Sit on a pontoon & ponder

July 3, 2013

I like a lot of things. 

Lately I've been trying to aim towards being really good at a couple of things, rather than doing ALL THE THINGS in a mediocre way. 

I've been thinking about this more as I ponder my 20's. I did everything! I taught, made dances, worked in a restaurant full-time, wrote grants, and said 'YES!' to most collaboration offers. My energy was spread really thinly. 

I look at my creative peers, and they're faced with many of the same challenges: so many ideas and possibilities, and so little time.

As I was re-writing my exercises for the consulting work I do with artists, I thought about one question in particular:


If you could be known for doing just one thing really, really well, what would you want to be known for?

I've taken on a lot of different creative endeavors over the years; I've had a comical number of employers. I could be known for doing a lot of different things:

  • As a teacher of studio dance.
  • As a movement consultant for theater companies.
  • As a grant-writer for artists.
  • As a ghost blogger for corporations.
  • As a choreographer and collaborator for musicals at high schools and colleges. 
  • As a server and food expert at high-end restaurants.
  • As an arts reviewer.
Each is a different expertise. The problem I've discovered with doing ALL THE THINGS, is that I rarely do all of those things well. And I miss out on putting my energy towards the things that I do REALLY well (and those things do exist).

And when I think about what I want to be known for, it helps me get really clear about what kinds of projects I want to say yes to, what grants I want to take the energy to apply for, and what kinds of clients I want to take on. It makes my actions clearer. And that is really nice.

So, go sit on a boat this 4th of July, and put up your feet and drink a cold beer. Ponder and gut-check all of the possibilities. And think about what you want to be known for.

[If you haven't already, you should check out the McGinley Motion post, Choosing The Ideas That Push You Forward.]

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