THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Oh, hey, there. This is your host, artist, Miriam Schulman, and you’re listening to episode number 64 of The Inspiration Place podcast. I am so thrilled that you’re here. Today, we’re talking all about not letting your dreams turn into regrets. Now, this episode was inspired by a quote I heard recently. Like most good quotes, there’s actually multiple versions of it floating around out there. I really liked the way Troy Dumnais, I think that’s how you say his name, put it, “You don’t get old until you replace your dreams with regrets.” And there’s a very similar version of that same quote by John Barrymore, but he uses the masculine, “A man doesn’t grow old”… So, of course, I prefer the non-gendered version better.
Part of the mission of this podcast is to inspire you to stay true to your dreams and never give up on them, not to let those dreams turn into regrets because you’re always taking inspired action. So now, in this episode, you’ll discover why you’re never too old and it’s never too late, why you don’t have to live in New York to make a living as an artist, and most importantly, how limiting beliefs may be killing your dreams. But before we get there, I wanted to remind you that November 20th is the last day to enroll in Pet Portrait Academy. Imagine, for a moment, all the joy you can have come December, when your family unwraps presents you’ve created of their beloved pets. Enroll in Pet Portrait Academy today, and you’ll have pet portraits in time for holiday gift giving. To sign up, go to schulmanart.com/pets. And now, back to the show.
Do you ever feel like it might be too late to learn how to paint, whether it’s painting portraits or something else? No matter what your age, this is a very common feeling. I’m not talking specifically about painting or painting portraits. But especially in our youth-obsessed male-dominant culture that prizes the prodigy, as well as of course the aging male genius, the notion that woman after her bloom of youth has faded and wilted is regulated to the matron status. Perhaps you’ve bought into those limiting beliefs yourself. I know many of you have, because I get tons of emails every day from folks as young as 30, who think it’s too late, as well as people all the way through their 70s and even their 80s, who think they can’t start painting because they battle this too late fear.
Now, the 30-year-olds think they have had to have made the Forbes 30 under 30 list, written their first novel, made their first million, or landed a New York gallery contract in their 20s, or they won’t be able to show their face at their high school or college reunion. For many women, this ageist limiting belief is even more rampant, women who believe they have had to make it in their 20s before they can start a family.
And I do understand where this is coming from because over the years, I may also have fallen victim to this kind of limited thinking as well. However, now that I’m 50, well, baby, I am just getting started. It’s easy to succumb to the “it’s too late” or “I’m too old” because the truth is, strong, powerful, mature women are definitely underrepresented in the media. And it’s easy for us to lose sight of the many examples of women who do accomplish far more in their later years than their earlier ones.
For me personally, I rather see an over-60 or over-70 or heck, even an over-80 list rather than one of those 30 under 30 lists. That’s why I’m always adding pictures to my own vision board examples of iconic women. Here is what you’ll see tacked to my bulletin board right now. Iris Apfel, 98-year-old fashion icon, she’s a personal favorite. Gertrude Stein is as well. The other people I’m looking to add to my board, Nancy Pelosi, most powerful woman in politics in America. She’s a grandmother and she’s 79. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is well into her 80s as well. And the list doesn’t stop there.
This youth-obsessed conception of success is unnecessarily discouraging for anyone who doesn’t find their passion at a young age, or published their first novel by 30. And listen, that’s totally ridiculous because there are so many, many famous women, and also not-so-famous women, but we’ll talk first about the famous ones, who were focused on raising families first, and didn’t get to pursue their dreams until they were much older. For example, Julia Child, she didn’t even show an interest in cooking until age 36. And if you believe in the movie, I think it was just a lark that she enrolled in cooking school. Or Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She got her start as a sex expert in her 40s, and she’s still tweeting relationship advice in her 80s. Here’s another one. This is one of my favorites. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t begin, didn’t begin her beloved Little House in the Prairie series until she was 64. And then, for us artists, Grandma Moses, one of the biggest names in American folk art, started painting at the age of 76.
