Gambling on your future

Kenny knows when to hold ’em…when to fold ’em…when to walk away…and when to run.

Kenny knows when to hold ’em…when to fold ’em…when to walk away…and when to run.

As many of you know, our motto at Capes Coaching is “Talent Is Only Half The Equation.” What you probably don’t know is that it was originally “Talent Is Only Half The Equation; The Other Half Is A Crapshoot.”

Okay, not really. But, there’s something in that idea that’s worth exploring — the comparison between success in the arts and winning a game of craps. After all, as much fun as it may be, playing craps is ultimately a gamble. And so is the pursuit of a career in the arts. This is probably why so many parents tend to discourage their kids from that pursuit; they know that there’s nothing stable about this type of career. An artist is, in essence, a freelancer, and a freelancer is defined as a self-employed person hired to do specific assignments rather than being permanently employed by one company. Basically, there’s no guarantee of work or a paycheck, and that will always be the case for as long as you’re in this business.

Sounds a little abysmal, right? Well, it’s not all bad news. Remember, it’s a numbers game, and that means that some of you are going to play the odds and win. After all, that’s what everyone is striving for, isn’t it? And, of course, it happens. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have movies, novels, and iPhones full of music. Every day someone beats the odds, and as long as you believe that one day you will be that someone, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, there is indeed hope. It’s just extremely important that it isn’t blind hope — the kind that ignores the reality of a situation, which, in this case, is the fact that you’re gambling. That’s dangerous territory to be in, and I wish I could say that I don’t see many cases of this, but that would be a lie.

All too often I see artists heading blindly down an artistic career path, taking risks without being prepared for the consequences. They leap without a safety net, which puts them in the position of working from a place of fear and allowing their inner critics to sweep in and take full control of their career. Why is this? Because suddenly their survival is dependent upon booking a gig or selling their work, and that is almost always out of their hands. Look, risk-taking is essential when it comes to being an artist, but blind risk-taking is just plain stupid. I’ve spoken about some pretty important issues since beginning this blog, but if you take only one thing away from these posts, let it be this: You must accept the fact that this industry will never provide the stability that you may need to survive comfortably.

Coming to terms with this reality should be a priority for anyone getting into this game, and only after accepting this will you be in a position to begin creating balance within your life. Trust me; it’ll be worth it, because once you find that peace of mind and understand the consequences of your decisions, you’ll be able to fearlessly take the risks you need to take with your career. There will be less stress, less anxiety, and more positive energy to focus on your craft and your career. That’s a healthy and empowering place to work from, and something I think that everyone can get behind.