I spend a lot of time writing about and coaching Artists and/or Creatives in what they could be doing to succeed and take their Art, the business of their Art and their lives as Artists to the next level of success. I was reminded this week, rather abruptly, that some Artists actually have no desire to do that. As a matter-of-a-fact … there are Artists who seem really fully committed to failing or at least committed to sabotaging their careers as much as possible.
Sounds weird perhaps to some of you. Frankly, it is always a harsh reality for me when I come face to face with that. But, who am I to judge? We are all on our own path … we get to say how it goes and clearly my way is not the only way. Each of us has our own unique commitments and mine is certainly no better than anyone else’s … just different.
So, in order to give a fair shake to those who are committed to sabotaging and/or failing, I have assembled a great list of things that will serve those folks. This is not, by any means, a complete list, but it is my favorite group of the most effective things that can be counted on to make sure you crash and burn as an Artist or in the business of your Art.
PLEASE NOTE: As humans, we are run by brain patterns … sometimes we are conscious of those patterns and sometimes they have been running us so long that we aren’t even aware of them. Some of those patterns serve us and some do not.
These patterns of ours have us behave in ways and do things that we might be completely oblivious to. The trick is to be aware of the patterns and actually recognize if they serve us or not. IF they serve us … then GREAT … keep them. If, however, they do not then we need to replace them with patterns that DO serve us.
It is very possible that your brain patterns are committed to having you fail vs YOU (the Real YOU, your higher SELF) being committed to failing. The problem is that either way you will fail if you continue to let sabotaging patterns run your life. Remember, you are in control and You get to choose!
Obviously, if YOU want to succeed vs. fail then you will want to read these and be real about how many you are already engaging in and find a way to stop doing these things or get help to stop doing them. If you read the list, and you are not sure about some of them, then check with people in your life who know you and/or work with you … they get to see you in action and their perspective may be a little different from. Our patterns are often so hidden from us they are like blind spots to us (but not to others).
Now, for any of you that are really consciously committed to failing, or who have brain patterns that are committed to having you fail and don’t chose to stop them … then read through these and please keep doing the ones you are already doing and take on any of the others you are not yet doing. The more you practice these the better your chances of failure. I promise these will do the trick if you take as many of these on as possible and maintain these practices over time.
Here is my short, but very potent list of things to do and ways to behave that will promise you failure:
- Act like and present yourself as a little starving artist and make sure you whine and complain about being one as much as possible. Oh, and please make sure you really believe this and set out to confirm your belief over and over again … that goes a long way to being able to act and present yourself that way.
- Be in complete denial of your reality so you do nothing to alter it. After all, what you don’t know and what you can’t see can’t hurt you, right?
- Deeply believe that artists must: be bad at business, can’t be professional and certainly that they must lead struggling, hard lives (The more you deeply believe this last one, of course, the better your Art will be because an Artist must suffer to create great Art.)
- Make sure you communicate badly with people or even better … don’t communicate at all. And please, please make sure you do not respond back to people or follow-up with people too.
- Make sure you do nothing to make money outside of your Art career until your Art Career can fully feed you, pay your bills and give you money for your materials. This way you can really be a starving artist and justify being as stressed, angry and as righteous as possible.
- Make sure you have no idea who your best target market/audience is (buyers, collectors, etc.). To really take this to the next level just make sure that you don’t even care to find out and convince yourself that your Art really is for everyone.
- If you do understand and know your audience then make sure you do not give them what they want or that you offer them something they already have too much of (over saturation is great in this case). Having them not be attracted to or need your work is the key
- Have no marketing plan (including making sure you do not have a social media schedule, email campaigns, opt-in opportunities, etc.). Go by your “feelings’ as much as possible to guide you … particularly the feelings that sound like, “ I don’t feel like it now” and “I don’t want to today!”
- Make sure you do not learn about Marketing and the Marketing tools that have you be effective and certainly do not test which techniques, platforms or methods work for your audience. Oh, and definitely keep doing the same kind of marketing even when it is not working.
