Reaching your goals in 2018

Whether you think you can or think you cannot you are correct.
Henry Ford

The Start the Year in Style Special offer

is LIVE
 click here now to read the details

Save Money on field workshops and consulting registration !

1 – Introduction – New Year Resolutions

We all make resolutions at the start of the year.  However, for many these resolutions disappear into the ether around the end of January.  Quite often, thirty days is what it takes for old habits to return, for resolutions to be forgotten and for goals not to be achieved.  This is in part why I am publishing this essay at the end of January.  This is the time when many of us need help achieving the goals we set for the year.

So how do you do it?  How do you achieve your goals? How do you stick to your resolutions for the long-term, the whole year, and not just for a month?  Here are a few tips that have work for me and I believe will work for you as well.

2 – Focus on your vision

Vision is your guiding light.  Vision is what you see that others cannot see.  Only you know what your vision is and why it matters to you.  When setting your new year resolutions, let your vision guide you.  By doing so you will set goals that are meaningful in the context of your entire life, not just in the context of this year alone.  These will be goals that matter to you and that are worth committing to.  They will be goals that make the hard work needed to reach them worth it.  They may be new goals or they may be goals you have been meaning to achieve for a long time.  Either way reaching these goals will help make your life meaningful and build your self-worth.

3 – Set specific goals

Setting specific goals is half the battle because a goal set is a goal that is already partially reached.  This is because setting a specific goal forces you to define the path you will follow to reach this goal.  Once that path is set, all you have to do is follow it.

4 – Set specific deadlines

Setting goals is important but without deadlines nothing gets done.  Deadlines set a line in the sand, so to speak, a time by which things must get done.  Again, be specific when setting your deadlines.  For example say: I will have 12 fine art prints matted and framed by June 30th.  Or, I will have my folio project that includes 12 prints, an artist statement, a biography printed, packaged and ready to show by July 1st, 2018

5 – Start with what is hard, reward yourself with what is easy

Make a list of what you have to do each day, then give a letter to each task.  A for the most important and difficult tasks, B for the second most important tasks, C for the less important tasks and D for the easiest tasks.  Start your day by working on the A tasks, the most important and difficult ones.  When those are all done, move to the B tasks.  Don’t move to the B tasks until all A tasks are done.  Do this for all the tasks on your list.  By the time you get to the Ds you will find them so easy that they will feel more like rewards than actual tasks.

6 – Define success in your own terms

Success is different for all of us.  Therefore you need to define what success is for you.  Don’t define success as others see it.  Define it as you see it.

What constitutes success for you is most likely different from what constitutes success for others. Your goals, your desires and overall what you consider to be success in a specific endeavor is unique to you.  Don’t worry about it.  Whether what you want is more or less or different from what other people want is irrelevant because you and them are different people in different situations focused on different goals.

7 – Be realistic

Only realistic goals get done.  Overly ambitious goals are discouraging because they are so lofty that we feel we will never reach them.  Unrealistic deadlines have the same effect.  When deadlines are set too far in the future they make us feel we have all the time in the world so we never get started.  When deadlines are too short they make us feel we wont’ have time to get things done.  Either way we get discouraged before we even begin working on our goals.

A realistic goal is a goal you know you can achieve with the time and resources you have available to you.  Only you know what is realistic.  Just like success is individually defined, what is realistic is individually defined as well.  What is realistic for you is different from what is realistic for others.  When you set realistic goals you give yourself the opportunity to succeed.  When you set unrealistic goals you set yourself up for failure.

To be effective deadlines also have to be realistic.  For example, a good rule of thumb for finishing a photography folio project is 6 months until completion. This time frame works well for me and for my students.

8 – Set Mini-Goals

An effective technique if you tend to put things off or if you feel overwhelmed is to set mini goals.  A mini goal is a goal that is so easy to reach that there is no doubt we will reach it.  Mini goals can be set for any activity.  If your goal is to exercise you can set a mini goal to do one push up, or do one ab crunch, or run for one minute, and so on.

Applied to photography examples a mini goal can be going out to take one photograph, or completing a project that features three photos of the same tree near your house, or reading one page of that book on photography you bought but never opened.  If you show or sell your work a mini goal can be to select one photo for your next show, or mat one print, or put a price tag on one photo, or find one show you can do this year, or apply for one show or even sell one photo.

Because these goals are so low they are not frightening and getting started is easy.  They are so minimal that success is guaranteed.  In fact they are so easy that once you get started you cannot help but exceed the goal.  The result is that you become an overachiever right away!

9 – Quantify

Even though you defined success in your own terms, it is challenging to achieve a goal that is not quantified.  To achieve your goals you need to define them precisely.  The first step is to quantify these goals.  This means putting numbers on what you want to achieve.  How many fine art photographs that you will be proud to show to everyone do you want to create this year?  How many projects do you want to complete?  How many locations do you want to photograph? How many workshops do you want to attend?  The list goes on; these are just examples.

10 – Check your progress regularly (daily, weekly or monthly)

Mark Twain said that bad habits must be pushed out of the house one step at a time.  They cannot be kicked out because if you do that they will return. Instead, they have to be persuaded to leave, making it clear that they are unwelcome so they do not come back.  This is done little by little by making sure at regular intervals that we are on our way to betterment, whatever the endeavor might be.

