Taking Imperfect Action

You know that I’m all about action.

But I’m also about reading, researching, and learning, which is a good thing because my primary work is teaching. You have to learn before you can teach, although you’ll learn even more by teaching.

And there comes a time when you must stop the learning phase and start taking action – however imperfect it might be or however reticent you might feel.

Alyson Stanfield with students

Students at my workshop in Burlington, VT commit to taking action.

I think we stay in information-gathering mode rather than taking action for one of two reasons:

1. We’re afraid to make a mistake (failing).
2. We don’t have enough fire in the belly to get moving. We aren’t hungry enough.

Let’s look at these.

Go Ahead and Make Mistakes

You don’t learn simply by reading books and taking classes. The ultimate test of your knowledge comes when you implement. [tweet this]

The only way to grow is to take what you’ve read/heard/seen and put it into action. When you do this, you find out how it applies to your specific situation.

Yes, you’re going to make mistakes. A lot of them.

But you won’t fail. You’ll only fail if you don’t learn from those mistakes and try again.



Light The Fire

I can teach a lot of strategies for building an art business, but I can’t light the fire within you. That desire is inside every successful entrepreneur. If you want to make a living with your art, you must tap into this.

Your fire is your art. [tweet this] You get up in the morning and go to the studio because you have something to contribute to this crazy, wonderful world of ours. You have something to say that can’t be conveyed with words.

Still, I know that the fire for your work isn’t constant. Enthusiasm ebbs and flows, and as long as you have a lot more flowing than ebbing, you’ll be rewarded with a long and satisfying career.

If I were to coach you to find or rekindle that flame, I’d ask you some powerful questions. For instance:

What if you made art, grew an impressive inventory of work, and no one saw it? Would you be satisfied?

What if you retired from your day job and didn’t have anything in place for your art business? Would you be okay with taking at least three years to get your business off the ground?



How much income do you need to earn from your art?

There are no right or wrong responses to these questions, but the answers can guide your actions.

Decide to Take Imperfect Action

What have you been thinking about for too long without taking action on it? What reasons (or excuses) have you used to justify not taking action?

If you’re okay with your reasons, that’s great. If you believe you are hiding behind them out of a fear of failure, perhaps it’s time to take action, however imperfect it may be.

Just decide.

If you find that the fire within you is fading, contemplate the questions above. What do the answers say about what you want from your art?

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