Last week I had the opportunity to speak at Brunswick High School to a class learning essentially the programs I use on an everyday basis in High School. They are getting the opportunity to use Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and that is freaking awesome! When I was initially asked to speak there was never a moment of nervousness. I immediately went to a place of excitement because I love working with people, especially kids! I made some quick notes on my phone and in my head, but basically, the speech was not planned at all. Do I encourage this, probably not but I wanted to be in the moment and speak from experience and from the heart. Kids don’t do Powerpoints well, and I knew I would lose a couple of them with the monotony of that, so I sat down in front of them at eye level and went for it. I was honest; I explained why I did not finish college and that I eventually changed my mind in my career path. Did I say they shouldn’t go to college, never once BUT I made it clear that we all have a different path and if you cannot afford to go there are options. When all was said and done, I think it went reasonably well, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on what I have learned as a small business owner.
Put yourself out there.
Even when the work sucks and you are scared, be brave enough to take the first step, so the second step is more natural. Practice makes things to make them better. It’s not just the drawing or painting that is the practice; it’s also the process of practicing to accept your art and not beating yourself up for it. We live in a social media world, and you are putting yourself out there so much more than ever before. It’s complicated and beautiful at the same time, be brave.
Find your people.
People who inspire you, people who will support you, people you admire, people to collaborate with. Be yourself in who you are and in your art, do not try to be what others think you should become because you will fail every time. People who are part of your tribe will support you, the real you and those are your people.
Never stop learning.
I don’t mean tests. I say never stop learning by taking classes that focus on your end goal. Get outside and go to art museums, concerts, festivals. Push yourself when you feel uncomfortable and attend something you usually wouldn’t just for the experience like volunteering. People of all ages need good mentors. When you open up and try new things, it makes you see things from another point of view so never be hesitant to do that.
Mistakes are your friend.
It’s the hardest way to learn, and we try so hard not to make mistakes, but I promise you it’s the best way to learn. You might learn how never to do it again or you might a way that worked better. Mistakes are your friend, don’t be afraid to make them.
Special thanks to empireskyco.com for the photo.