Whatever resolutions you took, whatever goals you set, make it a habit to ask yourself regularly what you did so far to reach these goals and resolutions.  Do this each day for daily goals.  Do it each week for weekly goals.  Then at the end of the month do a monthly check during which you list all that you did this month in regard to reaching a specific goal or following through on a specific resolution.

Doing so makes you accountable for following through.  The goals you set are no longer abstract ideas.  They are now live actions that you are working on daily and for which you must show weekly and monthly progress.  Accountability is the keyword here.  Making ourselves accountable for the goals we set means we feel responsible to achieve these goals.  Goals and resolutions are no longer a ‘maybe’ proposition.  Instead they become a ‘must,’ something we have to get done.

11 – Be creative, not competitive

Competition means trying to outdo someone else.  Creativity means finding unique ways of reaching our personal goals.  When you operate on the basis of competition you focus on others.  When you operate on the basis of creativity you focus on yourself.  Eventually what matters most is you.  Reaching your personal goals has nothing to do with how well, or poorly as the case might be, others are doing.  Reaching your goals is not a matter of outdoing others.  Reaching your goals is a matter of outdoing yourself.  The way to achieve this is through creative thinking, by making the necessary breakthrough, the leap of faith that will allow you to make the changes you need in order to reach the goals you set for this year.

12 – Don’t worry

There will be obstacles along the way but those can be dealt with in due time, whenever they show up.  The problem with worrying about things that have not happened yet is that it means worrying about things that are vague and undefined.  Most of our fears never materialize. However, in the process of worrying about what would happen if they did, we waste our time and damage our health.  Nobody dies of hard work but many die of worry.  The expression ‘worried to death’ attests to this.  Don’t join the list by worrying unnecessarily about things that might happen.  Just move forward by working on your goals and deal with problems when, and if, they show up.

13 – Focus on the positive

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  The mind finds ways of obtaining what we think about.  Therefore think about what you want and you will get what you want.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will get what you don’t want. In other words, as Henry Ford put it, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.  Therefore think that you can.  Think of concrete ways of reaching your goals and you will be on your way to making things happen.

14 – Get help from people who are where you want to be

Don’t reinvent the wheel. The wheel has been invented and all you need to do is learn how to use it. To do this get advice from those who have been there themselves.  Only those who have been where you want to go can help you get there in a practical, efficient and successful manner.  They are realistic about it and they know exactly what it takes to get there.  Their advice will get you there faster than you ever will on your own.

15 – Don’t do trial and error

The trial and error process is wasteful of both time and money.  If you are like me, your time is precious.  Certainly, money is important as well.  However, for many of us time is more valuable than money because we can make more money but we can’t make more time.  Therefore, if we can afford to, using money to reach our goals is the most efficient approach.

16 – Focus on both soft skills and hard skills

Both set of skills are important and necessary for success.  Don’t focus on one or the other exclusively.  Instead, set goals that foster the acquisition and the development of both.  If you are not familiar with these two skills, read my essay titled Soft Skills and Hard Skills because it describes what they are in detail.

17 – Conclusion

Nobody is perfect, myself included.  However, we can all improve our success by following the simple steps listed in this essay. If we do so we will be on our way to keep our 2018 resolutions. Eventually, it boils down to a simple approach: focusing on our vision, defining success in our own terms, quantifying what represents success, not letting negativity get in our way and going for it.

Be sure to take advantage of our
Start the Year in Style Special offer

Click here now to read the details

Save Money on field  workshops and consulting registration !

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style, How Photographs are Sold and Marketing Fine Art Photography.  All 4 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 3rd, 2018

One on One Consulting and Mentoring Program

My Consulting & Mentoring Programs

 

I offer two options for Consulting and Mentoring:

First, One on One Consulting over the phone:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1-details.html

Second, One on 1One Consulting In my studio:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1.html

After the first consulting call with a student I always pause and ask myself if I want to continue working with each student.  My decision to continue or not is based on the student’s motivation, on the quality of their work and on whether their work is marketable or not. I know you are committed, that you strive for high quality, and that your work is sellable. This is why I am making this recommendation.

Let me know if you want to join the consulting program.  The money you spend on consulting will be more than recouped through sales that would otherwise not happen and with the satisfaction of selling your work to people who appreciate it and are willing to pay adequate prices for it.

I must also point out that just revising your price list, which is what we did during the first session, is not enough to guarantee success.  While important, a price list is not a marketing vehicle and will not, by itself, generate sales, as I mentioned during our call.

We can go session by session if you want to focus on printing, processing or have specific questions about selling your work that I can answer quickly.  However, if you want me to prepare a marketing plan for you, you need to enroll in the 7 sessions program.  The reason being that we need to do follow up calls to implement and fine tune the program.  It’s not something that can be done in 1 session.  If you enroll within a month, then we can count the session we just did as part of the 7, leaving 6 to be billed.  After 30 days too much time has gone by and it is best to start all over again.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend the Marketing Plan approach.  It’s what you need and what will give you the most return both in terms of income and of personal satisfaction.  The other approach is ‘touch and go’ and not as effective because it goes from one thing to another without having a pre-defined goal.  The marketing plan on the other hand starts with a specific goal then charts the way to reach this goal.  This is why we need 7 sessions.  If you go that way we will focus on setting specific goals during the next session, work out a marketing plan, set deadlines, then use the remaining 5 sessions to implement and fine tune this plan.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

How to reach your full potential

How to Reach your Full Potential

Our focus for all our instructional materials is to help you realize your full potential by showing you how to raise your standards.  There is always another level to reach and we all need help finding out what that next level is and what we need to do to get there.

