Are You Walking the Talk?

In his keynote at the World Domination Summit, Chris Brogan said almost in passing:

It’s not who you say you are, it’s what you do.

Chris Brogan speaking at the World Domination Summit. Photo courtesy Armosa Studios.

This is easy enough to digest because know this to be true. We know actions matter more than words.

Still, are we walking the talk?

The Titles We Give Ourselves

Students in my Cultivate Collectors class are, today, answering the question, “What do you do?” It’s a lesson for developing their 10-second introductions.

You can try it, too.

Answering this question helps you go beyond the title “Artist” (or whatever you call yourself) and get to the heart of what makes you you.

But how you answer this question (What do you do?) is less important than doing what you say you’re doing.

Reality Check

If you say you’re an artist, but you can’t seem to make the commitment to studio work, are you really an artist?

If you say you are grateful, but you don’t thank people properly, are you really grateful?

If you say you live up to your commitments, but you’re missing deadlines and making others wait on you, are you really reliable?

If you say you have an art business, but you aren’t trying to make money, are you really in business? Or is your art a hobby? (By the way, neither is better than the other, but you must understand the difference.)

Act On Your Words

Something that people say to me repeatedly is that I model the behavior I teach others. Nothing pleases me more than hearing this.

I do my best to see that my actions are in line with what I teach. I wish I could say that this happens all of the time, but I know it doesn’t. I know I come up short here and there, so I will continue to improve.

I have a few thoughts on how you might ensure that what you do is more important than who you say you are.

  • If you say you’re an artist, commit to your studio time.
  • If you say you are trying to make money, share your art with the world consistently and enthusiastically.
  • If you say you are trying to make money, see that your business systems are in good order and that they support you rather than cause you headaches.
  • If you say you support other artists, attend their openings, send them congratulatory messages, and promote their art on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you walk the talk?

Remember, it’s not who you say you are, it’s what you do.

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17 comments to Are You Walking the Talk?

  • Great article!! Also you could add BUY other’s art to support them as well.

    • Absolutely! I love that my (modest) house is filled with real fine art and fine craft made by artists I admire and respect. Shop the way you’d like your customers to shop.

  • how do we get the 7 pages you did? am already subscribed.
    Thank you for all you do for us artists!
    Take care

  • Alyson
    This is one of the best articles you have posted!
    Thank you,

  • Zehava Power

    Simple and to the point! Well said

  • So true, when I gave up my job to become a fulltime painter I found that it was easy to get caught up in creating what I wanted people to see me as, rather than getting on with painting. I have to remind myself that painting comes first, otherwise I’m just acting out a role.

  • Alyson, thank you for the great links to your notes and for all the resources you share to help us artists stay on track and make the most of time, energy and inspiration. I haven’t taken the time to say it before but want you to know how much your blog and insights have meant to me.
    A big big THANK YOU!

  • I think walk the talk by supporting local artists. I am lucky that I live in Los Angeles, there is a big pool of talent over here.

  • Great post, Alyson. I am trying really hard to maintain a consistent studio practice, so I put my weekly painting schedule in my calendar so I don’t add appointments when I should be working. I have started using that dreaded word “NO” when faced with a new time stealer. I feel guilty for a second or two, then get over it and get back to work. Now that I have a studio outside my home, and go to it 5-6 days a week, my output has more than doubled.

    Thank you for all that you do.

  • Timely message for me during this summer season. “Commit to Studio Time” – is a message I need to be reminded of often. I’m finally getting back to the studio more and more after having found lots of excuses during late June and July as to why I shouldn’t/couldn’t be there. Thanks!

  • Alyson,
    This is such an awesome post!! My dear mother raised me on the saying “Actions speak louder than words”.

    The post was a great reminder of what we all should strive to achieve.

    Thank you!

  • […] couple of weeks ago, I wrote Are You Walking the Talk?, in which I encouraged you to act on your words. Today, I ask you to think about the words you’re […]