Realistic. Re-group. Request - 3 R's
This acronym has been part of my life for thirty years. The mantra began when I was in my early thirties, and decided to leave nursing to pursue an art career. While back in college, I hustled any artsy job I could find to support myself.
One income generator was making hand-crafted collage note cards.
I happened to show a card to another art student, Claudia. She was intrigued and offered, “I know a company, called International, who would love this idea. They sell thousands of mini collages to Pier One, Speigel and JC Penny.”
My heart leaped with the thought of the potential of much needed money. It did a triple gallop when I received a thousand piece order!
But my elation didn’t last long. I never got a reorder. Just like that I had no further income.
Then, Claudia submitted a design to International using my watercolor techniques, like the texture treatment in the background of the painting below.
Claudia's mini collage concept was more abstract than my fish, but when she added seashells, her collages had a fun whimsical feel.
Claudia not only got an order.
She got a reorder… and another reorder. This was BIG money for Claudia!
She was producing thousands of mini collages, earning thousands of dollars, with MY techniques of cheesecloth and seashells!
Anger, spite, jealousy … all those animosities ran through me.
Then I realized the watercolor techniques weren’t MY invention. Someone had taught me.
Yet watching Claudia get one reorder after another was painful. Life seemed so unfair. Blaming Claudia for my lack of success was easier than taking ownership of my failed design.
Then, I realized I needed to be realistic, re-group, and request another opportunity to submit another idea to International.
As the years have passed in my artistic journey, my acronym of R's has been there supporting me.
The 3 R's are:
Whether it’s a major change in your life like switching careers, or something else like trying to lose fifteen pounds, be realistic in measuring your progress.
I recommend to measure progress by the month.
Not the day.
Not the week.
I can remember when I became an art gallery owner in the early nineties we needed $300 in sales a day to stay in business. However, retail sales aren't consistent. Saturday turned out to be the best day of the week and Monday the leanest. Then toss in other influences like snowstorms, or a falling stock market which all cause sales to fluctuate.
Measuring our gallery sales goals by the month was the best decision for moral building - the key to making goals.
Be realistic in measuring your progress. Tracking is important, but make it reasonable.
Life is “Murphy’s Law.” Two steps forward = one step back.
When going down a new path, be it career, or learning a new hobby, setbacks are part of the experience.
In high school, I remember being ecstatic to learn how to knit so I could gift my boyfriend a hand-made scarf for Christmas. As I knitted one, pearled two, I was meticulous not to ‘drop-a-stitch,’ creating a gap in the scarf. However, upon finishing the scarf, I realized I never paid attention to ‘gauge,’ which is the length of each stitch. It turned out, my boyfriend had a scarf that wrapped three times around his neck!
I re-grouped and tried again. Learning is often two steps forward and one step back.
Remember rally and refresh! Your forward strides will become longer and more confident.
Ask for help. Don’t let pride get in your way.
Unexpectedly, in my early thirties, I found myself living alone in Bismarck, North Dakota, stranded 1,000 miles away from my family. It was my own foolish mistake that landed me in that predicament. Humiliated and embarrassed, I hid.
My withered self-confidence began taking a physical toil. Sleep was impossible, and eating never entered my mind. Quickly, I was heading for medical trouble. I thought counseling could help, yet I didn’t have the financial funds to pay for the service.
Gathering what courage I could, I made several phone calls. I found a therapist who would barter services! One of my paintings in trade of her sessions.
REQUESTING help or admitting you’re lost or overwhelmed doesn’t mean you’re weak. Opening up is the ultimate act of courage and faith. It means you’re strong enough to seek understanding. Growth.
There's more to this story in my memoir, A Lone Birch, My Artistic Journey.
That's the Wise Words of 3 R's.
Most of the time life doesn't happen according to Plan A. Often we all wind up on Plan Q, or T, or Z. In the meantime, attack option B.