THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Well, hello, artists. Miriam Schulman, host of The Inspiration Place Podcast and you’re listening to episode number 69. I am so thrilled that you’re here. Before I dive into the show, I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to those who are going over to the site, to the blog and commenting and telling me how much you’re enjoying the podcast. It makes it so much more fun when I go to sit down and record to know that you’re listening and what really matters to you, and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about because you only listen to the podcast over on iTunes or someplace like that, every episode has a blog. This episode is 69. So if you go to schulmanart.com/69, there’s a place to leave comments. And basically after every episode, it’s schulmanart.com forward slash the number and you can go there to join in the conversation. I do see and read every single one of those comments, but I wanted to thank those of you who leave comments or have been sending me direct messages over on Instagram. I love it and it really matters to me.
Also, I wanted to thank you so much if you took the time to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. I know at least for me, I listen to a lot of podcasts and I love listening to them in my car or while working out or painting. And I know it is difficult to take the time to write a review, but I really do try to do that because I know that everyone’s doing their podcast for free, so that is just a small way for me to leave my appreciation. So many of you have honored me with a review and I really do appreciate it, which is why when you do leave a review with your Instagram handle at the end, I always like to give a shout out to you in my Insta store. That way, other people can check out your art or your photography or whatever else that you do.
By the way, I do have a little cold. I’m trying to power through this, so if I sound a little extra nasally than usual, that’s the reason, but I just wanted to make sure that I got this podcast out in time because one of my goals for 2019 was not to miss a single week, so this is part of my commitment to doing that. I can promise you as soon as I’m done recording, I have a date with the couch and I’m watching last night’s Project Runway on demand, and so that will be my reward.
I also wanted to take some time to catch up with you. The broadcast date of this episode if you’re listening to this live is December 24th, which also happens to be my birthday. So as you get to listen to this, I am turning 51. Now, I don’t want to say that I’m 51 just yet as I’m recording this. I’m still 50. Since I’m recording it two weeks in advance, I’m still 50 and I want to hold on to every precious moment.
I remember when I was a senior in high school, I was on the school bus on the way to a speech and debate team tournament. That’s the kind of nerd I was, by the way, in high school. And that year I actually was the captain even though I regret I didn’t take that role seriously as I should have on this particular trip. I was sitting on the bus next to one of my favorite teachers. He was the high school drama advisor. He was a high school English teacher and he’s also the advisor of our high school drama club, another one of the clubs that I adored. I was complaining to him that I couldn’t wait until the spring or maybe it was when finals were over. I can’t remember exactly what I was in such a hurry to get over with. But the idea was that I wanted to rush time, and anyone who remembers their senior year certainly can relate. But even now, how many times have you said to yourself, “Oh, I just can’t wait until fill in the blank.”
And he just turned to me, my drama teacher. His name was Mr. [inaudible 00:00:05:29], by the way. He just turned to me and told me I should never, ever wish time away. And the truth is I probably would not have taken that moment seriously or even remembered it at all except that this beloved teacher passed away of AIDS the following year. It was 1986. That gave that moment in time, that conversation even greater gravity, and so I’ll never forget that piece of advice. I try to live it daily as a dying man’s parting wisdom. Moreover, Mr. [inaudible 00:00:06:07], and I think his first name was Jasper. I’m not really sure because we didn’t call our teachers by their first names in the ’80s. At least I didn’t.
So my senior year, the other thing I remember quite well is he had teamed up with two other high school English teachers to perform the play Waiting for Godot. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the play is by the French existentialist Samuel Becket. The theme of the play is up for many interpretations, political, psychological, but for the purposes of what we’re talking about today, we’ll interpret the purpose of this play extending the fundamental question that existentialists ask: why do we exist? Don’t forget that Mr. [inaudible 00:00:07:00], he passed away of AIDS the following year so he probably at the time that he made that comment to me on the bus and at the time that he was performing this play, he probably already had his diagnosis and knew that his time was short. The play that they did was a passion project. Teachers normally did not put on plays in my high school for students, so that should tell you something else. It was really lovely.
