artists Don't Starve

If you need a website, highly recommend Fine Art Studio Online.

My newest works here and I hope that you enjoy them:

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