Inner Glass Ceilings- Part 1

Inner Glass Ceilings- Part 1

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The thing I thought we would talk about today is the inner glass ceilings- The self-limiting behavior that you may not even know that you have. This will be a 2-part blog post because I think this is so important, and I have a lot to say about it.

I did a call earlier this week with my friend, Susan Harrow, who’s a public relations expert and she has a little course about how to get featured in a magazine. I posted about it in this Facebook group. And I thought for sure you guys were going to go crazy for this.

I thought for sure, you’d be like, Oh, I would love to have my product in a magazine. I’d love to have my art in a magazine. I’d love to be quoted in a magazine. I’d love to have my essay featured in a magazine. I’d love to have my book in a magazine. I thought for sure you guys would be all over that, like white on rice.

And it’s not that you weren’t. I mean, people definitely enrolled and the response was good, but it was not as enthusiastic as I had expected it to be. And then I thought about it and I really sort of put on my empathy head, my empathy heart, and kind of tried to feel into what was going on. And I realized it was this.

That really, the idea of being in O magazine was not so much thrilling to a lot of you- it was terrifying. That level of success and visibility felt threatening. It felt like maybe it was something you wouldn’t be able to handle. What if everybody thinks I’m great and then you have to be great all the time.

What if I get overwhelmed? In a lot of ways it felt to me like y’all were just kind of taking yourself out of the game before you even had any information.

Before you even thought, well, I could go to the free thing about how a person gets featured in O magazine… I could do that much research just to see if it’s something I might want. Rather than just saying, Oh, no, no, no, that’s not for me. And I wrote a big post about it. It’s on this Facebook page, about how you were taught to be modest, you were taught to defer, you were taught don’t toot your own horn. Don’t think you’re so big. Don’t get too big for your britches. Who does she think she is?

Tall poppy syndrome, all that you were taught by your family, you were taught that by school, you were taught that by the culture. And even more, this sort of second level: everybody gets that “don’t toot your own horn” message, men and women alike, but then women get an extra little message that says, “let the men go first.”

“Don’t outsmart the boys. Don’t make the boys look bad, stay in the back. Be the power behind the throne. Be the supportive help. Everybody else’s things are more important than your things.” When women get rewarded for it, they don’t get rewarded. Women are expected to help everybody with everybody else’s thing first.

And if they put their own stuff first that’s selfish, right? She got that message. I certainly got that message. Everyone I know got that message. It’s not your fault. It’s no wonder that to suddenly fight back against a hundred years of cultural programming that says, do not seek out the spotlight for yourself, that when somebody says, hey, you could be in a magazine, you could be in the spotlight. You feel like, oh that doesn’t seem like such a good idea. It feels risky. It feels like I might get teased. It feels like I might get punished. It feels like people might not like me. And all those things are true.

I guarantee you, when your work starts to get more popular, there will be people who do not like you for sure. But what you find is that it matters less. When you’ve had five social media friends and one of them doesn’t like you, that’s a big deal, but if you’ve got 50,000 social media friends and 50 of them don’t like you, it’s not that big of a deal.

A Revealing Exercise in Doodling

A Revealing Exercise in Doodling

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Here’s so here’s the little experiment I want to do with you guys.

I know you’ve got your paper and your pens ready, because you guys are known doodlers. If you don’t for some reason, grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Take your pen and I want you to draw a flower. Don’t think about it. Just draw it right now. Draw any flower you want. You can even just write the word “flower”. However you want to do it, just draw a flower

This version of you that just drew this flower… When I said draw a flower, any flower you want, that’s version one of you.

Okay. Now, new piece of paper, maybe same pen, maybe different pen. This is version two of you.

First, I want you to think about which flower you want to draw, which flower would be best to draw, which flower could you draw the best? Which flower haven’t you drawn in a while, or maybe one you used to draw, but you haven’t drawn in a while. Think about whether or not you have the skills to draw this flower. Think about what other people will think about you if you draw this flower. Think about all the other people who have already drawn flowers, and all the other people who were thinking about drawing flowers.

Do you really want to compete with them? I mean, maybe tomorrow would be a better day to draw a flower. Maybe even not a flower, maybe a star, maybe a barn, maybe a goat, maybe a goat in a barn with a star, maybe other flowers, maybe…

Are you getting my message. Have you seen through my clever road?

Stop second guessing yourself. If someone is outside your door right now and wants to give you $500 for a drawing of a flower, what do you have? You have a drawing of a flower and you could cheerfully receive that $500. You would say, yes, I have a flower.