I remember all three of the teachers quite well, as I knew all of them. I think there was three main characters in the play. There may have been four. I’m not sure, but yeah, it made a mark on me. Let me explain to you what existentialism is. Broadly speaking, existentialists hold that there are certain fundamental questions that all humans must come to terms with in making meaning with their lives, questions about life, death, the meaning of human existence, hence the name existentialism, and also the place of God in that existence is another question that is part of it. By the way, some people interpret the play Waiting for Godot that the Godot character that you never see represents God. So that’s just an aside by and large.
The theories of existentialism assert that conscious reality is complex without an objective or a universally known value. So what that means is the individual must create value by affirming it and living it, not simply by talking about it or dreaming about it. The play may be seen to touch on all of these issues. I hope that you’re starting to figure out what this has to do with art since this is something I come to a lot of my podcasts. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m just going to make it perfectly clear. What I’m talking about is that you need to take inspired action and live your dreams now and not just dream and talk about it in the someday, in the abstract. That may never happen, that waiting for Godot may never happen. So it’s all about doing things now.
This time of year is perfect for the process of thinking about our lives, but also planning for the next year. So thinking about the past year, staying in that gap of now, and thinking about the next year, and I love this balance of dreaming and planning that this time allows.
Today we’re talking about the time between the years and this process of looking forward while looking back and yet never forgetting that our present moment is the one to cherish. So took a while to get here, huh? In this episode, you’ll discover why this time of year is perfect for self reflection, what I learned in 2019, and I’m going to share with you a few of my goals and plans for 2020, and more importantly, this podcast is always is about you. This is about why you should start practicing your new year’s resolutions and your goals now.
All right, so let me ask you, what are your goals for 2020? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably started at least thinking about those goals by now. At least I hope so. Now, like I mentioned earlier, since my birthday’s Christmas Eve, that gives me a full week between my new year of life on this planet and the new calendar year. The symmetry is so perfect for me. But even if the 24th is not your birthday, you can borrow from Christmas. Certainly it’s the time between Christmas and New Year’s. A German friend once told me that the time between Christmas and New Year’s is called the time between the years. Historically, it was because no one could agree on the date for the actual start of the new year. In more modern days, it’s considered a relaxing time for Germans before everyone goes back to work. I actually give my team that time off as well. I may have somebody on call to just do check-in for customer service here and there, but Anna gets a full week paid off during Christmas. My friend told me that for her, this is a period of self-reflection and I absolutely love of this concept. Of course, I don’t need to wait until the end of the year to self reflect. I think you know that about me.
All right. But this time of year is the most important. I use this time between the year for setting goals, planning things. This is when I do my most journaling and focusing on manifesting it all. So basically I am into that law of attraction stuff, but for me, it’s all about dreaming and then taking inspired action, so there’s definitely a science behind it.
Now, I especially love working all of these thoughts, these goals, these moments of self reflection, I love working them into my art journal. When you create a page around something you want, you have to spend the time creating it, and the way I do my art journaling, I do a lot of words. I call it painting with words. It’s actually the name of one of my classes. All the time it takes to color it in, it really allows your brain to think and meditate. When you take the time to color it in, it really allows your brain to think and wonder. So your brain goes to work in the back of your mind and it’s working on this problem. Okay, how are we actually going to make this happen?
Now, sometimes I focus not so much on my goals, but more on my intentions, like choosing words for how I want the upcoming year to feel. So for 2020, I’ve already chosen my word. The word is evolve. I chose that word because right now my thinking is that really the purpose of the human existence is to always be evolving into the next best version of ourselves. I find that as what gives my life the most meaning. So for 2020, my word is evolve, and I don’t want to play it safe. I don’t want to play it small. I want to continue to challenge myself because I like to do hard things. I also always set art goals for myself. Now, this could be a goal around learning a new technique or experimenting with new mediums, and it could also be an art business school.
It’s way too easy to let another year pass without diving into your creative side or living your life with conscious intention. So I want to share a few of my lessons and goals for looking back and looking forward from 2019 to 2020 in the hopes of inspiring you to maybe jog what you’re thinking about. You have your own thoughts and dreams, and maybe this might inspire different ideas in your head. At least that’s what I hope.
