The other day while I was mindlessly perusing Facebook, killing time, as most of us do from time to time, I stumbled upon a video that really resonated with me. It was Will Ferrell’s Commencement Speech as USC 2017. I’ve added the video to this post for your viewing pleasure. Now, if you’re like me, you’re not a huge Will Ferrell fan, and that’s okay, you don’t have to be to agree with his message during this speech.
This video resonated with me on so many different points, and it really made me think about what I do, I just felt like it was worth sharing and worth the discussion…..
He talks about how people think they’ll get out of college and immediately get their dream job. Wrong. It takes time, you have to fight and claw your way to your dream, it’s not going to be handed to you on a platter. Even if you’re Will Ferrell, and he talks about his humble beginnings. And the one line that stuck with me most he then says, ” I was just trying to throw as many darts at the dart board as I could, hoping one would stick.”
This has been my approach to my business in a nut shell. It seems like as a society we’re quick to share our success on social media. We share out triumphs, we make it seem like our lives are flawless and perfect. And don’t get me wrong, life is wonderful, but there are moments that aren’t perfect. There are disappointments, there are missed goals, and there are even heart breaks. And that’s okay. That’s all apart of life, but we’re not transparent about those moments as much and it can leave people feeling less than deserving. So in the spirit of transparency, I’ll share my most recent and biggest disappointment. To give you some background information, I’ve been working my tail off to get into some national level art shows, like the Saint Louis Art Fair and the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City. It’s been a dream of mine since I started my business 4 years ago. I didn’t have the things I needed quite right for the Saint Louis Art Fair application deadline, so I was not terribly surprised when they declined to invite me. I kept moving forward, got my ducks in a row and turned in my application exactly how I intended for it to be in time for the Plaza Art Fair application. And last Thursday, I got their response e-mail to my application. My heart was racing when I saw the e-mail in my inbox. I was positive this was my invitation to be an artist in their festival, so you can imagine my disappoint when I read the words “we regret to inform you that you have not been selected to be an artist in this years festival”. No explanation, and not even selected as a wait list artist… it was definitely a a disappointing moment. So much so, I stopped working for the rest of the evening and allowed myself a small pity party. I couple years ago, I would have felt guilt for my pity party, but I’ve learned it’s okay to grieve disappointments, so long as you don’t live there and let yourself wallow. My agreement with myself is that I would get the rest of that evening to be sad, and then the next day it was back to throwing darts at the dartboard.
I didn’t even get to finish my pity party that evening before things started to turn around. I had a sale, which is not uncommon, but this sale was out of the usual. I had a gentleman purchase 4 of the exact same ring, informed me that their intentions we to use this ring as a prop on a TV show, asked that I fill out a release contract for them to use it on the show and then gave me information about the show. Well, that’s pretty exciting, something I made is going to be used as a prop for a TV show! And several years ago when I started watching the TV show “Vikings” I was also following a Celtic jewelry artist that made all the jewelry used on that show and I remember thinking ” how cool would that be to design and make all the jewelry used for a TV show?!” Maybe this is that chance.. maybe it’ll just be a one time thing, but it’s still neat in my book.
Then another thing happened that turned my night around more. I received an e-mail from an Art Gallery in Saint Louis asking me to join them in being an artist with a running display in their gallery. This was a first for me. Usually I scout and approach galleries, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to be the one scouted and approached. I’m happy to say I’ve accepted that offer and will be setting up my display in the Knox Gallery of Fine Art this Sunday.
Although, things didn’t pan out exactly how I wanted, things can still go well. And it’s because I choose to continue to keep throwing darts at the dart board. It’s either that or let the fear and disappointment take over and quit.
Back to Will Ferrell’s speech, the next thing that stuck with me was when he talked about fear, specifically the fear of chasing your dreams.
“And yes I was afraid, you’re never not afraid, I’m still afraid. But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of “what if”. What if I never tried at all?”
I can’t image not doing what I do. I can’t image not chasing this dream. It’s been exciting and wonderful, along with stressful and sometimes disappointing. But you’ll never get to the exciting and wonderful parts if you don’t fight through the disappointing parts.
I guess the points I was trying to make with this post were these two things –
1. If you’re chasing your dreams, don’t beat yourself up looking at what everyone else is doing and thinking they have it all together and everything goes right for them all of the time. That’s not true, we just don’t usually get to see the disappointments.
2. If you’re chasing your dreams, it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes work, resilience, and perseverance. You have to be really good at dusting yourself off and as Will Ferrell said, “just keep throwing darts at the dart board”, one is bound to stick eventually.