I have been thinking a lot lately about how far I’ve come since I started truly seeking to create my own career back in 2009. I started this post thinking I had about 5 things to tell you. haha. Can I add just one more to the list: you have more wisdom than you think. I can’t even imagine how much faster and farther I would have come if I knew then what I know now. So I want to give you that chance to start with the knowledge. Here are my Top 21 things I wish I knew.
1. There is a difference between giving up and deciding that it’s no longer what you want.
I stopped trying to sell my jewelry sometime in 2011 when I saw my copywriting sales skyrocket (before I found my calling as a coach). At the time, I thought, “I’m not giving up, I’ll just return to my jewelry when I’m making a steady income writing. Eventually, I’ll make money from my jewelry.” t took a long time for me to realize that I let that go because I didn’t want it anymore. I realized the reality of running a business selling my jewelry just wasn’t appealing to me. It took the fun out of making, I guess. And now I know that giving up can be a good thing. Running away from something can be wonderful, as long as you’re running away because it’s something you don’t want, not running away from something because you want it so much it terrifies you.
2. All the obstacles are based on fear.
Whenever you put something off, it’s practically always because you’re afraid of something. Afraid you’ll fail, afraid you’ll disappoint someone, afraid people won’t like what you’ve done. Stop being afraid (or just ignore the fear) and go after what you want. Do what needs to be done and stop worrying so much about the end-result.
3. Embrace the highs and lows and mediocrity.
You’re going to have moments where you feel like crap. I’m not going to pretend that I enjoy feeling horrible about my business, my art, or my life. But it happens. So when I do feel that way, I try to remember that it will end soon and just let it flow. On the flip side, when I’m riding high on successes, I make sure to celebrate. Eat an extra cookie, take some me-time in a bubble bath, or splurge on a new blouse. Really savor those highs so the lows don’t feel so bad. And then there’s mediocrity. When things are just “meh”. When you’re feeling apathetic. That’s the time you just embrace the emo feelings and take some time off. Unplug from the computer. Spend time with friends, family, or your dog. Take a walk or lie on the grass in the sunshine. Just take off.
4. You’re never ready.
If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting forever. You have to just dive in. You’re always going to feel overwhelmed, tired, not good enough. You’re always going to think that more time would fix everything. But it won’t. In a month, you’ll just be more aware of your shortcomings. If you go ahead and proceed with your dreams, you’ll be a much happier person for it. And you’ll find that everything goes better than you ever dreamed.
5. You can’t know the end.
Your life isn’t a book. You can’t skip to the end. But the journey is the best part anyway.
6. There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you deserve.
Charge more, request a workshop with an artist you admire, take that cute guy out to dinner. The worst that can happen is someone tells you “no”.
7. You deserve more than you think.
You’re so wrong. You deserve so much more. Stop selling yourself short and ask for more than you think you should get. You’ll never receive more than you deserve, but you’ll also never get more than you ask for.
8. There’s no such thing as a coincidence.
Don’t shrug off those weird occurrences. They usually drive the most amazing new things in our lives. For me, it’s repetition. Whenever a word of object or idea appears in my life more than once, I listen. And I’ve never regretted it.
9. Your life has already started.
It’s not going to begin when you finish school or when you get a better job or when you finally make some money from your art. It’s here right now. This is your life. Don’t waste it waiting for the “good stuff”.
10. If you want it to be different, you’re going to have to change it yourself.
It’s highly unlikely anyone else is going to change it. Go do it yourself.
11. That picture in your head is screwing you up.
You have a vision. That’s fantastic. But you have to be willing to revise that image in your head. Every six months, rethink where you’re headed. Rethink that amazing goal and make sure it still aligns with everything you want and more. Don’t go after something you no longer want just because it’s how you thought it was supposed to go in your life.
12. Move on.
When something’s over, put it to bed. Just move on.
13. A thick skin will save you.
But you emotional side is oh-so beautiful.
14. Don’t lose touch.
You can spend a lot of time on your computer and in your studio when you’re trying to run an artistic business. Don’t forget what (who) is truly important.
15. The answer is usually simple.
Unless you’ve got a techy problem, the answer is usually simple. Trying to create a new logo? Just pick a font and go with it. Simple. Looking for inspiration for your next project? Just walk outside or think about your relationships. Simple. Feeling unhappy? Eat some chocolate. Simple!
16. Be nice and do all things with love.
17. Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than to hurt yourself while trying to put them back together.
This is one of the hardest to learn. We’re hardwired to want to fix our relationships. But sometimes it’s best to let them go than to desperately grab hold to the remaining threads. Really listen to yourself. If it doesn’t matter all that much, just let it go.
18. You can google everything.
19. The grass is greener… where you water it.
If you’re lusting after something, just tend to your own situation and you’ll be happier than you thought possible.
20. Good things come to those who… work their asses off.
Whenever I slow my momentum, things stop happening. Keep up the hard work and you’ll find success comes more often.
21. You don’t always have to do something new.
There’s this myth in art (and business) that everything you do must be new and different. Just put the old ideas through your unique soul and what you produce will be different enough. Promise.