I love modeling myself after women like these since my own art career didn’t begin until I was in my late 30s. And now that I’m 50, I feel as though I’m just getting started. I think I said that already, but that’s okay. And you know what? I’m still saying 50, but truth is, next month, I turn 51. I’m going to have to start saying 51 pretty soon.
Here’s the thing though. I don’t want to spend this episode talking about myself, or other women much more famous than myself because I know it’s so easy to believe that these people have some sort of special talent or they’re the exception. So, that’s why I want to spend the bulk of this episode sharing stories of real women, everyday women just like you, men listening, you’re okay too. But we’re talking about women today, who are part of my art classes and my Artist Incubator program, real people, not-so-famous people, people just like you. Because if you’ve always wanted to learn to paint, but never got around to it, it is not too late to start, at any age. And if you’ve dreamed about selling your art or becoming a professional artist, well, it’s not too late for that either.
First, I want you to meet Kyle. She’s 65 and she doesn’t have a lot of free time. Now, she could also have said that she’s too old, or that she doesn’t have enough time. Although she’s retired, there are rarely enough hours in the day. In fact, I know from the older women I’m friends with who are retired, who belong to my synagogue, they seem busier than anybody else. So, anyway, let me tell you about Kyle. Kyle has a dog walking business and she walks five dogs twice a day. And in between the walks, Kyle drives 25 miles a day to pick up her grandson, drive home, walk the dogs, drive 25 miles back. That is a lot. And Kyle had every reason to say, “I’m too busy. There are too many people relying on me, to think about art or watercolor or painting my dogs.” And of course, she could have said she’s too old, but she never says anything like that, which is why I wanted you to meet her.
Instead, she carries a sketchpad with her just in case she gets a few minutes of free time. She loves the short sketch videos that come with my portrait painting classes, which, like I mentioned, if you are not listening to this podcast, when registration’s closed, you can check them out at schulmanart.com/pets. Let me also tell you how she squeezes in the time. In the evenings, when most of us are sitting in front of the TV… Actually, I know that’s what I do. I have the double electronic thing going: the TV, the phone, the iPad. She gets out her iPad, and what she does is, she pulls out one of my easy-to-follow tutorials and works on her watercolors. She paints her dog. Sometimes, she paints the pooches from her dog walking pack to give as gifts.
But here’s the point. She makes the time. And that’s what I admire so much about my students. Almost every one of them could have given me six reasons not to take my art classes. As I see in my students, if you truly believe it’s important, you’ll make the time, just like Kyle did. If Kyle can find the time with her dog walking business, her grandson, her 50-mile-a-day driving routine, I believe that you can too. Oh, and not once did she say she’s too old, nor did my client Karen Hegglin. Karen is a member of my Artist Incubator program. She’s 74, and she is not giving up on her dream. She paints luminous watercolors and has a busy art class teaching schedule. If you want to check her out, she’s at karensartzone.com. By incorporating art into her daily life and passing on her wisdom of the creative process to her students, she is keeping herself youthful.
Now, if you paint for fun, like many of my students, perhaps your dream is to become a true artist. That was Jan Burner’s dream. She didn’t let her age or her disability stand in the way of pursuing that dream, and that’s why I want you to meet her as well. Here’s what she had to say.
Before I started painting with Miriam, I painted with acrylics, with oils, very definite painting, follow the lines. I didn’t know how to loosen up. Miriam taught us how to loosen up. And it’s very exciting to know that I can do people’s dogs now, cats. I love my artwork. So, I just do it for my own pleasure. I have three daughters that all have dogs. My daughter lost her dog. I did that for her as a memorabilia that she could have while her dog was put to rest, and that just warmed her heart. She said it captured the whole essence of her dog. We had company from out-of-state, my husband’s family. One of the girls noticed that I had paintings, so she brought the painting out and made a big deal of it. My brother-in-law said, “You’re a true artist.” That was so exciting.
