The Power of Responsibility


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?

Not Blame

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.

Next Up

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.

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on facebook: fanpage

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

Thinking Big about Art


18 thoughts on “The Power of Responsibility

  1. Pingback: Studio Update | Contemporary Textile Art

  2. Robin Koehler

    What a way to start a BIG blog than with a BIG word. Very empowering for a monday morning and I thank you!!!!
    This is exactly the thinking that prompted me last week to finally get serious about my book proposal.
    Have a great week, Robin

  3. Laura

    Great post, Lisa. I’m going to tweet it. One question: How does responsibility play in deciding whether or not to move forward (i.e. get engaged) in a close personal relationship. I just read through Donald Trump’s latest book and I admire so much his apparent clarity and lack of doubt about everything. He seems to be totally responsible. Any insight on responsibility and relationships?

  4. Charlotte B. DeMolay

    Love this..especially number 4 & 5. My turning point was realizing I was responsible for DECIDING what was success and what I wanted from my art career.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Melody Madden

    Very empowering……….I printed this off and am putting it on my bulletin board in my studio so I can see it every morning. It will keep me focused…

  6. Jeanne Guerin-Daley

    Ditto, Lisa!
    I agree with you wholeheartedly!
    We are all responsible for the person we are/can be/want to be.

    Below is a quote that is pasted to my wall. I read it often.

    “You are the person who has to decide
    Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside,
    You are the person who makes up your mind
    Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind,
    Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar
    Or just be contented to stay where you are.”
    —Edgar A Guest

  7. John T Unger

    Great post and great advice, Lisa. I’ve found that by taking responsibility for all my actions/desires I consistently get much better results and I make a point of it. It clarifies for me what I want to accomplish and what my boundaries are. If I find myself given the option to do something I would not admit in public and take responsibility for, I realize that it probably does not mesh with my actual goals or ideals.

    I think it helps (at least for me) to be very public about the process. If you are open about both your intentions and responsibility, it helps in two very important ways. 1. Going on record provides an additional source of motivation to live up to the responsibilities you’ve set for yourself. 2. Publicly stating that you are responsible for your actions, career, art, etc. helps focus the areas that are most important to you.

  8. Wen Redmond

    Wowswe again! I have learned power
    Is in the present moment. That is the only
    Place you can make choices, ie; to be responsible.
    Being present or mantaining clarity is a skill
    I am still learning. Remembering to
    Remember Wen.

  9. Lisa Call

    Robin – glad to hear you are moving forward with the book.

    Go Pat!

    Thanks Lori, Charlotte & Melody.

    Jeanne – great quote – thanks for sharing.

    John – yes yes yes – I’m with you on the accountability and that will be a post coming soon.

    Wen – that’s so true – only in the present moment.

  10. Lisa Call

    Laura – I believe that you can substitute the work relationship (or pretty much anything) into those sentences and it would hold true. I believe I am responsible for my relationships. Learning what I can and can not control is the key. I can control me – I can’t control others. I can decide how to respond to each circumstances with the best of my abilities.

  11. Tracy Wall

    Ok, I read this just after I was complaining, “I don’t have time to paint, blah, blah, blah…..” Solutions become available to you when you need them! Thanks for the timely post to remind myself it’s up to ME to make priorities.

    And I agree with you about the relationship angle. Having just read about firming up boundaries, things within your boundaries are the things you can control. Things outside are not. The challenge happens when we want to control (be responsible for) things outside our boundaries. Goal is to distinguish the two.

  12. Linda Dunn

    There’s what happens, and then there’s what you decide to do with what happens. To have these choices, these questions – that is a liberty in itself. Thanks for the great essay.

  13. Nancy Wylie

    Thanks Lisa so much for all your words of help! You are an inspiration to me to get my rear in gear. I really appreciate you teaching these things that I have stuggled to learn. My kids have helped me with so much, but I want to be able to do stuff on my own. LOL! I am looking forward to your answers to my questions on the “Do I need a Facebook fan page”. I will try and add my fan page URL to my profile. That was another question I had the you answered! Thanks!!!

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