You never arrive

You think it's just you - you work by yourself, you question what you're doing, why you're doing it, whether you're any good at it. Then you listen to two podcasts in a row with people who you look up to, who are super talented, famous, prolific and successful (like Lisa Congdon and Jason Munn), and they both say they often question themselves. They don't always feel confident in what they're doing. And then one of them articulates it perfectly, by simply stating YOU NEVER ARRIVE. And that's a good thing (thanks, Lisa Congdon.) Ah, it's all about perspective! That happened to me last Friday.

Coincidentally, yonks ago I'd booked in for the monthly Creative Women's Circle (CWC) morning tea, first thing this Monday morning. The topic, which I'd forgotten about, was Building Confidence Within Yourself And Your Business (Especially When You Work Solo). At that morning tea I was surrounded by about 12 amazing and inspiring women, all creative, all with different businesses or business ideas. And we all talked about the same things - how do you confidently sell your own work/services? How do you know what you should be doing when there's no boss over your shoulder telling you? How does it feel when you're at a market and don't sell much? How do you have the confidence to take a business from a part-time thing to a full-time thing? (That one's for me.)

After that I re-listened to the two podcasts and jotted down a bunch of things that Lisa said, because I realised the advice she has, as a seasoned creative, is so helpful and inspiring. It was, basically, the answers to the questions we'd been asking at CWC. So no pictures, just more words. I hope you find them helpful. And if any of this piques your interest, go listen more - details of the podcasts are below.


Lisa Condgon is an artist, illustrator, author and educator who currently lives in Portland, Oregon, USA. She's a prolific creative who takes on year-long creative projects, has published a number of books, is an exhibiting artist, does a heap of illustrative work for clients and also does some teaching. She's been working for herself as a creative for a number of years is really open about giving advice on what she's found has worked for her. She's even published a book on this topic, called Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist. Her blog's also a great resource, full of open and inspiring words and ideas and she's even posted a list of all the tools that she uses and loves - how great is that!

Here are some of the things she mentioned in the Creative Peptalk podcast with Andy J. Miller:

I thought, for a period of time there, that if I just got organised enough, worked hard enough, worked with this client or that client or did this thing or that thing or won this award or whatever, that I’d somehow arrive in this place where everything was magically, I don’t know, easy and flowing and that I wouldn’t have any worries and that I’d be super confident.

And what I realised is that I’ve really done a lot of the things I aspired to do, I have accomplished most of my goals and I still feel like a nervous wreck most days. I still have a lot of anxiety. I still question whether my work is any good.

You never get to that place where it becomes easy. Yeah, it becomes easier but you never arrive. And if that’s your goal, then you’ve got to do it through meditation or another means. Getting to this place in your career isn’t gonna somehow make you magically feel happy or feel fulfilled. It might just make you feel more stressed out, if anything!

You never arrive because life is a journey because it’s not about arriving.

Lisa then goes on to talk about how she now approaches each day with joy. Waking up and feeling joyful - that is a super great idea. Be grateful for what you've got, for what you have achieved. Thanks, Lisa!


Jason Munn, who formerly went by the name Small Stakes, is a graphic designer/illustrator/poster artist who lives in Oakland, California, USA. He's best known for his screen printed posters for indie bands such as the Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, The Postal Service and so many more (basically all my favourite bands. I have his posters all over the walls in my house!) In 2010 Chronicle Books published a monograph collection of his posters, The Small Stakes: Music Posters. His use of typography is impeccable and his work is bold, geometric and stripped back - he has a way of taking common objects, finding their essence and making them simple and beautiful. 

If you'd like to hear Jason Munn talking about his work and some of his though processes: Jason Munn with Mark Brickey of Adventures in Design.

And if you are a female creative, live in Australia and have not heard of Creative Women's Circle, take a moment to visit their website. And maybe even become a member and go the the next morning tea, if there is one near you.