I’ve long been a proponent of the adage: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
When I was an art dealer, I represented about forty very talented artists, but some were much more successful than others. It wasn’t that they were more talented, it’s just that there’s more to success than talent. The three components to success, I believe, are talent, ambition and luck. It’s like a pie cut into three slices: the size of each slice may vary, but together they make up a whole. If someone is very talented, but they have no ambition, they probably won’t go anywhere, unless they get very lucky and happen to meet the one right person that will change their life. In the case of an artist, that person might be a wealthy and well-connected collector, or a museum director or curator, or an enthusiastic art dealer. Another artist might be very ambitious but need to work on his or her skills before s/he finds success. The third possibility is someone who is so naturally talented that with very little effort, they get incredibly lucky, and boom. Overnight success.
In light of this example, I feel lucky to have been found by Melani Ward. No, she’s not a lit agent nor does she own a publishing company, but she seems exactly like the kind of woman who is good to know. Melani is writing a book about making career changes after 40, and she found me by way of an essay I wrote that was published on More Magazine’s website titled “Opportunity is the Mother of Reinvention.”
A certified life coach with two Master’s degrees (and working on her third) who’s also writing a book, Melani interviewed me about my three markedly different careers (interior designer, art dealer, writer) and how I made those changes. (They’re not as random as one might think.) Most importantly, though, is Melani’s purpose in writing her book: She wants to help others succeed.
I think that’s fantastic, and I’m happy that I had a chance to talk with her.
Check out her blog post about our conversation!