Staying unstressed is what I call success

I’m honestly so grateful for the positive response to my last post. It’s really clear to me at this moment that I must be alignment with what I’m supposed to be doing. Every part of the process I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with people about creating a work of art, the kind of heirloom that your children ask you for when they move out. I’ve been creating every day — that never gets boring. I’m blessed to have a lot of artist friends and I’ve spending time with my them which always does great thing for your energy.

After talking to a few of those friends though, I realized that this line in my last post really hit home.

“It’s a little bit like treading on a glass bridge, I can’t see the floor and it feels like I’m falling.”

This is a peek into my current studio set up, featuring a “Crying is Cool“ banner by artist India K in collaboration with Urban Outfitters. I realized a few months ago that its imperative to paint while in a good mood, otherwise the painting wouldn’t be as good.

So in my conversation with other artists, that underlying struggle has been the sub-theme of the week, even while everything has been going incredibly well, trying to get out the hold of anxiety, dealing with rejection (real or perceived), and the undefined fears of scarcity mindset has been critical and difficult.

Having the right mindset

Staying unstressed is really one of my defining markers of success. Because when I had a job, my goal was for that job to not be deeply stressful. So if my self-employment is deeply stressful, I’ve basically failed at my one job for my job, haha. Being able to do this is definitely a life long dream of mine. What I really want to get at here, is that I need to be happy now and where I am, rather than when I make a certain amount of money or achieve certain results.

So how? How am I managing? What to do when spiraling into a stress fantasy? I’m not going to lie and say I’m serene and calm swan here, under the water, my little legs are paddling like crazy to keep me afloat. I’ve also haven’t been doing this for years and years full time, so these are just some of my current systems that I am developing to keep my positive energy up and out of the emotional rapids.

My current tools for positivity

Keep it easy

Probably my favorite idea that’s been guiding me is this idea of what would it look like if it were easy. This is something that’s come from Steph Crowder, Megan Hale & Jessica Eley. Follow the things that excite you, that are so“you” never get bored of them. Use your strengths instead of your weaknesses. Try not to overthink it!


This is about replacing preconceived expectations and entitlement with gratitude. To a certain degree, luck does play a role in business. So all I can really do right now is show up and do the work. Where I’ve seen the most growth in this area for me has been with grant applications. I don’t get upset any more if things don’t work out. I just kind of feel like, it will twork out when it’s supposed to.

Overabundance of celebration

Keep track of everything that goes right, instead of dwelling on the imperfections. Ask my business bestie, Haylee Anne about this if you really want to get the tea. I am pestering her all the time with all these micro celebrations. One of my other favorite ways to do this has been with an accountability thread in a Facebook group that I’m in, just a weekly log of the past week’s goals and our goals for the upcoming week. It’s so good to have that log where I can see the progress week after week.

Win of the day: this photograph of artist  Alexandra Hemrick . This painting of Alex is going to go up in her husband’s office, I can’t wait to see it there with the rest of his “shrine” to her (her words haha).

Win of the day: this photograph of artist Alexandra Hemrick. This painting of Alex is going to go up in her husband’s office, I can’t wait to see it there with the rest of his “shrine” to her (her words haha).

Just taking small action

This really is two part method. Fear has an immobilizing effect, that I often try to counteract with seducing myself into work (maybe lighting a candle, cleaning up the space or making a honey milk tea) or post work rewarding myself with short breaks ala pomodoro method (which is 45 minutes of concentrated work with a 15 minute break). And while with every finished painting I’m trying to do the best I can do, I’m learning that its important to suspend judgement until its finished. Process over results.

Final Notes on the subject of Positive Thinking

This is a topic that I can honestly write about for days, but I’ll wrap this blog post up by saying just a few more things.

What’s important about these methods is the customization and reverse engineering all of these systems to fit yourself and own personality perfectly. You only have to take the advice you want to accept. Leave what doesn’t work for you. And if you are interested in this subject and perhaps want more tools, may I suggest this book by Cyndie Spiegel, “A Year of Positive Thinking:  Daily Inspiration, Wisdom, and Courage.“ I had to opportunity to see her speak over the summer and I’ve been reading this book and personally I think it’s a great daily reflection type of book.

Sometimes all the tools don’t work. Then its time to consider taking a break. I’m going to be going off to Miami Art Basel this week, and I think it come at a perfect time.

Angela BortoneComment