(originally posted on Dr. Maisel’s blog)
There may be new creative projects that you want to begin or new ways of marketing and promoting yourself that you know would be smart to attempt but something seems to be holding you back. Here are four tips that will lead very naturally to an increase in your confidence.
One. Know what you currently do
Because our lives rush along, providing us with no chance to catch up with ourselves, we often don’t really know what we’ve been attempting or accomplishing. When was the last time you had a conversation with yourself about what sort of art you’re making or what sort of marketing efforts you’re attempting? It’s harder to know what new things to try if you don’t know what current things you’re doing. Settle in and spend some real time discerning your current situation.
Two. Detach from the idea that there is just “one way” to do things
In part because it reduces our experience of anxiety, we often decide to do things one way—paint one sort of painting, market in one particular way—and then refuse to think about or else discount the desirability of other art or other marketing efforts that we might make. Maybe we think that only the gallery scene is for us and that marketing our art online is beneath our dignity. Try to let go of the idea that there is just one way to do things and find the courage to investigate other ways of making art and marketing art, even those that at first glance look completely uncongenial. You might discover that one of these other ways actually ignites some passion in you and instantly increases your confidence level.
Three. Investigate your dislikes
If you dislike realistic painting, why do you dislike it? If you dislike abstract painting, why do you dislike it? If you dislike talking to gallery owners, why do you dislike those interactions? If you dislike studio visits, why do you dislike them? We often make snap judgments about our likes and dislikes and subsequently never investigate those likes and dislikes again, responding instead with a knee-jerk reaction. Take a good, hard look at those things you claim to dislike and see if they really are so unlikeable. Turning some of those dislikes to likes may prove the exact equivalent of rekindling your desire and increasing your confidence.
Four. Investigate your fears
We often hide from ourselves the fact that something is making us scared or anxious. Maybe we have real fears that our drawing skills aren’t up to snuff. So we keep dodging that painful information and paint abstractly not because we genuinely want to paint abstractly but because we know that our realistic paintings wouldn’t measure up. It is very brave work but very valuable work to look your fears and anxieties in the eye. Only then will you understand your true situation. That understanding is bound to open the door to courageous new efforts—and new confidence!