How do we set the long-term direction? Well imagine it’s like having a GPS for the creative process. The first thing you set is your destination. Where do you want to be in five years, ten years, 20 years?
For many people there is what we could call a life-style/ career conflict. To pursue their career ambitions they need to live in an area they don’t particularly like, and if it weren’t for their careers, they wouldn’t live there. For others, life style is more important than career, so their career possibilities are limited by where they live.
There is no right answer except that your decision should reflect your longer-term goals and aspirations.
Remember that part of your job as a creator is to make the strategic secondary choices that support your primary choices. And only you can determine what you will make primary. But once you have made a primary choice, most other supportive choices are pretty self-evident.
Once you set your long-term goals, it is important to review your shorter-term goals and see where they stand. There will only be one of three possibilities: They will support them, the will be neutral, or they will contradict your long-term goals.
Of course the best of all possibilities is that they support your longer-term goals. And there may be some short-term goals that you haven’t thought of yet; goals that would help the longer term cause. Often there might be learning goals, skills goals, or experience goals that would be helpful in supporting longer-range aspirations.
And too often, we don’t think in those terms. But back to our creative GPS, once you set in your destination, you are given a few different paths, avoid toll roads, fastest way, most highways, and so on. What is the best way to achieve your long-term goals? Often the bigger and more important things in life involve some form of strategic planning, so you don’t happen to wonder into them, but you systematically take all the needed steps to first build the foundation, and then the later steps that give you the support you need.
We are talking about goals that often take years to accomplish. And you’re not just waiting around. You are building toward them over years of smaller goals that give you what you need, put you in the right and best position, and teach you what you need to know once you are there.
And how many of these long-term goals might you have? Well there is the inner goal, how you experience life, and that one can be achieved fairly quickly and then be in place during the entire trip. And the outer goals are a series of little success stories as you build a pattern of success. That doesn’t mean that everything you will try will work. But it does mean that you will work out how to learn and develop by every new creative process in which you engage.
And you will have aspects of longer-term goals that will be aligned: health, lifestyle, career, financial, creative, relationships, involvement with life and so on. But you’ve got to set the creative GPS with a clear destination. You won’t know the details, but you can get a sense of the overview and the overall destination. That’s all you need, as long as that is clear.
With that type of clarity, conflicts of longer-term goals hardly ever appear. And if they do, they can be sorted out by determining hierarchy. What is more important, and what is less important. Once you have made that choice everything else just falls into place.