Over the years I have had the distinct pleasure of working with hundreds of professional artists, and I have seen many succeed with the help of ADC and our art competition and exhibit, Art Comes Alive (ACA). It’s exhilarating to watch their careers soar. After witnessing them earn a living by selling their art for the past 26 years, I’ve come to believe that above all else, you need a completely positive mindset to succeed. If you think it, you can do it. You own the right to be happy, successful, inspired, and to create.
But having a positive mindset isn’t just a state of being. It takes work and mindfulness to get there. Here are some of the mindfulness techniques I’ve learned along the way:
Speak Kindly to Yourself.
Thoughts attract outcomes, so give yourself positive affirmations on Post-Its and stick them to your bathroom mirror in your studio. Talk out loud to yourself and often. Say things like:
- “I am a beautiful, creative soul.”
- “I create beautiful work.”
- “I can do it.”
- “I can create anything I put my mind to.”
- “I have all that I need.”
- “I am happy.”
- “I am healthy.”
- “I love my life.”
Avoid Negativity and Toxic Behavior and People.
If you find yourself being drawn into negative or toxic conversations:
- Gently steer conversations away from the negative, or just come out and say, “This conversation is becoming too negative. This is not helpful.”
- Ask how someone might “reframe” the conversation or problem to be more positive or to find a viable solution.
- If the situation is chronically negative or toxic, keep your conversations short. You’re in control of what you put into your mind and body. Don’t let others dampen your spirit.
Adopt and Practice a Value or Belief System.
Some of the most positive people I know have a value or belief system that helps them to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and makes them feel like a better person. They practice it daily by helping others, working from a place of gratitude, and/or being kind and generous in mind and spirit.
- Think success. Thoughts matter. You will do and become what you think. Optimistic people believe, for example, that whether they have $5 or $5,000,000, they’re wealthy and have all that they need.
- Increase your expectations. Aspire to greatness. Expect that great things are about to happen at any moment. Believe your life is just beginning, that good things are about to flow in an abundance of ways. Open yourself to the flow of positive energy and expectations.
- Say “No” less, and “Yes” more! Instead of saying “I don’t ______,“ say, “It might be fun if I go.” As you change your perspective to being more positive, you’ll find your experiences are more positive, too.
- Dream big. If you want big success, a big life, or just a life that you can call your own and feel fulfilled, then dream big. Dream and envision what you want for your life.
Don't Give Up After Rejection
Those of you who read my book Secrets of the Art World already know that back in 2008, after the real estate market crashed and many of my clients stopped purchasing art, I was faced with a difficult choice: Close the doors of my gallery and quit, or keep going, dig deep, and work harder than I ever had to improve—not only the business, but myself. Since I am here writing this blog today, the choice I ultimately made is fairly obvious.
I didn’t quit.
Trust me, I wanted to. I had some hard days. Some downright scary days. But I believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that if I did the necessary work, invested in myself and my business, and kept pursuing my passion, ultimately success would follow. I heard a lot of rejection in those days. Clients I counted on for years to purchase art were laying off employees and had no financial resources for art. I attended nearly empty trade shows and sold zero art. Through it all, I told myself: I can do this. I can figure this out. I will use this time to become better.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most successful artists in the world. Every single one of them is where they are today, not simply because of their talent, but because of their dogged persistence. Rejections didn’t stop them. The word no didn’t stop them. Being poor didn’t stop them. They kept doing what they loved and kept working to be the best artist they could be.
If you’re already there, great! Keep doing what you’re doing! But if you need some positive mindfulness, then I’d start thinking about this life that is totally possible.
I know you can!