Dealing with My First Naysayer


Every week I attend a local networking event and I meet lots of business people from my town and other nearby cities. Just before leaving the event, I came across a friendly man, looked like he was in his 60s, nice smile. So I sat and chatted with him for a few minutes. I’ll call him Dave.

“Dave” had all sorts of tips and hints at success for me, right there in that little conversation. He had lots to say, and I became curious, so I agreed to meet him on the following Monday.

In the meantime, I did a quick internet search for him. His name came up only once, and it is for the company he works for, as a mortgage broker. Dave had been in real estate his whole working career, he told me. He never gave me his business card. OK, so this guy’s a complete enigma.

The constructive

So the meeting wasn’t a complete disaster. He did have some good and constructive advice, particularly with financial planning. I have to admit that before joining this networking group, I never gave much thought to planning what to do with the money that came into our lives besides buying the things we need to survive. Well, each dollar needs to be planned for.

Even though I’d like a newer car, it is not just going to happen once enough money is saved. I have to allocate money for the car, specifically. Or vacation money, specifically. Otherwise it’s hit or miss if you achieve getting what you want.

As a result of “Dave’s” suggestion, I went home and looked up exactly how much we have between my husband and myself, and set up some automatic savings accounts. I also found a few ways to stop spending money unnecessarily.

This man is a big believer in language and how the things you say manifest into your reality. I absolutely agree and it prompted me to get out my book again called Conscious Language: The Logos of Now, by Robert Tennyson Stevens. He pointed out to me when I’d say “I need to” or “I should,” big no-no’s in conscious language. If I weren’t into using conscious language, I’d have found it annoying. I almost wrote that I need to revisit the message in this book, but that would be hilarious, because “I need” is “without” it is a language of lack. I WILL revisit the message in this book. There, that’s better.

The naysayer

So “Dave” proceeded to go on about artists. Now remember, we know nothing about each other! I believe he has good intentions, but I assume he would like to see me succeed by his definition of success. He said things like I’m living in the financial fringes of society and will likely be broke by the time I’m 67. His favorite phrase was most people by the time they are 67 are dead or dead broke. Ha ha ha (insert sarcasm).

He gave examples of how he and his wife would trade off – when he’d start a new business, she would have a “steady job”. Then he was blatantly implying that I should just get up and get a job. A receptionist at Kaiser hospital was a suggestion. Thank you, sir.

But I listened to what he had to say, for I am a good and attentive listener. Yes, a lot of what he said makes sense. Creative people tend to live riskier lives. The chance we take is SOOO worth it. Make a thriving living as an artist. It can happen. But I was in a different state of mind during this conversation. He subtly talked me into getting some sort of part-time job if I don’t reach a goal I have by this June.

Support all around me

By the time I got home, I was feeling devastated! The prospect of doing anything else with my life was something I never had considered. And here I was, after having an hour and a half conversation with a complete stranger, considering doing just that! And it was only because PART of the argument made sense.

But my dear and wonderful husband talked me through it, calming and soothing my edgy nerves. I’m so grateful he’s supportive of my dreams and goals to be a successful artist. I know I will face taking some actions that are uncomfortable, but we all have to do uncomfortable things to get ahead. He believes in me!

I also took to a private FaceBook mastermind group I belong to, and the person who leads this group responded to my story saying this guy was so full of crap. He personally knows a couple dozen artists regularly making a very good living and many of them are making money in the six figures. Another person in the group said that when you put yourself out there, you will consistently get the attitude that I would be a starving artist. That is the prevailing assumption in this culture right now.

Yes, “Dave” is not in my industry. He doesn’t know what is possible today. So now what do I do? I let it go. I share this post because it was a valuable learning experience, but now it’s done and time to move forward. Now I know what to expect from naysayers.

Have you had an experience like this before? Share your story in the comments.



Creative Commons image by Joe St. Pierre. Some rights reserved.


