Hello, my name is Crista Cloutier and I am an obsessive list-maker.
To be fair, lists have gotten me pretty far. It's been a few years now since I first started dreaming of creating an online business school for artists. And, after checking off literally thousands of tasks on hundreds of lists, I launched the first official session of The Working Artist last October!
But since then, new ideas and opportunities have been coming fast and furious. One thing I've learned is that not everything needs to be dealt with RIGHT NOW, so I put those things aside in folders marked NEXT for the next session.
And then it was time! Time to start preparing the next launch for the Spring session of The Working Artist. And I looked at all the pieces to be put into place and began to weep uncontrollably.
That's where I was, right at the center of Overwhelm and Freak Out, when I was visiting my brother over the holidays.
He told me to breathe, and gently reminded me that he works as a Program Planner for Mission Planning Systems. He helps the Navy put systems into place. He could certainly help me with The Working Artist launch.
My kind brother then carefully took me through the steps of the "Military Planning Approach."
It was brilliant! I took notes, drew diagrams; this could work! Wow! I loved the Military Planning Approach! Who knew that the military could plan so well?
Once home, I pulled out all of my notes taken at my brother's house, only to find that I had inadvertently grabbed my nephew's calculus homework instead.
"Don't panic," I told myself, "You've been obsessing about the Military Planning Approach ever since you first saw it. You can remember the steps."
And so I did; step-by-step just as my brother had told me, I put together a comprehensive plan for moving forward. The next session of The Working Artist would be even bigger and better than before. And it was completely within my grasp!
I wrote to my brother of my success. I told him how I'd introduced the Military Planning Approach into my consulting practice, sharing his process with other artists - and how they embraced it too! And I proudly detailed the system just as I did it, just as he'd taught me.
"Err, that's not the Military Planning Approach," he replied. And he then detailed each step; complete with:
Course of Action Development
Course of Action Analysis
Decision and Concept of Operations
Transition to Execution
Hmmm.... that all looked sort of familiar...
But my system focused on motivation, reflective questions, pretty pictures, and holistic structure that emphasized insight and feelings.
Gosh, I thought as I looked at my planning system, my brother's right. This couldn't possibly be how the military makes decisions.
I'd gone rogue.
I'd taken the Military Planning Approach and churned it through my Artist Brain until it came out wrong.
But then I realized that this is what artists do.
We break rules. We bend materials to suit our needs. We create something personal and unexpected out of what was. We take left-brain material and move it to our right brain, making something new and different.
Some may call us outlaws, misfits, renegades, complain that the strange way our brains work is all wrong.
But I say that's only because our brains are right.