Burn Those Bridges – Why You Must

"Universal Nomad" ©2012 Janice Tanton. Mixed Media on Canvas. 40"x40"
"Universal Nomad"- Work In Progress. ©2012 Janice Tanton. Mixed Media on Canvas. 40"x40"

Not something that you want to do…..or is it?

Your momma told you to stay away from fire, didn’t she?

  • She told you not to play with matches.
  • She told you to be nice.
  • She told you to make sure you had a way to go back.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!…but that’s not the same as burning the bridge, is it?

Being smart about it and knowing there are many OTHER bridges is the key.


This time I’m begging you…if there is a bridge that needs to be burned, bring along the gasoline and a blowtorch.

I’ve burned my fair share of bridges. I can still smell the smoke and see the fire burning on some of them. All of them needed to be burned because they led to dangerous places and kept me from moving forward.

Sometimes there are just places you NEVER want to go back to as an artist,and those are the bridges I want you to burn. Think long and hard about them – don’t just burn for the sake of burning. You need to do this right.

Think about it…when is it good to burn bridges?

  • When the bridge is going to or coming from….somewhere you never want to go  or need to go.
  • When you don’t need that escape route. When you have lots of other choices.
  • When you don’t care about what’s behind you.
  • When the danged bridge just needs to be burned so the boogies don’t follow you.
Take a good look at your career, your life and your arts practice.
What’s holding you back from being the best you can possibly be? Answer these questions:
  • What can you get rid of?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What’s interfering?
  • What’s making life miserable?
  • What’s keeping you up at night?
  • What’s annoying you?
Really assess what those itchy places are and make some decisions about them. Is there a bridge or two you need to burn?


Just burn, baby….burn. Take the heat…watch the flames, roast a few marshmallows or maybe a weenie or two. Don’t stick around too long. Don’t look back.

Just remember – There are always s’more bridges ahead….and a few more weenies….and a lot more matches if you need ’em.
AND…you’re an Artist with a capital “A”. You know how to MAKE STUFF.

Make a new bridge if you need it.

You’re on your way.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Matthew Lima

    Love ur work! Burning bridges is hard sometimes… but that is life…

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thanks for your comment, Matthew. You’re right – it’s not an easy thing to do and working through difficult conversations is challenging – especially sometimes when you or the other party isn’t willing to engage in that conversation or sticks their head in the sand as an avoidance tactic. It’s been my experience that it’s much better to conduct those conversations than it is to leave it.

  2. Janet Vanderhoof

    All great questions. Sometimes you have to accept as well if you can’t change it and move on.

  3. Alice

    You got it Janice … and this advise is well applied to life, not just art!

  4. Franziska San Pedro

    I’ve burned a couple of bridges in my life and I built new ones in a different direction! Very freeing (so sad that many just do what they are told, or what they “should” do -that’s definitely NOT me!),
    nice post,

    Franziska San Pedro
    Flavor Designs

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thanks for the note, Franziska. It’s true that it’s very freeing – sometimes a tad scary, but once it’s done – there’s no looking back and you have to get on task and start that building!

  5. Vanessa

    Lovely post Janice. It’s not an easy thing to do. A lot of times people (myself included) resist burning those briges because we think, just maybe… one day… once in a blue moon.. we might need it. But the whole time we’re waiting that same bridge is weighing us down. Your post really makes me stop and think about that in my own life and what’s causing that resistance. Thanks for this!

    1. Janice Tanton

      You’re a Maker. You can imagine, design and build any future you want for yourself.

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