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What does applying to college and creative pursuits have in common?

by Lisa Pedersen |


So many colleges and universities to apply to.  So many ideas as to where to share one’s creativity. So, what does applying to college and pursuing creativity have in common?

A lot.

It's all in the approach and mindset of how we go about visioning what we want and how we get that one step closer to our dream becoming a reality.

When my oldest son applied for college recently, a method was shared with him that is shared with many applicants, and I use it when it comes to getting my art “noticed”.  Because, let’s face it:  there are a plethora of ways to journey through both mazes.

(photo by Sarah Pflug)

Here’s what was suggested for him to do:

Apply to your “safety” schools (you know, the schools that would be a definite “shoe” in based on his academic and extracurricular c.v.).

Apply to your “target” schools (the schools that there may be a “50/50” chance of acceptance, but without trying you’d kick yourself for not doing so).

Apply to your “reach” schools (the ones that you think to yourself, “I’m not worthy,” and there’s a slim to none chance that you’ll be wearing the colors of that said institution when the school year begins).

Such a great philosophy, and exactly what I embrace in the sea of creative expansiveness.

Here’s how that same college application philosophy applies to us creatives: we have the same experiences when it comes to throwing our ideas and work into the hemispheres of whoever is watching or reading.

For example, when I post on Instagram, I want certain folks to take notice, and in my case, it's Oprah Winfrey who becomes my "reach".  Will she, out of all the other creatives in the world, see that I really want to body paint her as a way to bring attention to the cultural significance and ceremonial art of such an activity?  She once said, “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It is why you where born and how you become most truly alive.”  That’s why we all can be using the hashtag #Oprah.  She may just see it and respond.

(photo by Don Adkins)

My target?  When it comes to body painting, I have a fellow creative in mind who lives 2500 miles away.  The chances are a bit more difficult when it comes to the logistics of getting her to me or me to her.  Still, she is my “target” because having the opportunity to create art in that one distinct moment in time, where the image is captured and the paint is washed off her body, never to appear again in the same way or fashion?  Yes.  She will continue to be my “target”.

(Photo by Nicole De Khors)

“Safety”?  Maybe it’s a neighbor or friend or someone in your book club.  For me, it was a fellow mom friend who shares the same beliefs and philosophies around how we live and breathe in the world.  I WANTED to offer a service to her for FREE.  No payment exchanged; simply lots of love and laughter and the memory sealed forever in time with the most magical body art creation.

What if you applied this “college application” method to your creative business pursuits, and come to learn that  your “reach” is anything but.

Instead, it becomes your reality.


Keep creating,



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