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You Rule! Leverage the change in season to set new rules for yourself as a creative professional.

I’ve been noticing how different the light is on my morning runs and bike rides. Flowers and foliage are transitioning towards autumn hues. A seasonal shift is coming. Change is in the air.


As summer draws to a close, I’m aware that seasonal changes are also coming in the work and lives of many artists and creatives. Coaching conversations with my clients this past month have increasingly turned to how to navigate these changes. Some of these conversations have been about how to maintain momentum or balance in face of changing commitments come September. Some of these conversations are more about shifting focus toward some new priorities . Others are about making plans to “turn over a new leaf”, habit or mindset-wise. In any case, I’ve been helping these clients make clear decisions about what they want to embrace, change or let go of heading into the fall.


Fall is a time of change when the leaves start to turn, and we're reminded that nothing is permanent. Why not leverage the change in season to assess and change up the “rules” you’ve created for yourself as an artist or creative?


Some rules we set for ourselves give us structure and boundaries that support things like our productivity, work/life balance, professional relationships and decision making. For example, “I turn off my phone or notifications when I am working in the studio or on certain tasks” or “I won’t say yes to opportunities that aren’t aligned with my values or goals” or “I only check email during these hours or at these times of day” or “I don’t burn bridges”.


Other types of rules we set for ourselves may hold us back or keep us stuck. For example, “in order to succeed I need to decide and focus on one artistic form, medium, genre or style exclusively” or “I’m just not good at…” or “I can’t afford to take time off on the weekend” or “If I don’t put in x hours of work, I’m not being committed or consistent”. These rules are based on our beliefs and the narratives we build up in our mind around those beliefs. When we set rules like this for ourselves and stick to them, we stop ourselves from stepping outside of our rule-bound comfort zone—and in turn stop our growth.


The good news: We can change the rules we set for ourselves. And heading into a new season is a great time to change the rules.


Take a moment to reflect on rules you’ve set for yourself as an artist or creative.


What self-made rules have you been working by?


Which are most useful in the context of your goals and commitments this fall?


What rules would you like to change or let go of this fall?


What new rules would you like to work by this fall?


Remember, it can take time to get used to new or different rules. Be kind to yourself if you slip up!


Photo Credit: Cylla Von Tiedemann


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Richard Isaacs
Richard Isaacs
Sep 11, 2023

Thanks for the suggestion to leverage the seasons. Professional athletes employ this strategy to train and perform according to their sport's seasonal calendar. I could improve my performance as a creative professional by setting seasonal goals for my creative work. I can level up my output in the fall and heat up my creative output as the cooler weather kicks in. This could renew my purpose and motivation to finish the year strong, and help me stay productive as winter arrives. By committing to this seasonal program, I could reward myself with time-off during the holidays and in summer when I can aim to spend more time outdoors and recharge my creativity in nature.

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