Now, a friend recently said to me, “You know, Miriam, you are much more confident than the normal person, and you’re always thinking in the most abundant way.” However, I truly believe that confidence is actually our natural state. We’re born not needing proof of something happening ahead of time in order to believe it. That’s how babies are born. Let’s take the example of that, babies learning how to walk. They believe they can do it, and they keep doing it until it works, no matter how many times they fall down. They don’t say to their mothers, “I fell three times. I don’t think this will work for me. It’s not worth it. Maybe I’m too old. Maybe I’m not good enough.”
No, they don’t say anything like that. Babies are born with that natural confidence. Confidence is our natural state. What happens as we get older is we create limitations. We create limiting beliefs about what we can and cannot do. Abundance is always present and available to you, abundant thinking, confident thinking. We create limitation. Let’s think about that for just a minute. If we don’t have any limiting thinking in our minds, our natural state is confidence and abundance and possibility. If we aren’t limiting ourselves, if we weren’t thinking thoughts of limitation, then the world is truly ours.
Now, let’s turn to another limiting thought. How about the thought, “I can’t make a living as an artist”? You’ve heard me talk about this before. Now, let’s say you want to make 50,000 a year. For most people, that’s an average salary, that’s making a good living. Now, if you do the math, and it is just math, that’s about a painting a week, if you sold your paintings for a thousand dollars each for 50 of the 52 weeks. Okay?
However, what happens to many of us is that all that doubt starts to creep in. “How the heck are you going to charge a thousand dollars a painting? Who wants to pay that for my painting? How am I going to find those people to pay me? No one’s ever going to pay that. It’s not going to work.” And do you know what? All of that is just drama. It’s just mental. It’s just your limiting beliefs. If you just believe in the possibility and you allow yourself to access the wisdom of how it can be done, it will be done. It genuinely can be done. The rest of it is just drama. Thoughts creep in that don’t serve you, thoughts like, “I’m too old. It’s too late. I’m not good enough.” Here’s another one. “I didn’t go to art school.” Oh, and here’s one I hear a lot. By the way, I didn’t go to art school either, just letting you know. Here’s another one I hear a lot. “No one’s going to pay that in my area. I don’t live in New York.”
And one woman who I talked to even told me they don’t buy art in Australia. Really? Not according to my podcast guest, Denise Duffield-Thomas. She and her husband collect art on a regular basis, and I personally have sold art online to Australia for hundreds of dollars as well. I think I even sold a painting for a thousand, over a thousand dollars, to Australia. Let me tell you, I sell art online and people are paying that. In fact, I actually sold a painting last month for $1,800. That’s $1,800. And it was not a portrait. It was a painting of sunflowers to a woman who lives in Florida, not New York. And I’ve sold pet portraits for $360 to people all over the country, all over the world. And my clients, they are doing it too.
I want you to meet one of my other Artist Incubator clients. Lauren Young was always told that she would make a killing if only she moved to New York. She lives in Virginia. Actually, you should really check her out. That’s why I’ve included a link to her website, as well as Karen’s website, by the way, in the show notes. Lauren Young’s charcoal portraits are absolutely incredible. I just saw a charcoal portrait exhibit by John Singer Sargent in New York at The Morgan Library. Lauren’s are just as incredible. I’m definitely going to include a link to her Facebook page in the show notes, you can check out her art.
Here’s the thing about having to move to New York. The fact is that the headquarters for Portraits, Inc., which is the premier portrait broker agency, their headquarters is in Alabama, not New York. So, once she got over this limiting belief about people in Virginia paying the prices she’s worth, she raised her prices. Now, of course, she does hear yes less often, but the truth is, her commission schedule is completely full through Christmas. I’m also encouraging her to raise her prices because she shouldn’t have had her schedule completely full so quickly. This means that she’s making more money with her artwork doing less work, when she understood that pricing and selling her art were all mental work. Here’s what she had to say.
It’s so mental. A lot of times of not getting stuck and just moving forward, and not questioning what you’re doing, but just moving forward, knowing that you’re doing the right thing, the belief you’re worthy of it.
