Right on time

Hello everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day. It's beautiful here in Miami and I was just thinking how grateful I am to actually be following my passion. I always knew the power of art to heal and inspire, and I often told my children over the years, "I want to be a professional artist when I grow up." And now, here I am, going for it! I am filled with so much passion and excitement for this fairly new venture. So how about the timing of starting the art business chapter of my life? Did I get it right? 

I am an action-taking, make-things-happen kind of person, and when I see an opportunity I tend to leap right in without overthinking it. Of course, even leapers like me have an inner critic. I definitely have days where mine says something along the lines of, "What have I DONE? I should not have started a business and gone public with my art until I knew EVERYTHING about everything and was ENTIRELY CONFIDENT! Aaaack ... help!" Thankfully, I'm not too impressed with that inner critic, and I don't think yours deserves much of your energy, either. I think for many of us, our first instinct is to wait for a just-right feeling before taking action. We want to wait until we feel brave before taking a bold action. We want to wait until we know all the ins and outs of a business before starting one. But guess what? It works backwards. We cannot feel brave without taking action. People who do daring things know that the only way to get rid of the fear is by doing the thing. As for starting a business, I'm not just winging it. I researched how to do things properly and legally, and I definitely believe in learning from others' experience. But you know what? There will never be a time when you're ready, when you know everything you need to know. For example, one aspect of starting my business that felt intimidating was safely packaging paintings and shipping them properly. I researched the topic and had several discussions about it with experts in my community. But then ... I still changed my practices once I got into actually doing the work. I rethought my process and learned by experience. I even rejected some of the prevailing wisdom and began packaging my art in clean repurposed packaging materials to reduce my negative impact on the environment. No amount of prior research could have taught me the things I learned from experience. I went from intimidated to confident enough to ignore some of what the experts are saying. So that just-right feeling? It only comes in hindsight. 

As for being too late, I'm living my midlife these days. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was studying Studio Art in college and racking up awards, scholarships, and praise. At that time, though, I never once thought that art could be an actual career. I had no idea. I also failed to realize the power of mentorship. All of my painting professors had office hours, but it never occurred to me to stop by and chat with them about possible life paths for talented artists. Instead, I did the most ridiculous thing of trying to figure it all out on my own. Oops! So, I could easily get so angry at myself about having wasted that opportunity. Imagine what my life would be if I had looked for a mentor and explored careers in the arts, or even just asked a few questions. Where would I be in my art career now? But then ... I also really like the actual direction my life took from there, too. I am happy that I was an au pair in Italy. I'm happy that I studied foreign language and linguistics and taught English to immigrants and refugees. I'm ecstatic that I met my husband and followed him around the world for the past 18 years. That's all good, too. The pleasant things I've experienced in life and the not-so-pleasant things ...  the actions I'm proud of and the ones I'd rather forget ... they all brought me to where I am today. They make my art, my life, and my relationships richer. I'm proud of that, and I'm proud to be starting my business now. In midlife. Exactly where I am and who I am. It's never too late. 

I'm wishing you all the courage in the world and reminding you that you, too, are right on time. Much love to you all!

-Laura