10 Responses to Dealing with My First Naysayer

  1. Marty Rausch January 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    Hey Amy,

    Don’t let what “Dave” had to say discourage you from pursuing your art career or love for what you create!

    I have been a professional artist for going on 25yrs now, and I have been very lucrative.
    It has been feast or famin alot of the time, but it has been ultimatly worth it. I love being an artist and I will never let anyone take that from me. Neither should you!

    I have had alot of haters and neysayers over the years, and the way I feel about it is “Opinions are like assholes, we all have one and their all full of shit!”

    I just brush it off and keep on doing what I love. I have a quote for you-

    “Waste your life!, Be an artist”
    In 2003 I was a tattoo artist in Las Vegas. After working my ass of to make a name for myself, I kept getting turned away for a seat in a shop. I was at my end, ready to quit and find a new path. I was broke and living in a weekly motel. I just couldn’t get anywhere.

    I decided to go to Fremont Street to spend my last $5 to eat, so I jumpped on the bus and headed that way. As I sat on that bus feeling sorry for myself, depressed I told myself I quit. I was going to go get a “Real” job and stop with the pipe dream. So i get off the bus to transfer to the next, I am standing there in the rain asking god to just give me a sign! I look up on the bus stop sign and see this sticker, (now mind you I ride this bus every day and stand here every day waiting for the transfer) In big bold letters it says:

    “Waste your Life!, Be an Artist”
    There it was, In bold letters, God telling me not to give up. So I peeled that sticker off that sign and went home. I still have that sticker, and I look at it everyday as a reminder that I almost gave up on myself because of a few bad comments made by people who didn’t really know what they were talking about.

    I now own my own custom art studio, I’ve been open for almost 10 years and make awesome money.
    So moral of the story is belive in yourself, even when everyone else tells you to move on.

    • Amy Tanathorn January 15, 2015 at 2:55 am #

      What an incredible story, Marty. That sticker showing up just as it did – wow, it gives me goosebumps. I don’t think you could possibly fail with a sign like that. Thank you for sharing this story with me and with all the readers who see it too.

      • Marty Rausch January 15, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

        Your very welcome! I hope my story can give you a little inspiration and a lot of hope!

  2. dad January 15, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    good observation1!!!

  3. Barbara Pagani January 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    Hi Amy,

    It’s Barb that won your little flower painting last year.
    Creativity is not something that comes to everyone so enjoy and embrace “Your Gift”.
    Happy New Year

    • Amy Tanathorn January 16, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      Hi Barb. Thank you! I shall embrace it and share my gift. It is my duty to do so. 🙂 Happy New Year to you, too!

  4. Lani January 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Fascinating post. It’s interesting that he gave you good financial advice and it sounds like that is the only direction he was coming from. It seems so archaic to go after the money, but not the dream – then again, it probably seems foolish to go after the dream, but not the money. Here’s to having both!

    • Amy Tanathorn January 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      Yeah, I think this guy was all about chasing money. I agree, here’s to having both! There is no rule out there that says a person must choose between the two.

  5. Your lifelong fan and bestie January 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    I think it’s good to let other people talk, and to try on different perspectives. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what you are going to take away from it. That is the part that you get to control, and you won’t become anything you don’t allow yourself to be. Life is all about choices, and I think you are making the right ones. When people come along and say things that bring up doubting thoughts about your direction, recognize their value for bringing self-inquiry about. If what they say does not apply to you, then yep, let it go.

    Who knows what kind of baggage this guy has.

  6. Bea Goodere February 4, 2015 at 2:38 am #

    Hi Amy…very interesting encounter with the “money Man”. Good advice I guess, at least from his perspective. We artist are so vulnerable to everyones opinion and interpretation of what makes Art that it could drive you crazy! It would be so easy to fall into the trap of mundane “saleable” art and lose your integrity just to make a buck. I don’t think that’s where you, or so many other experimental artist (including myself) want to be.
    We must stay the path and see where that leads!

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