Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is Success?

I've been thinking a lot about how I define success over the past 4 months. As a matter of fact, I have been stressing myself out due to my lack of clarity on that issue. It started when I read the book, "I'd Rather Be in the Studio", by Alyson B. Stanfield. As a precursor to planning, the book suggests identifying what success would look like to me. From the time I first pursued my art, after leaving a career in the corporate world, I have said that I only want to make a simple living at my art. I didn't care about being rich or famous. And I can't really say that has changed. I still don't care about being rich or famous. But, I've been wondering if I have been selling myself short by not striving for more. It could be fear that prevented me from aspiring to more. If I set really lofty goals, then I would look foolish if I didn't achieve them, right?

Clarifying how I define success is important because it impacts the actions I take. I have created a long-range vision for my life, but there are still many paths that can take me there. Do I want to pursue gallery representation, or sell my work through other venues and focus on getting my name out there through teaching? How much teaching do I want to do? Am I willing to travel around the country to teach? What impact will travel have on my lifestyle and my marriage? Do I want to aim for a particular market, such as the interior design or fashion industry? How much money do I really need to support the lifestyle I want?

At this point, I have a lot of questions and few answers. I am faced with balancing the workaholic side of me with the side that longs for more time to enjoy friendships, nature and caring for my home. I don't expect to have a sudden insight that gives me all the answers (although that would be nice!) I expect the answers will unfold, day by day. So, I have decided I will be more gentle with myself as I go through the discovery process. Patience is in order, with a little faith and trust thrown in.

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