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« Balance: There Is No Such Thing as Perfect Balance | Main | Balance: Chief Cook, Bottle Washer, Caretaker ... and Artist »
Thursday
May152014

Balance: Juggle, Juggle, Toil...No Trouble?

Balancing Art, Life and Marketing

Is it even possible to juggle making art, running your art business, marketing and selling art without being overwhelmed, exhausted and sacrificing all of your personal time?

Yes, it's possible.

No, you don't have to be wealthy enough to have a team to take over all of those pesky tasks you don't like, so you can simply be in your studio.

You don't have to give up anyone or anything super important to you or that you love.

It's all about juggling. Conscious juggling.

The Struggle to Juggle

I remember learning to juggle with scarves. The lesson started with a video of Michel Moschen, who revolutionized juggling, refining it into what he calls visual motion using a few flying balls and well-chosen props. Moschen describes juggling as using his body to play with rhythm in space. No pressure ...



Despite Michael's virtuosity, he occasionally dropped a ball, picked it up and carried on. (at 2:17 in the video.) That was reassuring!

The skill of juggling an art business in the midst of a busy life involves knowing what's up, what's going down and where things might slide sideways, all the while knowing where you are headed and where you want to be next. To learn juggling you learn to feel a spatial palette with your eyes and see with your hands. To me that seemed a lot like making art. I agreed to give it a try. No promises ....

I was given three florescent chiffon scarves - phew - no balls to drop. I started by throwing the red scarf up in the air with my left hand and catching it with my right.

Not so hard, right?  

Not quite.

When I got a bit over-confident, and let my attention wander, I actually dropped the one and only scarf I was tossing. Focus Aletta ...

Next I held the red and yellow scarves in my left hand, tossing the red one first. As soon as I caught the red scarf in my right hand, I tossed the yellow one with my left. Now I had a nice circular motion going.

Not so bad ...

As long as I kept my eyes lifted to the highest point to which the red and yellow scarves flew - just before each began to descend - I kept a nice rhythm going. Feeling good...

Next I had the red and yellow scarves in my left hand and a green one in my right. First I had to toss one scarf from my left hand and then the next one from that same hand. Then transfer the green scarf from my right hand to my left. And keep catching with my right, transferring while tossing with my left - all in one smooth motion.

Are you still with me? If so, you may be a better juggler than me. I found that just trying to follow the instructions was challenging.


When I first tried to juggle three scarves, my rhythm fell apart. I made the mistake of looking at my hands and lost sight of the scarves in the air.

When I held on too long to one scarf, missed the transfer, or dropped scarves, so I had to start again from the beginning.

When I had to start again, I got frustrated and then I made more mistakes.

And it got worse when I compared my progress to the other jugglers in the room who were doing "better" than I was.

Huffing and puffing while juggling scarves makes them fly away...

But I didn't give up - I'm a bit stubborn...

I practiced, and practiced and practiced.

I learned by trial and error how high to throw and how quickly to transfer the scarves I caught while I started the next throw. 

Juggling Art, Life and Marketing

The skill of juggling an art business in the midst of a busy life involves knowing what's up, what's going down and where things might slide sideways, all the while knowing where you are headed where you want to be next.

It's not at all uncommon to struggle to keep up with everything. You get a handle on making art and you have to toss it up in the air while you grab hold of art marketing and fit that in between the rest of your life.

You try to hold onto everything as you add still more to what you juggle.

From time to time, you stay too long in the co-op gallery, miss an opportunity to show your work in a top gallery or have to decline a commission and it feels like you've "dropped a ball."  

As you become more adept at juggling, you drop fewer balls. As you find a rhythm in your art, marketing and your life, there's enough time for each ball to rise and fall.

That doesn't mean you never drop a ball. It happens - and if it's okay for expert juggler Michael Moschen, it's fine for you.

The point is that you keep going and pick up any balls you missed, drop some and leave them or exchange them for others with more bounce.

Intro to Conscious Juggling

My mother used to tell me that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. She meant that I put too much food on my plate and then didn't finish what was there.

I admit that I still do that with all the ideas I have about how I can better help more artists. I'd rather do fewer things well than many things poorly. So I've had to learn to triage the fire hose flow of possibilities.

Overload can be overwhelming as long as you let all that flotsam and jetsam float around in your head.


Of course, this 15-minute task didn't make your whirlwinds go away. But you got the ideas out of your head - for at least a few minutes - and on paper where you can pin them down.

Introducing Balancing Art, Life and Marketing

If you could use some help with what you are juggling, my new coaching program Balancing Art, Life and Marketing will help you choose what you absolutely need to get done, when it needs to be done, with the time, money and energy available.

You'll make new decisions that help you feel better about your choices and get more satisfying results - all without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Together, we'll take a close look at your art, life and marketing to see: 

  • What's not working or could work better in your personal and professional life
  • What the future could feel like if everything in your life got enough air time
  • What you could stop doing, do differently or start doing for more flow
  • What changes could lead you to this better future
  • How you can stay in motion while you juggle more smoothly

Throughout Balancing Art, Life and Marketing, you'll get lots of personal support and feedback from me so you don't have to worry about figuring out what to do. You already have a lot going on, so I'll be your personal navigator.

Set aside Wednesday, June 18th, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific for a teleconference to learn more about the journey to conscious juggling with less effort and more ease.

No charge and no obligation. Just bring what you juggle and we'll talk about what's possible.

If you can't make it, no worries, you can set up a personal call with me to learn more at a time that works better.

I'll tell you more next week.

Remember to breathe!

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