Our first grade classroom photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day. I was the only one who wasn’t decked out in green that day. Mom had recently made me a beautiful red and white dress with a red velvet bow, and I guess that seemed like a better choice for such a formal photo.
Guess who got pinched that day? Pretty sure I did, though I have no lasting physical or emotional scars.
Guess who stands out in the photo? That’d be me again. Like. A. Sore. Thumb.
Maybe this was an early hint of rebellion.
Or maybe my undeveloped brain reasoned that I would really have bad luck if I didn’t wear green. After all, I had been pretty darned lucky to that point.
Making Your Luck
I’ve been lucky. I was lucky to have been born into a healthy, loving family that always had plenty of food on the table, even if I questioned some of the choices in front of me.
I was lucky to live in a country without a war in the homeland.
I was lucky to be in a safe school where parents cared about a decent education for their children—an education that eludes so much of the world’s population.
Later, I would be lucky to receive a higher education and the continued support of my parents along the way. Yes, even though it involved two degrees in art history.
What I did with that luck was up to me.
Luck has had little to do with the success of my business, and it has little to do with the success of your art career regardless of whether you feel lucky, were born into luck, or are convinced you are unlucky.
I’m fond of quoting what our third president had to say about luck.
I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
― Thomas Jefferson
When you work hard and take action toward your goals, you put yourself in a better position for luck to find you.
Why Some Artists Seem Luckier Than You
Have you ever observed that many artists whose work is on par with your own seem to have luck on their side?
Chances are good that they worked for that luck. They only seem lucky and here’s why.
Above all, they know what they want and why they want it.
Get clear on the vision you have for what the poet Mary Oliver called your one precious life. Don’t let anyone else decide your path or tell your story.
Be able to answer this question: What do you want from your art? Or … What are you asking of your art?
They work hard.
Many pursue an art career because of their passion for art. Few understand what is required to turn that passion into a successful career and profitable business.
Make sure you are prepared for this, and then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Every. Single. Day. Just like Mr. Jefferson.
They take their work seriously, but not necessarily themselves.
No one will treat you as a professional artist until you treat yourself as one.
Be serious about making art and be serious about sharing that art with the rest of the world.
They challenge themselves.
They know that doing the same, safe thing that everyone else is doing will lead to mediocre results. They confront challenges leads to growth.
Challenge yourself in your artmaking, in your marketing, and in your business evolution. If it’s too easy, it probably isn’t worth pursuing.
This brings me to …
They embrace rejections and failures.
Rejections and failures are a valuable part of a creative life worth living, and successful artists know that they are part of the journey they signed up for.
The more rejections you have under your belt, the better your chances of finding the right fit. Likewise, the more you fail, the closer you will get to your goals. Of course, this also means …
They fall down, dust themselves off, and get back to work. The only other option is to give up on your dreams.
Know that the universe wants you to succeed. I do, too.
They accept 100% responsibility for their success.
They don’t waste energy on whining and complaining about the tough breaks. They take action to improve future results.
As noted above, you will have many rejections along the way. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.
They exercise gratitude.
They might keep a formal gratitude journal or seek out recipients for special thank-yous and gifts.
Learn to be grateful for all you have—especially when you’re frustrated or rejected. You won’t get more of the good stuff until you appreciate your current abundance.
If you practice all of the above on a regular basis, I’m certain that good luck will find you.
This post was first published on March 16, 2017 and has been updated with original comments intact.