Happy February 2020, Divas! It’s another leap year and that got me thinking about 29 Days to Diva. The maiden voyage of 29 Days to Diva took place in February 2012. I have learned a lot in those eight years. For all of you who have been following along this whole time, I bet you have too. The last time I attempted a full 29 Days to Diva series was in 2018. But, truth be told, I burned out. Brimming with motivation and great intentions, I set out to write another series chock full of quotes and resources. But I was trying to do too much with the series, and in all of the arenas of my life, and I had to put it down. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing. So this time around, I’m going back to the basics.
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29 Days to Diva was designed to be a series of “micro actions” that you can take to help move your career in music forward. As I wrote in that very first post,
This doesn’t mean you need to stray away from your other responsibilities, nor start studying to take another theory entrance exam. It just means that each day this month we’ll be assigning you one task—from polishing your singing resume to creating a singing team—to brighten your classical musician outlook. We can’t guarantee that participating will have you dying of consumption on the Met stage by March, but we can guarantee you’ll be wiser and better prepared to handle your career, whether that’s more gigs or just a little more motivation to keep going.
When I say I’m going “back to the basics”, I mean that you’ll probably notice that this year’s posts are much shorter and are truly focused on only one micro-action at a time. That brings us to your assignment…
Your 29 Days To Diva Day 1 Assignment: Try the Be/Do/Have/Make Exercise
The Be/Do/Have list is pretty ubiquitous in the personal development space. It’s likely that you’ve come across this advice before. I augmented it ever so slightly to include “make.” As musicians and creatives, we are makers after all. The beauty in this exercise is the simplicity. And, you can do it anywhere.
The underlying value in creating these lists is to explore everything that you want to do, be or have. This will help you to set self-motivating short, medium and long-term goals.
Get Started Now
Divide your paper in four sections for Be, Do, Have, Make. (I like to fold a sheet of paper lengthwise and create four columns—two columns on the front and two on the back.) Then, simply free write until you’ve filled up the allotted space. While writing this post, I’ve toyed with giving examples. But, I keep stopping myself because I want you to be influenced by your own dreams and not by asking yourself, “what should I want?” More on this at the end.
Dreams Lead to Goals
I encourage my friends, clients, and myself to use this list to explore big, audacious goals. You can write, “I want to make a cake this weekend.” That’s fine. Plus, I love a goal that is achievable, time-bound, and specific. Here’s your permission slip to mix the two. Challenge yourself to envision the boldest dreams and then write them in a specific, measurable, relevant, and time-bound way.
Long-Term Dreams Lead to Today’s Strategies
Let the Be/Do/Have/Make list subtly re-orient your subconscious as you do it regularly. One of the benefits of this kind of big dream clarity and long-term goal setting is that it enhances your ability to make thoughtful decisions about new opportunities that are presented to you now. This exercise will ultimately influence who you will call tomorrow morning.
Long-term goal setting is not as overwhelming as it sounds. I often receive feedback (usually around this article) that makes me realize that we can get caught in patterns and habits of avoidance. We fear dreaming big. There are all sorts of reasons for this. You can regain some of your self-efficacy in the face of perfectionism by doing this one simple Be/Do/Have/Make exercise and allowing yourself to envision and conceptualize your greatest aspirations.
Killing the Green Monster with Clarity
One of the conversations that comes up regularly with clients and colleagues is how to turn down the volume on professional jealousy. I always tell them that long-term goal setting is the single most effective tool in my arsenal. Linda Ronstadt said, “One thing you have to be prepared for is that other people don’t always dream your dream.” As you do this exercise, you will consistently chip away at what are truly your goals and what are other people’s goals that you have ascribed to. When you are fully aligned to your goals, you will focus your attention on specific steps on that path and you will target your energy toward your desired outcome. That is what turns the volume down on professional jealousy quicker than anything else.
Believe In What Shows Up
On a final note, trust what seems to magically show up in your brain. Practice writing things on the list without judgment or attachment. Please realize that there’s no part of this assignment that reads, “now go figure out all of the steps to making that happen by next season.” The magic and the medicine is in the consistent application.
What kinds of questions do you have about trying the Be/Do/Have/Make exercise? Ask them in the comments below. Or, find me on social media. I’m @mezzoihnen. I’d love to hear from you.
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