He laughed as though the answer was obvious and said “If you're not nervous, you're not trying”.
Well, I just got home from my West Coast tour in Colorado and California. It was incredible and I'll tell you more about it in a bit. But as part of my Tour, I did three Live Painting events in front of hundreds of people.
Let me be honest here…
Even though I've been painting my whole life, I still get nervous before each Art Show. I was pacing the room, my heart was racing and I was scared that I might blow it and make a fool of myself.
The thing is, that in order to break out of our comfort zones & evolve as people we need to risk embarrassment, failure or general unease.
When a lot of us feel nerves kick in, we naturally want to avoid it by not trying new things. We would rather be bored, unfulfilled and feel safe than put ourselves out there.
A few days ago, I met a young woman in Costa Mesa, California after my live painting event. She's an artist and a fan of mine and approached me to talk. She said that has felt uninspired for some time now. I asked if we could explore that together and she agreed.
After a series of questions, it turned out that she was scared that she might fail. She didn't feel worthy of success and had been self-sabotaging her chances at success because results and inspiration were not showing up fast enough. That left her feeling not very encouraged.
It's totally normal to be nervous and not wanting to be vulnerable. It's scary, trust me, I know. The trick is learning to embrace it!!
One of my favorite authors Steven Kotler who is also a co-founder of the Flow Genome Project talks quite a bit about the similarity between nerves and focus. He says ,”The only thing that's different is the frame you build around it. How you interpret it.”
I couldn't be a professional artist and entrepreneur if I were not able (and willing) to redirect my stress into feelings of excitement.
For me, the first thing is reframing the feelings. In my case, I know that deep down, I get nervous because what I do really matters to me. I know that the opportunities that I take on are important to me and the nerves that I feel means that I'm taking it seriously.
Then I take a deep breath and change my inner dialogue and get excited about this amazing opportunity.
Not everyone is going to like or appreciate what we do, but it's not about “us”. It's about the practice of sharing your gift. It's our job to put out our best work, it's someone else's job to like or not like it.
To be fully transparent here, even going on tour at all had me nervous and stressed out. I had no guarantee that it would be worth the hefty financial investment to plan and book a two week art tour. Then there was the stress of traveling with our three young children across the country for the first time. I had so much other work at home I should be doing. And anyway, I really don't love flying.
But I knew it would be worth it and it sure was…
Every event was a huge success. I sold art and met incredible fans like you. I made new business connections and deepened existing relationships. Perhaps most rewarding, Chelsea and I showed our children some of our favorite places in the U.S. and got the kids excited about travel.
I love being connected with you all on social media and email. But getting to meet you guys face to face and hearing your stories is getting me stoked for future events and opportunities.
Sometimes we all could use a little reminder to reframe our mindset. Every day that we wake up is a good day and a new start. So the next time you get those jittery anxious feelings, remember that you can interpret it any way that you choose to.
Art Show Photos
(Above) Look who showed up to hang with us…My bro Kyle from Slightly Stoopid.
(Above) My finished live painting from the Wayfarer event in Costa Mesa, CA. Anyway, I totally improvised this whole piece after a quick drive through Laguna Beach for inspiration.
Jay Alders and Maria Brophy
(above) Two awesome guys (and new collectors) from Brazil who came to the event posed with me and Judah.
My Art Show at Art Center Gallery in Westminster, CA.