Snapshots: Art Careers and Relationships

Artist career transition can also bring change to our relationships.

Most often the change is positive. But occasionally, art career change can cause tension in our relationships. There is some risk involved during these times, and artist career support can help. We may benefit by discovering new things about ourselves and our alliances.

First and foremost: take new risks for art career growth.

What follows is an interesting dynamic. We notice who among our family and friends supports our work and career growth, and who does not. It can be enlightening–and a little unsettling–to manage this new territory. We are confronted with how to let go of certain influences and embrace others. There are effective strategies for staying true to our career direction while communicating our needs to significant others. Once-allies may grow distant, and others may draw near. Some of our allies might simply need time to absorb our new direction. Art career change is an interesting road that needn’t be full of alienation. In fact, as an artist consultant and coach, I have witnessed relationships become closer, as a bi-product of following a new art career path. Why? I think because when we free ourselves to live closer to our true creative core, we are more fun to be around.

Be mindful of relationships during significant art career change.

Whether a seasoned veteran or a new aspirant, we can expect some degree of adjustment in our relationships as we embrace art career change. The marriage of one of my coaching clients was in trouble during a particularly confusing juncture in his career as a journalist. We were able to sort out his core focus, which was to write a novel. He arranged his life so that the book could become a reality. As a result of shifting into alignment with his creative core, his marriage tensions eased. Creative stresses in our art careers (whether exciting or stressful or both) impact our relationships. It’s important to understand what is going on. For example, it was key for my client to delay making big decisions about his personal life until he had solved his art career confusion. By solving that first, he was able to gain more perspective on his relationship. A career coach must support art career change with awareness of ancillary affects on relationships. The artist support process will raise questions such as: How is my situation affecting my behavior? How are significant others perceiving and responding to my art career transition? Is it time to discuss issues openly or would it be wiser to wait until more clarity comes? Who has a supportive and affirming attitude toward my creative process and art career goals? Who does not have a supportive an affirming attitude toward my art career goals? As an artist career consultant, I witness that a little awareness and wisdom go a long way toward managing the effects of art career changes on relationships.

Know your creative voice and develop more support for it.

Find ways to be in touch with your creative voice. Listen to it’s messages, even if they are vague to begin with. The voice will speak with more clarity, but only if we listen. We identify the creative voice by its thematic features, and we can all benefit by listening more closely. It is the voice of fulfillment: the one that is inter-subjective, supports diversity, seeks justice, invites and unites, is wonderful, awesome and fascinating, is connective and increased by sharing, refreshes, brings flow, joy and creativity. Bring more people into your life who “love” your goals–the kind of associates who ask about your work because they are sincerely interested, not because they are measuring you according to their own standards of success. Identify the souls who nod because they get what you are saying, want to know more, ask good questions, offer thoughtful responses, are willing to tell you the truth, and to guide you, wittingly or unwittingly. Be the sort of Creative friend to others that you hope others will be to you. “Love” their goals and see what happens. Find more of the open, non-judgmental ones, who care about their world and care to expand horizons with you. When you find them, give them your best and let them give to you.

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*Essay by Barbara Bowen of - the definitive source for artists and creative careers in transition. Contact Barbara to empower your creative process and for help with your career goals. She would love to hear from you.*