Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.

Jack Canfield

It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.

©Bridget Karam, Window Shopping in Maui. Photograph. Used with permission.
©Bridget Karam, Window Shopping in Maui. Photograph. Used with permission.

He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:

  • You have to give up all of your excuses.
  • You have to give up blaming.
  • You have to give up complaining.

Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.

I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?

Embrace this power!

If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.

Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.

Analyze How You Got to This Point

Your art isn’t selling.

Is your pricing aligned with where you are in your career?
Is your photography up to art world standards?
Are you marketing consistently?
Are you communicating clearly about the work—starting with your artist statement?
Did you do your best with the work?

©Diana J. Smith, Baird the Minstrel. Ceramic sculpture, mixed media, 11 x 6 x 5 inches. Used with permission.
©Diana J. Smith, Baird the Minstrel. Ceramic sculpture, mixed media, 11 x 6 x 5 inches. Used with permission.

Your opening wasn’t well attended.

Did you post it (enough) on all of your social media networks?
Are you networking as much as other artists?
Are you only asking people to show up for you and not sharing with them otherwise?
Did you send a postcard?
Did you send a reminder email (or two)?

You didn’t get into a show.

Did you miss a deadline?
Did you submit everything that was required?
Does your art really fit with that venue’s aesthetics?
Is your work up to the standards of the work that was accepted?
Are your photographs of the highest quality?

You aren’t landing gallery representation.

Are you networking enough?
Do you attend the gallery openings where you’d like to show your art?
Are you persevering with your own venues in the meantime?
Are you producing art consistently in the studio?
Is your work improving?

You didn’t get the results you expected from a program.

Did you attend all sessions and pay attention?
Did you implement what you learned?
Did you set goals and take action, or did you just “expect” grand things to happen?

You sent a bunch of postcards and never heard back from anyone.

Really? You just sent a single mailing, and you expected big results? This is you not knowing how marketing works.

Marketing is not a one-time event. It’s consistent and persistent action toward a goal. [Tweet this]

Send another postcard and then another. Review your distribution list regularly, and make any updates that might improve your results.

Before You Ask for Help

Before you ask for help from anyone else, do your part.

©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.
©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

One of the things I try to instill in my clients is that the more they help me, the more I can help them. And the only way they can help me is if they help themselves.

This means:

  • Keeping up with your bookkeeping so that you know your numbers.
  • Reading directions and instructions. (This may be our biggest weakness these days. We’ve become lazy and don’t read what’s available for us.)
  • Drafting an email before we talk so that we have a basis for the conversation.
  • Outlining a plan as a starting point.
  • Thinking things through.

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I love working with artists who accept 100% responsibility for their art businesses.

If this is you, and if you’re looking for support with your artist’s journey, check out the Art Career Success System

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Your Turn

What do you need to change in order to accept 100% responsibility for your life and art career?

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6 thoughts on “Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility”

  1. All excellent advice. And I would add just one thing, that if you’re seeking gallery representation, make sure the venues you’re targeting are looking for new artists and show the kind of art you make. Unnecessary frustration for all otherwise!

  2. Photos, photos, photos! How long have I had it on my to list to learn how to take decent photos of my art and get the small amount of equipment needed to do it?

    And now, after (finally) watching your Stand Out Artist videos, I’ll have to add research and buy professional hanging materials to my list as well.

    Thanks for the reminders Alyson 🙂

  3. I’m with Lucy on this one. I get so caught up on painting or some other aspect, I forget about marketing. I really need to set time every single day. I’m getting better though. I finally made a point of spending at least $1 a day on facebook ads and my current series is really pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to people. That’s something I would never do before. I didn’t want to bother people. Finding a subject I feel I must share for the good of the series is much easier to do than just shoving my usual art in people’s faces.

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