There’s only so far we can get on our own. There comes a time when we need a mentor.  All successful people have a personal mentor, or mentors. I have several and without them I would not be where I am.  I would have continued to follow the process of making ‘expensive mistakes’ and follow the route of ‘expensive learning’.  My mentors saved me money by preventing me from doing the same mistakes over and over again.  I could not see these mistakes on my own because I did not see them as mistakes at all.  I believed that doing these things was helping me move ahead!

What we do during workshops is what we cannot do in my books: help you personally by reviewing your work, reviewing your workflow, improving your specific way of doing things, and pointing out the areas where you can make the greatest change right here right now.  Books can’t do that because they address a multitude of readers.  Only personal teaching can achieve this goal.

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot


http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Get 40 Free eBooks when you sign up for my newsletter on my site

Subscribe to Reflections:

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Reaching your goals in 2016

Whether you think you can or think you cannot you are correct.
Henry Ford

1 – Introduction – New Year Resolutions

We all make resolutions at the start of the year.  However, for many these resolutions disappear into the ether around the end of January.  Quite often, thirty days is what it takes for old habits to return, for resolutions to be forgotten and for goals not to be achieved.  This is in part why I am publishing this essay at the end of January.  This is the time when many of us need help achieving the goals we set for the year.

So how do you do it?  How do you achieve your goals? How do you stick to your resolutions for the long-term, the whole year, and not just for a month?  Here are a few tips that have work for me and I believe will work for you as well.

2 – Focus on your vision

Vision is your guiding light.  Vision is what you see that others cannot see.  Only you know what your vision is and why it matters to you.  When setting your new year resolutions, let your vision guide you.  By doing so you will set goals that are meaningful in the context of your entire life, not just in the context of this year alone.  These will be goals that matter to you and that are worth committing to.  They will be goals that make the hard work needed to reach them worth it.  They may be new goals or they may be goals you have been meaning to achieve for a long time.  Either way reaching these goals will help make your life meaningful and build your self-worth.

3 – Set specific goals

Setting specific goals is half the battle because a goal set is a goal that is already partially reached.  This is because setting a specific goal forces you to define the path you will follow to reach this goal.  Once that path is set, all you have to do is follow it.

4 – Set specific deadlines

Setting goals is important but without deadlines nothing gets done.  Deadlines set a line in the sand, so to speak, a time by which things must get done.  Again, be specific when setting your deadlines.  For example say: I will have 12 fine art prints matted and framed by June 30th.  Or, I will have my folio project that includes 12 prints, an artist statement, a biography printed, packaged and ready to show by July 1st, 2016.

5 – Start with what is hard, reward yourself with what is easy

Make a list of what you have to do each day, then give a letter to each task.  A for the most important and difficult tasks, B for the second most important tasks, C for the less important tasks and D for the easiest tasks.  Start your day by working on the A tasks, the most important and difficult ones.  When those are all done, move to the B tasks.  Don’t move to the B tasks until all A tasks are done.  Do this for all the tasks on your list.  By the time you get to the Ds you will find them so easy that they will feel more like rewards than actual tasks.

6 – Define success in your own terms

Success is different for all of us.  Therefore you need to define what success is for you.  Don’t define success as others see it.  Define it as you see it.

What constitutes success for you is most likely different from what constitutes success for others. Your goals, your desires and overall what you consider to be success in a specific endeavor is unique to you.  Don’t worry about it.  Whether what you want is more or less or different from what other people want is irrelevant because you and them are different people in different situations focused on different goals.

7 – Be realistic

Only realistic goals get done.  Overly ambitious goals are discouraging because they are so lofty that we feel we will never reach them.  Unrealistic deadlines have the same effect.  When deadlines are set too far in the future they make us feel we have all the time in the world so we never get started.  When deadlines are too short they make us feel we wont’ have time to get things done.  Either way we get discouraged before we even begin working on our goals.

A realistic goal is a goal you know you can achieve with the time and resources you have available to you.  Only you know what is realistic.  Just like success is individually defined, what is realistic is individually defined as well.  What is realistic for you is different from what is realistic for others.  When you set realistic goals you give yourself the opportunity to succeed.  When you set unrealistic goals you set yourself up for failure.

To be effective deadlines also have to be realistic.  For example, a good rule of thumb for finishing a photography folio project is 6 months until completion. This time frame works well for me and for my students.

8 – Set Mini-Goals

An effective technique if you tend to put things off or if you feel overwhelmed is to set mini goals.  A mini goal is a goal that is so easy to reach that there is no doubt we will reach it.  Mini goals can be set for any activity.  If your goal is to exercise you can set a mini goal to do one push up, or do one ab crunch, or run for one minute, and so on.

Applied to photography examples a mini goal can be going out to take one photograph, or completing a project that features three photos of the same tree near your house, or reading one page of that book on photography you bought but never opened.  If you show or sell your work a mini goal can be to select one photo for your next show, or mat one print, or put a price tag on one photo, or find one show you can do this year, or apply for one show or even sell one photo.

