Humans have four endowments—self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom—the power to choose, respond, and change.— Stephen Covey
We all face changes nearly daily. Some are big; many are tiny and insignificant. How you react to changes is a pivot point that makes a difference in your choices and the outcome you achieve.
Whether you actively accept responsibility for your life or not doesn’t change that you are the boss. You can choose what makes you a successful artist, including pursuing a full-time art career. Even a “do nothing” reaction is a choice. And no matter the choice, there are consequences.
Taking a proactive approach to change puts you in control of most of the consequences in your life.
Dealing with Change Needn’t Be Uncomfortable.
A Harvard Business Review article on “How to Get Better at Dealing with Change” offers straightforward advice that applies to taking a creative career shift:
Fortunately, there are ways to adapt to change and even take advantage of it.
- Find the humor in the situation. …
- Talk about problems more than feelings. …
- Don’t stress out about stressing out. …
- Focus on your values instead of your fears. …
- Accept the past, but fight for the future. …
- Don’t expect stability.
It goes on to tell you that stress can be a good thing — if you choose to see it that way. I agree.
We Each Respond Differently to Letting Go, Stress, and Change.
One person responds with a happy-go-lucky attitude. Yet another person experiencing the same thing on a similar career track bristles, gets angry or shrivels when unexpected things happen to them. I can’t change who you are or how you respond, but you can. Please reread the Stephen Covey quote at the top. He is right.
Letting go of the things that hold us back is never easy. Those things can be toxic people, old feelings of anger or resentment, or physical objects. They serve no purpose other than to take up space. Our attachment to these things is powerful.
Examine why you cling if you must. There’s a reason. When you know and accept it, then you can move to let it go. Sometimes you need help. The object is too heavy to lift, or the topic is too serious to handle on your own. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Are Pain and Happiness Related?
I’ve written before about being happy. I think artists in pain sometimes make beautiful art from experience. Could Hank Williams have written “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” if he never plumbed the depths of lost love? When Elvis Presley sang it, he introduced the song by saying, “I’d like to sing a song that’s… probably the saddest I’ve ever heard.”
Still, I’d like to think that alongside the loneliness of Williams’ experience, he also experienced highs of happiness. Maybe, the only way to know absolute joy is to have known sadness and sorrow first. We don’t always choose our circumstances—life’s not fair that way—but we still get to choose our reaction.
The Career Path We’ve Chosen
Today, I’m thinking about you and all my independent artist friends, and I’m thinking about me, too. We are each on a unique path, following our unique creative process. Conditions may have dictated our direction to a degree. But, mostly, we’re where we are because of our choices.
You Can Make Changes. You Are Not Stuck!
If you are not happy with your given status, do you have a plan to make changes? Do you realize you are mostly stuck with the choices you made? Are you ready to embrace something new? You can change your thinking, change your paradigm, and change your life. You must decide you want to change and then commit to making it happen.
If your favorite artist is also a professional artist, you can use what they’ve done and how they did it to alter your career trajectory.
Letting Go Frees Your Mind and Opens Opportunities
I’m not saying one can solve every problem by letting go. Some things are worth mending—worth fighting to fix. Only you know for sure. Still, other elements are the sort you cling to because it’s what you have done for years.
It doesn’t help to regret past losses. It just makes you feel worse about circumstances you can’t change. A better solution is to consider how to simplify your life. If you feel stuck, it’s a sure bet some of what occupies you also barricades new opportunities. Awareness is the first step to letting go.
Letting Go Leads to Opportunity and Change
Although I can’t tell you how to learn to let go, I can tell you it works. Sometimes it takes difficult situations to force the issue. Other times it’s an enlightening moment from a friend, mentor, or total stranger that stirs action. I’ve seen how letting go of invalidated careers, unfounded beliefs, or old ways of doing things leads to dramatic, unexpected life and career shifts.
I’ve witnessed enough to know when you are full of stuff of little value, your chances for life and career-changing opportunities are slim. And so it’s time to draw on your four endowments and start making the most of your life. You can become a full-time artist if that is your goal, or stay in your current career and make your career in art part-time if it will make you happy and bring you joy.
Move to fill your life with more value as you determine it. Satisfaction with success at that is worth more than money.
It Takes Courage to Make Changes
I’ll be here urging you on and rooting for you. Now is the best time to start changing your life and career. Aim to move away from the mournful sadness of Hank Williams. Try going into the light of being and happiness espoused by the late, great Wayne Dyer. His Wishes Fulfilled PBS program was both powerful and poignant. Search YouTube for it. There is so much wisdom he shares. His advice is so poignant for career changers.
If want to accomplish something, you must first expect it of yourself.— Wayne Dyer
Let’s Hear from You!
Are you ready to make changes? Let us hear about them. Post your comments, questions, thoughts, fears, desires, or visions in the comments. I promise to reply and help you as I can.
I’m Seeking a Higher Purpose.
I launched the Art Marketing Toolkit Project (AMTP) to make world-class art marketing information affordable for artists around the globe. My goal was to democratize the data instead of pricing it so only the elite could afford it. And that remains a pillar of the program.
However, reality set in and gave me a new paradigm. My epiphany was providing the growing library containing dozens of workbooks and videos on virtually all aspects of art marketing to artists would do little good alone. That’s because information and training are useless without artists having self-awareness and clear goals for what happens to their art upon completion.
The higher purpose is to help artists decide what they want from their art because teaching them art marketing out of context wastes everyone’s time. And it often leads to substantial frustration and loss. It’s a holistic approach focusing on intent—getting that right is how to live your best artist’s life. If these thoughts appeal to you, please accept my invitation to become an AMTP member.
The Freedom of Changes to Your Art Career
Changes happen when you let go of the useless. Instead, it clears a path to make new space for those things that are authentic and meaningful to you.
So you can stop waiting. You don’t need to be on hold while you wait for the world to change. You can change it. You can start right now by making some changes in your life. There is no time like the present to act and start working toward living the life of your dreams.
I don’t have all the answers and will never be presumptuous enough to believe I ever will. But, I can help you find the answers within yourself. It’s all part of the AMTP experience. So subscribe today to start finding yourself as an artist.