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Planning for the future: Choose Your Own Adventure

I am so very proud of the arts community in my city.

Here in Springfield there is a small opera company that has done a brilliant job of looking at all of the uncertainties in the year ahead, and rather than throw up their hands or plan for just one possibility, the Springfield Regional Opera, led by Michael Spyres, has come up with a very clever way to plan for the season. The leadership has come up with a plan that allows for flexibility as the year progresses, with multiple options for how the season might end up based on whatever the situation is at any given point during the year. It's just brilliant, and I'm so proud to be working with artists here in the Ozarks that are seeing the opportunities hidden in the challenges. To see their plan, including an amazing use of a Sharknado in their graphic, click here to see the Facebook post. Have I mentioned that I think this is brilliant? Because it is.

I think they've got precisely the right idea for planning ahead. This year is not going to be a straight line for any of us. Rather, how we make it through the next year as artists, teachers, and business owners is going to rely a lot on how flexible we can be. Flexibility starts with a good plan. As my business coach, Michelle Markwart Deveaux, has said many times, a plan gives us something to deviate from. It is not a rigid, unchangeable view of the future.

Instead, let's think of things more like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel. Remember those? I couldn't read the book all the way through from start to finish. At the bottom of each page, I had a choice to make, and depending on my choice it would determine how the story progressed. Sometimes the choices I made meant the vampire ate me at the back of a dark cave, and thus the story was over. But it really wasn't over, was it? Because I went back to the previous choice and picked the other option! Or I started the whole book over again. By having the flexibility to go back and choose again, I never felt stuck in a story that had a poor ending.

Our studio businesses, church ministries, and even our home lives can be just like this. If we look ahead to what we think might happen in the next few months, it would be wise to think through several possibilities and plan what will happen.

If this, then that.

Just like the Springfield Regional Opera, I'm looking at church, studio and home, and planning for what things will look like based on the situation in my own area. I'm keeping in mind four possible loose scenarios that will determine how I will operate:

  1. Everything is open and life is back to "normal," whatever that means.

  2. Low risk in my particular community, but not an elimination of risk.

  3. Heightened risk that urges extra caution.

  4. Total Sharknado.

There will be fuzzy lines between those things, and your situation and levels might look different than mine. But knowing that I could be looking at any of these possible scenarios at any given time gives me the peace of mind that I can adapt and change with whatever the world throws at me.

When you really think about it, this is a wise way to plan for any year, not just during a pandemic.

How are you planning for the next year? If you've got any tips or ideas, share them in the comments or send me a message. Having more ideas and tips for planning could be very helpful to us right now. Even with the uncertainties we're looking at, I am convinced this coming year has the potential to be one of the most musically rich times we've had in awhile. Difficulty tends to breed creativity. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how we can innovate in this time.

I'm rooting for us!

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