Hey Creative Friend,
Are you trying to become a successful artist? Do you have dreams of showing your works in some of the most significant exhibitions? Probably, you’ll like to have your works acquired by prestigious museums and prominent collectors, or then again probably, your dream is to completely sell out all the art collections you create.
Whatever your definition of success looks like, the path to success may not always be as clear as your personal definition of success.
However, there’s a saying (by Tony Robbins) that goes: “Success leaves clues”. If you’ve ever taken one of my courses before or heard me speak, you’ve probably heard me say it.
When you want to be successful at doing anything, look for people who’ve succeeded at doing that same thing and start looking for the clues to their success. These clues are all over the place. You just need to be an intentional student of success, willing to discover the clues and learn the lessons therein. So that you’ll be ready when success comes knocking.
This past week, I read a New York Times article about a sculptor who has risen to the limelight. For most people, seeing her rise in the media, they’ll assume that she’s lucky to get this attention. However, I don’t think so.
I believe there are stages to success. Let’s unpack this statement.
For now, let’s just stick to the early stages of success. The beginning stages are usually not pretty. This stage involves a lot of self-discovering, making mistakes, self-doubt, and non-stop learning. As much as we all can’t wait to grow and become successful, it’s in our best interest to have a period of preparation without the spotlight of success trained on us.
Just think about it for a moment.
In the beginning, when you’re making the most mistakes, doing crappy work and stumbling all over yourself, will you truly appreciate the glare success will inevitably shine on you? No! I didn’t think so.
There is value in spending time to get prepared. Eventually, success will come knocking. The question is, will it find you ready?
This point of preparing for success is further illustrated by the New York Times article about artist Simone Leigh, who in recent months, has risen to the limelight.
Ms. Leigh is an artist whose works have recently been acquired by prominent collectors, won awards, exhibited in some great venues. Reading about all these recent media attention, you’ll think it all just happened in the past couple of months.
Nah! It rarely happens that way in real life.
There’s nothing like “overnight success”. It’s hard work and preparation when no one is watching.
Here’s what one curator who’s familiar with Ms. Leigh’s work says about all of this attention Ms. Leigh is getting: “She’s driving a cultural shift. It feels like a moment, but it is really just that the wool has been lifted from everyone’s eyes.”
The fact is that Ms. Leigh has been working as a sculptor for 25 years. Did you get that? Twenty-somewhat years. She’s only now beginning to get recognized for her work.
How do you think Ms. Leigh feels about her “delayed success”? Here’s what she says. “Because I was largely ignored, I had a long time to mature without any kind of glare, which worked out for me quite well,”
We all need that time to mature, to grow our skills, to learn to manage our time, to get the crappy work out of the way. So that when that glare of the spotlight falls on us, we can hold our heads high. Not that we’ll never make any more mistakes; surely we will. However, we’ll have the experience and maturity to handle whatever the limelight throws at us.
Are you ready for success? Now, is the time to prepare for it.