Filling a Blank Canvas with the Future

You have a white canvas to fill. What vision are you looking to create for your organization, business, career, project, retreat, or ideal day? Every painting starts with an empty canvas. It is up to the painter to figure out how to fill the white space.

How Do You Begin?

There are many choices to be made before the artist begins- something large, small, highly detailed, abstract, colorful, monotone, near or far, vertical or horizontal, To paint outdoors or in the studio, in the style of the old masters or something radically new? How do you decide?

Whether you are designing a vision of the future for your business or career,

  • Begin with what you bring to the table. Personal preference, past experience, the story you want to tell, and your unique perspective.
  • Choose your tools. Brushes or palette knife, big or small, oils, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, or new materials never used before, types of canvas and quality of paint. How do you narrow the possibilities? 
  • First hand experience is one option that reading all of the books in the world can’t replace. Try something new and experience it first hand.
  • Ask for help. Find people whose work you admire. Others are often willing to share their experience, their learning and resources, putting you on a shorter path to your own unique outcomes.
  • Hold a frame up to the world of possibilities; it can help to determine what to leave out. Just like the artist who uses a viewfinder to simplify the endless possibilities of a landscape,framing your business, career or current challenge will help to give focus and attention to what is most important.
  • Start with a sketch. Putting the first mark on a canvas is often the most difficult. The process of exploring the options, narrowing the choices and actually beginning often starts with an ‘underpainting. Lightly putting down a foundation makes it easier to correct course before it becomes a lot harder to make changes. An outline helps build confidence for the bolder strokes to come.
  • Determine your values. Where is the light casting shadows? What do you want to come forward, and what to recede into the background? Your values make one of the biggest differences in the outcome.
  • Stay flexible. As you move forward assess progress and continue to strengthen the concept. Unknowns happen that create new opportunities sometimes resulting in surprises that build a stronger concept than was initially conceived.
  • Anticipate the possibilities- If you are working outside changing conditions always add complexity to the challenge. Clouds move, sun goes in and out, shadows change. Contingency planning can help you stay nimble and open to the changing environment.

In summary, as the artist of your future- Begin with what you uniquely bring to the table, let others know your point of view, experiment, ask for guidance, focus on what is most important, be clear on your values and adapt as you go.

If you are looking for some artistic support, I am currently offering:

  • Framing the Future’ sessions – 90 minute, half or full days session, one-on-one, or with your team. With a full box of tools I would be happy to help you try on some new perspectives. Treat yourself to the benefits of taking time out to spend some time on the future.

By Helene Mazur

Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to apply more of their potential, focus their goals, see new perspectives on their situation, put in place exciting, realistic plans, overcome the challenges, and execute to achieve new levels of success.