One of the biggest lessons that I definitely came to learn over the course of 2019 is that I usually know more than I give myself credit for. When I dial into my intuition, I find that I usually already have the answer. In the past, I had the limiting belief that I need to hire copywriters to help me, and more times than not, I ended up rewriting what they gave me because it either didn’t sound like me or I had a better idea. So now I’m learning to trust that I have the right words to say. As long as I’m honest and authentic, I can say the right words. I really feel that this podcast has helped me do that because when I put on solo episodes like this one, it’s basically a writing project, so I try not to make it sound like I’m reading from a script, but I do have to create an outline and script it out so I have a solid plan for you. So that’s definitely something I’ve learned about myself.
Something that I recognize about myself is that one of my core values is travel. Now, I don’t think this is really a new realization that I had in 2019, but definitely coming more to terms with it that this is something that I do. It’s part of who I am. In 2019, I went to San Diego, I went to Medellin, Colombia, I went to Miami, Florida, and of course I took the annual family trip to Wellfleet Cape Cod. I’m not sure yet where 2020 will take me if I’m going to revisit those same locations. I certainly have reasons to, but either way, it always helps me to get out of New York, as much as I love it, to reset my sensory system so that I come back with fresh ideas and insights.
And I also found that part of the magic is actually in the journey itself, which you could, my mother would say that would be a poetic metaphor, but it’s true. Part of the magic is that plane ride. I find the travel part itself as a way of really reconnecting me and really connecting that intellectual metaphor of the journey with the physical journey. Let me put it another way. The physical journey of taking the trip really reconnects me with my intellectual journey.
And often times I don’t have access to wifi, so it’s a great time for me to read and journal on those trips. I know I’m not bogged down by the usual distractions, that you get to go to a clean hotel room where everything’s taken care of for you and you don’t have all the usual clutter around you. So travel is very important to me.
In 2019, I launched the Artist Incubator program. This is my small group coaching program. I coach other emerging artists how to sell their art, and I swear, this is my favorite two hours of the week. I love helping them and I am so thrilled with their results.
Right after I joined the Artist Incubator program and made that commitment, a couple mornings later I was looking out my window and I saw the bird feeder outside the window, and there are two little orioles or wrens or something, darling little birds that I’m going paint. One of them was sitting on the stalk and he would pop over onto the tray and peck a seed and jumped back, pop over, peck a seed, and jump back. The other one watched for a few minutes, went over, scooped up over top of the glass, and up, down inside, sat inside the middle of the bird feeder, and ate his fill. And that’s what I feel like I’m doing with the coaching program here is I’m tired of pecking around the edges. I want to jump in both feet, get it all and realize that there’s a lot more than just a little bit on the edges.
In 2020, I am expanding it to include an in-person event as I definitely value these in real life experiences, and I know that those who make the trip to New York will benefit from it as well for all the reasons I just talked about, how travel really wakes up your mind and your senses. So in April, there’s an on-location New York City event for the Artist Incubator members. It’s included in their program. But if you’re interested in joining us and you’re not an Artist Incubator, I will be selling tickets separately. They will be going on sale soon, or if you know you want to commit now or you just want information, just send us a message, firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you’re interested.
The other important thing I learned is that when I created the Artist Incubator, I thought this was going to be a pure strategy class because I know I’m so good at teaching practical, actionable strategies. But once I started working with the artists, I quickly learned that what they needed was equal attention to managing their mind, their mindset. So inside the incubator, I not only teach the five foundations of my passion to profit framework, but I also help my mentees learn how to manage their thoughts in their minds because creating artwork is mental. It all starts from your mind, and being an entrepreneur is also mental. You really need courage. Matisse says, “Creativity takes courage,” but I’ll also say that starting a business takes even more courage. Sure, learning how to sell art is fun and making money is fun, but learning how to be a better person, well, that is even funner, and yes, I know that’s not a real word.
You believe because of this incubator and because of the confidence that you exude, the woo woo woo that you flicked through the screen, that I am believing in myself, Miriam, for the first time ever, especially as an artist, but most importantly as a person.
