THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Well, hello. This is Miriam Schulman, you’re listening to episode number 145 of The Inspiration Place podcast. I am so grateful that you’re here. Today we’re talking all about making decisions. In this episode you’ll discover why making decisions is so hard, why, “I’ll think about it.” Rarely works, and why becoming more decisive saves you time, increases your confidence, and ultimately helps you sell more art. What? Yes, it does.
All right. So first let’s talk about why making decisions is so important. In art, and in life, which is why I love art, we have to make many decisions, everything in life and art. From what we wear each day, to what we create, to what genre we focus on, to what we eat, to what medium to use, to how to frame your art, how to price it. The list goes on and on.
One of the things that I help my clients do, who I coach, is help them move forward by helping them make decisions and becoming more decisive. Being decisive is one of the most important business skills, or really human skills, that you can develop. Uncertainty, which is a form of indecision, is very uncomfortable. And what most of us will do when we’re feeling uncertain or indecisive is do nothing, or head to the fridge, or do something that makes us feel temporarily more comfortable. Check social media, I don’t know what it is for you, we all have our habits there.
Now there is a difference between uncertainty and indecisive. What I know to be true though is we do have 100% control over our decisions, and we can choose to feel certain or uncertain. The way we think and feel, we have complete control of because we are the only ones who control what happens in our minds. What I want to share with you first is why being indecisive is a bad thing. You may already know it’s a bad thing and have been burned by not making up your mind, but in case you can’t think of it in the moment, I’m going to share with you an example.
I’ve had a client who was trying to decide between two studio spaces. One was only $750 a month, but very inconvenient, I think 40 minutes from her home, I’m not sure. The other was very convenient, but it cost thousands of dollars more. However, she sat in indecision for so long that she lost out on the lower priced studio space. We all have examples where these things have happened to us, but what I also want to share with you is that when you’re an indecisive person, you’re going to attract art collectors, customers, clients who are also indecisive. I don’t know even mean this in that woo law of attraction sort of way. What I mean is if you’re getting a lot of, “I’ll think about it.” From your art collectors, it’s probably because you’re projecting uncertainty, whether that is words you’re actually using, or how you’re saying them.
Now, if you want to attract customers who are decisive and they’re a, “Heck yes!” Or they are a no about your art or services, the way to get there is to start getting better at making decisions yourself. Now it’s super important to uncover where you’re uncommitted and why. And you may be sabotaging yourself with this indecision. But I can promise you if you are doing it, if you’re uncommitted, if you’re indecisive, I can promise you the reason why you’re doing it is because you are enjoying an upside to staying stuck. Yeah, you are. Let me explain.
By staying in indecision, you don’t have to take an action and your brain is keeping you safe. There are so many decisions that we have to make to move our life, our art, and our business forward and know that staying in I don’t know energy is going to keep you safe because as long as you don’t know the answer to which direction you go, you don’t have to change, and change is what you’re ultimately avoiding. That, and failure. The reason why you’re having so much trouble deciding is because you’re afraid of making mistakes, afraid of failing. And our customers do this as well. They’re afraid of buying the wrong art, of making a mistake, or looking stupid.
Now projecting a strong belief about yourself, a strong belief about your art is going to help shift that, and your art collectors will worry less about making a mistake. Now, I want to share another story about a different client, I’ll keep her details vague just to keep it anonymous, but with most of my stories, just so you know, I always choose ones that are situations I see over and over again so I know this story will be helpful. Let me give you the example.
So I was coaching an artist inside my Artist Incubator program, who was returning from teaching and wanted to commit to her art practice. However, she wasn’t sure what medium she should stick to, or even what her subject should be. Because for her whole art career, she had been creating art for teaching purposes that her students wanted her to create, but when it came time to make a nourishing art practice that filled her up, she didn’t know what she wanted. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to focus on charcoals and pastels, which she loved because there are a lot of allergies and are difficult to frame, or if she should focus on painting in acrylics.
Now what I started to notice about her decision, and this is not to pick on her, we’re going to call her Judy by the way just to make it easier, but this is not to pick on Judy because I see this same story, different details, over and over again. For both decisions, she came up with lots of reasons why each one was a bad idea. There’s nothing wrong with Judy, this is normal human reactions to making decisions.
The reason this seemingly innocuous decision was so difficult for her was she was imagining failure for both outcomes. She was imagining how each could go wrong. And as long as she stayed in indecision, she didn’t have to put herself out there, she didn’t have to make herself vulnerable, she didn’t have to create the collection. This was her brain’s way of keeping her safe, keeping her from being vulnerable.
Here’s what I want to share, and I’ve shared this before in the podcast, I’m going to share it again, maybe it will start to make sense. Our brains have evolved to keep us safe. Anytime we have anything new to do, anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, anything that requires change, we have fear. We may not feel the fear, it’s there. How do you know you’re in fear? Your brain will come up with all kinds of reasons. Some people call them excuses, I call them doubts, either way, the smarter you are, the better you are at coming up with those reasons that sound legit, but their reasons for not taking action because your brain doesn’t want you to leave the cave because it’s afraid of the danger, and it can’t tell the difference between painting in acrylics and maybe a customer not liking it, or being eaten by a tiger.
So what happens when our brains come up with all these doubts and reasons? We get confused and we get overwhelmed. And when we get into overwhelm, what’s going to happen? We’re not going to take action, we’re going to procrastinate, we’re not going to manage our time, and we’re going to blame it on not knowing what to do. Now, a better way to make a decision is to assume both options will be successful. Then which one would you choose? And then, make sure you like your reasons. The reason most of us don’t choose one option over another is because we’ve played it out and we’ve already anticipated failure. And usually we’ve anticipated failure for both.
