I was reminded of this the other day when I ran into an artist friend who had recently sold several paintings from a new series of work she had developed over the past year. I knew this was a huge step for her. She had bravely embarked on a new direction with her paintings and worked for months with little outside support. Few people had even seen the work. But now, she had shown someone, and they bought several. I thought she would be happy, but she wasn’t. Not entirely. After the sale she felt bad because she might not have charged quite enough for her work. Maybe this was true. Or maybe it wasn’t.
So how do we decide what we should celebrate and what we should feel reserved about? What is a Yes! And what is a No?
Here is the litmus test I use to decide whether I should feel good or not so good…
This test works on anything you desire in your Art, your business or any aspect of your life. When one of those steps happen, whether it is selling a piece of your Art for the first time, getting accepted into a juried show or perhaps just making Art thatyou love more than your old work, you need to ask yourself two questions…
1 Has this step ever happened before?
2 Is this step heading in the right direction?
If you answer “No” to the first question and “Yes” to the second, then congratulations! There is no need to feel bad. You already won. In the case of my friend who perhaps could have sold her paintings for a little more, this reservation shouldn’t take away at all from the incredible feat of selling the work. Had she ever sold any of this new body of work? “No!” Does she want to sell more work in the future? Yes!
Therefore, run, don’t walk, directly into your studio, use this success as newfound energy to make even stronger Art. Do not squander your successes when they occur by wanting even more. Take small bites, enjoy them to their fullest and get ready for the next, remarkable step to happen.
Use these hard won steps as celebratory reminders that you are making progress and your dream is actually coming true.
Have any of you experienced something similar to my friend? If so, what did you do afterwards? Did you find you were you inspired, discouraged, or did you feel something else?
In gratitude, Nicholas