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The Simple Secret to Achieving Success

Is there a secret to success? Yes! And I'm about to let you in on it. It's one of the best known secrets for achieving success as an artist, (or writer, musician, photographer, maker…you name it)!

It's surprisingly simple really. 
The big secret is this...

Seriously…that's it! Show up! Show up for yourself, for your craft and for your own success. Show up everyday and do something that will impact your creative goals. If you only have an hour…then devote that entire hour and do nothing but focus on your project or goal during this creative time.( see my tips below for help with this) Obviously the more time you commit to showing up for yourself the sooner you will see results.

You will be surprised at how quickly your time compounds into real progress…and how progress can translate into success. 

Make it a priority to show up in your studio and produce your art, compose your music or write that novelSometimes you'll make really great things happen, but many times you're more likely going to make mediocre and even terrible creations. Ignore your inner critic and just keep it up. 

If you consistently show up you will eventually produce work that moves you, amazes you and even sometimes surprises you.

One thing I have learned from over 30 years as a professional artist is that making decent artwork is kind of like going to the gym…very difficult at first... but after you consistently workout for awhile you start to see improvements and feel positive changes in your body. Well…the same goes for your creative practice and the work that you are putting out. Give it some time and you'll start to see improvements in your art, your music, your novel...etc). 

How to Show Up For Your Own Success:

Make it a Date: Add your creative time to your daily or weekly calendar. Just as you would block out time for other reoccurring activities such as yoga class or social commitments, regularly book your studio time and keep it sacred. You'll quickly form the habit of showing up for yourself and your future success.

Tune Out: This one's a biggie so listen up! Limit your distractions and honor this creative time. Mute all notifications on your phone and other devices. Shut down your computer and set your phone to Airplane Mode. Close your door and shut out anything else that may break your focus. Your time expands when you reduce the number of interruptions that can disturb your flow.

Beat The Clock: Try this…you will see impressive results on your very first round. Use the timer on your phone (that is now set to Airplane Mode) or some other timing device with an alarm on it. Block out a specific amount of time to devote to your creative project. Work in time modules (I prefer 30 to 90 minute sessions) and keep working until the alarm rings. (no cheating) Feel free to keep going once your alarm goes off or set up another round on your timer.

Make it Sexy: Turn your creative area into a luxurious and inspiring place that you just can't wait to hangout in. Add special furnishings, lighting and objects that "lure" you into your creative space and "seduce" you into a creative state of mind. Warning: Be careful not to go overboard and clutter up your space…clutter is distracting.

Take Bribes: Reward yourself for staying committed or completing some aspect of your project. It could be as simple as allowing yourself 20 minutes to flip through your favorite magazine or something more indulgent like a latte or lunch with a friend. This works best if you set up a specific reward before you begin your session or task. When a distraction calls for your attention set it up as your reward for completing a time module.

Think Present Tense: Stop putting projects off for your future self to accomplish "someday". Make it your "today self" and think in terms of days and hours instead of weeks, months and years. Instead of telling yourself my deadline is in three no no dear one...your deadline is in 21 days. See how that makes you think in terms of action instead of planning? It's a cool trick and your mind will fall for it every time.

These are just a few ways that you can increase the amount of time you devote to your creative practice and show up for yourself and your success. You will see significant progress in your work if you start implementing some of these tips and while there aren't many sure things in life... I can guarantee: When you do nothing...nothing happens! Start showing up right now and you'll begin to experience success. 

Check out this fantastic article on Success from Ira Glass, the host and executive producer of the popular National Public Radio show, This American Life.


Jennifer McLean said…
this was fantastic and just when and what I needed to read today. Thank you!