Have you heard of Inktober? It’s an awesome drawing challenge created by the talented Jake Parker that requires consistency and commitment.
Throughout the month of October, artists across the globe are challenged to create a daily drawing.
That’s 31 drawings if you aren’t sure how many days are in October. :)
After being heavily involved in the business side of Perspective-Collective for the past two months, I was eager for a drawing challenge. I’m actually surprised I’ve never jumped at a commitment like this before because I’m infamous for piling projects on my plate.
The challenge has recently ended and it solidified that I’m a freakin’ pro at committing to being consistent……..at things that aren’t always best to focus on at a given moment in time.
You see, consistency and commitment are great. There are huge benefits to developing these disciplines which I will cover in a bit. On the other hand, there are also consequences when you’re not focused on the right thing at the right time.
I want to show you both ends of the spectrum in hopes you will focus on consistency and commitment in the right areas of your creative career.
I credit much of any success I’ve had with Perspective-Collective to consistency and commitment.
Both have provided me:
I’ve learned that focusing on the right thing at the right time leads to greater rewards and growth. This was the case with a consistent commitment to drawing, blogging, and now podcasting.
The results, routine and discipline you develop far outweigh the initial pain points of getting started.
There’s no question I put the right focus in these areas, but there are other areas I focus on that hold me back from the overall vision.
That’s where you run into problems.
Back to Inktober—while it was fun, looking back on it now I see it wasn’t the best decision.
My goal is to make Perspective-Collective a self-sufficient, full-time gig within the next 5 years so myself and my wife can work from home. The problem is that I’ve accrued a shit ton of student loan debt from attending a private college.
Let’s be real, I have over $65,000 of student loan debt I’m being suffocated by—not to mention a mortgage and a car loan.
When you look past the follower count and the life I portray through social media, you can see this life I'm living isn't so glamorous.
I would trade many of you in a heartbeat in order to have the financial freedom and the daily stress off my back.
I’m not making enough at the day job to pay off debt and save at the same time, but I'm determined and will achieve this goal. However, the only way I’m able to this is by pursuing projects that will allow me to knock out this debt quicker.
This means I’ve had to start freelancing again—which has actually been fun and I've worked with some awesome clients. I've also begun building digitally based products like my recent Weekly Content Checklist.While posters, t-shirts and patches are nice to haves, there is too much overhead and time that goes into them that I don't have.
On top of my current freelance and products, I’ve been managing my weekly blog, newsletter, podcast and a featured custom image to go with them all. While these may not be making me money, they are pivotal to where I see my business going.
This isn’t a boast saying I can manage a commitment like Inktober with my current project load—this is me publicly telling you that I’m a fucking lunatic.
Cramming more activities to my already over-scheduled life did more damage than I expected.
Honestly, the only positives were the fact that I had fun developing a new style in my daily experiments. I guess this new refreshing perspective is a plus too.
When I commit to something I’m all in. There’s no turning back as I pride myself in following through in everything I say I'll do.
This pride can produce negative consequences as I mentioned before.
When you’re head is down grinding away in the wrong direction, you’re not looking up towards your vision.
[ctt link="9hd0D" template="2"]When you’re head is down grinding away in the wrong direction, you’re not looking up towards your vision.[/ctt]
You lose sight of the trophy and miss the mark on what's in front of you.
For me, I was so wrapped up in my commitment to Inktober that I wasn’t all-in with the one thing that mattered most—drawing my way out of debt to reach my dream.
Inktober didn’t help me speed up the process of paying off debt—it took my focus away from the things that would get me there.
By consistently committing to things that don’t align to the vision, you're splitting focus and spreading yourself too thin.
This reflection has made me recall the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Instead of multiple priorities, focus on the highest priority that will get you to where you want to be in life.
This is what matters most.
Maybe you think I'm being too hard on myself and that I'm a fun hater.
Believe me, if you know me you know I like to have a good time. However, I’m in a season of my life where I know what I want and I’m determined to figure out how to get there.
This means I need to crack down harder on shiny object syndrome—which is being distracted by the latest and most fun thing around.
I can't promise that I won’t slip up from time to time, but not on a 31-day binge commitment like Inktober.
This isn’t about being perfect, this is about proving to myself how serious I am about my goals.
My intentions aren’t to get pity from you. I want this self-inflicted stressful month of October to serve as a reminder for you to be wiser than me.
Stop feeling like you have to be above average at everything. You don’t and it’s okay to say no to adding something to your plate.
Be the person who thrives in one or two things that will get you to your creative goals quicker. Not the person making minimal progress in a million directions.
Focus on the essential and then become a consistent and committed freak of nature.