The Art of Goal-Setting: Susan Koblin Schear on Sticking to Your Values

A participant jots down some thoughts at a Creative Capital Professional Development workshop.

A participant jots down some thoughts at a recent Creative Capital Professional Development workshop.

Susan Koblin Schear is on a mission to help artists don their business hat with no shame or fear. After years of working in the corporate sector, Susan has the unique ability for translating entrepreneurial skills and practices to artists. Today, Susan is an arts consultant and founder of ARTISIN, LLC, which offers holistic business development, management and implementation services to the arts and cultural sector. Her upcoming Creative Capital webinar, Values-Based Goal Setting, explores how values and guiding principles can shape any art practice. We checked in with Susan to learn a little more about her course.

Ana Cecilia Alvarez: For those of us who are new to this idea: how would you define values-based goal setting?
Susan Koblin Schear: I see values-based goal setting as a method that helps artists know and understand their values, and to know and understand the importance of their values. Artists can cultivate this knowledge for the explicit purpose of making sure that their values are considered and aligned with their goals. When their values are aligned with their goals, it is much easier for them to facilitate and accomplish their goals, while remaining accountable to themselves and the other people in their life.
Ana: Why do you think it is important for artists or other creative professionals to set their own definition of “success”?
Susan: Each person defines success differently. We already know this, but often artists measure themselves against someone else’s idea of success. When an artist determines their own definition of success they take ownership of that vision. They please themselves rather than trying to please everyone else. They release themselves from external pressures. Most importantly, they become accountable to themselves. They see success not so much as a blueprint to follow, or as a potential site for failure, but as a process, just like one’s art or creative practice.
Ana: Could you give an example from your own professional experience of how an artist re-shaped their goals to better align with their values?
Susan: Aaron Landsman, an actor and playwright who also leads Professional Development workshop, shared this testimony with me about how he implements value-based goal setting:

One of the things I’m finding helpful right now is to be sure the process of making my work embodies the values I want the art itself to produce. So this means that, if I’m working with community participants, and I’m asking them to contribute to a project’s authorship, I’m a) compensating them as I would any collaborator, and b) giving them equal say in the material  we make together. Put more simply, I try to create work conditions for other people I’d like to work in myself.

Ana: How would you advise artists to instill sustainability in their goal-planning?
Susan: Part of my working definition of goal setting is that goals remain realistic. This is the key of building a sustainable practice. By accomplishing goals that are realistic you set a practice that can grow. Goal-setting isn’t a one-time activity. Rather, I see it as an ongoing practice.
Join us for Values-Based Goal Setting on Monday, April 4th, 7:00-8:30pm to discuss how misalignment of our values, actions and goals can impede artistic practice and career progress.

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