What does version two get? How much influence does version two have? And what’s really sneaky is that you guys (I know you do this because I do it too), there’s something about that kind of thinking and overthinking and second guessing and double thinking and reconsidering and planning, planning, planning, and getting ready to get ready, and self-doubt- that feels good. That feels responsible.

One doesn’t want to just go off willy-nilly drawing flowers without any consideration. It seems better to sit and ponder. There are very few things in life that benefit from pondering.

I’m going to go ahead and say you were an artist, you know why? Because you just drew a flower. It’s a verb. If you’re doing it, you get to call yourself the verb. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. If you’re drawing, you’re an artist. If you’re singing, you’re a singer. If you’re teaching, you’re a teacher, right?

I’ve had people tell me I have no idea what I want. I’m soaked directionless. I never seen anything through. I’m still confused. And I say, okay, well, tell me what you’re thinking about. And then you go, well, I’m thinking this, this, this, and this. I’m like, right. So that’s not confused at all. Like that’s very clear that you’ve drawn a flower.

I was talking to somebody yesterday and I was helping her plan out a class she had in her mind for a long time. I said, well, how much you want to charge for this? And she was like, Oh gosh, I don’t know. I mean, that’s really the question that’s so confusing. I don’t know. And I said, okay, stop. Let’s do it the other way- how much money would you like to see coming from this?

And there’s this long pause. Well, I don’t know. I asked her, what number pops into your head first? She said, well, the number that popped into my head first was $10,000, but I mean, I… and I said, stop fine, $10,000 done.

And how many people do you think you could get in this class? I get another long pause. I’m like, okay, again, what number popped into your head first. She said 20? I’m like, great. So we have a  good, better, best of 10, 15 or 20. I always want you to set three levels of goals. It’d be like, I have to be able to hit this goal. This would be great. And this would be a home run.

So good, better, best of 10, 15 or 20. Let’s charge $900 for this class. And it’s a 90 day thing- that’s nice, like $10 a day for this class. 900 bucks get 20 people in it, then you would have almost $20,000.

And she was like, wait, what? And I’m like, no, you decided, you knew the answer to all these questions. The answer bubbled up for you and then you swatted it away. No, no, that can’t be no, no, that’s not gonna be right. Oh, no, I can’t charge for that. Oh, no, maybe it’s in beta. Maybe I should charge less.

Quit it. Just quit it.

I want you to practice going with your first impulse. I want you to really start trusting your first thought. Especially in the areas where there’s no consequences, like drawing a flower. There’s no such thing as failure. Failure is just taking score too soon. Disappointment is taking score too soon. People don’t fail. They quit and you haven’t quit. You’re here. You’re right here with us. You’re doing it. You’re growing and changing.

Right now, you are harnessing the power of your creative energy. Right now, the transformation is happening. Maybe it didn’t happen in any of the previous days of your life. Maybe you’ve got 50 years that not happening. And right now it’s happening. That’s a miracle, you’re positioned for a miracle.

So that’s my little flower exercise. Draw a flower or think about drawing a flower. Which is more productive?

How To Price Art To Sell

How To Price Art To Sell

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Here’s a tricky topic- how to price art to sell. You might think, I’m not selling as much as I would like, and I feel like I need to cut my prices.

The issue is not that you need to cut your prices. The issue is you need to market to people who understand the value of what they’re getting. There are three things that make a sale happen- right product, right person, right time.

Notice the price doesn’t actually enter into that.

So, who is the right person?

Who is your ideal client? Remember we only ever sell to ideal clients. I do. Clients are the ones who need you. They know they need you. They can pay you. It might be a stretch, but they can pay you and they share your value system. Not all of your values necessarily, but some.

They know they need you, right? What are they looking at? What are they Google searching? What are they talking to their friends about? So, you don’t want somebody who’s never bought art before- you want somebody who’s like, Oh, I need a new piece for this spot.

So, who is that person? Is it someone in real estate staging? Is it someone who’s just moved into a big house? Is it someone who just wants to give little pieces of art to their friends? So, figure out who’s the person. What’s happening that they need your thing, and then have the right thing.

I might even suggest you raise your prices. It’s a great differentiator. And you know how you are even with your own things. When you’re like, Oh yeah, you know, I paid 30 bucks for this thing. It’s whatever. As opposed to, oh no, I paid $3,000 for this thing. It’s super important to me. I love this thing, it has value to me.

That’s my suggestion- make this offer. You’re probably just not offering it to the right people. That’s all. So, take a minute to think about who that right person actually is.

