The First Step to Organization – Define Your Be / Do / Have

Can’t Do It All

As an artist, there are simply too many options available for you to pursue them all: festivals, traditional galleries, non-profit galleries, selling from your website, etsy, coop galleries, juried shows, etc. The list goes on and on.

Trying to do everything dilutes your focus and scatters your attention. Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed is the result.

When presented with an opportunity for your art career, how do know if it is a good fit? How do you know which exhibit spaces and selling venues to pursue?

If you spend some time setting a long term plan for your art, the answers to these questions become obvious.

If you know where you are going, you will be able to set up systems and goals to keep you on track, selecting the opportunities that best support your vision.

Be Do Have

Like many artists, the idea of setting long term goals used to terrify to me. They felt unnecessary and I had no idea how to go about it.

    “Goals are too limiting.”
    “What ever comes along is fine.”
    “How should I know what is going to happen?”

My acquaintance with Be Do Have lists changed my opinion. I was able to employ this simple tool to create a list of long term goals that capture my dreams.

To create your own vision of your art career, try using the Be Do Have list, a life coaching tool that asks three questions:

  • Who do I want to Be?
  • What do I want to Do?
  • What do I want to Have?

Spend some time writing your answers to these questions in relationship to your artwork. Don’t worry about the format – bulleted lists, paragraphs, incomplete sentences – it’s all okay. There are no rules and the sky is the limit. Dream Big!

I found that keeping the list on my desk for a few days to catch the last minute “oh yeah” ideas helped me get a complete picture of where I wanted to go.

After you’ve gathered your thoughts in your free form list, distill it down into an organized list for a quick reminder of your vision.

When an new opportunity presents itself and you aren’t sure it is right for you, pull out your list and review it to see if it fits. Saying no to options that don’t move you forward frees you up to spend your energy on the ones that are a perfect match.

My List

This is the vision I wrote for my art career several years ago and it still guides me today as I focused on who I wanted to Be along with some really big ideas for Do and Have.

  • I am creating a body of work that I am proud of and that I know is pushing me to become the best artist I can.
  • I see growth in my artwork.
  • I am authentically marketing my artwork.
  • I quit my day job and live comfortably from the proceeds of my creative talents. [Note: I like clarity so I have an amount written down but think specific dollar amounts are a bit too personal for public consumption.]
  • My work is valued by buyers and collectors, who are willing to pay a good price for my artwork.
  • I create an affordable line of work for those that can not afford my larger pieces.
  • My work is included in four or more museum collections.
  • I publish one or more books about my art and my writing about art. At least one will be a big “coffee table” style book
  • I actively participate in a community of mutually supportive artists.
  • I am an inspiration and mentor to other artists.
  • I continually learn about myself through my art and my writing about art.
  • I enjoy all aspects of being an artist.

Read more about Be Do Have lists.

Wrap Up

Setting long term goals allows us to think big about each opportunity that comes our way.

Do you have a vision for your art? What tools did you used to create your list?


Thinking Big about Art

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11 thoughts on “The First Step to Organization – Define Your Be / Do / Have

  1. Pingback: Had to repost this post by Lisa Call….for me and for you… :D « creating in the light

    1. Lisa Call

      Good question.

      Set new ones! It isn’t a one time process but something that evolves as we evolve as artists.

    1. Lisa Call


      Glad to be of help. I’m with you – I like very “doable” steps. Big grand ideas are great but hard to execute on.


  2. Riccardo Lemma

    Thanks ! I’ve found your list very pragmatic , me and my wife were looking for some guide line that makes sense ! thanks again :)

    Take Care !
    Riccardo & Ariela

    1. Lisa Call

      Riccardo and Ariela,

      Really glad this helps. I hope it helps you zero in on your big picture goals.


    1. Lisa Call

      I’m glad you found this blog also. Welcome – I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year.

  3. Dean Robinson

    At 76 I think I’m too old to make any long-term plans. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with making a list just for this year and see what I can do. Any thoughts?

    1. Lisa Call

      I think if you are talking 5 years, 25 years or just 1 year – the concepts of be, do and have would work.

      What do you want to be this year?

      Just think shorter term.

      Although you can also plan to live to 100 :)


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