Goal Setting, Mentors and the Gold Arts Award

Last week we had our last two sessions for a few weeks. Over the past month or so I feel like the Young Leaders have grown into a really close group and have got to know each other really well. However this week was all about ourselves as we reflected on what we offer, who we’d like as a mentor and what we wanted to achieve from the Gold Arts Award if we decide to undertake it.

Pete Mosley lead our session on Goal Setting on Monday. It was absolutely fascinating listening to his journey, how he’d started out as an apprentice potter before turning his hand to music, circus and writing. In sharing his story he showed us that you won’t always end up going in the direction you think you will but that you won’t get anywhere without going after it.

One of the most important themes that came up was self-confidence! We broke this down into a few points.

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Understand your place in the world.
  • Be true to yourself and your values.
  • Have a sense of purpose.
  • Know where your support lies.

Too often it’s easier to be what other people think of you rather than be yourself, so Pete gave us a huge list of questions such as ‘who pushes your buttons?’ and asking us to think about why we are here and what we perceive to be our place in this world. Some of these we could immediately answer, but others will definitely take some thinking about. However, through our discussion we dissected what some of these questions meant to us and how important it is that we can answer those questions. So here are some words of wisdom gleaned from Pete!

  • Believe good things about your world!
  • Don’t let others project their impossibilities onto your life!
  • You have the power and the right to create your own framework of possibility.
  • Asking for help is an assertion of self-knowledge and strength of character.

For me the third point really struck a chord. At university I chose to drop maths and focus purely on music, a choice that I was questioned about by a huge range of people. They called into question my reasons for switching, asked me whether I’d considered how impossible it was to create a good’ career for myself in the arts and whether I’d really thought the whole thing through. I found it amazing how many people thought I was mad for pursuing the arts. Rest assured I stuck to my guns and I’ve never regretted that decision. Not for one moment. As Pete put it, we are often held back by the quality of our courage and ambition so…


We also discussed how by sharing our goals we often stand a better chance of success. By holding ourselves accountable and letting other people know about our goals we feel more motivated to pursue and achieve them. We also looked at platforms through which to engage with others and share what we are doing, whether this be by blogging, using social media, talking to publications, doing public speaking, attending exhibitions and conferences or collaborating with other practitioners and professionals, not only in your own sector but others wider afield. These are all such great ways of expanding your audience and gaining wider recognition. As we’ve discussed in previous weeks, it’s so important to actually show up, share your work and engage with the world around you!

Basically be assertive in your own ambition, know your own mind and increase your accountability.

Monday afternoon was spent looking through mentor profiles and dear lord who knew that would be SO DIFFICULT. We will spend the next few months talking to and building a rapport with our mentor and so it’s vital we choose the right person. The only problem with this is that there were so many mentors that struck a chord. However I managed to whittle them down to three that afternoon so we’ll see what happens. It was interesting though discussing with the other young leaders who they had chosen. We were all a great support to each other as we bounced ideas off of each other and used the people around us as sounding boards. We’re all in the same boat and all have to make an equally challenging decision. Uh oh.

Tuesday we discussed the Gold Arts Award. This seems such a brilliant award and a really good framework for us to use our time with OYAP to full effect. As part of the award we work on personal development which includes learning a new skill, which I hope to be photography for me. We also come up with a point of view on an issue close to us in the arts and finally, we come up with a project, something which we will very soon be starting to work on. The Gold Arts Award is a really exciting prospect and I can’t wait to get started!


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