Because these goals are so low they are not frightening and getting started is easy.  They are so minimal that success is guaranteed.  In fact they are so easy that once you get started you cannot help but exceed the goal.  The result is that you become an overachiever right away!

9 – Quantify

Even though you defined success in your own terms, it is challenging to achieve a goal that is not quantified.  To achieve your goals you need to define them precisely.  The first step is to quantify these goals.  This means putting numbers on what you want to achieve.  How many fine art photographs that you will be proud to show to everyone do you want to create this year?  How many projects do you want to complete?  How many locations do you want to photograph? How many workshops do you want to attend?  The list goes on; these are just examples.

10 – Check your progress regularly (daily, weekly or monthly)

Mark Twain said that bad habits must be pushed out of the house one step at a time.  They cannot be kicked out because if you do that they will return. Instead, they have to be persuaded to leave, making it clear that they are unwelcome so they do not come back.  This is done little by little by making sure at regular intervals that we are on our way to betterment, whatever the endeavor might be.

Whatever resolutions you took, whatever goals you set, make it a habit to ask yourself regularly what you did so far to reach these goals and resolutions.  Do this each day for daily goals.  Do it each week for weekly goals.  Then at the end of the month do a monthly check during which you list all that you did this month in regard to reaching a specific goal or following through on a specific resolution.

Doing so makes you accountable for following through.  The goals you set are no longer abstract ideas.  They are now live actions that you are working on daily and for which you must show weekly and monthly progress.  Accountability is the keyword here.  Making ourselves accountable for the goals we set means we feel responsible to achieve these goals.  Goals and resolutions are no longer a ‘maybe’ proposition.  Instead they become a ‘must,’ something we have to get done.

11 – Be creative, not competitive. 

Competition means trying to outdo someone else.  Creativity means finding unique ways of reaching our personal goals.  When you operate on the basis of competition you focus on others.  When you operate on the basis of creativity you focus on yourself.  Eventually what matters most is you.  Reaching your personal goals has nothing to do with how well, or poorly as the case might be, others are doing.  Reaching your goals is not a matter of outdoing others.  Reaching your goals is a matter of outdoing yourself.  The way to achieve this is through creative thinking, by making the necessary breakthrough, the leap of faith that will allow you to make the changes you need in order to reach the goals you set for this year.

12 – Don’t worry

There will be obstacles along the way but those can be dealt with in due time, whenever they show up.  The problem with worrying about things that have not happened yet is that it means worrying about things that are vague and undefined.  Most of our fears never materialize. However, in the process of worrying about what would happen if they did, we waste our time and damage our health.  Nobody dies of hard work but many die of worry.  The expression ‘worried to death’ attests to this.  Don’t join the list by worrying unnecessarily about things that might happen.  Just move forward by working on your goals and deal with problems when, and if, they show up.

13 – Focus on the positive

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  The mind finds ways of obtaining what we think about.  Therefore think about what you want and you will get what you want.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will get what you don’t want. In other words, as Henry Ford put it, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.  Therefore think that you can.  Think of concrete ways of reaching your goals and you will be on your way to making things happen.

14 – Get help from people who are where you want to be

Don’t reinvent the wheel. The wheel has been invented and all you need to do is learn how to use it. To do this get advice from those who have been there themselves.  Only those who have been where you want to go can help you get there in a practical, efficient and successful manner.  They are realistic about it and they know exactly what it takes to get there.  Their advice will get you there faster than you ever will on your own.

15 – Don’t do trial and error

The trial and error process is wasteful of both time and money.  If you are like me, your time is precious.  Certainly, money is important as well.  However, for many of us time is more valuable than money because we can make more money but we can’t make more time.  Therefore, if we can afford to, using money to reach our goals is the most efficient approach.

16 – Focus on both soft skills and hard skills

Both set of skills are important and necessary for success.  Don’t focus on one or the other exclusively.  Instead, set goals that foster the acquisition and the development of both.  If you are not familiar with these two skills, read my essay titled Soft Skills and Hard Skills because it describes what they are in detail.

17 – Conclusion

Nobody is perfect, myself included.  However, we can all improve our success by following the simple steps listed in this essay. If we do so we will be on our way to keep our 2016 resolutions. Eventually, it boils down to a simple approach: focusing on our vision, defining success in our own terms, quantifying what represents success, not letting negativity get in our way and going for it.

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style, How Photographs are Sold and Marketing Fine Art Photography.  All 4 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 2016

Reaching your goals in 2015

Whether you think you can or think you cannot you are correct.
Henry Ford

1 – Introduction – New Year Resolutions

We all make resolutions at the start of the year.  However, for many these resolutions disappear into the ether around the end of January.  Quite often, thirty days is what it takes for old habits to return, for resolutions to be forgotten and for goals not to be achieved.  This is in part why I am publishing this essay at the end of January.  This is the time when many of us need help achieving the goals we set for the year.

So how do you do it?  How do you achieve your goals? How do you stick to your resolutions for the long-term, the whole year, and not just for a month?  Here are a few tips that have work for me and I believe will work for you as well.

