At the beginning of 2011, there were a number of things I set out to do that didn’t get done, primarily because I was busy on projects I hadn’t anticipated. Nothing monumental, by any means, just some projects I would have liked to have taken on that I never made the time for. Every success manual you ever read says that you have to have goals and you should write them down, to make them real and remind you of your intentions, but it would seem that whenever I do that, it never turns out quite the way I want. If I’d held firmly to many of my goals over the years, it would have been self-limiting, because it would have meant saying no to opportunities that drastically changed my career for the better.
I’m an obsessive planner and control freak even for things I know are uncontrollable (which is most things). Just ask anybody who knows me, spontaneity is not one of my strong suits. But it’s something I do want to change a little because the alternative takes a lot of effort and energy. It’s really exhausting and not one of my finer qualities. About a month ago, my wife and I were in Calgary to do some shopping on a Saturday, and out of the blue, I suggested driving home to Red Deer instead, (another hour each way) to shop there so we could hang out and have lunch with my folks. Called them up, and they thought it was a great idea, so we headed north on a whim. The fact that it shocked both my wife and my parents was a bit of a wake-up call for me, that something this minor had become completely out of character for me. Planning, looking ahead, mapping things out and trying to see all of the variables is a great asset to have when working on projects and deadlines, but it’s an undesirable trait for living life.
I’ve been working my ass off for the past ten years trying to get my business and career to a point where there is enough forward momentum, so that every foot of ground gained, is not simply held because my fingernails are dug into the dirt far enough. These days, I’m finally able to let go a little without sliding backward, which is giving me a chance to look around and figure out what to do next, without an overwhelming sense of panic.
So what have I got planned for 2012? Well, there are a few things I know for sure. First, I’ll be painting. Animals, people, maybe an experiment or two, but always painting. I am fortunate to be filled with a deep satisfaction that, right now, that’s the work I’m supposed to be doing and it gives me the most joy. Editorial cartoons are another given. Despite what I thought a few years ago, that part of my business is still going strong, and while following self-important, overpaid, blowhard politicians around with a shovel all year annoys the hell out of me on a regular basis, I do like drawing cartoons and the bills must be paid. There will be at least one more DVD from PhotoshopCAFE coming in 2012, maybe even two. I’ll definitely be selling my wares at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in April, and depending on how that goes, I might book another trade show for the Fall as well. And so that I am free to say ‘Yes’ to whatever right opportunities show up, I’ll be saying ‘No’ a lot to those I’m certain are the wrong ones.
Of course, I’ll work long hours, will still plan a little too obsessively, and will continue to work hard all year. After all, as the scorpion said to the frog, “it’s just my nature.”
When it comes to the rest of 2012, however, I’m just going to take deep breaths, keep moving forward, and see what happens.