Feeding the Wolves

Pretty much all organizations experience cycles of activity and relevance, with highs and lows.  The other day, I got a message from a friend in a local craft organization we’re both members of.  Right now this organization seems to be struggling with a transition from meeting the needs of professional crafters in 2010 to their needs in 2018. The message started simple. She just needed to vent. As we chatted though, we started adding things, and getting more upset, not less.

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there  are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. 

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like  kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents  things like greed, hatred and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, “the one you feed.”

Or as Michael Jackson said in his song Man in the Mirror, “If you wanna make the world a better place, just look in the mirror and make the change.”

We ended up talking about how our needs as a community have changed, and what we feel some of them have become now. There are a lot of little things that we could be doing better, but they all seem to boil down to this key concept. Meeting up face to face in order to talk and make things together…getting to know each other in person so we can support each other online. The first step for us was to recognize that voice that was saying “It’s all ruined and everything’s awful” for what it is. Then acting on that recognition and start making adjustments to the conversation. We ended on a positive note and have started planning a monthly meetup that alternates between crafting, and professional development round table.

This leads into my personal goals for 2018.

  • 5 sketchbook drawings a week. I told my work partner this one, and she asked if I thought it was sustainable. Which got me thinking about that voice again that says “You won’t do this”. I recognize it for what it is, while also admitting that I tend to be very optimistic in my goals. If this was my only goal I’d tend to agree with her, but there are others that tie together with it.
  • Patreon Consistency. I’ve made some progress on this front in the last year, but am still overall terrible about posting here regularly. While I post something most days on Instagram, and social media about kids, life, and drawing, I want to take the time to really talk about those things here. So I’m making a commitment to checking in every Friday morning to talk about my week.
  • Six Week Project Schedule. I’ve been really interested in this idea since hearing about it on the Hurry Slowly podcast. We can get a lot of work done in six weeks when we focus on one thing at a time, and make progress on it daily. It gives a definite end time in sight so that projects feel fresh and don’t drag on and on forever. This schedule means that I could make eight things of substance over the course of the year. It also leaves four weeks of wiggle room for things like the holidays, sick days and the kids being off from school. Those are the things that generally derail me, and I want to recognize that and actually work around it this year instead of continually crashing into the wall.
  • Increase Instagram followers. In 2017, I increased my Instagram followers by about 300. Which is kind of amazing to me.  Looking back I think a lot of that was through posting better quality pictures and work, telling real stories of progress and growth, and engaging with communities. This is where all my goals for the year tie together as I document and compile the things that I’m working toward and that are important to me. 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 has in store. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend,

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