2 – Focus on your vision

Vision is your guiding light.  Vision is what you see that others cannot see.  Only you know what your vision is and why it matters to you.  When setting your new year resolutions, let your vision guide you.  By doing so you will set goals that are meaningful in the context of your entire life, not just in the context of this year alone.  These will be goals that matter to you and that are worth committing to.  They will be goals that make the hard work needed to reach them worth it.  They may be new goals or they may be goals you have been meaning to achieve for a long time.  Either way reaching these goals will help make your life meaningful and build your self-worth.

3 – Set specific goals

Setting specific goals is half the battle because a goal set is a goal that is already partially reached.  This is because setting a specific goal forces you to define the path you will follow to reach this goal.  Once that path is set, all you have to do is follow it.

4 – Set specific deadlines

Setting goals is important but without deadlines nothing gets done.  Deadlines set a line in the sand, so to speak, a time by which things must get done.  Again, be specific when setting your deadlines.  For example say: I will have 12 fine art prints matted and framed by June 30th.  Or, I will have my folio project that includes 12 prints, an artist statement, a biography printed, packaged and ready to show by July 1st, 2015.

5 – Start with what is hard, reward yourself with what is easy

Make a list of what you have to do each day, then give a letter to each task.  A for the most important and difficult tasks, B for the second most important tasks, C for the less important tasks and D for the easiest tasks.  Start your day by working on the A tasks, the most important and difficult ones.  When those are all done, move to the B tasks.  Don’t move to the B tasks until all A tasks are done.  Do this for all the tasks on your list.  By the time you get to the Ds you will find them so easy that they will feel more like rewards than actual tasks.

6 – Define success in your own terms

Success is different for all of us.  Therefore you need to define what success is for you.  Don’t define success as others see it.  Define it as you see it.

What constitutes success for you is most likely different from what constitutes success for others. Your goals, your desires and overall what you consider to be success in a specific endeavor is unique to you.  Don’t worry about it.  Whether what you want is more or less or different from what other people want is irrelevant because you and them are different people in different situations focused on different goals.

7 – Be realistic

Only realistic goals get done.  Overly ambitious goals are discouraging because they are so lofty that we feel we will never reach them.  Unrealistic deadlines have the same effect.  When deadlines are set too far in the future they make us feel we have all the time in the world so we never get started.  When deadlines are too short they make us feel we wont’ have time to get things done.  Either way we get discouraged before we even begin working on our goals.

A realistic goal is a goal you know you can achieve with the time and resources you have available to you.  Only you know what is realistic.  Just like success is individually defined, what is realistic is individually defined as well.  What is realistic for you is different from what is realistic for others.  When you set realistic goals you give yourself the opportunity to succeed.  When you set unrealistic goals you set yourself up for failure.

To be effective deadlines also have to be realistic.  For example, a good rule of thumb for finishing a photography folio project is 6 months until completion. This time frame works well for me and for my students.

8 – Quantify

Even though you defined success in your own terms, it is challenging to achieve a goal that is not quantified.  To achieve your goals you need to define them precisely.  The first step is to quantify these goals.  This means putting numbers on what you want to achieve.  How many fine art photographs that you will be proud to show to everyone do you want to create this year?  How many projects do you want to complete?  How many locations do you want to photograph? How many workshops do you want to attend?  The list goes on; these are just examples.

9 – Check your progress regularly (daily, weekly or monthly)

Mark Twain said that bad habits must be pushed out of the house one step at a time.  They cannot be kicked out because if you do that they will return. Instead, they have to be persuaded to leave, making it clear that they are unwelcome so they do not come back.  This is done little by little by making sure at regular intervals that we are on our way to betterment, whatever the endeavor might be.

Whatever resolutions you took, whatever goals you set, make it a habit to ask yourself regularly what you did so far to reach these goals and resolutions.  Do this each day for daily goals.  Do it each week for weekly goals.  Then at the end of the month do a monthly check during which you list all that you did this month in regard to reaching a specific goal or following through on a specific resolution.

Doing so makes you accountable for following through.  The goals you set are no longer abstract ideas.  They are now live actions that you are working on daily and for which you must show weekly and monthly progress.  Accountability is the keyword here.  Making ourselves accountable for the goals we set means we feel responsible to achieve these goals.  Goals and resolutions are no longer a ‘maybe’ proposition.  Instead they become a ‘must,’ something we have to get done.

10 – Be creative, not competitive. 

Competition means trying to outdo someone else.  Creativity means finding unique ways of reaching our personal goals.  When you operate on the basis of competition you focus on others.  When you operate on the basis of creativity you focus on yourself.  Eventually what matters most is you.  Reaching your personal goals has nothing to do with how well, or poorly as the case might be, others are doing.  Reaching your goals is not a matter of outdoing others.  Reaching your goals is a matter of outdoing yourself.  The way to achieve this is through creative thinking, by making the necessary breakthrough, the leap of faith that will allow you to make the changes you need in order to reach the goals you set for this year.

11 – Don’t worry

There will be obstacles along the way but those can be dealt with in due time, whenever they show up.  The problem with worrying about things that have not happened yet is that it means worrying about things that are vague and undefined.  Most of our fears never materialize. However, in the process of worrying about what would happen if they did, we waste our time and damage our health.  Nobody dies of hard work but many die of worry.  The expression ‘worried to death’ attests to this.  Don’t join the list by worrying unnecessarily about things that might happen.  Just move forward by working on your goals and deal with problems when, and if, they show up.