- Make really sure that you do not learn how to sell better – as a matter of a fact ignore selling all together and talk a lot about how your Art will sell itself.
- Make your body of work as confusing as possible with a crazy array of different art mediums and themes. Better yet … believe that people will buy from you no matter what, particularly earlier in your career.
- Never have a set schedule for creating your art or running the business of your Art. Convince yourself that you can fly by the seat of your pants and wing it and it will all get done. Make darn sure that you also completely skip being organized and structured. Know that as an Artist you are incapable of structure and frankly, do not need it.
- Hate and be jealous of successful artists (or any other artists for that matter) and make sure you gossip as much as possible and let everyone know how you feel about them. Add to that really believing anyone who is successful got there by “luck”, a “rich daddy or sugar daddy”, etc. … (i.e. anything but hard work and being willing to learn and do whatever it takes).
- Make sure people can’t find you … hide as much as possible both on-line and off-line. Don’t say your name in public, do not network, never talk about your work, never promote yourself in any way and seclude yourself as much as possible. On-line make sure you either don’t have a website and/or Social Media presence or, if you do, make your contact information impossible to find and certainly do not let anyone know how they can purchase your work.
- Show up places late, act uninterested and distracted as much as possible, be a smart-a$$, be a dumb-a$$, a show-off, a know-it-all, totally out of it, disagree with people constantly, treat people like idiots (or at least uneducated peasants), be threatening, unpleasant, arrogant, cynical or any array of things that show how completely disrespectful you are of other human beings and their time. If you want to take this to an even higher level then please miss every deadline possible too, then re-promise and miss those deadlines also.
- Make sure you are massively unhappy with your own work but don’t do anything to alter that – just keep being unhappy with it and if you do something to improve it then never ever give yourself credit for that improvement. Add to that putting yourself down to yourself as often as possible so you have no chance of being empowered at any moment in time.
- Do not seek out any real professional feedback that is designed to help you improve and reject any that may come in your direction. Instead listen to every negative thing you can especially if it is from your Mother/Father/Brother/Uncle Johnny/Cousin Teresa who knows absolutely nothing about Art. Then make sure you repeat those negative things in your head and obsess over them. This will help make sure you contribute to the item above about being massively unhappy about your work.
- Make sure you really underprice or overprice your work and do no research to even know you are doing that. Tell yourself that you know what it is worth and that the market will see that someday and that until then you are not going to compromise or overinflate yourself!
- Don’t put in the time or the energy to continually improve your work, techniques, mindset, business skills, etc. Actually, do not bother to, in any way shape or form, continue to educate yourself or get guidance in either your Art and/or in the business of your Art or … for that matter … in anything. Know, with certainty, that you are so brilliant and talented that there is no need to take things to the next level and besides you already know it all! You really will figure it all out on your own!
- Keep thinking that the age-old concept of you needing to spend money on or invest in your business at times in order to make money is absurd. And remember, you are a starving artist so you don’t have any money … this is why it is so important that you do not make any money in any other way outside your business too … because that would kill this whole story and it is a good story to have!
- Make sure you jump from thing to thing and waste a lot of your time chasing new shiny objects focusing on what you really need to do, particularly if you hate doing what you really need to do. Do that as often as possible.
- Forget giving 1,000 % of yourself to your work or your creativity or your business… as a matter of a fact be really committed that you fall far short of even giving 100% of yourself … a nice percentage to give of yourself would be giving less than 50% of yourself at all times … that should work!
- Let fear absolutely run your whole life … pick any fear or as many as you can find but make sure some of them include: fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being taken seriously and fear that someone will steal your work or ideas. Never, ever, ever face into your fears and move past them!!!
- Ignore as many “unimportant” things as you can … like your finances, legal business structures, relationships, health, etc. Particularly ignore and consider unimportant anything you have told yourself, and therefore believed, that you are not good at.