Now, for some of you, just hearing this podcast is making you have all kinds of mental drama in your mind. You’re having drama with me. And for some of you, it’s the opposite. For some of you, $50,000 is not a lot of money, so there’s no drama around that number. You just do it. However, the numbers are not what’s causing the drama. It’s your head, and your thoughts about what’s possible for you that is causing the drama. For some of you, that drama starts with your very first painting: whether you believe you can make it, whether you believe it’s worth it, whether you believe it’s any good. For others, it’s about making a living from your art. And for others still, it’s just about showing up and making art that’s just for you. You don’t even try to paint or create something because you’re afraid that it won’t be beautiful. And you have resistance about creating, and you start indulging in that negative drama.
Now, how do I know this? It’s because we’ve all been there, that serpent in your head that whispers to you that you’ll never make another good painting again, or “it won’t sell,” or “what’s the point?” And I hear these limiting beliefs all the time from the artists that I coach, and even more so from the artists who I interview for the Artist Incubator program, who don’t have the belief system to invest in their art careers. Sometimes, I’ll hear from artists that I coach that they don’t believe that sending emails will make them more money. So, when you have that belief, what happens? Well, you send less email. And what happens when that happens? Well, then you don’t make sales. Some artists have told me, they want proof ahead of time that what I’m saying will work.
And here’s what I know to be true. If you follow 100% of what I say, whether you’re being coached by me or just what I’m saying on this podcast, if you follow 100% of what I say, 100% of the time, it does work. If I could program my clients’ brains, like in the movie, The Matrix, they’ll be making tons of money from their artwork. Heck, if I could program my own brain to do all the things my coach tells me to do, I’d also be making a lot more money. But here’s another truth. My clients are not investing in me anymore than I’m investing in my coach. They’re not investing in us to tell us the right thing to do. What we’re really doing when we invest in a coach, is we’re placing a bet on ourselves. Now, how do I know this?
Because I’m not doing the work for my clients. They still have to do the work. They still have to send out the emails. They still need to make the art. They still need to ask for the sale. Now, if they do that work, can I take credit for that? No. They invested in themselves. They did the work. The same is true with me and my business coach. He tells me what to do, and if I do maybe 60% of what he says, guess what? I’ll get about 60% of those results.
But listen, here’s the thing. If I’m going to invest in a coach, then I am going to work really hard, which I do. I show up. There’s that great Woody Allen quote, that 80% of life is just showing up. I show up. I don’t miss coaching calls. I think I was the only one in my mastermind who went to all three of the in-person events this year. I try his advice, even when I don’t believe it. Some of this may not be making sense to you, which is why I just want to bring it back to something we’re all seem to be familiar with, which is weight loss.
A lot of us know how to lose weight. And we know if we follow an eating protocol and an exercise regimen 100% of the time, we’d look amazing, right? But here’s what happens. The doubt and the head drama creeps in. Whether we’re talking about making art, selling art, losing weight, learning how to walk, guess what? It’s all the same thing. How we do one thing is how we do anything.
So, let’s bring this back to our original subject, believing in your dreams. If you need to learn a skill to get there, that is an investment you need to make. It’s an investment both of time, it’s an investment in money, but most importantly, it’s an investment in believing in yourself, Whether that skill is taking an art class and learning how to paint portraits, like what I teach inside of Pet Portrait Academy, or learning how to sell your art, as I do inside the Artist Incubator.
Now, I don’t offer discounts for students to take my art classes or join my workshops. In the past, I’ve given out a few scholarships. And let me tell you, that when I’ve given out scholarships, what ends up happening is that those people end up not actually taking the class. You know why? Because they didn’t make the investment in themselves. So, here’s what I do now. I give a lot of stuff away for free. This podcast is an example of that. I don’t get paid to do this podcast. In fact, I have to pay a podcast editor. I have to pay a podcast hosting service. I have to pay my team to help me put out the podcast every week. So, it actually costs me a lot of money. What you get from the podcast, that’s free. I don’t charge you for it. And my masterclasses that I do, and the free video series, and my Facebook lives, I do all that to give my knowledge away for free.