12 – Focus on the positive

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  The mind finds ways of obtaining what we think about.  Therefore think about what you want and you will get what you want.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will get what you don’t want. In other words, as Henry Ford put it, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.  Therefore think that you can.  Think of concrete ways of reaching your goals and you will be on your way to making things happen.

13 – Get help from people who are where you want to be

Don’t reinvent the wheel. The wheel has been invented and all you need to do is learn how to use it. To do this get advice from those who have been there themselves.  Only those who have been where you want to go can help you get there in a practical, efficient and successful manner.  They are realistic about it and they know exactly what it takes to get there.  Their advice will get you there faster than you ever will on your own.

14 – Don’t do trial and error

The trial and error process is wasteful of both time and money.  If you are like me, your time is precious.  Certainly, money is important as well.  However, for many of us time is more valuable than money because we can make more money but we can’t make more time.  Therefore, if we can afford to, using money to reach our goals is the most efficient approach.

15 – Focus on both soft skills and hard skills

Both set of skills are important and necessary for success.  Don’t focus on one or the other exclusively.  Instead, set goals that foster the acquisition and the development of both.  If you are not familiar with these two skills, read my essay titled Soft Skills and Hard Skills because it describes what they are in detail.

16 – Conclusion

Nobody is perfect, myself included.  However, we can all improve our success by following the simple steps listed in this essay. If we do so we will be on our way to keep our 2015 resolutions. Eventually, it boils down to a simple approach: focusing on our vision, defining success in our own terms, quantifying what represents success, not letting negativity get in our way and going for it.

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style, How Photographs are Sold and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 4 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 2015

Being Successful Reaching your Goals in 2014

Whether you think you can or think you cannot you are correct.
Henry Ford

1 – Introduction – New Year Resolutions

We all make resolutions at the start of the year.  However, for many these resolutions disappear into the ether around the end of January.  Quite often, thirty days is what it takes for old habits to return, for resolutions to be forgotten and for goals not to be achieved.  This is in part why I am publishing this essay at the end of January.  This is the time when many of us need help achieving the goals we set for the year.

So how do you do it?  How do you achieve your goals? How do you stick to your resolutions for the long term, the whole year, and not just for a month?  Here are a few tips that have work for me and I believe will work for you as well.

2 – Focus on your vision

Vision is your guiding light.  Vision is what you see that others cannot see.  Only you know what your vision is and why it matters to you.  When setting your new year resolutions, let your vision guide you.  By doing so you will set goals that are meaningful in the context of your entire life, not just in the context of this year alone.  These will be goals that matter to you and that are are worth committing to.  They will be goals that make the hard work needed to reach them worth it.  They may be new goals or they may be goals you have been meaning to achieve for a long time.  Either way reaching these goals will help make your life meaningful and build your self worth.

3 – Set specific goals

Setting specific goals is half the battle because a goal set is a goal that is already partially reached.  This is because setting a specific goal forces you to define the path you will follow to reach this goal.  Once that path is set, all you have to do is follow it.

4 – Set specific deadlines

Setting goals is important but without deadlines nothing gets done.  Deadlines set a line in the sand, so to speak, a time by which things must get done.  Again, be specific when setting your deadlines.  For example say: I will have 12 fine art prints matted and framed by June 30th.  Or, I will have my folio project that includes 12 prints, an artist statement, a biography printed, packaged and ready to show by July 1st, 2014.

5 – Start with what is hard, reward yourself with what is easy

Make a list of what you have to do each day, then give a letter to each task.  A for the most important and difficult tasks, B for the second most important tasks, C for the less important tasks and D for the easiest tasks.  Start your day by working on the A tasks, the most important and difficult ones.  When those are all done, move to the B tasks.  Don’t move to the B tasks until all A tasks are done.  Do this for all the tasks on your list.  By the time you get to the Ds you will find them so easy that they will feel more like rewards than actual tasks.

6 – Define success in your own terms

Success is different for all of us.  Therefore you need to define what success is for you.  Don’t define success as others see it.  Define it as you see it.

What constitutes success for you is most likely different than what constitutes success for others. Your goals, your desires and overall what you consider to be success in a specific endeavor is unique to you.  Don’t worry about it.  Whether what you want is more or less or different than what other people want is irrelevant because you and them are different people in different situations focused on different goals.

7 – Be realistic

Only realistic goals get done.  Overly ambitious goals are discouraging because they are so lofty that we feel we will never reach them.  Unrealistic deadlines have the same effect.  When deadlines are set too far in the future they make us feel we have all the time in the world so we never get started.  When deadlines are too short they make us feel we wont’ have time to get things done.  Either way we get discouraged before we even begin working on our goals.

A realistic goal is a goal you know you can achieve with the time and resources you have available to you.  Only you know what is realistic.  Just like success is individually defined, what is realistic is individually defined as well.  What is realistic for you is different than what is realistic for others.  When you set realistic goals you give yourself the opportunity to succeed.  When you set unrealistic goals you set yourself up for failure.

To be effective deadlines also have to be realistic.  For example, a good rule of thumb for finishing a photography folio project is 6 months until completion. This time frame works well for me and for my students.

