Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility

©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.

Jack Canfield

It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.

He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:

  • You have to give up all of your excuses.
  • You have to give up blaming.
  • You have to give up complaining.

Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.

I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?

Embrace this power!

If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.

Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.

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How Much Time Will Your Art Career Take?

How much time do the lessons take? How much time should I spend on social media? How much time on marketing vs. making art?

©2013 John Salvest, Forever. Secondhand romance novels on metal armature. Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery.

These are questions I’m often asked to which there are no easy answers (except maybe the last one, and I take a stab at that below).

Everyone wants to know “how much time?” because time is sacred, and we should be choosy with how we spend our time.

There is a better question than “How much time?” Ask yourself: How much time and effort am I willing to invest?

The key word is “willing.”

When you’re committed, you don’t care how much time something takes. [Tweet this] You’ll find a way to get it done because it

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Dwelling In Your Zone of Genius

Zone of Genius

There comes a point in every artist’s (every entrepreneur’s) business where you can’t grow without hiring someone.

It might be a paid intern, your kid, a website helper, or a bookkeeper, but you need the extra hands if you want to expand.

Who do you hire?

What will they do?

Your primary focus as an artist is on making art. That’s when you are in what Gay Hendricks calls your “Zone of Genius.” In his book, The Big Leap, Hendricks writes:

In your Zone of Genius, though the time you spend there produces great financial abundance, you do not feel that you are expending effort to produce it. In your Zone of Genius, work doesn’t feel like work.

I’m certain you know what that feels like. Bliss.

Your goal is to take those tasks off your plate that aren’t in your Zone of Genius – the tasks that keep you from making your best work. It’s the art you produce in the studio that nobody else could do.

For example, you might be competent at updating your WordPress template, but it’s not your best work. It takes you away from your best work.

Consider how lovely life would be if you could dwell in your Zone of Genius most of the time. How would that feel?

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A Blueprint for Producing Your Artist Newsletter

blueprint for your artist newsletter

Producing a newsletter is a project that consists of multiple tasks in order to complete. That’s why I use the word “producing” instead of “writing.” Writing is only one part of the newsletter process, and even writing the content can be broken down into multiple stages.

If you’ve had “write newsletter” on your task list for too long, it might be because you haven’t identified the individual components that will be needed. You will always get stuck when you see a project on your to-do list rather than single tasks.

I’ve been producing a newsletter every week since March 30, 2002 without skipping an issue for any reason.

We’ve had the current system in place for many years, so it’s a well-greased machine. I thought reading about my system might help you create a blueprint for your newsletter process.

Capturing Newsletter Ideas

I store newsletter ideas and an editorial calendar in Evernote.

Most of my ideas come from questions you asked on a webinar, on my Facebook page, or in an email. I try to listen for what might make a good newsletter or blog post topic. If you’re asking it, chances are good that someone else has the same questions.

If I can see a clear date on the calendar that would be good for publishing the topic, I add it to my editorial calendar, which is arranged by date. Otherwise, the topic is captured in one of my Evernote notebooks under Content Ideas.

With the ideas stored in a single place, I can quickly add notes, images, and resources when they come to mind.

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8 of the Biggest Mistakes Artists Make in their Art Careers

Are you making these mistakes in your art career?

You might be making mistakes in your art business that are holding you back from big growth.

Mistakes aren’t bad, and I don’t want you to feel like you have to be perfect in everything you do because seeking perfection is a sure way to be paralyzed by fear. We have to make mistakes in order to learn and to grow.

Mistakes are only detrimental if you keep repeating them without learning and correcting your ways.

Are you making any of these mistakes?

1. Not knowing where you want to go with your career.

I’m not talking about the need to have a specific plan, but I’ve noticed how few artists, especially when they’re just starting out, don’t “get” that running a business is serious stuff. You’re no longer making art for pure pleasure.

Everything changes when you start asking for money in return for your talents. For some artists, it changes for the better and you’re fired up to get your art out there. Other artists can’t stomach the pressure and lose all interest in making art. They can’t seem to get into the studio.

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How to Have a Productive Day


I am not immune to unproductive days, and I’ve had more than my fair share of them recently.

In order to get back on track, I’ve regrouped and, with the help of a coach, reminded myself of these principles. They really work – when you do them.

Start The Day With 3 Intentional Steps

I swear by the importance of these first three steps. When I don’t do them, I am significantly more overwhelmed and stressed out. Doing them brings peace of mind and helps me start my day on my terms rather than diving in and responding to everything being pushed at me.

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Rx for Sloppy Newsletter Syndrome

Rx for Artist Newsletters

There’s an epidemic going around.

Don’t panic. If it strikes, you won’t need to rush to the ER or be quarantined. But you will need to take immediate action.

Your physical health isn’t in peril, but the health of your art business is at stake.

The epidemic is SENS – Sloppy Email and Newsletter Syndrome. Let me explain the symptoms so you can self-diagnose.

Symptom 1: Missing Name

This is the most destructive of all the SENS symptoms.

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Prepare for 2015: 5 Things to Do Right Now

I’m a fan of accordion folders for paper receipts. The 2015 editions are on my to-do list.

It’s time to tie a bow around 2014 and prepare for 2015 by organizing your systems.

The ideas here should take you less than 1 hour, and they will bring peace of mind to your New Year.

1. Update the copyright notices on your website, blog, and newsletter.

Too many sites have old copyright dates on them. I’ve seen some as old as 2007! Blogging platforms will automatically update your copyright, but static sites need your attention now.

I’m not talking about the copyright notice on individual images. I’m referring to the copyright statement on the site, which is typically located in the footer of your pages.

If your website says ©2014, it doesn’t look fresh. Change that to 2015 before you forget.

I took this screen capture of my site earlier in the week. If you scroll down to

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Single-Tasking Is The Answer for Improved Productivity

Corrina Sephora Sculpture

Would you like to get more done in less time? Then quit multitasking!

Multitasking is working on diverse tasks simultaneously and, usually, doing them all half-heartedly: driving and talking on the phone; attending a webinar and responding to email; or writing a blog post and texting.

Research shows that only about 2.5% of college students can multitask effectively. Two point five percent!

©2011 Corrina Sephora, Hull Trilogy (dtl). Mixed media. Used with permission.

Studies now show that multitasking is a myth. You simply can’t give your attention to more than one thing at a time.

Health magazine gives 12 reasons to kick the habit, including the insight that multitasking dampens your creativity: “… multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous ‘a ha moments’.”

Kick the Habit

To embrace single-tasking, take the first step and turn off

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Let It Go: Delegating Responsibility

©Tara Pappas, The Release. Mixed media, 12 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

©Tara Pappas, The Release. Mixed media, 12 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

The biggest lesson from last week’s Art Biz Makeover: Let go of control.

After several discussions with my guests, it was clear that few people were willing to bring others into their art businesses.

When someone asked me if I ever slept, I happily responded that I got 8 hours sleep the night before. Really. And I did it because I hired people that I trust to stuff the goodie bags, get the name badges together, staff the registration table, select the music, order the food, and put out fires.

Delegate Responsibility

I learned a long time ago that if I was going to build my business to be more profitable, I was going to have to trust others.

I have read plenty of books over

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