July 5, 2009 by Lisa Call
What is responsibility? In the words of Deepak Chopra it is the ability to have a response:
If you look at the word ‘re-spon-si-bil-i-ty’, it means the ability to have a response. Responsibility means to have a creative response to a challenge… So what responsibility means is expanding your awareness.
I really love this take on the definition of responsibility.
I recently decided I needed to revisit my health and make some improvements. In addition to daily yoga and eating healthy (no more refined sugar for me), I’ve started running again. In addition to the physical benefits, I love the mental clarity it brings me. I do a lot of thinking while out there pounding the asphalt and it keeps the self-defeating thoughts in check.
I’ve been repeating the affirmation “I am responsible” these days while running and it feels powerful. When a problem or thought pops into my head I repeat the mantra to myself and generally a solution presents itself. Taking ownership of my life makes me feel powerful.
With this power I am not waiting around and asking for permission to move forward with my plans. Whether or not I take action is my choice. Whether or not I choose to view a situation positively or negatively is also my choice. I find I am spending much less time looking for excuses and much more time looking for solutions.
Responsibility for Artists
I also use this notion of responsibility in relationship to my art career, which again, brings me great power as an artist. At first it’s a bit scary to accept the responsibility we have, but once we do, we can fly. We think big. Nothing can stop us.
1. You are responsible for how you spend your time
Yep – it’s you. It’s not the internet or your tv or your family that stops you from spending time in your studio. It is your responsibility to prioritize this time into your life. If you say it is a top priority to spend 20 hours a week creating art there is only 1 person that is responsible for making that happen.
Yeah sure, sometimes unexpected things happen and our best intentions don’t come about. But if week after week after week you are saying “I wanted to work more in my studio but I just couldn’t find the time” who but you is responsible for changing this outcome?
Sometimes we need help or tools to overcome the obstacles stopping us from spending time the way we choose, but again, we are the ones that have to seek that help and stick with the remedy.
2. You are responsible for your skills
Be it in the studio or in the office, you are ultimately responsible for what you know and what you can do. If a lack of skillset is holding you back take lessons, hire a coach, surf the internet, etc. It is your responsibility to fill that gap.
I spent years lamenting the lack of quality of my artwork photography. This year I got tired of using this excuse (just how lame does it sound year after year to say “I don’t know photograph my artwork”). So I hired a professional to help me out.
I’m well on my way to significantly better art images. What power and freedom this gives me because I finally took responsibility for my own learning.
What lack of skillset is is holding you back?
3. You are responsible for your marketing
Like it or not, marketing is a vitally important part of an art career. Be it marketing yourself to galleries/consultants (so they can market your art for you) or marketing your art directly to your collectors, it’s is your responsibility to do this.
Don’t know how? Check out #2 above (and stay tuned as I’ll be writing about it here on makebigart).
4. You are responsible for your success
First step is to define success for yourself. Only you can do this as we all have different ideas of what that means.
Second step is to take action to move yourself towards that success.
Run into an obstacle along the way? Take responsibility for that also and keep going.
Remember, taking responsibility means choosing how to respond. If you say the economy is stopping you from reaching success, what can you do in response? There is much power in taking action and not making excuses.
5. You are responsible for your art career
The entire thing is in your hands. Where are you going to take it?
Responsibility is not about blame or guilt. It’s not yet another opportunity for you to beat yourself up. No guilt here.
Instead it’s a chance to step up and think big about where you are and how you want to respond to your current circumstances. There is no value in berating yourself for being where you are, only value in moving towards where you want to be.
I didn’t want to give the impression this blog was only about facebook or how-to’s so I decided to jump right into some mindset stuff this week. I believe thinking big requires responsibility.
How about you? I welcome your thoughts about this post in the comments below.
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Thinking Big about Art