We spend a lot of time on that in Sam’s Pro Club. So, if that’s something you’re thinking about or want to talk to me about, it’s never too late to join Sam’s Pro Club.

I would experiment with maybe tripling your prices. Most of you could afford to 10x your prices. Most of you could afford to put a zero on the end of whatever it is you’re charging right now. Charge a lot and then offer a money back guarantee. You know you’re going to over-deliver.

The Non-Artistic, Highly Creative Person

The Non-Artistic, Highly Creative Person

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I think there’s a whole subset of people wandering around out there who don’t think of themselves as creative. The fact is they’re very creative- they’re just not very artistic. They think that because they don’t draw or sing or perform in some way, or create visual art in some way, that means they’re not creative. And that’s not true. Creativity doesn’t have to do with artistic talent. It has to do with innovative problem solving.

You may know one- they’re the people who are always the most interesting people in the room. They’ve always got 10 different projects going. They love finding out things for themselves, so they’re always doing things like figuring out how to roast their own coffee beans, even though they never drink coffee.

Their brains are perpetual motion machines. They’re kind of armchair experts, they like to figure things out. They have very high standards generally, so you can usually trust their recommendation- if they say that something is good, it probably is, mostly because they’ve tested it themselves.

As you guys know as highly creative people… if I tell you it’s raining, you’re going to stick your head out the window to check. Same with the non-artistic, highly creative person. They take no one’s word for anything- they have to prove everything to themselves, which can make them feel like they’re being a little stubborn, but really, it’s just their inquisitiveness and their curiosity.

So, if there’s a non-artistic, highly creative person in your life, give them freedom. They’re going to do things their way, just like everybody, but honor that. Give them a lot of freedom to design their own path a little bit and try tying their requests to their values, because they tend to be a little anti-authoritarian. I’d love it if you did this because it matters to me or this way, or it’ll have this impact in this world. And that’s not a bad tip just for dealing with anybody, honestly.

The thing I noticed about non-artistic, highly creative people is don’t bullshit them. Don’t flatter them. Don’t try to butter them up. Their bullshit detector is a hundred percent. Now we artistic, highly creative people… we can be buttered up. But I find that the non-artistic, highly creative people, not so much.

So, if you’re going to give them a compliment, give it to them straight. Don’t sugar coat it. And if you’re gonna give them a criticism, give it to them straight- don’t sugar coat it, they don’t need your approval. And certainly, reward them in their love language. And again, this is a good tip for anybody, but the non-artistic, highly creative people tend to often like to be behind the scenes. They don’t always like a lot of recognition or a lot of attention, but they need to be recognized and paid attention to.

So, if you’ve got one in your office or in your family, figure out how they like to be recognized.

They may not want to make a big fuss in front of everybody, but they might appreciate a note. They might appreciate a gift. They might appreciate some time together or just your acknowledgement. So that’s my little two minutes on non-artistic, highly creative people. Just because they dress boring and don’t have a flamboyant personality does not mean they are not highly creative people.

The Groan Zone

The Groan Zone

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Let’s talk about The Groan Zone.

There’s a time in every project where the bottom falls out. The beginning is so great because it’s got so much enthusiasm, and even if you’re scared of it, even if you’re doing something that makes you nervous, there’s a lot of energy there.

And when you get to the end, you don’t want to hide. When things get to the end it looks like it might really be real. And then you distract yourself sometimes, but most of the time there’s a real push to the end, like, Oh, I’m almost done. Oh, this could be great. And getting it out in the world and sharing it with other people is so exciting.

But this middle, this Groan Zone…

Groan Zone is a phrase that I learned from my friend, Sam Kaner, up in the Bay area. He’s got a business called Communities at Work and they do consensus work and organizational diagnostics- if you’ve got a problem in your group or office, he will come in and figure out what it is.

He gave two meetings about trying to achieve consensus when you’ve got two or more opposing points of view, and you’re just at that point in the meeting where you’re like, well, we’re just never going to agree. This is never going to work out. There is no compromise. There is no way out of this. We’re just doomed. We’re deadlocked.

It’s terrible, like all the energy has gone, and all the will to find a solution has gone.

And he says this is the point of magic. This is the point of transformation. If you can hold people in the space, through the Groan Zone, they’re breaths away from finding the solution that’s really going to move them forward.

So, I want to encourage you in that as well. If you’ve got a project that you got to the middle of and quit (or are in the middle of and want to quit), I want you to take the opportunity to go deeper into the work. What is really there for you? Where are you being asked to grow? Where are you being called forward? Where are you being pushed? Also, what other elements can you bring in? This is a great time to bring in a buddy system or an accountability system, or to sign up for a workshop or a class, or get a mentor, or join Sam’s Pro Club.

