I’ve been thinking about “the next level” lately. It’s a positive term commonly used in the syntax of our super hip culture. And while “breaking through to the next level” may be a useful term for others, I think it’s a perplexing axiom for most artists & entrepreneurs—simply because as creative people, we have no directions or decorum to lead us there. Others follow a protocol and a step-by-step plan, that when completed will move them to the intended “next level.” Just like a college student working toward a Masters degree. She knows exactly what classes to take and units to complete in order to ultimately arrive at that fateful day, when someone in a suit & tie hands her a diploma—which automatically moves her to the next level.

A&E’s don’t have the luxury of a planned protocol. It’s usually just chipping away at your art or business one day at a time, building, growing, failing and improving with each day. Oh sure, you may have huge plans on the drawing board, but they always carry risk and uncertainty, and there are certainly no guarantees that someone in a suit & tie will hand you a gold record or a framed certificate for your efforts.

It’s a very common scenario with A&E’s, when they reach a certain “comfort zone” and their “winning formula” seems to be working, they want to use that winning formula to take their world to the next level. However, little do they realize that the “winning formula” that got them to this level will not get them to the next. The only way to break through to the “next level” is to step outside your current comfort zone and create a “new vision” for yourself—a greater vision, perhaps one that could literally “transform” your life! Then, make an outrageous, ruthless commitment to manifest it.

I wish it were easier, but it’s not. While there may be a set protocol for achieving a Masters degree, there certainly is no protocol for achieving the impossible dreams of a crazy, genius artist, or a bold, courageous entrepreneur.

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