Dani’s Story – Part 1

Have you ever wished SO badly for something but when you finally got it, you had no idea what to do with it?

When opportunity knocks, it’s best to be prepared, right?

I want to share a story about an artist I worked with in Growth Studio. 

Let’s call her “Dani.” 

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When her phone rang at 4:45pm, Dani knew who it was before she picked it up.

She also knew she wouldn’t be leaving the office at 5 today.

She doodled faces on her notepad as she listened to her producer explain how a vendor was late. It was a familiar story and Dani knew what was coming next:

“So, I need you to stay late tonight. We’ll order dinner for you and the team.”

“Okay.” Dani hung up and sighed. “Guess it’s pizza for dinner – again.”

SHE NEEDED HER JOB BUT SHE ALSO NEEDED TO PAINT.

When Dani took the graphics job it was supposed to be temporary.

That was 8 years ago. 

After a few years of scrimping, she managed to pay off her student loans but now she was afraid to leave.

In the eight years since she started working here, she got married, had two kids and bought a house. Somehow her painting kept getting shoved to the back burner.

Dani listened to the Savvy Painter on her commutes to work. Sometimes it felt like two hours of torture listening to other artists who got to paint whenever they wanted. 

She tried not to feel jealous, but that was hard when she continually had to stay late because someone else missed a deadline. Compared to painting, her job seemed pointless and empty. There would always be something

It wasn’t unusual to check her emails to find 30 “urgent” messages. Everyone else’s project was THE most important.  She just wanted to go home and paint. 

Even if she had 48 hours in a day, that wouldn’t be enough.

She couldn’t really say no but UGH! Tonight was her painting night and she was already behind!! She looked at her calendar. Maybe she could get her in laws to take the kids on Thursday so she could squeeze in at least ONE painting session this week.

She felt bad asking her family for help just so she could paint. Her mother in law would take any excuse to hang out with the kids but even she had her limits – and she didn’t quite understand why Dani’s painting was so important.

Her husband did his best to support her too, but they both had demanding schedules and obviously the kids came first. So far, he was fine, but she worried he might start to resent her painting.

Dani felt guilty when she painted, but desperately unfulfilled when she didn’t.

She tried to squeeze painting in whenever she could but it was SO. HARD.

THEN A FEW MONTHS AGO, DANI GOT AN EMAIL.

When she read it, she was sure it was a mistake. Why would anyone want to show her work? No gallery had ever given her the time of day.

Fine, it wasn’t a solo show at the Arcadia Gallery (a girl can dream!) but it wasn’t a group show at the co-op with 50 other artists either! 

She read the email again.

The Community Center wanted to feature HER work along with just two other artists!

This was a step in the right direction!

It could be an amazing opportunity. Maybe someone important would see her work and she’d get invited to something else!

She felt equal parts terror and excitement.

DANI WAS HAPPY, BUT NOW SHE HAD TO FIGURE OUT A WHOLE NEW THING. ALL THE DETAILS FREAKED HER OUT. SHE’D NEVER BEEN IN A REAL SHOW BEFORE!

She had three months to get ready. That’s plenty of time to figure out her pricing and what she needed to do, right?

I mean, how hard can it be?. Compared to what she handled every day at work, an art exhibit should be a cake walk, right?

“I’ve got this,” she thought. “If I paint 5 paintings a month for the next 3 months, that gives me 15 paintings. I’ll figure out the rest as I go along.”

She hit reply and typed a professional but enthusiastic HELL YES!!!!

AAAAAAND….. THAT WAS TWO. MONTHS. AGO!! 

Now here she was, trapped at work about to lose another painting day.

Her original plan was to have 12 paintings done by now. 

According to Plan B, she should have 8 paintings.

She had FIVE paintings – and she hadn’t even THOUGHT about promotions.

How did the #$%# did that happen!?

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Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what happened next, what worked and what didn’t but first, have you ever been in a spot like this?

Leave a comment below and let me know!


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