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The Forward Momentum Creative mindset is about favouring the power of the unknown over specific goals, tactics and strategies!
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The forward momentum creative mindset.
Anything can happen in creativity and life. That’s today’s episode of the positive creatives!
[PODCAST INTRO JINGLE]
Oh hi there! Welcome back to the positive creatives. I’m Adam, and I’m here to help you adopt a more positive creative mindset.
If you’re back for more, thanks for sticking with me and if you’re here for the first time, pull up a chair and settle in!
Right, I talked to you about goals back in episode 3. And today is kind of about goals and also about not having them.
It’s about my own deep seated belief that great things can happen without you making them happen directly, as long as you have the right attitude and a good mindset.
I like to start with a story, so let me take you back to the autumn of 2015. I was at a conference in Stockholm, and on stage was a photographer I’d never heard of until that point – she’s called Samm Blake.
I don’t remember what the talk was about in general but I remember vividly a moment that hit me like a lightning bolt. In a good way.
If you can be hit by lightning in a good way…
Samm Blake is an Australian photographer who is based in New York. Actually I don’t know if she’s still in New York, I should’ve checked that before I started recording.
Anyway in 2015 she was based in New York.
On stage that day she kind of told the story of how she ended up in New York.
By the way I need to tell you at this point that a dream of mine is to one day spend long enough in New York that I get to feel like a New Yorker so the New York reference here is relevant…
Anyway… so she’s telling the story of how she ended up in New York and how it just kind of happened, fairly randomly, she never planned for it but now there she was living and working in New York City.
That was the lightning bolt moment for me.
It just sort of happened. And there she was. In New York.
I think I was half expecting a story about how she hustled and grafted and networked and actively sought it out but no.
It just sort of happened.
You might be thinking what are you on about Adam…
What I’m on about is that good things happen without goals. Magical things. Huge things.
At that point in 2015 I was falling into the “business is more important than creativity” mindset but here was a creative, a true artist, telling me and 400 other people in Sweden that day, that amazing things happen simply as a result of making your art and putting it out into the world.
Every piece of work you release into the world creates a ripple effect and you just never know where that will end up.
It doesn’t have to lead to you moving from Australia to America, but that realisation that day snapped me out of the “business is more important” mindset and back into the mindset that I’d always believed in before that day and I believe in more than ever these days.
I call it the forward momentum mindset.
Let me just say here that I’m not saying goals are bad. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals and I’m also not saying business is bad. This is what works for me and I think it can work for anyone but if you enjoy having specific goals and being more business minded then do what works for you.
In a nutshell the forward momentum mindset is simply an attitude that as long as I’m trying to make my best work, and I’m consistently showing it to the world, then I will grow as an artist and a person, and good things will probably happen.
I just need to feel like things are moving forward in my life, in my work, and in my business. No tactics or strategy. Just making my work and putting it on display somehow.
And the belief I have is that things have happened in my creative career that are so random that I’m not sure they’d have happened if I’d had a more specific, tactical or targeted approach.
Here are some examples.
In 2012 I was obsessed with film photography and I had two clients who were keen on film and wanted to do a shoot in Paris. So I went to Paris and shot them for free on film.
At their wedding, I met a couple and got on well with them and jokingly demanded they let me shoot their wedding in the future — they weren’t even engaged!
Two years later i shot their wedding in Lapland, one of the most amazingly surreal experiences of my life.
Three years later an American photographer randomly found my Paris photos on my website through Google. She was planning on eloping to Paris and we exchanged emails but nothing came of it. It happens and it never bothers me.
A few months later the American photographer asked me to photograph her wedding… but now it was in New Orleans.
And if you’ve listened to my episode on doing it for the love you’ll know why New Orleans is so special.
Even better is that in 2014 I was in a Facebook group of other photographers. I was active in there, chatting and generally making good connections with others in the group.
Randomly three other photographers from that group wanted to do a workshop and asked me to do it with them even though we’d never met.
Doing that workshop led to running a training business which became big in the wedding industry here in the UK, but mainly for me led to new friendships.
One of my business partners in that business came with me on that trip to New Orleans and he randomly had his own wedding to shoot in New York 10 days later so we were able to spend just over a week road tripping through the USA together and shooting two weddings in two iconic cities, which was one of the best experiences of my life.
A year later we were back in the USA road tripping around California and Nevada.
These are just stories about my life for sure. But I hope they inspire you in the same way Samm Blake’s story of relocating from Australia to New York inspired me.
Anything can happen as long as you’re creating, putting it out into the world and fostering authentic relationships with people without tactics or strategy.
The last 10 years of my life have been the best entirely because of unplanned random life experiences.
Forward momentum. Create, put it out into the world, and keep repeating that process. Take the opportunities that come along and feel right.
Do things just because you want to – like I did with the film shoot in Paris for that couple which then led me to Lapland and New Orleans.
Say yes to random opportunities like I did with the workshop that led to the business which led to friendships and USA road trips.
Connect with people not because you think they can offer you something but just because authentic connection may lead to opportunities and experiences.
Put it out into the world.
And know that anything can happen if you do this and special times lie ahead.
Forward momentum. My entire career is built on this philosophy and it’s been a hell of a ride so far. I want the same for you.
So create. Put it out into the world. And connect with people.
Forward momentum. I love it. The excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen but knowing anything can happen.
Here are your listen read watch recommendations for this week:
Listen is a TED talk again. “Embrace the Near Win” by Sarah Lewis.
Watch: one of my favourite films ever, Click starring the one and only Adam Sandler. Yes it’s a slapstick comedy, yea it’s a bit cheesy but I truly think it’s one of the great life lessons. And Henry Winkler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken and David Hasslehoff are also in it. What’s not to love!?
Ok friend, that’s it for this week. See you next time on The Positive Creatives!