I think one of the biggest skills you can learn as an artist with your own business is how to deal with being uncomfortable. No one enjoys feeling uncomfortable, unsure, flying blind, being out of your element. Lately, it seems to be a theme with me – which ultimately is good! But not always fun.
You see, I’m the oldest child – responsible, organized and not willing to make a move until I’m good & ready. (My family can tell you many a story!) I’m not naturally wired to spontaneously jump off the high dive because someone else was doing it (that would be my younger sister). Nope, I have to take stock of the situation, analyze it from many angles & then once I decide it is a good plan, I’m all in – avoiding as much uncomfortableness as possible!
But, building a business as an artist doesn’t always allow me that luxury. One of my goals for the year is to become a better businesswoman. I am working with some very talented, successful people to help me get on track. They are brilliant at business, which makes me keenly aware that I’m not.
And while I know in my gut it is the right path, it’s still very challenging to make it through a meeting unscathed. Typically, I walk out afterwards and just start chanting, “I’m a damn good weaver” over & over again. To willingly place yourself in a situation where you know you’ll be uncomfortable and vulnerable is tough, no doubt about it. But, the benefits can be huge! My goal is to learn to be a brilliant business owner – which I figure I’m smart enough to do and I’m putting my trust in the right people to help me!
This coming weekend, I am heading down to Atlanta to participate in the American Craft Council Show. It’s not my first indoor show & it won’t be my first time at this location. But, I’ve never done this caliber of show before and it makes my tummy gurgly when I think about it too long!
I don’t have any crazy plans to do anything drastically different than I normally do. But, there are always unknown variables and that can freak out the best of us. The cost of the show is high, the talent of the other artists is amazing, people will definitely have more experience than I will, etc. Ugh! It’s an ugly downward spiral if you choose to get on that ride.
But because I have put myself in new and uncomfortable situations in the past, I know how to put together a good display. I know how to interact with a customer and talk about my work. I know how to share my passion with friends – new & old. (And of course, I know that I’m a damn good weaver!)
So, the plan is to be as organized as possible. Then smile, be friendly, & roll with the punches! Anything I don’t know, I’ll simply ask. The uncomfortableness will pass. And no matter what, it will be a great experience because I have decided it will be. I can do it! We all can do it! It’s just a matter of forging ahead – even if we’re uncomfortable.
What new things are you trying that make you feel like you’re flying blind?