The Power of Believing in Yourself

You are an artist. You chose to be an artist. You desire to achieve success as an artist. I’ve said it many times before, if the fire in your belly is real, then it’s likely art chose you as much as you chose it. Meaning, you are not going to be satisfied doing anything else or settling for less than the best you can do.

The arts are full of hungry ambitious talented people. It’s not easy to get your share of success. Certainly, no one is going to hand anything to you. You have to go out there and get it. And, you have to keep after it when you hit hard spots and obstacles that end many careers. It’s especially tough when others who ought to know fail to recognize the depth of your talent.


Musician Chris Daughtryis a perfect example of the power of believing in yourself and persevering against the odds. His eponymous debut album, DAUGHTRY, has stormed the the charts becoming the quickest selling rock debut in Soundscan history, DAUGHTRY became the #1 top selling album in the country not once, but twice, after debuting at #2 in November, 2006, moving upwards of 300,000 copies in the first week alone. After more than a year on the charts, it remains highly ranked at #37 on the Billboard 100 chart. In a further testament from his peers, he received 4 Grammy nominations for the 2008 awards show.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

So how does his success as a musician relate to visual artists? Glad you asked. The short answer is a lot. And, you don’t have to be rock music fan to appreciate how it applies.

Daughtry caught his break by being a consistent loser. The thing is he never gave up on his dream to be a successful recording artist. True enough, he managed to make it on the roster of American Idol, the juggernaut reality show singing contest that catapulted him to fame. But, he was sent packing in fourth place. Seems AI judges and the voting public viewers failed to see the talent in him when they anointed Taylor Hicks with the title. Hicks’ career has had none of Daughtry’s success to date. It will be interesting to see how he manages it against the current the reversal of fortune he’s enduring.


AI was not the first time for Daughtry to attempt to break his career through a reality show. In a testament to his belief in himself, he also auditioned for a summer fill-in CBS reality show titled, “Rock Star INXS.” In that effort, he failed to make the cut to be one of the singers who were on the televised version of the show. In other words, the professionals whose job it is to evaluate talent completely missed the call on him. In the end, it was the judges who failed, not Daughtry. But, can you imagine how much belief in himself he must have had to pick himself up after that experience and soldier through the grueling rounds of auditions those who make it to the AI stage are put through.


Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

At any time, no one would have blamed him for going back home to his family and his mundane job as a service writer at an auto dealer. Undeterred he kept after his dream and pursued it when it would have easy enough to tell himself he had his shot and didn’t make it. That he has talent to go with his drive and determination is also a key factor. AI makes comic fodder of the self-delusional wannabes who are clueless to the fact they have no talent; some repeat year after year in a vicious cycle of crushing failure. Often they are supported be equally delusional family and friends.


It is quite important to get independent assessment to take consistent reality checks to assess your ability and progress, and well meaning family and friends are often not able to objectively help. But, as Daughtry has proved, in the end you have to trust your own instincts to keep going when lessers would have long folded their tent and gone home; when those around you are trying to ease you off or demand you give up your dreams. If you have that burning hell or high water desire, I don’t need to tell you to not let them steer you away. As I said earlier, art chose you and part of that choice is pushing for success often against the odds.


Any of us who are seeking more from our careers can take a clue from Daughtry. He obviously had the talent to make a crack album with a bunch of solid hits on it. But, those gatekeepers weren’t giving him the chance. He was measured and marginalized by those who should have known better. So, if you are having trouble getting juried shows, galleries or publishers to see the talent and uniqueness of your art. Don’t give in to despair. Don’t let the naysayers deter you. If you know in your heart and head you have talent that needs recognition, fight for it and don’t let up. Perhaps putting on DAUGHTRY for a listen to remind you what is possible when you put the power of believing in yourself in full motion will help.

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use

Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use
Download List of 7 Essential Tools Artists Use


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  1. I have discovered that it’s equally important to know what artistic success
    means to the artist. A friend of mine once remarked that there were many levels of success and being able to define what it was he wanted helped him see where his experiences had taken him. While the rejections are difficult to experience, knowing their relationship to my ultimate goal helps me keep some of them in perspective. I agree with you, though, that maintaining faith in your art is the most difficult of all.

  2. Thanks one and all to Sue, Shoshana and Sybil for your comments and kind words!

    Sue, I agree with your point completely. In the first chapter of my book, which is available as a free download from this blog, I stress the importance of first deciding what you want from your career as an artist. Without such a decision, all other decisions are difficult to make.

    The feedback on the impact of the post is truly gratifying and makes the effort to create the blog worthwhile. 🙂

  3. Barney……I like what you are doing and generating in the industry !!!!! I think for artists in general …information is the gold they need in their pockets to move forward.Its funny because in visual arts I have seen so many artists with the attitude of defeat and now see that wearing off into the art poster industry.As an artist I have become acustomed to the saying reinvent yourself if the old stuff is not working perhaps this must be said with the buisness of art as well all across the board.I have my fingers into many pots …fine art relationships with galeries as well as print and products .The changes that I have seen are to me exciting for all artists especially the ones starting out and just gathering their sea legs…….Once apon a time people let others dictate what they would collect or buy now we have the BabyBoomers who have created their own money and made their own decisions and are not intimadated to buy what they like as oposed to what someone else will tell them is of value.This is great for all artists not just the ones of so called privelege.Creativity in sales and marketing is as important to the career of an artist as painting and with you bringing the information to the artists it will help them to connect the dots if they choose to who heartedly pursue their calling.Keep up the information stream !

  4. i am the artist tombyrne being irish it can be difficult to believe in oneself with a history of cultural opression the country suffers low self esteem but our history also shows us our strengths like your self belief promotion i believe the key is in discovering our own personal history which helps with self esteem and self belief

  5. Dear Tom Byrne, Thank you for digging through the archives to find a post nearly five years old. Blog posts can be like art in that they continue to find new viewers, readers, admirers. Self belief comes easier to some than others, but it is not out of the grasp of any determined person. All the best to you in your art career!

  6. Hi Barney What a fantastic article! I’ve found EFT(tapping) to be an invaluable tool. It lifts you up out of depression during trying times,and can increase positive success energy.
    Thanks for all your help,Barney.

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