Season 5 – epiBLOG 24:
What is the difference between a belief, a goal, and an expectation? Distinguishing between these three words and how to apply them in your life as an entrepreneurial artist can be a little confusing.
I’m sure you’re getting direction from different people, and if you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, you’re more than likely not sure of who to take advice from. Why? Because you don’t quite trust yourself yet. You’re still in the learning phase, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
There are people recommending positive self-help books, books on finances and marketing, and others who are simply advising you to attend every networking event known to man. Although listening to successful people, or specifically a mentor or business strategist, can be helpful, in the end, you have to follow your instinct on what will actually work best for you.
Today’s topic is on understanding the difference between belief, a goal, and an expectation, and how to apply these in your artistic career so that they work for you effectively.
First of all, belief is defined as “…something believed; an opinion or conviction; confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof…”
A goal is defined as “…the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.”
Expectation is defined as “…the act or state of looking forward or anticipating…” To expect is a verb that means “to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of; to look for with reason or justification…”
Belief is an important characteristic to have in regards to who you are as an entrepreneurial artist. Believing in your art, your business growing, and most importantly, believing in yourself is crucial to your success.
Let me tell you why.
This isn’t about being positive and feeling warm all over. This is part of the beginning stages of success. For example, you have a thought that you are going to be a musician that makes a living playing/singing your music. You have two options when this thought comes to mind: (1) you can dismiss it and choose to believe that it’s not possible, or (2) choose to entertain it and believe that it is possible.
If you choose to believe that it isn’t possible, the actions you will take will then line up with creating that impossibility. For example, you will not do any research on how to realistically make a living writing, playing, and singing music, so you will never know how to do that consistently and effectively. You may stop playing your music in front of others, or even for yourself. Your art will no longer be a part of your life at that point. You may end up not keeping up on the latest trends on how other musicians are succeeding and thriving, causing you to remain ignorant to the possibilities.
On the other hand, if you choose option #2, you will more than likely take steps towards fulfilling exactly what you believe. You will continue to play your music for yourself and to whoever is willing to listen. This keeps your dream a reality because you’re actually living it. You’re playing and singing. You begin to do research on how you can make this profitable so that you can do this for a living. You figured out that the way to play more music is to have more time in your schedule to create that music. Having an income that pays you to create music will feed into your dream. You look at the success of other musicians, and learn from them so that you can grow as well.
You see, with belief, action follows. It’s within the action that you materialize results that line up with the actions that you’ve taken–or have not taken. This isn’t good or bad. However, I’m simply saying your results will reflect the actions that you’ve taken. It is what it is.
Once you have your beliefs in order, you definitely want to create a goal, or goals, for yourself so that you have something to aim for. Let’s use the analogy of a GPS in your car, and use San Diego as the metropolitan city in question. You need to get to a party that’s across town in an area known as Pacific Beach. However, you live in an area known as Poway, which is about 30 minutes from PB. You have no idea how to get there, and your friend who invited you simply told you to meet them at some unnamed house near an unnamed restaurant. What is the likelihood of you finding this party?
You want your goals to be specific like the ending address that you place in your GPS so that you have something to aim for. If your friend then tells you to meet them at 1234 Freedom Way, Pacific Beach, CA 92000, you have a specific address to place in your GPS so that you can efficiently get to the location of the party within a 30-minute timeframe.
Goals are specific and tangible “ends” that you can work towards. Set them. Create them. Make a plan to achieve them.
Expectation is where I believe most artists fail. When I used to go to church, I heard the constant quote, “Expectation is the breeding ground for miracles.”
I can understand where this may come from. The idea of expecting something good can possibly lead to something good really happening. That’s a thought. I’m not dismissing it.
However, I want to focus on the issue with expectancy that mentally stifled me from prospering as an artist. Now that I removed that issue from my career path, I’ve actually experienced growth and success with my business as a writer.
When I would set out to achieve a goal in the past, I “married” that goal. That goal just had to show up exactly the way I wanted it to in the exact timing that I wanted it to. And if anything veered from that vision, I would get pissed off, discouraged, and would be left to figure out my next plan. Even though I was always in the process of creating my so-called “next plan,” I brought my lack of belief, anger, and disappointment from the past into that new plan—almost as if I was trying to subconsciously prove that I can’t have what I truly wanted because of the reasons that didn’t line up with how I believe they should transpire.
So, what does this actually look like? I’ll paint a picture. Back in the day, I had written several literary agents early on in my writing career, hoping to get one to represent me. It didn’t happen in those early years. I had an expectancy that I would have a literary agent after writing a few scripts within three years and querying them randomly during that time. Never happened within that timeframe. I currently have an agent, but it didn’t happen until years later—about 20 years later. I wasn’t ready back then. My writing wasn’t ready at the time. My career didn’t need an agent. The fact that I expected to have one early on, and was met with constant defeat, stifled my growth because I limited myself to the things that I was willing to do as a screenwriter. Limiting my own options meant that I limited opportunities that could’ve moved me forward a lot faster.
My advice is to never be “married” to a particular result through expectancy. Your career is going to move forward just as it needs to. The right opportunities, people, and rewards will come your way that are meant for you as you actively move forward. Don’t expect that everyone you have a meeting with to offer you a million dollar contract. If that is your expectation, you will be disappointed often. Remaining in the state of disappointment stifles growth because it distracts you from all of the good that is directly in front of you.
You do have to believe in yourself, set goals, take action, but have no expectation of a specific result with a specific person because the result is out of your control. What you control are your thoughts, beliefs, actions, and the list of goals that you create and act upon. Expecting that people and things will behave in the way that you want them to, will always disappoint you. People have their own lives to live and decisions to make that don’t always include you. Things happen beyond our control. Let things out of your control be as they are. This is easier said than it is done, but in doing this, your mind will be free to focus on what you can control and what will work for you.
Today’s LESSON is to create the mindset and to apply those actions that help you to move forward as an entrepreneurial artist.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: What can you do today and this week to move your career forward? Commit to it and take action.
Please contact Nitara Osbourne if you’re a full time artist, and would like to be interviewed in The UnCloseted Professor Blog or if you would like help developing your life story into a non-fiction book or movie script. InfiniteWriterAgency@gmail.com.