Beyond The Comfort Zone

August 15, 2013

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Live Beyond Your Comfort Zone

We all fall victim to routine. At times, we become so engrossed in doing what we do every day that we fail to look at the bigger picture and set goals and make changes that will take us to new horizons. We live in the comfort zone.

Over the course of my 18 year licensing career, I, too, have gotten too comfortable at times. Things were running smoothly. I had enough work to keep me busy, I was meeting deadlines, my licensees were happy and I was making a comfortable living. That isn’t necessarily a bad place to be, but I got burned because I wasn’t thinking ahead and was too comfortable. Licensees come and go (I only have a couple licensees that have been with me from the beginning). Because I was making a good living, I became lax….I guess I figured things would never change. Well they did change and I wasn’t prepared. Please take my advice and never become complacent.

You need to ALWAYS be stretching yourself and reaching for new goals. Here’s a simplified example….. if you were to paint teddy bears and only teddy bears, what would happen if your licensees decided they don’t want teddy bears any more and instead they want Santas. But you don’t have any Santa art, because you focused only on teddy bears. Does that make sense? It’s like the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.  Don’t focus so much on what you are presently doing that you forget to plan for the future.

Of course, you can’t guess what your licensees might want in the future, but by expanding your horizons with new art in different themes, fresh color palettes and mediums, you will keep your licensees interest piqued.

The above example is only one example of stretching beyond your comfort zone. I want to share more of my story to help you understand better where I am coming from.

As you may or may not know, I recently launched a membership-only site called Gather, Dream, Create Inner Circle (GDCIC). You may be asking, “Why?” I know, I know…. it seems crazy when I am so busy with licensing, filling retail orders, keeping up with social media, writing articles for my blog and recording/editing for my tv show. Well, I have many reasons why. Let’s start with you…


  • I want to bring inspirational and motivational stories to you dreamers…. whether you want to get into the art licensing business or sell your art/craft retail or wholesale. Maybe your dream is to open a retail gift shop…..whatever your dream is, there are many people that can help you by sharing their stories. I am doing interviews with established and upcoming artists in all genres to help fuel your dreams.
  • I want artists, crafters and shopkeepers to be able to get their stories out there. EVERYONE has a story to tell, I want to provide the platform for that to happen. That’s where the store visits, artist interviews and studio visits will come in to play. As they share their stories, you will gain insight to what it takes to make it.
  • Have you ever bought an product featuring licensed art that you just adore? You find the artist’s name and rush to the computer to learn more about the person behind the art. You read about them, maybe they have a blog so you can kind of get to know them by reading their posts. BUT there’s nothing like SEEING the person…hearing their voice, watching their mannerisms, listening to their laugh. You can connect better with who they are by seeing them in a video…that’s what I want to bring to you.
  • I LOVE creating things…whether I’m creating a painting, a clay figurine, punchneedle embroidery, rugs, jewelry, etc. I love it all! I believe creative people need many outlets for their creativity. Learning new ways to express your creativity will help broaden your vision for your own art. The art/craft projects and tutorials at GDCIC will fill that creative passion.
  • I want to share my experience and knowledge with you. The mistakes I’ve made, the hardships I’ve faced along the way. By sharing my knowledge and experience of the licensing industry,  maybe I can help you avoid some of the same mistakes.  I want to give you insider information from the Atlanta Gift mart. I want to help you get your blog up and running so people can see your work and get to know you!


  • As a licensed artist, I work alone….and to be completely honest I LOVE a quiet studio when I am creating. However, it’s easy to become wrapped up in your work and family and not leave the premises for a day….or three. One of the highlights of my career has been getting to know other artists through trade shows. I have formed friendships with some amazing people over the years and I want you to meet them and get to know them, too. I am also looking forward to making many new friends along the way and bringing their smiling faces to you! Doing studio visits will get me out of my studio to focus on other artists and their work/studios.
  • I am pretty reserved….when I was a little girl, I was painfully shy. I have overcome some of that over the years but I know I can grow much more. Starting GDCIC is really taking me out of my comfort zone! It excites me and terrifies me all at the same time. I started my TV show back in June which was a BIG hurdle for me as I don’t like my picture taken and have NEVER had a video of me online. Now with the inner circle, I will be doing more and more videos, interviews, etc which will push me beyond my comfort zone again and eventually that, too, will become easier and more comfortable. I relate it to this….when I first started painting the Country Bears wall calendar, I had to use stuffed bears as props to sketch and paint. The more I painted bears, the easier it became and it wasn’t long before I didn’t need props any more, I could just sketch them at whim. Well the same for the video recordings, I know, they too, will become easier as I go along :)

I hope sharing these thoughts and stories will help you to reach and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Don’t get comfortable and complacent. The world is forever changing, you need to stay ahead of the game!

Here is a very inspiring quote:

“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.”
C. JoyBell C.

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Do you have a time where you stepped outside of your comfort zone? What did you do? How did it feel?

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