When you hear the term “artist” do you think of drawing or painting, or arts and crafts, or music, or even poetry? You might say, “Gee, no way am I an artist.”
Even though I immersed myself in many tactile art skills while growing up, I still remember my father fearing I may never be successful. You know, the “starving artist” place in life. I started out drawing and painting, but I developed into an accomplished artist in business over time.
All around us, people may appear “successful” based on their career title or pay level, but it is often the artists who realize true personal fulfillment and provide extraordinary value to their customers, teams and organizations.
Most of us have a developed skill. Many of us specialize. Are you a lawyer, an accountant, a police officer, a salesperson, a plumber or a contractor? Are you a human resources manager? Or are you an IT specialist? No matter what your passion or trade, there is indeed an artist within you. Can you find it and use it to improve yourself and your circumstances?
Here are 10 ways to discover your “artist within” and use it to further your success:
1. Harness your creative flow. If you are counting the hours you work, you are not doing the right work. Manage your energy, not your hours. If you are passionate about what you are doing, energy remains high and time seems to stand still.
2. Seek inspiration in everything. The source of your next spark or solution to a challenge is likely to be in an unexpected place. If you aren’t always looking for it, you are unlikely to find it.
3. Color outside the lines. Artists don’t follow rules. They know them and may exploit them to find ways to stretch themselves and innovate. Ask yourself, “How can I approach this in a different or creative way?”
4. Avoid attachment. No matter how great your last success, it is the next one that matters.
5. Know when you’re done. Many great works of art are ruined when the artist doesn’t have the confidence to stop. The same can be said in sales — know when you’ve made the sale. Then shut up.
6. Don’t work alone. Build a community around you of other artists who inspire and challenge you every day. Inspiring people energize.
7. Create. Don’t critique. It is easy to spend your days critiquing the work of others and deconstructing their efforts. What did you accomplish at the end of the day?
8. Remember that data connects points, but never create the whole picture. It is the smarts and vision that add color, context and depth.
9. Be a mentor. The only thing more exciting than seeing the results of your work is seeing others you mentored realize their potential as artists. My greatest works of art and successes happened when I was a creative director (I prefer to call it facilitator) for other talented people.
10. Be courageous and have conviction. Being an artist can be scary. Some people may not like your work — but those who do will love it and become lifelong patrons.
Tell me how the artist in you has helped make you successful!
The artist in me created the following bright canvases!
– Tom McManimon