Focusing on small, to build BIG!

Escape Through the Looking Glass Exhibit with Artist V-Tech Visual, Child Emperor from Artspace and Photo by Angie LMV

By Jasmine R. Castillo of Escape Artists


Staring onto my computer with 15 tabs open all relating to: types of ways to incorporate company, competitive advantage, classes, certifications, event marketing, social media, YouTube, MailChimp, best locations to work out of, researching trends, etc., etc., etc. My screen was an external reflection of the inside of my brain operating at certain points; on a lot, big picture and scattered throughout.

Scroll five years later, I still can’t believe the strides I’ve made and the challenges I’ve surpassed. Building a platform, teaching workshops, partaking in speaker series (which I never thought I would be able to), always listening, always learning, getting past limits I placed on myself and building up teams plus experiential events. I sometimes don’t give myself enough credit of how I took a concept in my mind for years (my Escape Artists platform) and began growing it. Still growing it.


It hasn’t been an overnight journey and it hasn’t happened as fast as I wished. But everything worth it in our lives takes a series of steps. Takes time. Shooooot, I’m still working on it, constantly evolving my craft, forever learning.

So how can we truly estimate how long something will take? Can writing a novel take a month, a year, two years? How can we really begin to understand “what it takes?” to accomplish our goals when we have no idea of how long something we’ve never done will take to accomplish?

Along the way I learned breaking up my larger goals into bite size chunks made my goals more digestible. It was a way to start, because wow, to build a company without a biz partner in less than a year was a bit overwhelming and had my brain spinning on all the to-do’s.

So how can we really set ourselves up for success when we really don’t know how long something will take?  How do we build, sustain and live off momentum?

There are many variables that impact each of us differently and will either expedite or slow down our movements. But, there are a few tricks we can do to set ourselves up and gauge our time to keep us on track in moving forward:


  • Bite size chunks

Meaning taking our goals and breaking them up even more. Breaking up my goals into bite size chunks have made a HUGE difference. I’m focusing on one thing at a time, not the overall big picture which is overwhelming in the beginning. Right now as I write this, I’m starting a new platform and there’s so much I have to do. So day by day I give myself a few items to work on in breaking up the main goal “Financial Plan.

  • Monday– Do research on the competition
  • Tuesday– Make a list of costs for just the services
  • Wednesday– Make a list of start-up costs for supplies, expendables, production aspects.
  • Thursday – Conduct research on my potential clients.
  • Friday– Putting together my competitive advantage.


There’s so much to building a business. The to-do’s I created above are all bite-size chunks to the bigger goal: my Financial Plan. Breaking it up does a few things: makes it productive, proactive, less anxiety driven and the small wins lead to the big win. I’m able to focus better without getting anxious and pulled all over the place.


  • Parkinson’s Law: “is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” It is sometimes applied to the growth of bureaucracy in an organization. This law is likely derived from ideal gas law, whereby a gas expands to fit the volume allotted.” (via Wikipedia)

Interesting this concept came from gas. I’ve heard many argue about this being factual or not. Now, don’t get me wrong there are some things that do need more time and a specific time. But, most times you will finish the work you need to do within a certain time frame based on the effort and focus of what you’re putting into it. If I need to write a blog post for next week, that’s 7 days from today that I’m given. I’ll write a little here, little there, each day. But I don’t really get into the nitty gritty until two days prior the deadline (I know all you students out there know what I’m talking about when it comes to waiting for the last minute) because you need that deadline, that pressure! Tha pressure created to getting it done, that’s actually part of Parkinson’s Law in affect. You will push yourself to getting something done fast, or you will do it slowly if you have more than enough time, all based on the amount of energy and focus you’re putting into it.  


  • Motivation versus Self-Discipline

Motivation relies on emotions, while self-discipline works on willpower. The difference is, if you allow yourself to get caught up in your emotions you will stop yourself before you even get started. But with self-discipline, once you start, that’s the key factor right there in getting you moving. The more you push yourself, the more you work on that self-discipline muscle to getting through it.



  • Focus on the Identity you want to create, instead of the goal

Once you change your identity, you will notice change within your behavior. The goal itself may motivate you to start the shift in mindset, but behavior creates a consistency in sustaining the mindset that you’re creating.



  • Know your WHY!

Your why is the backbone to the reasons you’re doing what you’re doing. If you don’t know your why, start asking yourself why, over and over, to really dig into the most sublevel reasoning that’s pushing you to making the lifestyle you’re creating. Want to know my why? I want everyone to live a life by design and design a life they love. When I was growing up I heard too many no’s that pushed me to want to find my YES’s in life. I wanted to break the glass ceiling that’s been placed on me, by me. I almost believed that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be, because I’m a Puerto Rican from the hood in the Bronx with odds against me. Taking some pointers on the above with identity, I started reformulating how I view myself and who I want to be. I took this on as a challenge and realized what I thought were cons, were what made me stand out. So this pushed my why, to show others they too can create a life they design.  


  • Embrace discomfort

Every time you embrace discomfort you’re embracing through things that most don’t want to do. And you know, once you get through, you will get what it is you want. The more you embrace this, you’re building opportunities to grow. These are opportunities to get through discomforting moments.



  • Productivity stimulators

Sleep, breaks, vacay, meditation, eating healthy, all build towards a healthier lifestyle. The part of our brain that regulates desires and impulses through executive functioning are at their highest output after proper rest and a clear mind. You can work with a higher productivity in less hours than the other way around: sleepy, groggy and non-focused drags the hours and makes a simple task become harder to create flow. Our brains are powerful tools, take care of it so it can take care of you.


  • Forgiving ourselves

Different from making excuses, it’s about not being so hard on ourselves. Instead of beating ourselves up, let’s ask ourselves “why?” we’re not doing what we should be doing that will improve our life. By talking about it, journaling, working through the insecurities, procrastinations and understanding your perceptions, you can set up systems of support, research the human psyche and get to the nitty gritty.  Whether it’s fear, anxiety, the fact it’s a BIG project, maybe you’ll like support from your peers to generate ideas. Regardless of the reasons, when you forgive yourself you’ll open up your possibilities. 


Tying in all these ingredients can help you start something, stay on course and build towards the life you want, deserve. You’ll impact others because of your moves. You’ll strive with purpose, because you know what it is you’re working towards. It’ll all be worth it when you see how far you’ve gotten. Success isn’t an overnight phenomenon. It takes practice, discipline, years, tears, smiles, laughs, financial setbacks, and most importantly you’re doing it with love. I know, I know, I ended it cheesy! It’s true though! (Ha-ha) If you’re not doing something you love, what’s the dam point?



Consistency. Small goals each and every day build consistency. You start small, with each small step it adds to the next, and the next, evolving into a new habit as time goes by. We get so fixated on the big dreams, big ideas, big results, that we overlook all the milestones it took to get where we are. Baby steps lead to the big journeys.


 Anything I missed that should’ve made it on my list? Or need additional resources to inspire specific areas you’re struggling with? Feel free to DM or tag us @Esc_Artists and using the hashtag #DesignYourLife in your post.



*Part of my research has been provided by Thomas Frank who can be found on YouTube and has several awesome content platforms to follow for inspo.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.