Saturday, July 7, 2007

What If......??

What if I fail? What if I don't sell a single thing? What if people leave my booth snickering and whispering to their friends? What if the gallery owner laughs in my face and asks me why I wasted their time? What if the magazine editor sends back my submission with the comment, what were you thinking??

What if I run out of work? What if I can't keep up with the demand,...I'm only one person!?! What if they accept my proposal, and I have to go and teach that class to all those people I don't know, and what if they don't like me? What if my friends or husband does not like me spending so much time doing my work?

Wow. We sure can create every horrible scenario that could ever possibly happen to us if we take a chance. If we take a single step outside the comfortable zone we already know. Do we really want to dare have all these dreadful things happen? No way, no how. No sirree. I'll stay right here, thank you. I know this terrain. I know my role. I know what to expect. Take a chance, and something terrible might happen.

It might. But more likely it won't. What might happen? You might get into that show you love to visit. You might find your work gets well received, and sells well. The gallery owner might be excited to see some new work, and look forward to the chance to represent your work in their shop. You might just see your name and a picture of your work in a magazine.

Run out of work at a show? Sell every last piece of work you brought with you? First, celebrate. Second, raise your and demand. The demand seems to be exceeding supply, so raise the price to temper the demand. Maybe some will now not be able to afford your work. But you don't need to feel badly about that. I can't afford a lot of the work I see at a great show. But I am thrilled to see it, and I hope others can afford it and support the artist's career.

Same scenario if you can't keep up with the demands of galleries and shops. Raise the price. I have raised the price of my cranes three times in the last year. My wholesale price is now what my retail price was a year ago. I sell fewer cranes, but not necessarily less in dollars. And I am not killing myself trying to keep up. I am not getting rich...but I am not working around the clock trying to keep up.

What if you go and teach that class? What if they love you and you get to teach more classes? What if you really love teaching? What if your husband and friends are happy to see you doing work you love, and see that you are happy because of it?

The bad things can and do happen. But not nearly as often, or as dramatically as we might imagine. And guess what, they are not the end of the world when they do happen.

One of the worst things that happens at a show is the catastrophic thinking that goes on among artists on the very first day of the show, maybe halfway through the day. "Where is everyone?" "There is no one here?" "Have you sold anything yet?" The next day, if sales did not meet their first day expectations, it is doom and gloom in the aisles. All I want to say is "Go away, and take your karma with you." You've heard the expression. It ain't over till it's over. The wisdom in the obvious. I have had more not so great days turn around in those last few minutes of the day when some are rushing to leave for the day. Someone comes into my booth in those last few minutes, and the next thing I know I have a great sale. I did not show impatience or frustration with this "stupid customer" who shows up at the last minute. What were they thinking? Well maybe they were enjoying to show. And the show is still open isn't it?

This is not really a glass half full or half empty. It is recognizing that most times life falls somewhere in the middle. Between the most amazing thing that could possibly happen, and the most awful. And most times, it is all well within our reach. But we just have to reach. Take the first step. Try. Without the effort, we will stay where we are. Imagining what might happen, and never finding out what will happen, if.....


Kathi said...

wow, this post sure hit home. I can what if myself to death if I let myself. It is only in the last year or so that I have dared to go beyond my little box. And what got me out of the box was someone suggesting I submit a tutorial to polycafe. I just *knew* it wouldn't be accepted. what do I was. yeah, my "what if's" are slowly being pushed to the back as I poke further out of my box. thank you for this post. it helps.

Judy said...

Good for you, Kathi! It does take practice and awareness. The worrying may still happen, but you learn to quiet it. Congratulations on the tutorial! One success can lead to another.

Lori Greenberg said...

Great post. I love your site and the info you share...keep it comin'!

I've had to work at overcoming that critic in my head...funny, it has nothing to do with me but what I was told growing up. GRRRR!

artandtea said...

Great post, Judy! My inner gremlins have said all of that at one time or another. I find that if I do my best to get the "what ifs" about the future out of my head and live in the moment, magical things can happen. -Karen