Another lesson or let me say accomplishment, you definitely should write down what you’ve accomplished. It’s so easy to forget your accomplishments when you’re looking forward, always be acknowledging it, your accomplishments, and feeling gratitude for them. It helps you so much mentally and it lets the universe know that you’re grateful and allows in greater abundance.
So in 2019, my husband and I co-published an art and poetry book called The Writer Sketch. We actually talk about that in one of the episodes, episode number 50, schulmanart.com/50. You can hear me interview my husband about the book. I will put a link to that in the show notes, but my big goal for 2020 is to publish another book without my husband, or maybe even books.
When I started writing up my notes for the podcast, I said to myself, I wasn’t sure if this is going to be a technique book, an art business book. I definitely have both books in me. And it’s a question of which to put out first, but I definitely am putting out books on Kindle. They are not going to be expensive. There’s going to be one on our journaling and one on making pet portraits. They’re really awesome to help people just get started, kind of like the same information that I give away for free inside those free video series whenever I launch a new course. So you’ll be hearing more about that in the future. I definitely will be putting those out and that will be a good way as a warm up towards the big book that I plan to write.
And then finally, I’ve created a financial goal for myself, and the financial goal role is to pay off our money and be debt free by 2021, and that is not a small task when we’ve got two children still in college, but there you have it.
So now I want to transition into the final part of today’s episode, which is really about why you should start practicing your New Year’s resolutions now. How do you plan to make this an intentional year? What is your art goal? Maybe it’s to learn how to do portraits so you can paint your grand-kids while they’re still at an adorable young age, or finally capture the spirit of a beloved pet or to fill your days and your home with bright, happy flowers all year round, or figure out once and for all how to create mixed media layers without it turning into a gummy, muddy mess. Whatever your goal is, don’t just think about it. Use this time between the years to set yourself up, to actually make it happen because we all know how long New Year’s resolutions normally last.
That’s one reason I’m making my most popular courses available right now in the Better Than Santa sale so you don’t have to wait until I reopen the courses that will help you get started on your goal because my classes usually only open once a year and sometimes not every year, so you don’t want to wait. And by that time you’ll have lost your momentum and you may even have forgotten what your goal was in the first place.
New Year’s resolutions seem like a great way to take stock of the last year and set goals for the next one. However, as we all know, 80% of people fail to stick with their New Year’s resolutions for longer than six weeks. In other words, sometime they drop off in February. One way to give yourself an advantage come January 1st is to stop waiting around and start practicing your New Year’s resolutions now. Right now.
I do want to share another story. In between my junior and senior years of college, I had gotten really heavy. I mean, really heavy. I don’t think I weighed that much even when I was nine months pregnant. I was over 160 pounds, I’m 5’2. So I remember looking for a job in the beginning of that summer. Between junior and senior year, I was looking for a job and I was wearing this red blouse and this hounds-tooth skirt and I was very heavy and I was looking around the room inside the waiting room of this temp agency. I don’t know if it was a temp agency or employment agency. Who remembers? Anyway, I looked around and I saw the other people who looked just like me, and it’s like, “Oh, my goodness. There’s no way I’m doing that this summer.” Luckily, I stumbled upon a listing for a job as an arts and crafts teacher at a Weight Watchers camp. That was perfect. I thought, “Okay, I can lose all this weight and I can teach art at the same time.”
Now, what this story has to do with this episode, let me tell you, I remember the first few days when they were doing the orientation for the counselors, we were waiting for the campus to arrive. It may have been a very short orientation, but there was the dinner before camp started. Now during camp, once camp started, it was basically the Weight Watchers plan where you would go to the cafeteria and everything was already decided for you. You had the two grains, it was back then when were counting the different food types. It wasn’t the point system, but everything was already pre-proportioned, already done for you. It was very easy to lose weight in that environment, by the way.
But what I wanted to share with you was the night before camp started. The dinner before camp was to begin, I remember being in the cafeteria that was not the Weight Watchers cafeteria. It was just the regular campus cafeteria where they had the all-you-can-eat buffet and the ice cream bar, and my fellow counselors were loading up their plates like it was Thanksgiving, like the Last Supper. Huge ice cream cones with triple scoops because they were eating as if it was their last meal.
