It’s hard to put yourself out there when your heart is in what you do.

Rejection stings the worst when you do your best and someone tells you it’s not good enough. That criticism can tear you down.

Hate to tell you this, but that’s exactly what you need.

You have to keep putting yourself out there, testing and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. Adventures were never taken by those who wanted to play it safe. When was the last time you heard a successful person say, “Oh, I just stayed home, never went out, and the success just spilled into my lap.” No, chances are the stories you’ve heard are about risk and failure. Inspiration comes from hearing how people overcome their obstacles.

As for rejection and criticism, those make sure that next time you try harder and learn more. These make you grow beyond what skills you have. If you aren’t seeing progress, seeing yourself getting better, then you aren’t pushing hard enough. If someone is telling you that you can do better, there’s probably a reason it’s being said. (This is not to take into consideration the advice of ‘Trolls.’ There is a difference between criticism which will help you grow – at least after the initial sting wears off — and the venomous hatred of Trolls – who tear down only because they wish they were out doing what you’re doing.)

So, I thought I’d show you a picture which shows my progress. No one was ever supposed to see this picture. It’s horrible! I knew it from the moment I painted it. I tucked it away. I found it this weekend when I was cleaning my office. I almost threw it away, but I hid it away because I know that it shows my progress.  Unfortunately, I don’t even have it dated (bad me!) but I’m guessing it’s sometime between 2007 and 2009. Okay, here it is. Don’t laugh!

Practice Painting

Bad, bad painting
12×9 Acrylic on Bristol
©  Dawn Blair

Look at that hair! What was I thinking. And what’s she got in her hands? Terrible, huh? Oh yeah! This painting was never meant to see the light of day. Back to the nether realms it should go.

But, if I’d never tried that, would I ever have done this following painting?

Windswept Angel 20x16 Acrylic on Canvas © 2010 Dawn Blair
Windswept Angel
20×16 Acrylic on Canvas
© 2010 Dawn Blair

If I’d never done Windswept Angel, which wasn’t perfect but definitely progress forward, would I have gone on to paint this?

Manifest the Magic book cover
Holding What Matters
20×16 Acrylic on Canvas
© 2012 Dawn Blair

Let yourself be vulnerable.

We all learn as we go. If we fear the process, the world will never see us shine.

Make your magic.