Every May, thousands of artists, designers and buyers come to New York City to attend two of the biggest industry shows of the season: Surtex and the National Stationery Show. Many artists pay thousands of dollars in show fees to display their work and attract the attention of a company to work with.
There are no guarantees of success. Additionally, one never knows when they may be speaking to an influential magazine editor or art agent. Anything can happen.
For many of these artists, Surtex (the Selling and Licensing Art & Design National Show) is a possible breakthrough into the life of their dreams- becoming full time working artists; making a living with their art. However, while some attendees are making a percentage of income with their art already, many others have day jobs and side jobs to support them in their “meantime.”
In our society, I’ve noticed a disturbing idea trending: the idea that you need to jump into your ideal job or business fairly quickly. The problem is that many people haven’t gone through the self-discovery work of figuring what work best suits them, where their talents lie and what skills need to be developed. Often time it is the work in the middle, in the “meantime” where we learn these priceless discoveries.
Many of the attendees at Surtex receive their “breakthrough” moment at Surtex yet they still go back to day jobs, juggling the “meantime” of working through license deals and purchases, covering expenses with their day job until the art work builds to a point of sustainability. The meantime is a crazy, stressful, amazing time of life but nearly every person who has achieved great things in their career goes through this stage.
I see two things happen when we ignore the value of the “meantime” years. One, some people become so discouraged and disillusioned they quit. They think, “no one is buying my art this year” or “it’s too hard to build a team in my network marketing business.” In reality, the artist may need to spend six months making really bad art and improving her skills to dig out the gems deep within her. The independent sales rep may need to read books and get coaching on how to build a team, work on her own coaching and communication skills as she continues to work on her business and slowly develop a solid team.
Life is rarely black and white. The same is true for the businesses and lives we are developing. It’s a work in progress. The joy isn’t in “owning my own business” or “making a million dollars” but in the process of growing and learning and becoming a mature and experienced leader.
Because if you work through your “meantime’s”, enjoy the high times and keep learning in the low times, you will become one of the experienced and wise, a leader in your field.