Five Things You Should Know About Sanity and Success

5 Things You Should KnowAbout Sanity and Success

Being Happy Is Its Own Reward.

Go out. Be your best. Do your best. Be ready when luck comes. Don’t let misfortune ruin your outlook.

  1. You Must Keep Getting Better
  2. Some People Will Disappoint You.
  3. Aid Will Sometimes Appear from the Most Unlikely Place
  4. Keep What Is Important in Your Name and Under Your Control
  5. You Have Choices — Use Them

Life Is Uncertain.

Life is full of tips and turns we can’t always control. People we meet and need to deal with can be difficult. Opportunities are coming at us all the time. If we are not prepared to accept them, they pass us by. Random things happen that seem unfair.

All in all, it can at times feel like life is out of control, if not downright crazy.  Here are five things I have learned that can help you be prepared for opportunity or preserve your sanity in the face of devastating challenging circumstances.

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1.  You Must Keep Getting Better

stay-coolIt may seem sound simple, but it’s true. If you are not getting better while those around you are, then you are getting worse by comparison. To improve your artistic skills and your business skills should be a daily goal.

From my experience, I’ve found artists will liberally spend on learning new painting techniques and then balk at paying $30.00 to buy a book or take a workshop aimed at helping them in business. I understand why.

We all tend to add urgency in doing those things we like while avoiding things that are required, but not urgent, from our personal perspective. It this describes you, and your art business is not going as well as you like, and then you need to reorder your priorities so that you put as much importance on your business as you do your creativity.

2.  People Will Disappoint You – Prepare for the Best – Never Discount the Worst

A promised show at a gallery never materializes or comes at the worst time of the year for success. Buyers will return art, or show interest, but never call you back. Publishers will say they want to work with you and then keep you in suspense for months before sending a declining letter.

Art Business Book Club

Some years ago, I put in hundreds of hours on a promising publishing project with an artist who was backed by a multimillionaire venture capitalist. I created a killer, knock ’em dead, marketing plan for the project. It would have made all participating wealthy. The artist would have become a nationally recognized figure.  Ultimately, we had the plan, the financing and an artist with the talent, but not the temperament to let a world class enterprise build around him. The VC lost faith and pulled the plug. Had I taken the time to know the artist better in the early going, I would have seen the problem coming and bailed sooner.

Because I was so gung-ho on the project and had a substantial steady income from other sources, I negotiated for a higher percentage of profits. In retrospect, I should have insisted on being paid for my expertise as a separate matter. It would have made the sting of the failure of this opportunity – where I did not control the outcome – hurt a lot less.

If an opportunity is in front of you, and it appears worthwhile, don’t fall in love with it. Do what is reasonable to seize the opportunity, but also, work out in advance the worst case scenario, which is what happens if it fails. Conceptualizing the worst allows you to accept it if it should occur. If the worst is more than you can bear, don’t get started. Don’t confuse being a realist with being a pessimist. You can be very optimistic and still know potential problems lie ahead. Don’t be blinded as I was by future profits, and never fear to negotiate hard to make sure your compensation is fair.

3.  Aid Will Come from Unlikely Places

If you are ready and confident and moving forward on your strength, then you are a much better candidate for some unforeseen force to come into your life with surprising aid. Success and trust are powerful attractors.

You can’t write down provenance on a business plan, but I have seen it happen many times. This situation is where hard work and talent intersect at what appears to be luck. It is the polar opposite of point #2 above. It is never chance that an artist is invited to submit pieces to a museum, or to join a prestigious gallery, or has a top notch publisher with brilliant ideas and great contacts for promoting their work.

These things happen because the art is worthy, and the artist has succeeded on his or her terms. When a door opens to a genuine offer that can elevate the artist’s work and career in ways no one saw coming, it nearly always due to the artist’s steady and consistently improving work on their creative skills and their marketing prowess.

4.  Keep What Is Important in Your Name and Under Your Control

A perfect example of this is a domain name. Do you have a domain name, such as SallySmithFineArt.com, for your business? If you use such a domain name, and it is not in an account registered in your name, then you are setup for a severe problem. Never let a web developer or anyone else buy and maintain a domain name for you in their account. A relationship can sour and your domain gets caught in the process or is used as leverage to get you to comply with things you would not have otherwise considered.

If you are in this situation now, you need to take immediate action to get the domain in your account.  If the current account holder balks, then you have identified a potentially critical control issue with that person.  Get the domain under your control, and then get better representation or partners.

It is not just domain names. The simple test is to ask is “the thing” more important to you than the person who owns or controls it? If you decide it is, you need to get it under your control.

5.  You Have Choices — Use Them!

You may sometimes feel like you are stuck, but you are not. You always have options. You may have to be patient with working out an alternative scenario, and not be able to apply your new plans immediately. But, you can put plans in motion to turn things around for you. You can choose to work at another kind of life or situation.

One thing you control is your attitude. You can elect to let things get you down, and to let troubling personalities in your life make you miserable. Or, you can choose not to let circumstances or people get you down. It’s easier to say than do, but still entirely possible.

Whether it is what seems like bad luck, or bad people harshing your mellow, you can choose not to get caught in the drama such things often foster. Recently, I’ve had a water heater fail, and a pool pump fail, and a bathroom faucet need replacement. All were costly and unexpected repairs.

For a minute, I had a pity party about why so many things keep happening to me. But, then I chose to be happy to have the luxury of hot water on demand, and a swimming pool in the back yard.  The worst is some other bills will take longer to get paid than I anticipated. I can live with that.

Remember: Being Happy Is Its Own Reward

Go out. Be your best. Do your best. Be ready when luck comes. Don’t let misfortune ruin your outlook.

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Art Business Book Club

Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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