Invest a little more so that you can reconnect with your energy around the project. Sam’s Pro Club, which you may or may not know, is sort of my higher-end industry circle mentorship group for creative entrepreneurs, but it’s also true for the people in Turn Your Wisdom Into Workshops (we’ve had record enrollment in that workshop). It is so fun and so exciting, and people are doing such amazing things. We’re about to head into session three. Those of you who teach workshops may know… all right, and not even workshops… the third of anything can sometimes get a little weird- the third rehearsal, the third date, the third meeting, the third session

I think it’s, again, because of that Groan Zone thing, like the initial hulu has worn off and now we’re actually into the work of it. Now we’re running up against the barriers that we’ve run up against before. Our old patterns are kicking back in. It’s just the lack of charm on number three.

So, if you’ve taken classes with me, you’ll know that I will often start out the third session by saying, look, if you are feeling discouraged, discombobulated, disillusioned, disenchanted, disenfranchised, or just kind of grumpy about the whole thing, that that’s completely normal. That’s a completely predictable stage in organizational growth and in your own personal growth.

Create A Winter Goal-Setting Community

Create A Winter Goal-Setting Community

I sent an email this week that talked about how it’s going to be a long winter. I don’t care how you slice it. I don’t care what happens. It’s going to be a long winter and it can also be a joyful and productive winter, if you take time to do the work that you love… to do the work that you were designed to do. Do the work that feeds you, that nourishes you. It’s not the kind of work that takes energy from you, it’s work that gives you energy, that replenishes you, that lights you up.

It might be artistic work and it might not be artistic work. Lots of highly creative people are not the least bit artistic. And frankly, there are some artists who aren’t really all that creative. Creativity has to do with problem solving. It has to do with creating something new. It has to do with innovative problem solving.

So, wherever it is that you get called forward; wherever you’re always interested. If you see a book about it, you’re going to buy it. If you see something on TV about it, you’re going to watch it. If somebody brings it up in conversation, you immediately love that person and want to talk to them more.

That’s one of the qualities of highly creative people, is they actually have multiple zones of creative genius. There’s a lot of things that we can get lost in. So, you can do a little discernment for yourself about, do you want to just pick one? Do you want to have several? And where do you want to be? You know, if you’re going to commit time to it (and please. commit time to it) move it from the yes, should get there someday. Oh yeah, I really want to do that. Oh, that’s it’s in the spare room, I should really take a look at that.

Put it in your calendar. If you’re going to write every morning, then write every morning and put it in your calendar. If you’re going to spend two hours every Saturday afternoon, if you’re going to go for a walk every day, whatever it is, put it in your calendar and get some commitment around it.

And the best way to get commitment around it, of course, is to get some community around it. I can tell myself all day long that I’m going to do XYZ or I’m going to draw, or I’m going to write, or I’m going to do whatever. But if I tell you I’m going to do it, if I know that you are meeting me, that we’re going to do it together, that we’re both going to be there Saturday afternoon… well then, I’ll for sure be there. Right?

So, think about the work that you want to engage in this winter. Where do you want to get to? Like, oh, I’d really like to be able to play Somewhere Over The Rainbow on the ukulele by Christmas. I’d really like to have perfected my pastry technique. I’d really liked to have learned how to tie that fly or code that app or understand this. Whatever it is that you’re into, or where you want to get to… commit the time to it, put it in your calendar and better yet get some community around it.

And of course, the best way for people to stay highly involved in community around something is to pay for it. It doesn’t even have to be very much money, but to say, okay, we’re gonna have a Sunday afternoon writing group from 12 to 3. At 12 o’clock, we’re going to get on zoom. We’re going to check in with each other. How’s everybody doing? I’m going to turn off our cameras and microphones. We’re going to write for two hours. We’re going to check back in and say, how did it go?

That puts time on the calendar. We all do it, and I’m going to charge 50 bucks a month. I’ll get 10 people and 50 bucks a month is enough to notice… like if I paid 50 bucks a month for something, I’d be like, oh, well I kind of want to skip it, but I paid 50 bucks for it. I might as well be there.

You know…50 bucks, 10 people, that’s an extra 500 bucks a month. That’s fun. And you don’t have to keep it. You can give it away. You can donate it. You can share it and have a big party. You can do whatever you want with it, but scheduling that time and charging some money for it professionalizes it, makes it more of a thing and helps keep people from flaking out. And now all of a sudden, you’re creating an environment in which people are achieving the things they really want to get done.