The Reason People Are Ignoring Your Work
We’ve all heard, and made, every excuse under the sun.
People are ignoring your work due to a lack of; budget, connections, support, good looks, its not trendy enough, it’s too political etc etc. Some of which may be true, but for every excuse or reason, there’s an example that disproves it.
Have you considered the possibility that people are not ignoring you at all: they just can't see you because you're hiding?
Perhaps you don't feel like you're hiding, you're grinding away trying to make it work... at all of the things you're comfortable grinding away at. The things you know how to do. Contacting people you already know. Staying within your comfort zone. We all do it. Usually, we do it without realising.
Not sure what’s really holding you back?
The green-eyed monster can be very revealing. Is there someone you feel a little bit (or very) jealous of? Perhaps there's someone you secretly resent because they “play the game” or “use their looks” or they’ve “got a famous parent”? Great. Use those feelings to check in with yourself, because it's possible that person represents something you wish you had the guts to do.
Are you afraid to “play the game” because you’re scared you'll be tempted to compromise too much? Or neglecting certain aspects of your work you don’t enjoy? Are you afraid people won’t take you seriously if you’re too attractive/ not attractive enough? Do you hate networking and know it’s impacting on your career? Are you trying to do everything by yourself? Afraid to promote yourself or pay someone else to? Are you afraid to fail publicly, or perhaps even to succeed and become too big, too visible?
All of those fears are natural, it’s just our lizard brain trying to keep us safe. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but do find out what it is you’re afraid of. If you can identify it and work on it, you will be able to put forth work in to the world that cannot be ignored.
Close your eyes and ask yourself: Which aspects of my work am I avoiding or ignoring?
The number one reason other people are ignoring your work is whatever it is you’re avoiding.
See if you can repeat all of the statements below honestly with a resounding YES. If you answer NO, you may have discovered what’s holding you back.
I look after my physical, mental and emotional health consistently
I do not seek permission to create
I don’t shy away from trying things that really scare me
I don’t let fear of not being understood or accepted cause me to self-censor
I identify and work on my weaknesses consistently and with focus
I know when and where to stop or take a break
I don’t allow the fear of not being taken seriously by others to stop me from enjoying or expressing myself fully
I don’t let ego, vanity or insecurity diminish my commitment to my work
I do the very best I can with what I’ve got
I am engaged with the process of accepting myself, including my own beauty and ugliness
I am not playing small
I am not afraid of success or failure, I’m afraid of not trying
I make work firstly for myself, and I let go of it when I send it out in to the world
I believe in and am proud of my work
I have dedicated myself to learning my craft and finding out who I am, before expecting to make an impact
I am patient with myself, but I don’t allow myself to get stuck for too long
I am totally committed to what I stand for
I am not holding back emotionally, spiritually, or politically
I value and pursue originality, I don’t follow trends or crowds
I ask for and learn from constructive criticism regularly, in order to grow
I continuously build on and learn new skills, even when it's hard or embarrassing
I play, I pull things apart, I observe the world around me, I research, I look behind doors, I travel, I keep my mind open
I am creatively ambitious, and I do not repeat myself without good reason
I edit my work ruthlessly
I do not give up easily or run away; I take a break or finish and move on to new challenges
I am willing to walk away if I am unhappy, and to be quiet when I have nothing to say
I measure success by my ability to realise my own vision
I place more focus on the process than my goals
I spend 80%+ of my time on the aspects of my work most vital to progress
I think long-term about my legacy
I fix problems as they arise, I don’t ignore them
I ask for feedback and advice from professionals, which I take seriously and don’t undermine with potentially biased feedback from my family/ friends
I invest in my own work, and am willing to do other kinds of work to buy myself the time, resources and expertise I need to achieve my goals
I don’t let fear of financial risk or ruin inform my creative process
I see budgets as part of the creative challenge, not an excuse to deliver sub-standard work
I acknowledge that making money from my own ideas is a choice, and that it may come with some compromise
I understand and accept that in order to make money from my own ideas, I have to do a lot more than just create them
I understand that it may take some time to find my audience
I focus on finding the people who connect with what I do, and I am proud that it’s not for everyone - perhaps not even my friends and family
I make the effort to surprise myself and others through my work
I consider how all of the senses - sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound - will or will not be engaged as part of the experience of my work
I spend at least 30-50% as much time designing the audience experience of my work as I do making the work itself
I actively find ways to show fans of my work my appreciation
I respect fans of my work enough to challenge them
I understand the way my work is communicated is part of the way people experience my work, and as such, I take it seriously
I do not try to do everything by myself
I seek out mentoring, advice, tutoring, coaching and therapy as and when I need it
I am not afraid to ask for help
I have a support system which includes people who are very honest with me
I take time to understand and support the work of the people who support my career
I treat people with respect, even when they cannot benefit me
I build connections with all kinds of people, and I’m an active part of my community
I collaborate generously and openly with others, without too much focus on an ‘output’
I actively support, encourage and mentor other people in my industry
I don’t take the people who support me for granted
What else should be on this list? What personal obstacles have you had to overcome in order to progress? Are you struggling with something on this list? How are you going about overcoming those issues? Leave a comment below.