In any industry or art form there will be levels of competition. Competition can either be a positive or a negative force that can drive you to excellence or force you into the shadows.
It’s a subliminal ( and sometimes toxic ) mental state that some Type A personalities or those that thrive off of competition actually seek out. For example, athletes, salespeople, all the way down to children in a playground will create competitive scenarios to win. Winning can be fun and exhilarating. For those that do well with competition, losing just flames their desire to do better, and to try again, until they do win! It’s an inborn nature to always be climbing the next mountain.
For those that do not have this innate drive, let’s call them supporters, competition can seem like a waste of time and energy. Possibly even a negative place to reside mentally and emotionally that does not fuel creativity, generosity, and overall growth.
Most of us land somewhere in the middle. Or choose our “battles” when it comes to embracing our competitive nature. And for artists, musicians, and most creatives it can be an internal shift to “up our game”.
In the arts and entertainment business, we are constantly being compared, judged, and critiqued by the outside world of fans, collectors, and other artists. Just look at the multitude of reality TV shows for singers, chefs, designers and almost every form of art. The industry has capitalized on the idea of competition.
I see two “camps” in this world of competition for creatives. Those creatives that choose to enter the competition world, and those that refuse and instead beat to their own drum and inner critic.
As a long time performer, artist, writer, and artist manager, I like to offer a softer, middle place that is coupled with both healthy competition and inner guidance.
Let’s call this place “The Stage”. If you have ever been back stage you will see that it’s layered with complex design, rooms, equipment, lights, props, cameras, makeup room, and so much more! And The Stage takes a huge team of support cast to pull off a show of any kind. Or in the case of other creative forms: launching a book, a film, a music album, a tour, a gallery show! This all takes a team.
As creatives, our inner and outer world of vision, creation, production, marketing, and attraction, is laced with complex layers like The Stage. And for many of us, as actors, musicians, TV and film creators, we are dependent to flow as a team. A family.
So how does healthy competition come into play in the arts, while keeping a sense of family “back stage”?
I suggest as an artist you choose your mountain. You can only climb one mountain at a time. To reach the top, you get to stay focused on your vision, inner guidance and personal creative development to daily take steps up the mountain. This is often coined as "choose your battle". In competition, it’s called choose your winning game.
In essence, what is one area in your creative, artistic life where you want to excel personally? What is one inner drive that is guiding you to be your best? What is one vision that gives you so much joy that you hop out of bed to work on it everyday?
In my experience as a creative, I chose singing. I had this innate passion to learn, and become the best I could be. Not to out sing my competition but to express from a place of expertise and experience.
I chose to go on THE STAGE with this talent and to allow a healthy inner competitor to rise up. But it also meant trusting my support team. I hired the best jazz musicians, the best sound engineers and producers. I leaned on them like family. Without my back stage ( or on stage ) team I would not have risen to my vision. I like how that rhymes! Maybe I’ll write a song!
Here’s my point. Allow a healthy inner drive and competition to pave the way for excellence in your creative passion. Allow for a supportive team and family to walk by your side. Give back, by helping other creatives in their path. Ignore the critics and learn to have feathers that let the competition and criticism run off quickly. Choose your mountain. Choose your path. Create great art.
And, stop trying to it all yourself.
Finally, to be a sincerely great artist, you need to release the block of a competition mindset. You must flow. To flow you need to trust. Trust others to excel at their own pace. Trust your journey. Trust your team.
If you are at the place in your creative career where you want a team, a manager or support, let’s talk. That’s what we do at The Carol Frazier Studio. We are the stage crew for your brilliant creations!
From one artist to another ... with big love,
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