Over the past few years, a number of people have asked me how to become an artist – or, rather, a successful artist. Even non-artists have asked me how they might go about having a different career (and income) doing what they enjoy, what they find most fulfilling. I offer encouragement but never advice. During the early years of my career, all the advice I was given was counter-productive – if not downright wrong. In the end, each person, whether they're an artist or not, has to figure out what works for themselves, in a way that suits their individual ambitions and needs. I did OK for a while working things out as I went. My paintings were exhibited in commercial and curated exhibitions and most sold. I earned a meagre amount of money from the sales: it barely covered the debt I'd accumulated buying materials. I continued to live at home because I couldn't afford to rent my own bedroom, let alone a studio. I drew and painted up to eighteen hour days, seven days a week. Somehow, I still managed to hold down a McJob.There's a common myth that if you work hard enough, long enough, you'll achieve your dreams. I don't agree. Sometimes it can just grind you down.Trying to imitate someone else's career doesn't work, either. There's no magic formula for what I've done that will help someone else succeed. However, I do think that everyone, at some point, needs some outside help. The core of what eventually enabled me to take control of my career and turn it into something that not only supported me financially but also become the stuff of my wildest dreams, was a period of inspirational mentoring. This took the form of a series of serious, practical discourses that broke down my inhibitions – or, more precisely, the prejudices I had about how things were supposed to be done – and challenged my long-held assumptions and beliefs. They also enabled me to see who I really wanted to become – as opposed to who others had told me I was supposed to be. I began to realise just how much had been holding me back from what I wanted to achieve. And even though I thought I knew what I wanted, I didn't know how to go about getting it. As I learned about who I really wanted to be, what I really wanted, and what my needs were, I also learned how to go about making them real. I don't think this could have been done alone. With a different perception, a different approach was possible. A new strategy for my life and career was designed. I learned the emotional and business skills I needed to execute it. It's not about a specific set of questions or a single, one-size-fits-all approach. I've seen the person who mentored me take completely different approaches with others – approaches that respond to each individual's different circumstances and aspirations. That's why it works. It's not an easy process. I was pushed harder and further than I thought I could bear. Deep thinking was demanded and no excuses or self-pity were accepted. I lost count of the times I was called out when I was bullshitting myself or him. I learned to be braver than I thought I could be. It was confronting. It required commitment and hard work and compelled me to step way outside my comfort zone. For these reasons, I hesitated to recommend it to others, even when they asked about it. However, lately, I've been thinking that it's an experience that should be shared, especially in these hard times when so many people are having to revise their lives and career plans.Anyway, I'm thinking of asking the rather extraordinary person who mentored me to host a workshop at my studio in Sydney. If you're interested interested in attending, email me your contact details. This is one experience that could change your life. It changed mine. Totally.