Apr 222011

Paradoxes, Purposes and Ponderances

Doubts. We all have them – negative thoughts that collide with our self confidence and rock our intrepid spirits. I suspect that even the strongest, most courageous people are plagued with doubts on occasion.

As a child, I was very timid and completely paralyzed with self doubt at times. I overcame the paralysis as a young adult, and I learned to trust my value and purposes. Doubts still crept in, but I translated them into motivators for increasing my value, instead of allowing them to diminish me.

Now in the latter years of my forties, and in the midst of career change, I find myself succumbing to self doubt in ways similar to the ways of my youth.

AAUGH!!! Why have I returned to my old habit of thinking I am the proverbial Charlie Brown blockhead???

Change itself brings insecurities. Changing my career path has put me in completely different arenas of professional engagement than those from my previous endeavors, and the new arenas are unfamiliar to me.

Once a service provider for the less fortunate in the world (mental health counselor), I now am making a living creating a product that is considered a luxury (fine art). My consumers are a different demographic and my colleagues are of a completely different mindset.  Not only do I have to adapt to new methods of earning a living (business skills are not in my DNA), I also have to overcome biases and prejudices that I have developed over the years working in the non-profit service sector.

Couple that with my natural artistic brooding and critical eye to the ways of business (artists are programmed to resent the business world for some reason), and I become my own Lucy pulling the football away as I, like Charlie Brown, am about to boot it down the field.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Luckily, I have friends, colleagues and mentors bearing with me and helping me navigate this new world that I have thrust myself into.  With their help, I am moving forward instead of letting my doubts paralyze me. And I am finding resources to help me develop new capacities.

I am attending a business institute for artists, which is helping me learn new skills as well as confront the self defeating behaviors interfering with my success. I am meeting with a business mentor who is patiently helping me learn the ways of the business world. I am following up on leads to increase my network of business connections.  And I am exploring different ways to make my artwork more accessible, yet still profitable enough to give me a sustainable income.

I love Charlie Brown, but I don’t want to be him. So I am taking a glance back at my old journals where I wrote about overcoming self doubt in the past. What did I do then that I am not doing now?  Looking back can sometimes help you move forward.

Despite the doubts, there are exciting things about the new directions I am pursuing. I am on a new journey and a grand adventure. I wonder where it will lead me next?

Do you have doubts about your current place in life? What are you doing to allow them to be motivators for increasing your value instead of allowing them to diminish you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments.



  No Responses to “Paradoxes, Purposes and Ponderances: Doubts and Schtuff”

  1. Hello,

    Your art is wonderful! No doubts about that so keep going. 🙂

    I’m personally at the other end of the spectrum, doubts do not last very long for me, I just go for it, if something does not work, I change the way I do it until it does. I think doubts come from fear to fail but once you realize failure is a way to learn, improve and progress then the doubts are gone.

    BTW Say hi to Okey , Brew and the rest of the gang for me.

  2. Wise words, Patricia! My doubts are not so much in the creative realm, but more in the business realm, where I feel less confident. It is not so much a fear of failure as much as not knowing where to start. But indeed, learning is essential, and you do not learn unless you just jump right in!

  3. Doubts are very human! Especially in a time when the world is so volatile. Especially when those doubts come from decisions that mean your liveihood.

    I grew up in a “business” family. My dad was a paving contractor, and from a fairly young age he’d let me help with doing his bids. He’d explain to me how the profits paid for things like our house,food,and clothing, and all the little stuff my sister and I wanted. Such as the gas credit cards he gave us for the car he gave us. (a whole whopping average of $20 a month then!)

    He also explained the guess factor involved in bidding large construction projects, as they were bid before the job was done. Many things could and did change from the time the bid was made until the job was finished and paid for. Sometimes there were nasty surprises! So all the tangible costs of materials, labor time,and equipment usage and wear and tear were figured,and then what to do when after spending 2 weeks doing the grading on a job it was all washed out in a long rainstorm. He was pretty good at it, but I’m sure there were doubts with every project he did.

    But with each and every project you also learn to trust your instincts more that the direction you are moving and guesses you are making and feelings you are having are the right ones.

    Many artists do not see their art as a product, only a finished(or not) project. They develop their talents,not their product. And many artists do not have to depend on their product to make a profit, as their art is done as an avocation, not a “job”. Art is first a talent, or a “calling”, even for “artists” like architechs who obviously have to sell their art in a much bigger way than a photograper, or paint artist. So “profit” for many is covering the costs of their materials, and maybe their egos. But it’s not making a living, or making money. That is a big leap of faith into a different “church”

    Think through the choices you have(they maybe many or few). Then with the knowledge you have gained trust your instincts. the same as you do when “developing” a painting. You won’t always be right, but the next time your choice will both easier and better.

    And profit of all kinds; money, knowledge, experience is good. It’s what we’re supposed to do as humans! It makes us grow in many ways when we pay attention and use it.

    But that money kind is especially good! Just ask those 20 paws you have living with you how they like their kibble!

    • Wow, Ruthi. Thx so much for your comments! I wish that I had learned about money and business when I was young like you did. it is all a mystery to me, but I am learning. I have learned to think of the project and the product as one, and I am trying to find ways to apply my creativity to otherwise arduous tasks. Makes them a little bit more palatable!

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