If you were ever a nine-year-old girl, you probably went to a few sleepovers growing up.
The epitome of debauchery until you hit your teens, sleepovers were a place for rousing games of truth-or-dare, staying up late giggling about boys, and of course – makeovers.
Gather up all the pretty little pots and tubes and paint each other’s faces and do each other’s hair and nails…
…THE GIRLY-GIRL DREAM!
But for me, it was always an opportunity to fall shy of my expectations.
I had these magazine-level expectations, so I would cross my fingers that I’d get paired with the coolest, chicest girl and she would make me look like a pop star.
And inevitably, I’d get paired with the least chic girl because I would be nice to her no matter what my results.
So I would still hold out hope as I closed my eyes and felt the soft pad applying eyeshadow. And when my partner would grin and announce she was finished, I’d pick up the hand mirror and force a smile even though I felt crushed that I didn’t look like a celebrity.
What could that possibly have to do with your art business?
Hopefully, you’re already wondering that…
And the answer is that perfectionism is a nasty little demon who stops you from seeing the good stuff.
When I was getting those makeovers, I was socializing with friends and feeling a sense of community. I was giving my makeover partner a chance to practice and to also feel like a part of the group. I was opening myself up to fun and play in a situation where the results really didn’t matter (you don’t even leave the house at a sleepover!).
There was all sorts of good coming from each makeover, yet I was only seeing the bad.
AND I WAS LETTING IT COLOR MY WHOLE EXPERIENCE AT THE SLEEPOVER.
I would always come home disappointed that the sleepover wasn’t great.
But if I had gotten out of my own way and let myself look at the fun that was there for me to grab, I would have realized I could just join in the fun and have a really good time.
And I see the same thing happen in business, with myself and with almost every client I work with.
DON’T LET YOUR VISION GET IN THE WAY OF ENJOYING YOUR REALITY.
Maybe you expected to sell 10 pieces of art this holiday season and you didn’t even sell 1.
Maybe you expected to grow your email list by 250 people and it only grew by 50.
Maybe your kids have needed so much of your attention that you haven’t been in your studio all month.
Whatever it was for you, it’s totally disappointing to fail at it. But what did you achieve in that same time frame?
Did you get unexpected good feedback from a stranger on social media? Did you have a creative breakthrough? Did you go from feeling like your art was invisible to actually noticing some interest from fans? Did you grow your Instagram following?
There are loads of brilliant things that could be happening. And you’re not celebrating them or leaning into them (doing more of what’s working so you see even better results) because you’re so busy being disappointed.
Every December, like many business owners, I like to take time to reflect on the year and plan the next one.
My own reflection on the year prompted this little article. So I encourage you to use this as a jumping off point for your own reflection if you haven’t done it already, so that it’s not about all the things you wanted to accomplish that didn’t happen (though it’s important to look at that too and determine what was missing so next time you do accomplish those things) but instead about seeing the good things you might be missing because you’re so focused on your vision.
Remember that your reality might be way better than you’ve had a chance to realize. You may have grown leaps and bounds this year.
If you take a moment to get out of your own way, you might actually celebrate this makeover-of-a-year you’ve had and start next year with an extra dose of motivation and excitement.