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Ready to take a deep breath and jump into the new year? Artist and coach Mary Ellen Clagett shares some wise words.


I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. Quote from Jimmy Buffett.


How do you approach the New Year? Is it a joyful experience or do you find yourself listing resolutions for all the things you "should" be doing? I opt for the joyful experience. On New Year's Eve, I have a ritual that I perform. I find a quiet spot and sit down and write a letter to myself, reflecting on all the things that happened over the past year. Some great, some good, some hard…but all moving me forward towards my desired destination. Do you know where you want to go or how you want to be?

Albert Einstein counseled, "Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born." I agree. When we stop being curious, when we lose our joy for learning and creating, we lose an essential part of ourselves. We become caught in what sailors refer to as dead calm... sitting on the water, completely still, with no waves... drifting.

Now, I admit, there are times when drifting seems like the perfect solution in the midst of a chaotic world. There's a time and place for everything. However, if you find that too much time is being spent in dead calm, consider making some changes to move in the direction of your dreams. Break out the oars, turn on a motor, use the ocean currents –take action is needed to jumpstart the journey.

Need some ideas? Find a local or online class on a subject that interests you and sign up. Use one of the many online tools (e.g. Meetup), the local events calendar in your newspaper, or flyers around town to meet new people who are interested in the things that you are doing or want to do. Call a friend and arrange a play date to play tourist in your town. Share your knowledge and your passions with others and new opportunities to grow will appear. Get outside and walk and let nature remind you just how amazing this world is. Say thank you for the things you are grateful for. Turn up the music and dance. Get the idea? Take a small step outside your comfort zone and see what happens.

It is your choice to continue as you are or take steps to be the person that is in your heart. To exist or to thrive? To play it safe or to explore? To stay where you are or to grow in unexpected ways? If you were to open a letter looking back over the previous year, what would you want it to say? Choose with abandon, explore hidden nooks and crannies, and love what you do. The world needs you to live full out and bring all your talents and passions to the forefront. Make your resolution this year to choose you.


Mary Ellen ClagettGuest blogger Mary Ellen Clagett. From federal executive to living life full out as an Artist, a Writer, and a Co-Active Coach.

Carolyn EdlundThis article is courtesy of
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: window