Is your business or career developing like a beautiful painting?

Did you have your career all planned out? You have to choose what you want to do and many expect you to choose before you even know what a job is. We start in school asking young people what they want to do and are excited when they choose one of the five staples such as Fireman, Police Officer, Doctor, Nurse, or School Teacher. Of course that’s what they want to be because that’s all they know. As we get older we get experienced to other careers in life and many times look to what our parents do as a guide to our future, but that may not be a fit for everyone. After all my family has many accountants and that was not a career for me. I think we need to look at our careers and businesses more like a painting that’s developed rather than a linear path to an end goal.

If you are familiar with art at all you will understand how a painting or drawing is developed, it’s developed in layers and with multiple elements. Let’s look at the layers first because they are more important. When we develop a painting we start off with a rough layout drawing to let us know where elements will be placed and an idea of how the painting will look as a whole.

The next layer is a tighter drawing of actual objects included in the painting and allow us a clearer picture of the painting. This is where we would use reference images to draw out the objects and is the real strength and support of the painting. Our next layer is the rough colour layer that is a test of colours that we may use throughout the painting and provide us with values bringing the painting to life. Finally the final colour is added and the picture is taken to completion with touchups and adjustments.

The layers of a painting are very similar to the layers of development of a career or business. Your first job experiences are that rough layer of a painting. You’re just trying things or finding out what you do best. That second layer or the drawing layer is where you have your business figured out and know what services you will offer or which career path is best for you. As you tighten down those services you also start testing growth opportunities. This is the value / colour stage of the painting where you add some light colour to the image. Your testing those areas for growth and when you finally understand the opportunities you grow in full colour. The timeline could be anywhere from 6 years to 60 years depending on the career or business and may even have to be put aside for other areas of life to happen.

Barbados Painting by Bruce Outridge

We need to realize it is okay for our businesses and careers to develop slowly. We may be in a hurry to get to the finish but then we miss the experience and learning that happens when we watch a painting or career develop. We may change career elements, change style, or even scrap it all together. We learn in painting it is always best to try and change than to push through and then have to start again. Maybe we should do the same thing in life.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an artist, author, speaker, and creative entrepreneur with two podcasts, art business, and television show. Bruce started his career following passions that many considered to be dead end jobs and now is using many of those talents in his business today. His podcast for creative entrepreneurs called Cashing in on Creativity Podcast helps inspire creative entrepreneurs to be successful using their talents. You can learn more about Bruce or book him to speak to your group at

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