8 – Quantify

Even though you defined success in your own terms, it is challenging to achieve a goal that is not quantified.  To achieve your goals you need to define them precisely.  The first step is to quantify these goals.  This means putting numbers on what you want to achieve.  How many fine art photographs that you will be proud to show to everyone do you want to create this year?  How many projects do you want to complete?  How many locations do you want to photograph? How many workshops do you want to attend?  The list goes on; these are just examples.

9 – Check your progress regularly (daily, weekly or monthly)

Mark Twain said that bad habits must be pushed out of the house one step at a time.  They cannot be kicked out because if you do that they will return. Instead, they have to be persuaded to leave, making it clear that they are unwelcome so they do not come back.  This is done little by little by making sure at regular intervals that we are on our way to betterment, whatever the endeavor might be.

Whatever resolutions you took, whatever goals you set, make it a habit to ask yourself regularly what you did so far to reach these goals and resolutions.  Do this each day for daily goals.  Do it each week for weekly goals.  Then at the end of the month do a monthly check during which you list all that you did this month in regard to reaching a specific goal or following through on a specific resolution.

Doing so makes you accountable for following through.  The goals you set are no longer abstract ideas.  They are now live actions that you are working on daily and for which you must show weekly and monthly progress.  Accountability is the keyword here.  Making ourselves accountable for the goals we set means we feel responsible to achieve these goals.  Goals and resolutions are no longer a ‘maybe’ proposition.  Instead they become a ‘must,’ something we have to get done.

10 – Be creative, not competitive. 

Competition means trying to outdo someone else.  Creativity means finding unique ways of reaching our personal goals.  When you operate on the basis of competition you focus on others.  When you operate on the basis of creativity you focus on yourself.  Eventually what matters most is you.  Reaching your personal goals has nothing to do with how well, or poorly as the case might be, others are doing.  Reaching your goals is not a matter of outdoing others.  Reaching your goals is a matter of outdoing yourself.  The way to achieve this is through creative thinking, by making the necessary breakthrough, the leap of faith that will allow you to make the changes you need in order to reach the goals you set for this year.

11 – Don’t worry

There will be obstacles along the way but those can be dealt with in due time, whenever they show up.  The problem with worrying about things that have not happened yet is that it means worrying about things that are vague and undefined.  Most of our fears never materialize. However, in the process of worrying about what would happen if they did, we waste our time and damage our health.  Nobody dies of hard work but many die of worry.  The expression ‘worried to death’ attests to this.  Don’t join the list by worrying unnecessarily about things that might happen.  Just move forward by working on your goals and deal with problems when, and if, they show up.

12 – Focus on the positive

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  The mind finds ways of obtaining what we think about.  Therefore think about what you want and you will get what you want.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will get what you don’t want. In other words, as Henry Ford put it, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.  Therefore think that you can.  Think of concrete ways of reaching your goals and you will be on your way to making things happen.

13 – Get help from people who are where you want to be

Don’t reinvent the wheel. The wheel has been invented and all you need to do is learn how to use it. To do this get advice from those who have been there themselves.  Only those who have been where you want to go can help you get there in a practical, efficient and successful manner.  They are realistic about it and they know exactly what it takes to get there.  Their advice will get you there faster than you ever will on your own.

14 – Don’t do trial and error

The trial and error process is wasteful of both time and money.  If you are like me, your time is precious.  Certainly, money is important as well.  However, for many of us time is more valuable than money because we can make more money but we can’t make more time.  Therefore, if we can afford to, using money to reach our goals is the most efficient approach.

15 – Focus on both soft skills and hard skills

Both set of skills are important and necessary for success.  Don’t focus on one or the other exclusively.  Instead, set goals that foster the acquisition and the development of both.  If you are not familiar with these two skills, read my essay titled Soft Skills and Hard Skills because it describes what they are in detail.

16 – Conclusion

Nobody is perfect, myself included.  However, we can all improve our success by following the simple steps listed in this essay. If we do so we will be on our way to keep our 2014 resolutions. Eventually, it boils down to a simple approach: focusing on our vision, defining success in our own terms, quantifying what represents success, not letting negativity get in our way and going for it.

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 2014

Artistic and Financial Success

Artistic and Financial Success

There’s nothing easier than being a good artist and a poor artist.  Just look at artists that you know, past and present, and you will see what I mean.  Most likely you don’t need any convincing. You already know this fact to be true.

Art and business simply do not mix very well, at least not when done at the same time.  They are unlikely bedfellows, more like oil and vinegar than water and grenadine.

And yet, financially successful artists do exist.  What is their secret?  They practice art and business separately, not simultaneously.

That’s because creating art requires a different mindset than running a business.  Maybe it’s because one is left brain oriented and the other right brain oriented.  Or maybe it’s because one is creative while the other is logical.  Whatever the case might be, it is simply not possible to create art and run a business at the same time.  To be a successful artist in business one has to do these two things separately: make art at a given time, then run a business at a different time.  One simply cannot make art while negotiating prices on their cell phone or discussing taxes with their accountant.  If you try to do that, one or the other will give, if not both.  Most of those who try to do this end up being good but poor artists.  Some  end up being both bad artists and poor artists.  Losing everything is not uncommon for artists. It is unfortunate, but it is a reality.

