Friday, April 3, 2009

fear


I am a big believer in purpose-centered choices. KNOW what you believe in, what principles you are committed to living by, and make choices and decisions in the service of those beliefs. But when it comes to making the seemingly small business choices that result in more/less financial success... well, sometimes it seems rather like a toss of the dice. But there is SO much more involved, really. Motivations are hidden just around the bend, behind the filmy drapes, peeking out from behind a partially open door... and they determine the outcome in a BIG (and often unconscious) way. Fear is one of those lurking factors.

So. I've written about a couple of poor decisions I've made so far this year:
*choosing to do only one of the two big wholesale shows on the east coast (the one I gave up had a retail component that would have reduced my cash flow crisis greatly right now!)
*the other mistake is I think I've priced my new work too low to make any viable money from.

Both of these mistakes were make out of fear, fear of financial ruin, actually (I've been there before). And oddly enough my fear of it is what contributed to my current cash flow crisis. These were not frivolous choices, I made them carefully and with great consideration. But the fear (I'd have to borrow money to do the second show and I the lacked the confidence to price my work higher in this economy) determined the choices I ultimately made. I know, the outcome could not have been predicted, but I lost the first gamble (friends have reported that there was adequate attendance at the retail component of the second show to have eliminated my current cash flow crisis), and the second gamble is not looking good, although in my defense it is really difficult to predict the actual production costs of a new technique until it is systematized and the learning curve is flattened. But still, bottom line it was a lack of confidence. I have applied to several retail shows for this summer and at this point I know I have been accepted be to at least one, so that should help.  

On the positive side, I took on big risk this year that has resulted in an unpredictable but very, very positive outcome. At the end of last year and the beginning of this one I paid my worker-bees to take a week off, and the holidays and big snow generously gave me another couple of weeks. I went on artistic retreat in my own home and made a rule for myself that I was not allowed to sit comfortably in my old work. No production allowed. The snow insured that I could not distract myself going out and about (long walks were permitted!). I faced blank canvas anxiety like never before. For 3 days I paced with anxiety, and believed that I was truly a one trick pony and might just as well settle into that trick--hey, it's pretty stuff, and it sells! While pacing I had the image in my mind that I was circling a stone tower, with no windows, no doors. I kept circling and circling, testing the stones for a loose one, gnawing on them to try to gain access. Finally, one wiggled a bit, and a bit more, and more..

I started down the path it showed me ("don't think! just do! don't critique! just do!) The energy built and built. I couldn't stop, didn't want to stop. It was a joyful, creative explosion for me. I was in a wordless zone,the likes of which I don't remember experiencing before or if I have?, well, it's been a long time. Mind you, this may or may not be seen in the outcome, the work, the actual results. But that doesn't matter. What matters is: I got there. I pushed through. I made a new line. I didn't let the fear stop me.

Based on outcome alone it would seem I should never let fear inform my choices. I don't know, as I wrote earlier, I've SEEN financial ruin (although most of the factors leading to it had nothing to do with me, but that's another story for another time). We'll see how the rest of my daily choices play out, but I'll be looking for fear lurking behind the curtains and around the bend, and I'll try to see beyond it before confirming my decisions. Oh yes, yes I will.

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