Artists who attend our workshops are deliberately placed into uncomfortable situations.
They are asked to 1) meet everyone in the room before the end of the event; 2) share workshop exercises with people they don’t know; and 3) change seats so they sit next to someone new.
I do this because dealing with discomfort is necessary for growth as an artist and as a businessperson.
Some of the ways artists stay in their comfort zones:
- Entering the same exhibitions year after year
- Maintaining membership in a group whose members are not growing
- Sticking close to a friend at art openings rather than meeting new people
- Writing a newsletter that looks like every other artists’ newsletter
- Using an artist statement from five years ago
- Promoting their art the same way year after year without seeing results
- Having a website that hasn’t changed in three years
If any of these sound familiar, I challenge you to get uncomfortable with your art, with your marketing, and with your life.
Take the statement that rings true and, if you think it would help with your progress, turn it on its head.
Enter a different exhibition or stop entering juried exhibitions altogether. Attend an art opening with the sole purpose of meeting three new people. Scratch the newsletter you’ve been clinging to and build a new, more interesting one from the ground up.
You don’t want to stay uncomfortable for long, but you do want to stay there long enough to stretch your potential.
In the Zone of Discomfort, you seek new ideas, knowledge, and clarity. You want to test what is possible. You want to innovate.
Ask These Questions
If you’re still not convinced that you’re ready for the challenge, ask yourself a few favorite questions that I use in these situations:
What’s the worst that can happen if I put myself in this uncomfortable situation? If this does happen, can I live with it?
What’s the absolute best thing that can happen if I put myself in this uncomfortable situation?
If the best scenario could happen right now, why would I postpone the results?