Monday, February 21, 2011

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)

Why are we afraid of failing? Of all the fears we’ve discussed in this series, this one is fairly universal. Everyone fears failure. What people do with that fear is very different. Some people use that fear to spur themselves on toward greater effort and loftier achievements. Others feel this fear and never try. They take the safe road; the easy route.

But who says we have to be afraid of failing? And if we are afraid, how can we use that fear as motivation rather than intimidation?

Why artists shouldn’t be afraid to fail?

We shouldn’t be afraid to fail because, in all reality, failing isn’t all that bad. If you fail, there’s usually a clear cut reason why you failed…and once you know WHY you failed, it’s much easier to do better the next time. Many things in life require failing first, then doing better the next time. Riding a bike, for example, or shooting a free throw in basketball. For kids, life is pretty much one failure after another…but only at first. Then they learn how to do whatever it is they’re interested in and it becomes fun!

If we’re so afraid of failing that you don’t even try to achieve your dreams, then you have forgotten something very integral to the basic human condition—that failure brings growth! Many times, we MUST fail in order to learn and grow. Failure is not the end. It’s life’s way of educating us.

How To Overcome the Fear of Failure

1) Start by taking small risks

Start risking something today. Risk anything. It doesn’t matter what—the point is to get used to that fear. What you risk may have nothing to do with your art. You might try a new food, a new sport, a new group of friends. Get used to the fear and get used to the failure. Then—and only then—proceed to Step 2.

2) Write down your successes

Depending on how innately talented you are, you might find yourself more successful than you thought you would be. Write those successes down and keep that list somewhere you can refer to when you start to feel the fear of failure creeping back in. Reminding yourself of past successes is a very real way to bolster your courage.

3) If you fail, write down WHY you failed

We fail for a reason, remember? So when you fail (and you will) start a new list that focuses on WHY you failed. The point of this list is to help you succeed in the future—to show you what you should NOT do the next time. Sometimes failure has very little to do with our own abilities and skills and everything to do with timing, location, and the whims or abilities of others. We can still learn from those failures, of course...we just learn something different.

4) Diversify your risk

Like stocks in the stock market, we should be risking our artistic talent in as many different venues as we can. You never know where you’ll find customers for your work—or the type of work that will find customers. Focusing on one niche target market is the best way to create a solid “brand” and increase your return customers, but there are always ways to diversify within your niche.

5) Lock yourself into attempting your goals

No matter how hard you work at overcoming your fear, it can still sneak up on you when you least expect it. I’ve found that the best way to overcome this is to commit to a course of action so that your only way out is to succeed. This is the “fear as a motivator” approach, and I absolutely love it. I like diving into something and feeling that fear, knowing that I’m committed—sometimes financially, sometimes just by a promise that I’ve made to someone else.

Once you’re truly committed, you will find new energy to research, experiment, and flex your creative muscles far more than if you had just kept sitting on the fence. Take a look at yourself. Are you holding back from a fear of failure? If so, don’t wait any longer: Start risking, Start committing and Start making your goals a reality.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Friday, February 11, 2011

Overcoming the Fear of Confrontation: A Guide for Artists & Others

(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)

When you think about the word confrontation, what emotions do you feel? Nervous? Eager? Scared? Something else entirely?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines confrontation as, “discord or a clash of opinions and ideas.” Other definitions found on include “a bold challenge” and “a hostile disagreement face-to-face.”

Where does confrontation occur in the art world?

The discussion of art is usually based around opinionyou either like a work of art, you hate it, or you don’t care (which can sometimes be the most confrontational response of all). So really, confrontation can occur almost anywhere that there is art.

To non-artists and new artists, art critiques often appear very confrontational. Obviously there’s a right and wrong way to give a critique, but the point of the activity is to discuss areas to improve uponsome confrontation will probably occur.

When selling a work of art, conflict can arise because of price. While discussing a future commission piece, the confrontation might be over the direction of the work.

Even more stressful is when a buyer wants something added, removed or changed in a current pieceespecially if they want you to do it for free.

Finally, you can always face confrontation at any time from anyone who doesn’t like your art or just wants to let you know what you could have done better.

What’s wrong with avoiding confrontation?

Sometimes, nothing. But good artno, great artoften arises out of passion and out of the differences of opinion or different points of view that people hold. Spirited conversations with other artists, whether at a gallery or during a critique, are always a great source of inspiration. Without them, something’s missing. Non-confrontational art critiques are the worstI’ve been in groups where everyone is so afraid of hurting each others’ feelings that nothing of value gets said. And of course, avoiding confrontation when working with a buyer often means caving in on price in some way. Even more unfortunate is when that fear of confrontation exists only in the artist’s mind.

How to do you overcome the fear of confrontation?

If you find yourself avoiding places or situations just because of a possible confrontation, here are three simple steps that may help you be more confident and assertive.

1) Diminish your fear by really “knowing your stuff.”

No matter who you are, when faced with the possibility of confrontation, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. For artists, the more you know about art in general (various art movements, contemporary artists, etc.) and your own niche in particular, the more confident you’ll be in almost any circumstance.

2) Practice by initiating confrontation in a safe environment.

Practice, practice, practice. You will gain confidence each time you speak up, make eye contact and state your own point of view. Start by choosing a place and time that you feel comfortable in. Pick a friend to practice on, if necessary. Once you’re more confident in asserting yourself, move on to tougher situations and people, even to places where you don’t know anyone and have no idea what will happen after you speak up.

3) Accept that other viewpoints are valid.

Confrontation doesn’t have to end in anger or with one winner and one loser. This misconception may be why so many people fear confrontation in the first place. The point is not to be argumentative, but to simply be willing and able to share your opinion, your art and yourself with others—to confront and be confronted—and then to learn from what comes out of that situation.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Overcoming Fear: An Inspirational and Practical Series for Artists

(Brought to you by our friends at Art Business Advice)

Everyone faces fear…and in the right circumstances, uncomfortable as it may be, our fears exist for a reason. For example, most of us would be (quite reasonably) afraid if a mother bear and her cub came sniffing around our campsite. Our fear of the mother bear will even dictate how we act around the cub when she’s not there. Other fears, however, are less reasonable. We learn irrational fears subconsciously from our parents, from our friends, or from society as a whole and then slowly cultivate them in our minds until they become barriers to our success. It’s these kinds of fears that we must try to overcome.

As an artist, what do you fear? defines “fear” as:

"A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined."

How many of your fears are in that "imaginary" category? Many of us would say that we’d love to become either part-time or full-time professional artists while simultaneously allowing unreasonable, imaginary fears to dictate our lives and keep us from moving towards that goal. For instance, we might choose not to take that business course or marketing class at our local college because we’re afraid of being out of our element. We might turn down an offer to teach an after-school art class because we’re afraid we’re not good enough. Or perhaps our fear keeps us pricing our art far less than its worth because we’re afraid of being rejected.

How do you overcome your fears?

Eleanor Roosevelt said this about overcoming fear,

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."

Freedom from fear can only be found by understanding why you fear and then taking practical steps to confront your fears until they’re gone. Over the next month, we will embark on series of blogs investigating the fears we face as artists.

Topics will include:

· Overcoming the Fear of Confrontation

· Overcoming the Fear of Failure

· Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

· Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs