Thursday, April 28, 2011

You be the judge

Following my short little post from yesterday, wouldn't you know it - today I ran into another saying that struck me as a bit odd or off.

The saying?
"Every time you judge yourself, you hurt yourself. "

My knee-jerk response?

NONSENSE!!!!! .....

......there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with 'judgment'.

Lets look at one definition (from our friends at wikipedia):

The term judgment generally refers to the considered evaluation of evidence in the formation of making a decision. ...

Yes, we make judgements all the time. We must.

But 'judging' has gotten a bad rap, a horrid reputation - akin to 'critique'. Critiques are a GREAT thing! They aren't meant to be negative, but that is how many people view the word. A critique is a review or assessment of the pros and cons, the good and the bad, what works and what doesn't. It is a critical look at something. (critical meaning: characterized by careful evaluation and judgment)

So, back to judging oneself. 

As an artist, I believe it is vital to judge oneself. I liken it to one of the principles found in AA and other 12-step groups.

Step Number 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Instead of 'moral inventory' - as artists (and business people) we REALLY need to take inventory of, or judge, where we are, what we are doing.

Is it in line with where we want to be or go? Are we wasting time and energy in a certain direction?

The problem arises in HOW we judge.
First, its not a comparison to others. NEVER. EVER. We should only look at our own products, processes, progress, etc. We can compare to where we WERE, but not to others. EACH OF US IS UNIQUE.

Second, we need to have something we can measure. Ideas about where we want to be in the first place. Goals, a business plan, an aesthetic or voice we are aspiring to. Technical skills we can measure. So put it on paper, journal about it. What are you trying to accomplish? Where do you want to be? What is success? (TIP: break it down into steps so when you look back you can #1 see progress and #2 identify any problem areas).

Finally - DOCUMENT. Not just your plan or goals, but document your art and business as you go along - new ideas you've come up with, designs you've brought to fruition, new skills when you learn them, sales as they occur. When you take inventory, or judge yourself, you'll have it right there in black and white.  Chances are you will be surprised at what you have accomplished!

Consider using a planner such as:  Craft Inc. Business Planner for the business side and maybe something such as The Artists Way Workbook for the creative side.

And remember, its not a one time thing - we must judge ourselves continuously.

Your life, your art - it is your own.

Who better than you to take that fearless inventory?

If you get a gold star - YAY!

And if you don't - well, now you have information you can use to your benefit to move forward.  Look at your results and come up with new action steps.

Post them at your workspace, and by your bed, and in your car.......dedicate yourself to growth.

Aren't you worth it?