Recently, I spoke to Lianne Kim, she was a guest on the podcast, but she also joined me live both on YouTube and in my private Facebook group, I will include the links to that YouTube discussion as well as a link to my free Facebook group if you’re not already a part of it. And what we were talking about was self publishing versus traditional publishing. Now the conversation was meant to be a pros and cons over one over the other, since she had self-published her book and I’m going the traditional publishing route. But what was interesting about the conversation wasn’t necessarily why we chose one over the other, it was about our decision making process. Here’s what she had to share.
I have to be honest, something you may not know about me yet, Miriam. I make decisions very quickly, and then I usually think them through after.
What I’ve also noticed is many people who are artistic tend to be impulsive, it’s part of our creative ADD brain. And the impulsivity can be a superpower when it comes to making art and when it comes to making decisions. However, if you’re impulsively considering many options like shiny object syndrome, and then you’re over analyzing them and you’re waffling back and forth, that makes it tough to commit. And it doesn’t serve you.
What I want you to know is you get to decide whether the decision is around your pricing, your medium, your genre, your studio space, whether to self publish or traditionally publish a book, anything. But not deciding means is you don’t have to take action and move forward, and that, my friend, is what is keeping you stuck. Now the mistake many people make is they think, “Oh, if I have a decision and it’s making me feel uncomfortable…” They think if they give themselves more time to think about it, that will change that emotion, that will lessen their discomfort.
Unfortunately, that isn’t true. In fact, if anything, thinking about it more is going to make you feel worse because your brain will have more time to come up with reasons about why it’s a bad idea and why you shouldn’t change. It will come up with more negative stories. So staying in indecision or I don’t know energy wastes your time. Making decisions increases your action. By not making decisions what you’re doing is postponing the decisions. But it’s more harmful when you postpone because then you are also postponing your actions. Take our friend, Judy, if she had picked a medium and moved forward, she may already have a collection to put forth. But when we believe we need to think about it, the truth is that decisions are usually made in an instant. They are, even when you take a long time to think about it because when you finally decide, that was an instantaneous decision.
Now, if you’re waffling, you’re changing your mind back and forth, you make a decision, you unmake a decision, that’s the opposite of making a decision, and that’s a complete waste of time. You don’t want your brain reconsidering the same decision over and over and over again because that takes a lot of energy. What’s better is make a decision and then start making all the other subsequent decisions that produces the result. Stop making so much drama over making decisions. Now making decisions can be easier when you have steps from somebody else, and you also have help seeing through your brain drama, which is why coaching can be so helpful. That’s why I want you to hear from Vicky.
I came across The Inspiration Place and Miriam and all her great free online webinars and trainings. I did follow a lot of her suggestions. These little tips that were free worked so well, what could a program do? Since signing up, I’m focused, I have an end point instead of everyone just telling me, “Oh, why don’t you do this, or why don’t you do that?” Probably just floating, I’m actually moving towards a goal. And they’re my goals, they’re not what other people think I should do. And you do feel really empowered and in control you can achieve so much when you actually focused with steps to follow.
When you make a decision in your life, it moves you forward. When you say, “I’m going to do this thing.” Or even when you say, “I’m not going to do this thing.” It moves you forward to the next thing. Unfortunately, most people don’t do that. They live their life on autopilot. They’re living at the effect of decisions that were made by no conscious choice, they’re defaulting into previously made decisions or unthoughtful decisions. Or as we discussed today, staying in indecisions, which is actually a decision, it’s a decision to stay the same.
What is the reason why we leave decisions unmade? The reason why is because we have this belief system that there are right and wrong decisions. And we have this belief system that we should make the right decision. We also don’t want to make decisions because many of us know that once we made the decision, action will be required and risky action is what makes you feel uncomfortable.
I had a conversation recently with an artist who was debating whether she wanted to sign up for my mastermind. What I told her was that the decision to join or not is neutral. If you sign up for the mastermind, it’s a neutral decision, it’s not right or wrong, it’s not good or bad until you decide that it is. And if you don’t sign up for it, it’s not good or bad either. Either way, it’s the right decision. So when you believe that, when you believe that both decisions are the right decision, then which one do you do? Well, it clears it up right away because then all that garbage about needing to be right, to needing to be good, needing to make the decision that’s going to make you happy is off the table. It’s about knowing what your reasons are for why you made one decision over the other and then liking those reasons.
So here’s where I want to end, and I’m going to end with a little exercise. Right now, take some time to write down all the decisions that are weighing on your mind. All of them. Do a brain dump, and then from a neutral place, know that all decisions are right decisions, all of them, yes, even the choices that contradict each other. What we normally do, which is why making decisions are so hard, is we think about the opposite, why each one will lead to failure. But if you assume both decisions are right and then decide if you like your reasons. And from that more positive place it will be so much easier for you to make decisions.
All right, my friend, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, please come check out the Artist Incubator. It’s my coaching program. We take all the material that we share on the show, but we take inspired action, you get steps, you take action, and you clean up your brain drama. As of this recording, meaning when this recording gets published, I’m not sure how many spots in the mastermind there’ll be, but you can always apply. You can add your name either to the wait list and we’ll let you know when a spot opens up, or we’ll let you know the next time the self study track opens, which is my other group coaching program, which you get the same curriculum as the Artist Incubator, just less coaching with me.
If you’re interested in that, go to schulmanart.com/biz, as in biz, can read all about it. All right my passion maker, thanks so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Until then, stay inspired.
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