Let me be honest. As much as I would love every artist to really start thriving in their life, art, finances and spiritual life, that's just not realistic for some... and it hurts me to say because I'm an eternal optimist and believe deeply in the divine calling of artists to do big things! It's not that I don't believe it's possible, I do! I completely, 100% believe breakthrough is possible in the life of every artist but what I know more than possibility is the fact that thriving as an artist and experiencing breakthrough into that life is a choice. A personal choice that can only be made by a the artist.
Sometimes, I wish it wasn't the case but it is. You either choose to thrive or you choose to live life the way you've lived it and get what you've always gotten. As I think back on tons of emails and conversations with artists, I've heard these three reasons over and over and over from phrased a little differently for each person of course to fit their "unique" situation. As we say in the country, "You can't put lipstick on a pig". An excuse is an excuse and these are 3 of the biggest. Here we go:
Some of you may be reading this right now saying "Wow Matt, this just got real..." Yes, it did and I love you too much to sugarcoat things. God's invested too much in each one of us to let momentary troubles and pressures take our focus from the goal He's set before us.
I also know this to be true: people always... ALWAYS do what they want to do. If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to see it happen. The simple fact is many people like the idea of breakthrough and thriving but aren't willing to lean into the process.
To those that do lean into the process, who keep going even when things get difficult and who prioritize their life the align with their dreams and design, the sweet feelings of knowing they held on, leaned into God's grace and trusted in the face of fear will usher them into reaping the rewards of the process. To them it will be said "Well done good and faithful servant. You've been faithful over little, not I will make you ruler over much."
(PS... If that's you right now, the kind of artist that is willing to set a course and see it through in the context of community with other artists and me as your mentor (even if you've failed at this before), then I'd love for you to consider my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. I can help you make this year be your breakthrough year. I can help you make this year the year of no more excuses... the year you start thriving!)
One question I get all the time is "Matt, how can I take my artistic calling to the next level and really start thriving?" Yep. Many well-meaning artists have asked this question and most believe that it's a single answer... like there's some shortcut or secret ad you can run to make everyone buy your art and make a million dollars. Spoiler alert.... There's no silver bullet for learning to thrive as an artist. However, after working as a creative now for over 20 years, speaking to thousands and personally mentoring hundreds of artists via my books and online artist mentoring program, I've come to understand some of what it takes to really thrive. I'm going to share some of those with you here.
Since I also believe no one person as the corner on success, I reached out to several of my thriving artists friends who are creating beautiful work and selling the heck out of it all while living an incredible life. Based on their input and my experience, here's my curated list:
As you probably know by now, information doesn't create change. Real change only happens when valuable information meets action and interaction; action on your part and interaction with others on your journey and an experienced mentor. Why, you ask? Most of the time, there are things in your life you just can't see by yourself. For those who are willing, God uses mastermind and mentoring relationships to bring you to the next level of growth.
If you'd like to make this year your breakthrough year and really start thriving as an artist spiritually, artistically and in business, check out my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program and read some of their stories! Literally hundreds of artists just like you have made the decision to be a part and it's changing lives.
Thanks again to all my artist friends who contributed to this list. Each one is creating great work, thriving as a professional artist and a joy to call friend!
Matt Tommey is a world-class sculptor, speaker and author who is passionate about helping artists to thrive spiritually, financially and creatively.