Getting There – the road to success

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This post celebrates my sister, Mary Riesche, of Mary Riesche Studios.

In current society where instant everything is perhaps more coveted than endurance and consistency, it’s a joy to write about success that comes only after many years of hard work and relentless effort.

When you know what turns you on and gives your life purpose, you’ll stop at nothing to fulfill that purpose.

11 Three kids portrait
My sister (on left), my brother, and me

My sister has drawn or painted since she could hold a crayon. She’s just a wee bit older than me so those of you who know how old I am can surmise that my sister has stuck with her artistic endeavors for quite some time.

Perhaps at first, neither Mary nor our parents figured the early talent she exhibited would be more than a passing fancy. (Let’s face it, children change what they want to be when they grow up just about as often as they change their underwear … maybe more frequently.)  Once Mary started to dig in, however, and was enrolled in classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, it was obvious to all of us that she was in it for the long haul, in it to win it, full speed ahead … you get the idea.

Courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios
Courtesy of Mary Riesche Studios

I’m currently reading a fabulous book, Getting There, by Gillian Zoe Segal, that follows the sometimes hard luck but always rewarding success stories of several business and entertainment professionals.  Matthew Weiner, Mad Men creator, didn’t become a successful writer with his very first story idea – that would be way too convenient and certainly not a very interesting read.  Getting There spotlights the various roads to success on which men and women have traveled, roads that contained many rejection speed bumps along the way.  He had this to say about overnight success, and I quote verbatim from the book,

Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them.

If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that … An artwork is a finished product, and it should be, but I always swore to myself that I would not hide my brushstrokes.

The numerous success stories found in the book contain one common element, regardless of the tenor of the story: these successful people weren’t born that way.  They encountered obstacles and setbacks but they pulled out all the stops to get what they wanted.

Mary in her garage studio
Mary in her garage studio

My sister, Mary Riesche, didn’t decide to dabble in art for awhile and then if nothing came of it, abandon the passion she had nurtured from her crayon-holding stage.  That wasn’t an option, and because it has never been an option for her, her paintings are now appearing in Northern California art venues, she’s winning awards for her work, and people are buying her paintings on site and asking for more.

Matthew Weiner summarizes my sister’s tenacity in these words:

The most defeatist thing I hear is “I’m going to give it a couple years.” You can’t set a clock for yourself. If you do, you are not a writer [or painter]. You should want it so badly that you don’t have a choice. You have to commit for the long haul. There’s no shame in being a starving artist. Get a day job, but don’t get too good at it.

When you’re passionate about something, giving up will never be an option. My sister paid her dues and is now being rewarded for her efforts. Persistence definitely pays off if you’re willing to go all in.

Pick the Brain blog did a wonderful piece on persistence; I encourage you to check it out. Here’s just one reason why persistence pays off as proposed by Dan Western (verbatim from the site):

What comes easily normally isn’t worth it

Normally if something’s hard, it’ll be worth the effort, whereas anything easy probably only gives you a short little burst of happiness. Most people absolutely hate hard work, yet there are those who just get on with it because they understand what this hard work’s worth.

The hard to get things are what most people will just dream about, whilst they continue to carry out every easy task that comes their way. The minority of people will commit to the hard work and have a much, much greater chance of achieving their dreams.

What’s easy doesn’t require persistence. What’s hard does.


2 thoughts on “Getting There – the road to success

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    August 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    It sounds as though persistence runs in the family, Irene. Your sister looks so happy in her studio. Congratulations to her!


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