As an optimist, I tend to expect success to come quickly on a creative project if I take the right steps. I’ve contacted the right people, and I’ve done the work I need to do. Why aren’t things working out as I expected? The reality is that my optimism may actually be hurting me because I give up too quickly. If I don’t get immediate results I lose confidence in my abilities and in my dreams.
If you’ve been working for a long time at getting a creative project off the ground or growing a business, it’s easy to become discouraged when your efforts don’t seem to be paying off. What can you do?
At a small business arts forum in Toronto a panel of creative artists was asked how they became successful. The factor mentioned most often?
Persistence is the ability to continue in the face of obstacles, such as contracts being cancelled, sponsors withdrawing support, or promising projects that fail to materialize.
“Studies indicate that the one quality all successful people have is persistence. They’re willing to spend more time accomplishing a task and to persevere in the face of many difficult odds.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers
So, the point is, it’s neither talent nor money that will determine your success, but your willingness to keep trying even when there seems to be no logical reason to do so.
Pathways to success
Here are more tips from the Small Business Arts Forum that apply to individuals in career transition as well as artists and small business owners:
* Be sure to have at least 10 “irons in the fire” because only one or two of them will come through.
* Brand yourself with a key message that presents your unique offering. Keep pursuing clarity in your “voice”, continually trying to capture the essence of your message.
* Associate yourself with colleagues who will push you beyond your comfort zone.
* Build up a body of work and a reputation for what you do and what you’re good at.
* Build personal relationships with potential employers/customers and sponsors. Find something you can give to them before asking for something you need.
* Use social media to build your online presence.
* Team up with people who have strengths that you don’t.
* Love yourself enough to keep trying. Be both persistent and patient. As the saying goes, “It takes five to ten years to become an overnight success!”