But when it comes to my art classes, I know that people aren’t going to actually use them and take full use of it, and make that investment in themselves unless they’ve paid for it. I don’t give my art away for free for the same reason. I know people don’t value as much what’s for free. If there’s people that don’t want to spend their money on The Inspiration Place classes, it isn’t because they can’t afford it, because that is another limiting self-belief. And it isn’t because they don’t believe the classes aren’t worth it. Many times, it’s because they believe they are not worth it. What I see that happens is you say you can’t afford something, but the truth is, you just want to spend your money on something else. I feel that way about designer handbags. I probably could afford one, but I choose not to spend my money on that. And that’s because I just don’t value designer handbags.
And this is what I teach to my clients. Lauren Young, the portrait artist, had shared with me that, of course, there are people who can’t afford a portrait. And I said, “No, that’s not actually what’s going on there.” What’s happening with those people, because it’s the same economic demographics, the people who are saying they can’t afford it is the people who’s saying they want it. It’s because those people don’t value it. Perhaps, they’re spending the same amount of money elsewhere, maybe on shoes, maybe on makeup, maybe on cars, maybe on vacations, maybe on toys for their grandchildren, perhaps restaurants, maybe they’re knitting or needle point, or their daily lattes.
Let me tell you, this list, there is no judgment in this list. The point is, it is a choice where you choose to spend your money. Just make sure you are recognizing that you are making a choice, and honor it as a choice. These limiting beliefs are completely optional. Limiting beliefs are choices. What you need to decide is, what do you want to believe? Is that belief really true? This is true for all the limiting beliefs we’ve been talking about today, whether your belief is that you’re too old, not enough, not enough time, something’s too expensive, you’re not good enough, it’s all mind drama. But here’s what I want you to understand.
Your thoughts, your beliefs, do create your reality. And this isn’t some sort of woo theory. If you believe you’re too old, if you believe it’s too late, if you believe you don’t have time, if you truly believe these limiting thoughts, what happens? What happens is you don’t take action and you don’t try. And then, you get exactly the result of what you believed, or you don’t get the result that you want in your life. If you want to change the results in your life, you’re going to have to start by changing your beliefs. If you want to change the result, you’re going to have to change those belief systems.
Now, you can come up with your own beliefs and you can practice new thoughts. But if you genuinely understand the power of the mind and you understand that without the limitations, you are abundant, then maybe you can consider that there are thoughts available to you that you can’t even wrap your mind around yet. “It’s not too late. I’m not too old. I am the perfect age. It’s the right time for me. I am worth it.” These beliefs of abundance come from such a deep place inside of you. These limiting beliefs also come from a deep place inside of you. I want you to think about where you might be having limiting beliefs that are killing your dreams, whether they’re art dreams or dreams of something else.
I dare you to keep believing, and never give up on your dreams, and never let your dreams turn into regrets. Thanks so much for listening. To wrap this all up, I’ve got a question for you. Have you taken the time to review the podcast? Because if not, I want to encourage you to do that right away. Reviews help others find the show, and I always give shout-outs in Instagram to my reviewers. I would love for you to be one of them. Just take a few moments, find Inspiration Place on your podcast app, scroll down, click five stars, and write a helpful review, and then click send. Okay, guys, thanks so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Make it a great one. Bye for now.
After listening to this podcast, you might be wondering how you can sign up for my pet portrait class or join the Artist Incubator. For Pet Portrait Academy, you have to hurry, because it won’t be open for long. The link is schulmanart.com/pets. For the Artist Incubator, I’m actually full for 2019, but I am accepting applications now for 2020. To apply, go to schulmanart.com/biz. After reviewing your application, you’ll either qualify for a free discovery call or I’ll suggest some additional steps you can take. See you soon.
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