So what should we do?  We need to learn that knowing how to do something well — in this instance making art, be it photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, music, etc.– and making money selling what we do are two entirely different activities.  These two activities require different skills, different mindsets and different knowledge.  There is, quite simply, nothing in common between the two.  It would seem, at first, that there should be a lot in common. But the fact is that there isn’t.  Making art and selling art profitably are just two entirely different endeavors. In fact, they are two entirely different professions.  The first profession is called ‘Artist’ the second one is called ‘Business Person’.

The problem is that artists study only one of these two professions.  Therefore, they know how to be artists.  They have no idea how to be a business person.  So what should you do?  If you are in the situation that most artists are in, the one I just described, you need to learn how to be a business person.  You need to learn how to market your work, how to run a business, how to create marketing documents, how to advertise your art, how to find customers, create special offers, file your taxes, write contracts, set goals and deadlines, and the millions of other things that are part of running a financially successful business.

I know, this sounds a lot less fun than creating art.  That is why the vast majority of artists don’t do it.  It’s simply not the same as creating art.  if you are a photographer, you probably miss hearing the key words that make your heart (and mine) sing: great light, beautiful composition, perfect exposure, stunning print quality, superb resolution, great use of hyperfocal distance, etc.  etc.  I know.  I feel the same.  But if you want  to make art and be financially successful, you need to put these aside for a moment and focus not just on making art but also, and primarily, on selling art. You need to focus on making art a business and not just a creative endeavor.

I wrote a book on this subject to help you succeed in this endeavor.  This book is titled Marketing Fine Art Photography and it teaches you my approach to selling my work.  Before learning what I wrote in this book I was like the artists I describe in this essay: I thought that making good art was going to make me financially successful.  It did not.  What made me financially successful was learning how to market my work and how to run my business according to sound financial principles.

It is this knowledge that I share with you in my book.  This knowledge is not based on theory, or on attending business classes.  I never took a business class. I don’t have an MBA.  I did not study business in school.  Instead, I learned how to be a financially successful artist by finding out what works and what does not work.  The school I attended is called the SOHK University.  The School of Hard Knocks!  And Hard Knocks I took.  Quite a few of them.  It doesn’t feel good and it is not fun.  So one of my goals when writing this book was to help you not attend the SOHK University. There’s no reason to if you know how to do things the right way.  I’ve done the hard work for you, all you need to do is read my book and apply the knowledge in it.  It will work.  I guarantee it.

Here it is. You can place your order at this link:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Articles-Books-3-Marketing.html

I wish you artistic and financial success.  Yes, you can have both.

Alain Briot

Subscribe to Reflections:

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

Welcome to Reflections

I recently felt the need to add a “blog,” for lack of a better term, to my website.

A “blog” offers something that a website does not offer.  First, it offers the possibility for readers to post comments, making it an interactive environment.

Second, it offers the opportunity to post short entries instead of full-size essays.  Because short entries can be written relatively quickly, a blog opens the door to more frequent posts.

I am not so fond of the word blog, and I use it because I do not see another word that would apply.  However, I will thereafter refer to this area of my website as “Reflections.”  I much prefer using the name of this blog than the word “blog.”

Reflections focuses on four areas of photography: technique, art, marketing and success.

I added success to the three areas of photography that I have been teaching so far (technique, art and marketing) because I take it for granted that the purpose of our efforts in to be successful in creating Fine Art Photographs.

Thererfore, if the goal is to be successful, it makes sense that talking about success as a field of study is necessary.

For several years I have been writing about success without publishing these writings.  I wasn’t sure where these fit in the context of Fine Art Photography.  My decision to publish these writings stem from the realization that success is something that is present, and that affects, all human endeavors. As such, it affects photography and it should be studied, and talked about, in the context of practicing photography.

To do so is one of the goals of this blog. How this will happen is what we are about to find out in the coming weeks and months.

Stay tuned for what is shaping up to be an interesting journey.

PS-Notice that clicking on the thumbnail in each entry will expand the image to full width and will present the essay by itself.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

Subscribe to Reflections:

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner

A few words on perseverance

It takes great time and effort to create world-class photographs.  When I started photography my results were far from being what they are today.  In fact, my first photographs were quite disappointing, even though I had great expectation for them.  Until I had the film developed that is.  It was then, by looking at my negatives, that I realized that I had a very long way to go.

Only through regular study and constant practice was I able to achieve results that were satisfying to me.  But again, my satisfaction lasted only until I opened a coffee table book by some of my favorite photographers and saw how much further I really had to go.  For a long time, doing photography was a humbling experience, one that constantly reminded me that I had to continue working hard to achieve results comparable to those of the photographers I admired.

While I am now able to create images that I am proud of, I still work extremely hard at what I do. I  continue to study regularly with other photographers.  Over the past few years I have studied with Joseph Holmes, Michael Reichmann, Charles Cramer, Tony Sweet, Mac Holbert and other photographers and artists.  Even though today I am able to create images that satisfy me, I do not assume that I know everything or that my way is the only way.  Constant study and practice, and yes, perseverance, are the keys to success.

Don’t give up, no matter how difficult the challenge might seem.  You are most likely much closer to succeeding than you think.  Often, it is this last final push that is the hardest.  But if you do give this final push, you will find out that the rewards  greatly outdo the hardships you had to go through.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

Subscribe to Reflections:

Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner