The other day as I sat painting, my thoughts began to wander and when that happens, I just never know where that will take me.  I’ll remember snippets of conversations I’ve had with people, dreams, thoughts, etc.  For whatever reason, most of the things popping into my head were about myself or others justifying things by blaming external events.  Things continued to flow in and out of my brain and then voila!  An idea for this blog post.

Let’s play the BLAME GAME!

I’m sure you’ve played it many times in your life whether you realized it at the time or not.  Sometimes it was the precursor of a full-blown pity-party and other times you were just taking stock of events and then turned things around.  That is what we are going to do… are you in?

We are going to play “The Art Licensing Blame Game” and if you play it correctly, you will end the game with renewed hope and focus.

Step 1:  Write down all the reasons you think your art licensing business isn’t where you want it to be.  HOWEVER, you are to take no responsibility yourself, you have to put all the blame on others.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • The economy!  If it weren’t for the economy, I’d be rolling in the royalties!
  • I don’t have the right connections.  If only I knew the right people, I’d be golden.  (This isn’t really taking responsibility – don’t be confused – you are blaming your lack of a proper social or networking circle)
  • Retailers have no taste!  If they only had an appreciation of good art, mine would be everywhere.
  • There are three great starters… now grab a pen and write more down.  Seriously.  Do it.  Blame your mom, your kids, your city, your computer… what or whom ever.  Go!

Step 2:  Write this down:  All of the things I blame may or may not be real.

I mean, you may have 6 children under the age of 5 that you have to take care of every day.  I’m not sure how you’d find the time to paint, promote and build your business.  However if you are blaming your business – or lack thereof – on not knowing the art directors at Target personally, then you are really good at playing the blame game. You don’t have to have friends in retail places to break into this business.

Step 3: Go back to your Step 1 statements and cross off any that look more like excuses.

Step 4:  Look at what you have left.  I’m guessing you have things like, “The economy has affect the art licensing industry.”  We are all talking about that one!  You might have more.  If they feel real and valid (like the “I have 6 kids under the age of 5”) they should be on the list.

Step 5: Write this down: This is the present reality.  I can choose to blame it and stay stuck where I am, or I can try to figure out how to work within the current state of affairs.

This is a great mantra to repeat to yourself whenever you find yourself thinking blameful thoughts, or when you discover that you just spend a half hour on the phone bemoaning the state of the economy and how manufacturers never call you back and how expensive trade shows are, etc.  These thoughts and conversations – while they might be true – they bring you down!

In order to keep going, keep creating and to enjoy what you do, it’s important to manage where your focus and energy are going.

Are you focused on things that make you feel bad – and that you probably can’t control – or are you focused on things that make you feel good and that you do have some influence over?

If you find yourself getting into a negativity rut, come back to this post and go through the steps again.  This will work for any aspect of your life – from relationships to a day job to planning vacations – I mean anything.  In my opinion, focusing on things that you can control and things that make you feel good are the secret to a happy life.

Here’s to your creative joy!

– Tara Reed