More on Artists Identifying their Missions



More on artists identifying their missions…

Okay. So I got a few excited responses from artists who think, or who would like to think, that they have identified their mission. Well. I’m not so sure.

Here’s the test. Are you 100% clear?

If someone, who you have never met, heard your mission for the first time, would they get it? Or would they be left scratching their head? You know. Like when you read most artists’ statements.

Your mission must be a 100% clear! 

No one sets off to accomplish a vague mission. A mission is crystal clear.

And because your mission is so clear, so confident, and energized, others support you or they join you.

Let’s review the examples from last week’s post.

Colleen Attara’s mission is to artistically transform discarded materials to lessen the impact on our natural environment while transforming our emotional environment to hope and joy.

While Jenny McGee’s mission is to help people express their love for one another.

And Kate Bradley’s mission to help families celebrate their relationships by honoring their children.

Their missions are crystal clear. Right!?

Beware of the word “unique.” It means nothing. And it’s a sure sign that you are not sure of your mission.

Lack of clarity is also cloaked in the phrase “unique beauty.”

Here’s the thing. Your mission is not about you and is it not about your art. Your mission is about how you will serve the greater good.

Your mission is about the positive IMPACT your efforts will have.

Having a clear mission is the only way that you can make art that actually matters to someone other than you.

To be a successful artist your art must simply be a by-product of a something much bigger, and so much more important, than your artistic talent or craft.

It’s not about you. It’s about the value that you create above and beyond the art itself.

Caution. If you read the stated missions of the artists above and formed yours by responding, “yeah, me too!” I don’t think so.

You can no more copy another artist’s mission than you can copy another artist’s work.

You must delve into serious soul searching to know who you are and what you stand for. Your mission is born of your unique human experience.

Reflecting on the most painful times in your life will illuminate your mission.

Why? Because the most painful times in your life stand in stark contrast to your most dearly held values.

Your values are a reflection of who you are and what you stand for.

Frankly, very few people ever actually do this type of soul searching with significant depth.

Why? Because it requires great courage and vulnerability. 

However, the big pay off is that you find meaning in your suffering and this heals you and it can heal others.

“Visioning”, the first step of the 8-part sequential process takes the longest AND it is the most important part of developing a creative enterprise.

Why? “Visioning” is the foundation for all your efforts that follow. It has to be rock solid.

I get it. This can be confusing and confronting. And they don’t teach you this in art school.

If you get it, please share in the comments below.

If not, let’s hear about that too. There’s no right or wrong. This is a process. Just start where you are today. Follow the “Yellow Brick Road.”

 What to learn more? Get my recent Creative Live course.  

Call a friend, a master mind buddy, and ask them to do the same. Then review the course together. We don’t succeed alone.

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  1. says

    Hi Ann,

    Hope this finds you well, thanks for making yourself available.

    I feel a little confused, isn’t Valuing the first step in the 8 step process? Is Visioning the second or the first? I get a different picture between the Making Art Making Money site and the 101 rules book. Anyhow, perhaps these two apply to both steps in fact.

    Would you be willing to briefly clarify the difference between these first 2 steps?


  2. says

    I’m not sure that I understand where you are coming from or if you understand what defining your mission is about.

    Defining your mission is a deep process that results in a bold statement of truth.

    It’s not about crafting copy with key words.

  3. says

    Pat yourself on the back for the effort you have made and the conclusions you have come to.

    This is a deep process none of the artists who I have worked with have come to define their mission and USP on their own.

    It takes time and deep personal investigation so I can not possibly help you by typing within the space of this rectangle.

    I invite you to apply for coaching.

  4. says

    I thought I’d figured it out but then I read this post and realised I really haven’t clearly defined my mission yet… :(
    I’ve done the digging and discovered that the greatest times of struggle in my life were always due to the feeling of isolation – not belonging and not having ‘my kind of people’ around who would ‘get me’. Or even worse, being around people who make assumptions about what kind of person I am to the point of me starting to act as is “expected” of me.
    Now I have come to understand that “not belonging” is part of who I am and my lifestyle: I travel a lot and home is wherever I am today. But of course it is still difficult to create and maintain meaningful relationships. So I would say empathy and personal connection is very important to me.
    I have also realised that people who travel a lot start thinking in a different way and I always try to encourage friends to be more adventurous and get out into the world.
    At the same time one of my greatest goals is to live by example and that includes being successful and inspiring/empowering others.

    My work consists of drawing images from my travels, retracing the experiences and memories and presenting them in a sleek ultra-modern format.

    The problem is I am having real trouble figuring out how my work and my values merge into a mission. And I am also confused about the difference between a mission and a unique value proposition. Please help!

  5. Sharon says

    How do you define your mission when your key words are honor, integrity, honesty and fun?

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