I wish when I had started working in creative fields someone would have pulled me aside and explained some of the traps that would try to keep me from succeeding. Traps like getting so busy I forget to pay attention to the deals of the plan or that when I succeed I would be seduced to be comfortable, or the trap about haters and how their whispers would sound like screaming to the voices in my head and heart.

Most of the best lessons we learn in life we learn during failures not successes. So today I though I would share a few of the lessons my failures have unveiled.

1. Details matter. When we gloss over the details we risk not succeeding. We should always pay attention to every detail of our work because the difference between success and failure is in the details. We have to see what is happening around us but also pay attention to what is happening. Never lose sight of the details.

2. Comfort is our enemy. Comfort makes us soft and seduces our attention away from what matters. We have to always stay. If we are not hungry someone else will be and that is when we start to slip. When we stop being hungry we can begin to compromise intensity and intensity directs our attention when we are not paying attention things don’t grow, but where we place our attention will create momentum. Staying hungry forces you to push yourself to continue to survive, grow, and evolve.

3. Never fall for the shortcut – Do your work. Show up every day. Never compromise your expectations or sell them short. Shortcuts rarely work and often cost us more than they could ever be worth.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Artists to often allow insecurity to keep them from asking for help, or maybe even to prideful, but asking for help provides other people the chance to be involved and allows our work to be better. Help forces conversations and other opinions that could just create our best work.

5. Choose your team wisely – Whom you surround yourself with will impact what you do, the attitude and culture you create, and how you successful you will be. Avoid negativity. There is a belief that we are the average of the five people we associate with most. Who are your 5? Does that excite you or scare you?

6. Keep it simple – Simple matters. Don’t be afraid to edit or work to make it simpler. It really is that simple.

7. Shake the haters – Haters hate by nature. Don’t listen. At the same time, don’t focus on the cheerleaders. Balance praise and criticism but more importantly focus on your work. You control how you respond or react. Haters, and lovers for that matter, create sideways energy. You have a plan or a mission, stay focused and keep moving.

8. Look for more “NO’s” – If you don’t hear no a lot you are not pushing hard enough. No means you are breaking status quo. Always be on the hunt for a no.

9. What can only you do? – Do that. Give the rest away. I know you don’t have a team or a staff. There are people around you who really want to be involved. Include them, delegate to them, and share your work. There are things that only you can do…do those things and give the rest away. Side note” most artists get scared of delegation because they feel out of control. Good. It makes you better.

10. Never Give Up – It’s the ultimate conclusion. As long as you are willing to show up and fight you are not finished. Keep showing up, every day, and be willing to do whatever it takes. Good or bad days are both going to come but giving up is the only way you end up out of the game.

I would love to know what a few of the things you have learned might be as you have created your best art.

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