I’ve wanted to “make it” as an artist for as long as I can remember.
And even though it feels like I’ve “made it” in every other area of my life, I’ve never felt like I’ve reached this nebulous goal with art.
Interestingly, 20 years ago I would have defined where I am now with art as “making it”. Back then my fondest dream was to quit my full-time gig, create art full time, and sell what I created. I achieved this lifetime goal 1½ years ago, which means I have “made it” according to my former definition.
Yet now the bar has been raised quite a bit higher as I (unkindly) compare myself to artists who appear to be much further on this path than me.
And there is always someone farther along no matter how much I accomplish.
Ironically, this way of viewing my art career is the opposite of how I live the rest of my life. Hence why I started to profoundly question whether I wanted to spend the rest of my life believing that I hadn’t made it simply because of this insane game of comparison.
Determined to transform this unhealthy habit, I began listing all the areas of my life that I’ve “made it”.
Self love – √
Spiritual growth – √
Loving marriage – √
Family and friends – √
Health and daily lifestyle – √
Day gig success – √
Art career – ?????
What this process revealed is that I have far exceeded what my younger self had expected.
So what would it take to place a check next to my art career as well?
I have spent so many hours of pondering this question, and this is what I’ve decided …
First, I am watching my thoughts like my happiness depended on it, because it does. When I hear myself thinking “I should be farther along with my art career like (fill in an artist’s name here)”, I’m saying yes to the thought, and letting the next thought go and allow my mind to go peacefully blank. I might have to do this over and over, and OVER again until the thought totally goes away, but I’m completely committed to stopping this extremely unhealthy habit.
Second, I am unfollowing artists who trigger a self-loathing response in my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I love the half-dozen artists I just unfollowed, and truly bless and celebrate all of their successes. However, for the time being, its healthier to not follow their progress on Instagram. Until I can routinely do the first task above, I’m protecting me from myself!
Third, and most importantly, I am choosing to fully sink into my life EXACTLY as it is, IN THIS MOMENT. Rather than wish that my art career was farther along (in terms of sales, accolades, followers, etc.) than it currently is, I’m totally sinking into the art making itself, fully focused on sending and receiving love to each artwork-in-process as I add layers of paper and paint.
My life experience has demonstrated numerous times (described in these podcasts) that when am fully present for my life as it is, not resisting or wishing it away, I not only fall in love with the life I already have, but magical things appear. This is how I transformed a day gig I hated into one I never wanted to leave, found the love of my life after my ex suddenly left, healed the estranged relationship with my father, and many many more miracles.
So here I go again.
- Remembering how I created miracles in the past.
- Surrendering to where I now stand, deeply sinking into THIS precious moment.
Have I let go of my dream to “make it” as an artist?
For this moment, yes.
I’d love to say this change is permanent, but it will take persistently following the 3 steps above to make it a habit.
And I’m totally committed to do just that.
How do YOU relate to the term “making it”? What does it mean to you?