Artists are inherently self absorbed because we’re innately aware of our product being an outsource of who we are. And in some arts industries it only intensifies. The inherent ego mixed with the fantasy of what we’re often expecting from our futures leaves us with a whole lot of hidden privilege that we didn’t even know was lurking.
I’m calling it ‘privilege’ because I really don’t believe we even realize how ingrained it is.
This privilege seems to manifest itself in subsequent inaction within two very different types of creatives: “the expecting” and “the waiting”.
“The expecting” are those creatives whose privilege won’t allow them to look beyond the idea that their talent simply deserves to defy the odds stacked against them and somehow get plucked up and put on a pedestal. While I try so hard to have compassion for “the expecting”, these are the more difficult artists to work with because you have to knock them down a few pegs confronting them with the realities of the business to help inspire them to find more effective ways of actually moving forward. As opposed to…
“The waiting” who feel equally as quietly privileged but are often confused as to why they haven’t found their path to greatness yet, begin to feel overwhelmingly demoralized and find themselves sitting in a place of nothing. Just…waiting. For what? Who knows.
While “the expecting” at least have an assumed healthy confidence but little subsequent strategy and “the waiting” could withstand to find and embrace more of what they’re capable of to at least keep their head in the game, both are often left empty handed.
Working through your privilege starts by admitting it may be there. This goes back to that question I like to pose: “What did I expect in the first place?” From there you may have a better understanding of what you’ve been waiting for and then maybe even that lightbulb moment realizing all that you’ve been missing out on in terms of moving your business forward.
Letting go of privilege doesn’t just happen overnight and it isn’t based in thought or even a simple willingness to change. It’s reliant on true action that changes your work behavior, supporting a healthy, productive path forward. There’s no shame in this privilege, by the way.