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Do Your Job, artists. A Labor Day note.

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The highly successful football coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, adopted ‘Do Your Job’ as the motivational mantra for the 2014/15 team. You wouldn’t think a statement like this would be necessary for a group of super-athletes to go out and be a winning football team. But the success of Coach Belichick proves that even the big boys—really big boys—still need something to focus on, that cuts through the glut of distractions, and focuses a laser beam on what is expected of them.

Simple, right? Do Your Job. As artists we can be the epitomy of distraction. As author Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, “What keeps us from sitting down (to our job/work) is resistance”. Paraphrased, resistance comes in so many forms—avoidance, distractions, low self-confidence. We feel it’s negative force. It prevents us from doing our work. (I recommend reading The War of Art, wish I had found it many years ago.)

For instance the following are my forms of resistance: family, grandchildren, shopping, photography, reading, baseball, basketball, football, exercising, cooking, music, guitar, travel, volunteering, church, sightseeing, gardening, road trips, phone, computers, social-mediaing, marketing, learning about illustrating children’s books, long walks on the beach :), beach combing, sketching, staring, sleeping, sewing, antiquing, cleaning, sorting through art supplies, finding photos, etc. None of the above is my job. They are all important interests and have an influence on my job. But my actual job is not on this list, think of all the time spent not on my job.

“I am a painter. Do My Job. Paint.”

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Make a nice clear sign for your art studio. No embellishments. Futura Bold Extra Condensed for my typeface fans out there. ‘Do My Job’ during your most energy-filled time of day, then everything else.

Wishing you all the best in doing your job. Enjoy your Labor Day.

 

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