You are more likely to get the commission, sell the work, fill your classes, and have your proposal accepted if we believe in you.
And we are more likely to believe in you if you believe in yourself and your art.
Confidence is one of the most collector-attractive qualities an artist can possess.
And, yet, doubt and fear are endemic in artists’ lives.
To move beyond these demons, it might first be comforting to reread that last sentence. It’s endemic. You are not alone. Many, if not most, artists face both doubt and fear at points in their careers.
That’s right. I said points – more than one. They never really go away.
If you’re playing it safe by staying in your comfort zone, you’ll be immune to their visits. But when you stretch … when you try something new … when you grow … you can bet your last dollar that doubt and fear won’t be far behind.
You are bound to go through peaks and valleys as you’re experimenting with your art and business decisions. I realize it’s a big ask, but try to be comfortable with the discomfort when it comes.
Use these five tips to project confidence even when you’re questioning your talent and place in the world.
Load up on experience.
The best potion for exorcising fear and doubt is experience.
Experience builds confidence 99x faster than walking on hot coals or loading your Kindle with self-help books.
In particular, you’re looking for real-life experience rather than the online kind: person-to-person interaction, dialogue, and connection. Yes, I know this might be scary for some, but it’s absolutely necessary for building confidence.
→ This is why I created the Magnetic You class — to help you develop language around your art so that you can tell doubt and fear to take a hike. You know what to say. Your words are meaningful and serve as a strong connecting devices between you and your viewer.
Magnetic You, which I teach just once a year, begins April 12. I hope you’ll take a look at it and join us.
Visualize the situation.
As you are preparing for an event such as an art opening, visualize how you want to show up. Imagine yourself firmly planted in the room, welcoming each guest with a firm handshake, and cherishing the eyes on your artwork.
Anticipate the questions that might be asked and how you will rely on your vocabulary to respond with certainty.
A new outfit can do wonders for your esteem, as can painting your nails and shining your shoes. Or try a new hairdo. Yep, you guys can do this, too.
Anything that improves your appearance will give you a boost.
Stand up straight.
Don’t slouch in the back of the room. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and introduce yourself to people.
Remember that everyone at an art opening is there for the same reason: to be seen and to meet people. (If you want to view the art, go before or after the opening.)
Act like you belong there. Because you do.
Charm their pants off.
Introducing yourself to strangers is a quick way to relieve any anxiety around an event with lots of people that you’d like to connect with.
As you meet someone new, look them in the eye, smile, and call them by name. Repeat their name a couple of times as you’re speaking so you remember it.
You will charm the pants off of others if you focus on listening to understand rather than to respond with your own stories.
Confident people are comfortable enough to focus on others rather than talk about themselves all of the time. They leave space for conversation.
Never belittle your work. Never apologize.
When someone says something kind about your art, all you have to do is say Thank you. Don’t giggle and brush aside their compliment. Don’t look down at the floor and say, Aw shucks. Look them in the eye and express your gratitude.
Don’t apologize for your pricing. If you have done your homework, you understand the value of your art. Your pricing is where it should be.
Don’t apologize for poorly cut mats, the crack in your pot, or the dirty display pedestal. There’s no need to call attention to imperfections.
Better yet, pay attention to these details before you show your work so that you aren’t tempted to focus on them.
You don't have to always be confident. You just need to play the part.