Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coming Clean

I have not been here in such a long time. Kept telling myself soon, soon. O, I have been painting, I have been in shows but there was some other technique, some other teacher who knew better and then this article comes across my desk. I could not believe it, here is an artist I love and she has the same problem and I thought it was only me. Read and enjoy I bet there are more of us out there.

I'm Coming Clean On My Addiction

The first step is admitting that you have a problem.” I’ll be honest with you; many times over the years, I have wondered and then dismissed it. “No, not me, I need this.” But as time goes on I can see the evidence mounting. It is becoming harder and harder to deny that I have a problem.

Most days I am too close to it, too caught up in the excitement, the rush of getting more. Enough is never enough. I’m blinded by it. I am always wanting more, searching for more, consuming more. You should see my stash.

It’s easy to deny it’s a problem, because let’s face it – everybody does it. OK, not everybody, but I know a lot of people who do. Not regularly perhaps, but on occasion. Really. I’ve seen others do it. I’ve seen you do it, too. No? OK, you’re right, I haven’t actually seen you, but I’m pretty sure you do and maybe you don’t even realize you have a problem. Most people don’t until it’s too late.

I am coming clean today because it’s the only way I can see my way out of this. I’m going public because I need the accountability. Knowing that you know will keep me focused on my goal.

Does it sound like I am stalling? You bet. It’s embarrassing and I have to admit, I really don’t want to stop. As I write this, I still want more and I’m afraid that the feeling will never go away. Oh, and did I mention that it’s not as easy as staying away from it? It’s everywhere I look. It’s something I have to resist daily, often more often than not, several times a day.

I am addicted to information. OK, I said it. I have a need to know. No matter how much I know, I want to know MORE. I am guilty of waiting until I know everything before I take action. And what does that do? It stops me before I can even start.

It’s illogical, I know, because I already know a lot. I have learned by experience, the best teacher, this I know for sure. Experience is the best teacher because it means you are taking action. And that’s one of the reasons I started coaching – to share what I know. But then it started. I felt I needed to know more, to be able to give you more, to give you the best. As a result I am looking to others for knowledge, when I know better. Like Dorothy seeking the Wizard of Oz, the power is inside and I have had it all along.

Another reason I am coming clean is because I think you may have a problem, too. I have heard more than once - you won’t start, can’t start, until you learn one more thing, take one more class, buy one more tool that will magically turn you into the expert you want to be. You may not be addicted to information, but you are addicted to looking outside of yourself for the answers. Just like me. And we both know better. We know the answers lie inside so why are we still searching?

We’re human. That’s the answer. We’re normal. We can take comfort in that. We are searching because we do not believe in ourselves. We are taught from an early age to question everything. We spend 12 or more years in school finding out how much we don’t know, but no one ever teaches us to become aware of what we do know. As the years go by, we bury our own knowingness deeper and deeper until we doubt we really aren't shre of anything at all. We do not trust ourselves.

So here’s what I propose. Grab a piece of paper and start writing down everything you know, big and small, significant and insignificant. Write until your hand hurts. Take a break and write some more. Do it again tomorrow. In fact, I bet you could do this every day and never run out of things you know.

Daily practice: Write down 12 things you know about the area you continue to seek knowledge in -12 things. Do that every day for 12 days. When you begin to see how much you actually know, you will build confidence and certainty in yourself. Confident people do not have addictions. That’s my 12 step program.

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

No comments: