I finally figured it out.
I figured out what the key motivator for my work is, it's not money, not fame, not positive feedback (although those are all nice), it's PROGRESS. Seeing progress, advancement and growth in my work seriously makes me feel like I've won the lottery!
This isn't anything new either, according to several psychologists and entrepreneurs, the feeling of progress, advancement and growth is key to feeling successful on the path to success. I never fully realized how much I would notice this in my work, and I always thought it would come from external sources (i.e people's feedback, money, fame, etc etc) but in reality it's seeing how my skills are improving and those little jumps along the way that really keep me going.
With anything you do in your life, noticing and celebrating progress will literally make you 100x happier (I'm exaggerating but you get the point). It's like when you start working out, the more you notice transformation in your body and your energy levels, the more you're gonna want to workout. The more that an artist or creative advances their skills, the more they want to create and showcase with the world.
It's been just over 6 months since I jumped to being a full-time artist, and I can honestly say it's been some of the happiest, saddest, joyful, confusing, exhilarating and frustrating moments of my life. Being able to spend my days improving my skills as an illustrator and creating custom pieces for clients and supporters is a DREAM come true.
No matter how small your successes may seem or feel, celebrate them! When you work hard to get that small raise, or you make it to the gym 4 times in a week, celebrate it!!! I believe that the more we appreciate our small goals, the more we feel like we are making progress in whatever it is we are trying to achieve and in turn, the more we feel motivated to keep going.
This piece I created last night is inspired by a 1950's vintage poster, I love how happy they look and I LOVED making it because I could feel and see the advancement in my skills using the shadows, facial features and other techniques combined.
Next time you achieve a small success, act like you've won the lottery!! Tell you friends and family, scream it off your balcony if you wish, buy yourself a really expensive and delicious coffee and OWN IT!