- Insist on doing everything yourself long past the point that it serves you and the growth of your business (because, after all, you can do anything and your ego correctly tells you that NO ONE else can do it like you and others are definitely too ___________ (fill in the blank) to be able to understand and replace the things you do. Besides this might be a financial investment in the growth of your business and we know already that is unnecessary.
- Only engage in fly-by-night relationships and make sure that you do not create long term professional relationships or loyalty or trust among others. Who needs all those solid connections? Certainly not you! Making sure that you never do anything for anyone else is also a great way to keep this in place (generosity is very overrated and it is important it always be all what’s in it for you).
- Make sure you play safe by following others, waiting on others, looking for permission, imitating others, etc. Particularly try to be a people pleasing follower as much as possible so you never get rejected and take no risks on your own. Avoid risks at all cost, as a matter-of-a-fact!
- Make sure your output stays low … wait weeks between creating pieces and work on them as slow and sporadically as possible – there is no need for any consistency or urgency, right? Remember that collectors and possible sellers of your work (Galleries, Shops, etc.) are not interested at all in knowing you are a productive Artist with a solid body of work… they just want to see that one “perfect” piece of work you did a year ago (or 2 or 10 years ago).
- Think you will someday be magically discovered without any effort on your part. It will happen … they will find it you and your work like an oasis in the desert.
- Make sure that everything is about you all the time – and make sure everyone knows that you truly ARE the center of the universe… because, welllllllll … of course, you are!
- Spend as much time as possible analyzing things vs. actually getting out there and taking actions. Assure yourself that thinking about things, mulling things over in your head, and processing yourself will make the next thing happen vs. taking actions to create and produce.
- Make sure you procrastinate everything and chill as much as possible while telling yourself that you are a free spirit and must be “in the right headspace” to create. Instead of trying to “force it” take tons of time to do nothing and wait for the right headspace to just magically show up because you know it will eventually.
- Completely refuse to take responsibility for your Art and your life and create the persona of a victim to your circumstances and definitely never, ever, ever take on being a leader of any kind. Being a leader is so dangerous … they not only have to be responsible but someone or many people may not like you.
- Make sure you have no patience and get frustrated constantly because “it” hasn’t happened yet the way it “should” have. As matter-of-a-fact … let as many “this-is-wrong” and “it-shouldn’t-be-this-way” run around in your head as possible and make sure you get as personally offended as possible because surely this is a personal conspiracy against you.
- Finally …. Please throw your hands up in the air when you are frustrated enough, angry enough and resigned enough and simply quit. You knew all along you could not possibly succeed at this, didn’t you? Congratulations you can now be right about it!
I hope I have provided you with enough sure-fire ways to fail in order to give you a good start if you or your brain patterns are committed to winning the game of losing. Sabotage is king in the game of losing! I am sure that, if you take these practices on, that there will be others that you will discover along the way that you can add to this list … because in a commitment to fail one great sabotage practice will always lead you to another.
However, if you read this far, you may also thinking: “Oh, no … Kym you have finally lost your mind! Why are you even writing about this? I have no interest in failing. I am here to succeed in this game!” FABULOUS! Then find ways to catch any patterns that you may have that create you doing or thinking these things and eliminate doing the practices above. Also, you can feel free to read my other blogs posts on how to take your Art, the business of your Art and your Life as an Artists to the next level of success.
In addition to my blogs and me, there are other really knowledgeable people to reach out to and lots of great information out there to help guide you to success. We have the privilege of living in an age where there is no lack of access to learning about succeeding as an Artist or Creative. Get curious and reach out! It simply takes a commitment to succeed and a willingness to do the work on you to create new patterns that will contribute to your success.
Your choice: Commit to Failure or Commit to Success and then take the right actions to fulfill on your real commitment!
Were there any practices here, in my list, that surprised you?
How many of these have you been practicing? Have they been effective in helping you or your brain patterns sabotage yourself or fail?
As always, I love hearing your thoughts and any feedback you may have. Perhaps you have some suggestions you can share with us about ways to fail that either you have personally engaged in or that you have seen other Artists and/or Creatives engage in … feel free to share with us. Every contribution is appreciated