In one of her many workshops, Arriane mentioned that it’s good to have an overall theme or goal for a year before you set your micro-goals. This way, you can easily work your way down from your overall 2015 theme/goal to tasks that you can easily accomplish. She was right.
Just like some kids in their early 20s, I experienced my fair share of quarter-life crisis. I mean, I’m only 21 so I’m not sure if I’m even qualified to have a quarter-life crisis. Life just got a bit weird during the last quarter of 2014. Call it S.A.D. (take it literally as ‘sad’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder) (it works both ways), but I found myself in a rough patch. I wasn’t sure if I’m headed to the right direction. I wasn’t sure if I’m making the right choices. I felt insecure and unsatisfied with my skills.
What shook me out of my daze was a five-minute conversation with my editor-slash-boss about our 2015 plans for YS. Because of that convo, I decided that my theme for 2015 is STRENGTHEN.
Before that conversation, I already decided that EXPLORATION would be my theme for 2015. You can never have too much skills, I thought. But one of my problems is I don’t have a specialty. I’m okay at photography, I’m okay at illustration, I’m okay at graphic design, I’m okay at writing. So what the hell am I? I can’t be a photographer-illustrator-graphic-designer-writer forever. That’s too long of a job title. And I was stupid and ambitious enough to think that I can add more stuff in that hyphen fest.
Being a jack of all trades and a master of none could be cute (and amazing, tbh) at times. But I want to be a master of something and a jack of a few things for a change. But the problem is I don’t know which one to prioritize. So I decided that I’ll strengthen each skill. When I finally realize what I want to pursue, then I’ll stick to that one skill. I’m being too ambitious (again), but I think my ambition brought me to places I didn’t even dream of going. I’m happier because of it. So STRENGTHEN it is.
Here’s how I’m going to do it:
Go on Pinterest every morning.
The best way to strengthen your skills is to define what you like and what you don’t like. Make a Pinterest board for all the things you aspire to make. Some people don’t believe in pegs, some people do. But no matter what your beliefs are, what you see affects the work you do one way or another. So might as well make it a conscious decision. That way, you’ll know if you’re starting to work too close to your peg to the point of plagiarizing it (unconsciously, of course).
Dedicate three hours a day for offline work.
It’s hard to keep track of time with my job. Finishing one artwork or writing one article can sometimes take me five hours to do. So, I thought to myself, why not exert that same amount of effort and time into actively developing my skills? With my Pinterest peg board in hand, Miles Davis and a cup of coffee, nothing is impossible.
Here’s the most important part. No matter how much you work on strengthening your skills, you won’t know if you’ve improved if you don’t ask someone’s opinion about it. It could be your mentor or friend or maybe even an Instagram follower. Just ask someone and listen to their feedback. But sometimes, this part is optional. If people really see the improvement in your work, they will tell you. That’s always a good thing.