Wednesday, December 26, 2007


If I was to pick one characteristic that is essential for a successful Artrepreneur, resiliency would be up high on the list. defines Resilience (noun) as;

1.the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after
being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2.ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
We can be bent, compressed, or stretched very close to the limit in all sorts of ways. Illness. Financial setbacks. Creative slumps. Slumps in the economy. Tools or equipment that break down. Problems with customers or suppliers. Too much work. Too little work. Bad shows. Rejection. And on, and on, and on.

Things happen.
This is the one thing I can guarantee. If you choose to be an Artrepreneur the road will have curves and bumps. Some of the ride will be exhiliarating. But some of it will make us wonder why we began the journey. In order to continue the ride, we will have to be resilient. Without this characteristic, it is impossible to accept the inevitable challenges, and do the work necessary to adapt or accomodate.

Accepting what is, and working to do the best you can with that situation is essential. As much as we might desire to do so, we cannot control ever aspect of our lives or our businesses. There are external forces that can come at us with no warning. If we get depressed, outraged, or angry in response, we will not be able to succeed. The essential muscle we need to develop is one of resiliency. The "ability to return to the original form, position", or the "ability to recover" can be what allows one person to succeed and another to flounder, irregardless of their comparable artistic ability.
First, we need to accept we are not fully in control of external forces. We can't control the weather, the economy, or anyone else's behavior. Remember, things will happen.
The one thing we can control is your emotional response to the things that happen. If we take events personally, we will struggle to recover. Our energy will be spent on feeling hurt and injured,......and stuck. We only have so much energy, and the more we spend it fixating on how we were wronged, or how unfair life is, the longer we are going to be spending in that state.
Instead, we need to spend our energy gathering information about what has happened, and what we can do about it. Figuring out our options, and coming up with a plan. This is not something that comes naturally to most people, but if we are lucky we learn it when we are young. It takes practice, and conscious effort for many of us to be able to make this small shift and do what is necessary to adapt rather than react.
Life is not fair. Things will happen. As an artrepreneur, you are even more vulnerable than in most jobs, where you might be working for someone else. Your job is broadly defined, and you are the one who ultimately has to decide how to deal with the things that will come your way. You can be creative and try to come up with solutions. Or you can complain and be upset about how hard it is or how unfair it is. One keeps you stuck, the other will move you towards a new place.
It is only when we are tested that we can figure out how good we are at being resilient. When we get blind sided do we react? And if we do react, are we able to stop the reaction, and move into problem solving mode? Pay attention, and see where you fall on the spectrum. And if you find yourself going into reaction mode, how hard is it for you to move out of that state and to get back on track? Don't ask yourself for perfection. When you find yourself in the middle of a rant, pause. Stop and notice what has happened and shift. Let go of this place and shift to problem solving. Get your creative juices focused on figuring out where to go next, and how to get there.

With practice and time, one day you will wake up and notice something different is going on. The world may be crashing about you. Problems surround you, but you are no longer paralyzed by them. You are doing what you can to work through the situation, so that you can keep moving towards your ultimate goals, whatever they may be.
The other night, I was sick with a cold. I had missed out on a family holiday get together. Our roof had an ice dam and we had leaks in the living room and my daughter's room. My camera appeared to be dying. I still did not recieve that purchase order. And I had cracked a tooth that night on a hard pretzel. Lots of reasons to whine or complain. I did go to bed a bit worried that night about the house. But not in tears or terror. The next morning I got out of bed just like always, ready to hit the ground with much to do. This was when I paused. Here I was surrounded by crappy situations right and left, and I was not in a funk or a panic.

Somewhere along the line, I had learned to accept, and to move. Somehow, I had managed to stop reacting to life. The cold is gone. I had a few needed days of rest. My husband cleared out the ice dam, and we had cleaned up the mess. The tooth is repaired for now, but will need a crown. The purchase order appeared this morning in my e-mail. And I have a new camera. Financially I have taken a few hits, but nothing that we cannot recover from with a little time. Lots of angst could have been wasted over some relatively minor events.
I can't say I never ever complain. But I try not to get stuck in that place. It is wasteful and draining. We all have challenges to face, and obstacles to overcome. And sometimes, it really does just amount to continuing to move forward anyway.

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