I'm not ready to be successful.
It took me quite some time to realize that I can't afford to be successful right now. I know, it sounds weird.
The first lettering artist I first heard of was Ryan Hamrick (@hamrick), I found his blog online about his tools for lettering and became obsessed with his portfolio; the second was Sean McCabe (@seanwes), back then he was also sharing his insights on freelance work and basic knowledge of hand lettering. Both of them changed my life in very different ways; I talk about that in a different post. I mention them because it was in one of the SeanWes podcast episodes that I first heard something about readiness and success, Sean began the podcast mentioning this but later on he made it clearer: success takes a toll, and you gotta be ready for it.
This affirmation forced me to completely rethink my goals, it gave me a new appreciation of the struggles and obstacles that I have come across, and, in a way, makes me thankful for the ones to come. Frustration and feelings of not being good enough are some of the most common ones for me, so hearing these little tip bits of wisdom from other creatives really lift me up and keep me going.
We are focused only on the finish line, on that end goal that will make all our dreams come true, a kind of obsession, inflicted mostly by culture, that sells us all the goods but doesn't acknowledge the hard work, sweat and tears that come with reaching this new territory.
The most common and quintessential example of this is winning the lottery, it's no exaggeration when people say too much money is a curse, but it rarely has something to do with the amount, it's almost always more about fortuity. Lottery winners are rarely ready to handle that sudden increase of of funds, which means they end up splurging it.
The same scenario can be applied to my case, or yours. We all want to win the lottery (fame, fortune, notoriety, success or however you may call it) but none of us want to make the mistake of wasting it all in a heartbeat and have nothing to show for when it eventually runs out. And here is where I introduce the secret to not making that mistake, and yes, you guessed it, it's one of those bumper sticker cliché that you love to hate: it's all about the journey. I know, it's disappointing, but that's really what it is all about; let's kick it up a notch adding another one, a favorite of mine: "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor".
You can't jump to the end, life is not a book or a television show, and really, it shouldn't be. The only way to reach to that final stage of fulfill your wildest dreams is to work your ass off. Show up every single day and learn from every obstacle and every mistake, appreciate every rejection, every critic and every hater; those are the things that make you better.
Trust the process. I understand that it may seem preachy or regurgitated, but really there's no secret recipe or mysterious formula, it all boils down to hard work and patience.