Flexibility, Persistence, and Imagination: A Positive Mindset for Artists
As we approach the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, I wanted to reach out to artists who are struggling. The art world can be slow in dispensing its rewards, and you might not get what you want when you need it.
How do you keep going? In my blog posts this year I’ve talked about how to develop specific skills, like talking about your work, so that people understand what your art is all about. We’ve also explored how to become more visible at each stage of your career. And you know that you have to stay connected to a wide network of personal and professional supporters, the people who can help you succeed.
But HOW do you find the mental and emotional energy to keep doing all of this? When we look at the careers of established artists, we find a force at work that is just as important as skills or connections. This force is like a constellation of guiding stars: certain ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that I call “A Positive Mindset.”
A positive mindset is not magical thinking, where you close your eyes, make a wish, and wait for a miracle. It is an attitude about yourself, your art, and your potential that will sustain you throughout the ups and downs of an artist’s life.
If you have any doubt that your thoughts and feelings shape your behavior, just take a look at your own habits. You feel fat so you go ahead and eat another brownie; you don’t think you’ll get into an exhibition, so you somehow miss the deadline. When you are discouraged, you stop trying, and over time you can get stuck. That’s when you need to activate your positive mindset.
A positive mindset for artists is made up of three characteristics: flexibility, persistence, and imagination. You use all of these abilities, separately and together, when you create art, but you may not remember to bring this same spirit to your art career.
As you look ahead to the new year, ask yourself: how can I be more flexible, persistent, or imaginative in developing my art career?
All the best,
Mary Edwards, Ph.D.
I’m a Career & Life Coach for Artists, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I work with artists throughout the United States and all over the world. If you would like to send in a question or schedule a time to talk about your own goals, please write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.