Today’s Brilliance from Michal Golan

If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • Like pursuing a career in the arts, building a small business is both incredibly rewarding and utterly terrifying. There are no next paychecks, severance packages, or safety nets for those of us who choose to go at it in the world of art or entrepreneurship. Everything is uncertain.

    At the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade this uncertainty for anything—the lessons I’ve picked up coping with it have helped me become a more peaceful and adaptable person in every sphere of my life. Whether you are working on an artist commune, on Wall Street, or anywhere in between, these tips can help you enrich your life and improve your performance where it counts.

    First, live in peace with what you cannot change. I learned early on in my career that, according to some people, jewelry is not essential for life. Who knew! What this means is that when the economy stinks (and it certainly has had its low points over the last few decades!), our business suffers badly.

    I used to go into a total panic every time the wave of a recession would affect us. I would do everything I could to turn the tide and perk things up again. Turns out one lone designer can’t fix the economy.

    Over time, I’ve learned to ride the wave, rather than fighting it. Rolling with the punches—it’s amazing how much more you can do and how much happier you can be when you adapt rather than combat. Sure, slow business is a drag. At the end of the day, though, the economy goes up and the economy goes down–and so does life.

    Instead of freaking out about something I can’t change, I’ve learned to use slower periods as times for reevaluating, readjusting, and preparing to have the best ready for when things pick up again.

    On that note, you have to keep reinventing yourself. In business and in art, I think that this is fairly clear. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t innovate. But what about in life? I think that reinvention is highly underrated. Reinvention isn’t about throwing everything away and starting from scratch. Reinvention is about constantly changing your approach to all aspects of your life so that when the time comes to sit down and take stock, you realize you’ve grown noticeably and significantly.

    You have to change your approach constantly to keep making room for improvement! It keeps life fresh and gives you a chance to think critically about what parts of your life and your career are working and what parts can be improved.

    Finally, embrace your successes. Be proud of your successes. Own up to your successes. Learn from your successes. But then go back and do the same for your failures. They are so important in helping you grow and flourish, in showing you the path to the life you want, and in having a few great stories to pass along to the kids.

    For every smash hit success I’ve had, I had several that fell flat. At the end of the day, eliminating what didn’t work helped me find who I was. So, do not be embarrassed of failure. Do not hide it. Do not blow it out or proportion. Or minimize it, either. We all experience it. We all learn from it. At the end of the day, it makes us who we are.

    Michal Golan

    I was born and raised in Haifa, Israel. When my father received a fellowship as a guest scientist at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. I followed him to D.C. and enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland studying graphic design.

    By the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to further pursue the arts. I applied and was accepted to NYU to pursue my Master of Fine Arts, but my father told me he would not pay for my graduate education because it was not in a professional field. Unfazed, I decided to go to graduate school and to find ways to support myself. As I developed my art in school, I began to experiment with making jewelry that I would sell at craft fairs throughout the city. In this way, I managed to create a small income for myself.

    By the time I graduated, I had developed a legitimate small business. I also realized that I enjoyed my jewelry making as much as the fine arts. As my family grew and my husband and I set about raising our three children, my art fell by the wayside and my jewelry business took off. It’s been an amazing ride, and I am thrilled to report that now that my kids are grown I have had the opportunity to return to my artistic endeavors while maintaining my design and business projects, too! To check out some of my art: http://www.michalgolan.com/art.html

    For more information, please visit michalgolan.com.

    View all posts by Michal Golan.

    What Do You Think?

    What Do You Think?