To Become Successful, Do What Chris Navarro Does

A recent visit to Sedona, Arizona took me to a sculptor’s gallery, in the Tlaquepaque shopping center. It’s a quaint Spanish style courtyard filled with lush green sycamore and cottonwood trees, dotted with Mexican fountains and sculptures. The air wafts with mouth watering grilled steak, tacos and sweet smelling waffles that you can fill with any flavor of ice cream you want. You’ll also find quaint clothing, jewelry and art stores. I happened upon a sculpture gallery and I wanted to go in, but I’m aways reluctant to do so because I can’t afford to buy anything, but the woman who worked there was on the phone, so I went in thinking I’d avoid the the pressure of being asked “can I help you,” and having to say, “no thanks I’m just looking.”

As I walked around, I noticed the gallery’s artist, Chris Navarro, wrote little notes by each sculpture, explaining its inspiration. I was impressed he took the time to show some of his personal self through these narratives. His glistening small and medium sized bronze sculptures included: fierce bunking bronco cowboys, a mama bear playing with her cub, cowboys on galloping horses, a little brother kneeling on the floor and tying his younger sister’s shoe. One of his award winning sculptures looms large outside the gallery with other larger than life sculptures such as a soaring eagle and a startled elk. It’s called Dare to Dream Big. The afternoon sun sparkles on the perfectly sculptured bronze-golden cat, sitting on two books that say: Belief is Power. The cat is looking in a mirror about five feet away and in it he sees a lion (due to copyright laws I can’t post it here but click: Dare to Dream Big to see it.

Learning about Chris

Chris Navarro sculpture

The phone call ended and the woman apologized for not attending to me sooner, but she’d been talking to her boss. I said I really enjoyed the personal narratives on some of the sculptures and she went on to tell me how truly amazing this guy is. It was in fact, her boss, Chris, who’d she’d been on the phone with. It’s hard to get people to come back to work these days since Joe Biden is handing out free money and people can make more money staying home. One of their employees could only work a Monday or a Tuesday and she said, Chris was so thoughtful and generous, he wanted to be sure all his employees were happy and accommodate their work schedules. That was another glimpse into his personality — he cares about explaining the motivation for his art and the well-being of his employees.

Where Chris Found His Inspiration

When he was 23, married with a 10 month old son and another child on the way, he walked away from his well paying oilfield job to pursue a dream. In 1979 he happened to visit the art studio of Harry Jackson. He was bowled over by Jackson’s famous sculptor: a cowboy riding the famous Wyoming bucking horse, Steamboat. That was his ah ha moment. It cost $35,000 and at 23, he couldn’t afford it, but he thought he could make one of his own. The next day he went to an art store and got all the materials he needed. Then he went to the library and got all the books the librarian recommended to him on learning to sculpture. He now jokes about how he got started: from his book, Dare to Dream Big: “I tell people I have a PHD in art — poor, hungry, and determined.”

For the last forty years he’s been getting better and better. His commissioned sculptors can be found at the University of Wyoming, Casper College Wyoming, Aspen Colorado, Colorado State University and Cheyenne Wyoming to name a few. And then of course at his gallery in Tlaqepaque, Sedona, Arizona.

Dare to Dream Big

I feel like I have a PHD in writing. I’m not really poor or hungry in the physical sense–but I’m just starting my writing career (one year and five months in) –and daring to dream big. I won’t quit; I work six to seven hours a day, Monday through Friday, I take classes, I read books from the library, I learn something new and I correct past mistakes. And this is how people, like Chris become successful. They have passion, determination and they don’t give up. This is another inspiring quote from Chris’s book:

“I have never considered myself a self-taught artist. I have been a self-educated artist. I have learned from the books I have read and from the experiences and mistakes I have made. I do not believe that you are born with a limited amount of talent, knowledge or ability. Talent and knowledge can expand and grow. It is not a finite source. I have never let my lack of talent or knowledge keep me from attempting to do something I have a passion for.” Chris Navarro, from Dare to Dream Big.

And I say AMEN to that.

To Become Successful, Do What Chris Navarro Does

Becoming a success means putting action to your passion. It’s about taking risks. It’s about having the courage to pick yourself up over and over, to learn from your mistakes and realize that there are no failures–every time you write, or create anything, you are on the path. Look on setbacks and mistakes as your teachers. Don’t quit EVER even when people aren’t supportive, or things get too overwhelming and when you hear: “you shouldn’t have left that secure job and steady paycheck.” Well, Chris didn’t like his job and I didn’t like my job. My heart was always in writing and like Chris, I walked away from a steady job and paycheck to pursue it. Remember, as Chris says, Dare to Dream Big.

Until next week, get and stay inspired!

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Kathy the blogger

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