And even then I didn’t understand that because what they were doing was they were setting themselves up for a very difficult week in their minds. They’re thinking, “Oh, this was their last chance to eat something.” But if they were there to lose weight, they were going to be gaining the weight from that one night. So I didn’t quite get it. Maybe it’s easy for us sometimes to sit in judgment of other people, we can’t get into their heads, but the point is at that time I knew why weren’t they starting now? Maybe they didn’t have the perfect setup yet where they’re going to have pre-portioned foods, but at least they know not to have three scoops of ice cream?
Well, that’s not the way they were thinking. And I see a lot of people make that mistake year after year after year during this time, this December 24th through January 1st. People approach New Year’s resolutions with this same all-or-nothing attitude. It really is human nature to be so obsessed with hard start dates and start lines. Might begin a diet on Monday. However, if you miss a day, there’s no need to wait until the next hard start date. You don’t always have to begin on a Monday or January 1st.
And here is why you should start now. By starting now, you’ll get a much deeper understanding of what you’re resolving to do. Whatever your resolutions, there’s a lot to be said for using the next few weeks as a, wait for it, practice period. If you want to write a journal or take a photo every day, start now and sticking to your resolution will already be part of your daily routine. And if you miss a few days, it’s okay because you’re just practicing. The big event does not start until January 1st, but by then, you’ll be ready because you would have practiced.
Now, to help you out with your art goals, I have something for you this Christmas that is better than Santa because I got a feeling that Santa does not know what you really want. If you want to give yourself the gift of inspiration and jump-start your creativity in 2020, that’s why I’m opening registration at my most popular classes. Now, I know it may be taboo to even think about giving yourself a gift this time of year, but seriously, who has time for silly taboos that only serve to deprive you of your passion, desire, and dreams? Because just like the play Waiting for Godot, or it’s not just about dreaming, it’s about taking inspired action. It’s about doing. It’s about living your life purpose now and today.
You see, all year I get emails and I’m still getting them. “Hey, I’d really like to take your watercolor portrait class, but when you opened it, it wasn’t a good time. When are you opening it?” Now, normally I only open registration two classes, one at a time, and maybe there’s an occasional bundle, so if you miss your chance on a class, you may have to wait a whole year before it opens back up. So in light of all the lackluster gift giving we may have to endure, I want to give you a chance to get something you really truly deeply want.
Instead of waiting another six months before that class you need opens back up, you can actually enroll right now. And here’s the thing. Even if you’re thinking, “It’s an insanely busy time right now, Miriam. I don’t have time to take a class,” don’t worry because you get lifetime access to all the classes you have to sign up for so you can go through them at your own pace or whenever you feel like it. All of the classes include video lessons with supplemental printable tip lists and a private Facebook group community, and you can watch these on your own time whenever you have the time. And of course you can even purchase a bunch and go through them throughout the year whenever you feel like it. Just think of it as shopping for yourself, but without the guilt. Definitely leave the guilt behind.
Now, remember this better than Santa sale is only available until January 2nd, so before the holidays finally swell up what little decision making brain power you have left, take a look at all the courses you have now. Go to schulmanart.com/santa. The last day to sign up for any of these packages is January 2nd or you’ll have to wait, and I don’t want you to have to wait.
All right, finally to wrap this all up. I just want to remind you to subscribe to the podcast because 2020 is going to be awesome and I don’t want you to miss any of the episodes. And if you’re feeling extra loving, I’d really appreciate it if you left me a review over on Apple Podcasts.
All right. Thanks so much for being here with me today, my friend. I will see you the same time, same place next week. Make it a great one. Bye for now.
As of this recording, I still have a few spots left in the Artist Incubator program, so if your dream for 2020 is take a great leap in your art career or really start building up an art business, then I invite you to apply. Go to schulmanart.com/biz. Fill out the application. If you qualify, you’ll get a free strategy call with me and I’ll help you map out your plans for 2020. I hope to talk to you soon and have a beautiful holiday.
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