How to make serious progress on your creative goals

Yesterday I received a surprising email. It was from someone who I worked with in my mastermind group earlier this year, Karen Lock Kolp. We hadn’t spoken in a couple months, and she wanted to give me an update on the progress she has been making on her creative goals.

But it wasn’t just an email, she shared a video as well:

This is the kind of video that you dream of getting from someone you have worked with. Click above to listen to the whole thing (she gave me permission to share it publicly.)

She shares how our work in the mastermind is paying off in huge ways in her life. She takes me through the specific creative goals she set for herself, and all of the ways she is making serious progress.

But she went further. She talked about how what she learned in the mastermind went on to benefit other areas of her life, such as her health.

If you are considering joining my Creative Shift Mastermind which begins on Monday, but are on the fence, click ‘play’ on the video Karen shared and listen to the ways it has changed her life.

It’s inspiring for me to see what Karen is accomplishing. I was also blown away by her follow-through in taking the initiative to create and share this video update with me.

I talk a lot about how writers should develop a support system of collaborators in order to create momentum to reach their creative goals.

In looking at my family’s budget recently, I was reminded of how that is not just a part of the advice I give to others, but how my family lives. We are always investing in the skills and collaborative experiences that lead to creative growth:

  • My wife takes horseback riding lessons every week. This is a hobby that she started about three years ago, and every time she is on the farm or near a horse, she is totally inspired.
  • My oldest son takes hour-long piano lessons each week, then 2 hours of taekwondo lessons each week, and he just started taking daily violin lessons for the summer.
  • For the past 18 months, I have practiced guitar every day, have worked with one guitar teacher, and am now interviewing local guitar instructors to work with.

This costs us $215 per week for all of these lessons. That is $860 per month.

When I see that number, I think two things: The first is that it’s a staggering number in a monthly budget. It’s easy to feel that all of this is “extra” — expenses that are non-essential.

But the second thing I consider is how this is investment in ourselves:

  • Developing clear skills that will last a lifetime.
  • Creating meaningful experiences every week.

But more than that, what I consider is that each member of our family is growing. Each of us is learning and pursuing something that inspires us.

That feels priceless.

Speaking for myself, I can tell you, there is a profound difference between these two thoughts in my head:

“I always wanted to learn to play guitar, but I just never followed through. I toyed around with it years ago in college… I guess it was just never meant to be.”


“I can’t believe how much progress I have made with the guitar. After decades of dreaming, I’m finally doing. The guitar used to feel like a puzzle I would never figure out. Now I pick it up, and it feels familiar. I’m actually making music that I’ve always felt was inside me.”

For each of these pursuits, they are collaborative. We seek out people to work with, mentors who can help us move ahead.

If you are considering that for your creative goals, consider working directly with me in my Creative Shift Mastermind. When you join the Mastermind, I take you through a step-by-step process to establish rock-solid creative habits, define your creative identity, and get radically clear on your priorities of what to work on and why.


P.S.: You can find Karen (from the video above) online on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.