If I Could Just Get a Handle on This ONE Thing in my business…
When you are facing a dilemma in your business,
what are the steps you take to solve the
Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
I work my dilemmas through the following four steps:
Step Away –
Work on something else –
Get Honest — is this thing really worth my time and energy to continue in.
Case Study: Doing a Kickstarter project vs Promoting my book on my own
I had started a kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a company that offers a
way to fund creative projects by setting a goal and pitching your idea to
everyone you know in your circle and virtually to get funding for
completing your project. The typical fund drive is 30 days. At about 20
days in I have reached just 26% of my goal and decided to cancel the
kickstarter project. I instead created a PDF of the project and have been
successful with Plan B.
I sat down and took stock of what I brought to the table. I believed my project added value to my clients and I had patience to move and execute in a way that felt more authentic to me than the constant hustle I would had to do with pressing it out there through crowdfunding.
Another thing? I am OK if someone says they would have made a different choice. I make the decision and I move on. Learn from it yes, but don’t dwell in it.
The first thing I do, no matter how big or small the dilemmas is, is to take a
breath. When I’m facing what I consider to be a problem, I almost always
start breathing shallower. It is important that I find my breath before any
The next thing I do, as in every other situation, is to shift perspective. If the
computer locks up, it’s perhaps not a problem…it’s an opportunity to go
outside for a breath of fresh air.
I don’t wear rose-colored glasses; not everything is all peachy keen. I get as
pissed as the next person when I lose hours of work that I forgot to save.
But it is what it is. If I want to keep my self sane and healthy, and my
business running smoothly, the time-proven best option is to flow around
the rocks in my path, not stay stuck behind them just getting upset.
I do several things when I am facing a dilemma in my business:
1. I check in with the people around me that I trust the most to get
feedback and suggestions.
2. I sit still and allow the answer to come from within me.
3. I sleep on it.
4. I take a photo walk with my iPhone and get out of the house and look
and notice the world around me. It helps me to get more present, helps me
calm down the racing mind, and calms me down.
Usually I let myself sit with the problem. My natural reaction is respond
immediately to problems, but in reality I often have time to think about the
response. When I take the time to think about it, usually new options for a
solution will appear. I will journal about the problem, look at it from a few
angles, and then formulate a plan to resolve it. Once I’ve had a chance to
think it through calmly, the problem and solution don’t usually seem as big
as they did initially.
When there’s a dilemma I write down my thoughts first. Writing is the
easiest way for me to get clear on my thoughts. Then I sleep on it.
Everything seems so much more manageable after I had a good night sleep.
And I never lose the sense of “I can fix this.” It’s actually my motto while
painting as well. I cannot mess up SO much that I cannot fix it. And that
thought alone has gotten me out of a slump many times.
And I have a rule to always be nice and diplomatic when corresponding
with people. That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry but I cannot afford to be
mean to people even though I sometimes want to be. So I stay clear of
accusations and just state the facts and hopefully we can try to find a
Try not to take the dilemmas I face personally. When something is printed
wrong, or a buyer is unhappy with a product, or someone says they dislike
my paintings, I try hard not to let it get me down. If it really hits me wrong,
I have a pity party. Really, it works on so many levels. You get to let it out
and then you can move on.
My graphic design background helps me be the professional. When faced
with a problem I focus on the professional side and make it right. I tell
myself, how would I like to be treated in this situation? We all want to be
treated with respect and want our feelings heard. Make it right and learn.
When facing a dilemma, the very first thing I do, is stay calm and speak
positively to myself. I need to understand the problem and start to plan to
solve it. Once I have thoughtfully examined a pressing issue, I will discuss it
with a trusted consultant. I will gather opinions and advice, and begin to
research solutions. I determine my available resources of money and time,
and start to establish a plan of action. Throughout this process, I remind
myself to stay calm and positive, because my proposed solution may not
work the first time!
I think the initial reaction when something doesn’t go to plan is to panic!
But I have learned that everything happens for a reason and can be solved,
so I always take a step back and evaluate all the areas that this effects, refocus
on my bigger picture goals and how I can make any small changes
necessary to get to a solution.
I research ways to solve it, tackle it head on and make the changes I need
to make in order to continue success
First, I remind myself that anything is possible, that there is a solution for
anything. Having faith and a positive outlook that the universe is on my
side is key for me to stay my course despite challenges.
Then, I seek out people I trust to listen and to offer advice, especially my
parents. People are great resources — sometimes it is as simple as just
If that doesn’t work, I research online. I love reading about people’s
experiences if I cannot talk to them personally.
Thirdly, I listen to my intuition and remind myself to have patience.
Believing that things have a way of revealing themselves at the right time
helps me stay calm.
I’m a praying person, so I will pray that whatever I do reflects a divine glow,
that my motivation comes from a higher place and that I am just a
messenger. This helps me find perspective. I practice deep listening to see
what practical steps might need to be taken.
Depending on the situation, I may ask for help from a trusted friend who’s
been there. I may go back to my favorite, the list-making method, which
helps me clarify and see what I couldn’t see before.
In all things, I am trying to practice honesty, because so often I’ve found
that these dilemmas stem from misunderstandings or a break-down in
communication. Being up-front and honest always brings clarity (as long as
you’re careful to speak from a place of calm, strength and kindness).
My first step is to step back and breathe. I find I can get too emotional
about some “dramas” and have found it’s never good to act from a place of
emotion. Our business recently had another craft business out and out lie
about our business and said we were copying them when they were
copying us. We were livid and friends were advising us to get an attorney.
Being more of a peace maker than litigiously prone, we decided to take the
high road and ignore the whole situation and stay focused on our
wonderful business. Their attempts to bad mouth us fell on deaf ears and
they were seen by the art community as being mean spirited. If we had
acted from an emotional place the matter would have escalated and used
up precious time, energy and money.
I usually sit down with my sweetie and talk things through with him. He is
an excellent project manager for the government and he has a very no
nonsense/common sense about things. I can get very emotional and hyper
about things and he calms me right down and helps me see how things
really are…he helps balance me out.
I also, try to trust my gut while making sure fear isn’t playing into my
decisions, which is sometimes tricky. My biggest dilemma is often budget
issues. I operate my business on a shoe-string budget really and
opportunities and chances I see other artists making often aren’t an option
for me. Especially when in the past I have sprung for opportunities that
should have worked out and they just didn’t. So when that happens time
and time again, it makes one a little more cautious.
But, I’ve come to trust my own decisions and to settle in a little more
comfortably with my limitations and to let go of all of the often quickly
offered ‘you should do this and that’s”. I think it helps too to stay as
inspired as possible. There are days where I feel down, so on those days I
stay off the internet and social networks, etc, I avoid the easy temptation
to compare myself to everyone else. On positive and strong days, I find
inspiring stories and artists where I can say to myself ‘hey I can try that too’
or ‘I am good enough to do that as well’, the key is knowing when to do
what, ha ha.
I also have 4 big bulletin boards in my studio that are jam-packed with
image concepts and sketches etc and on those days where things are
feeling sticky I will put everything aside and get straight back to the root of
it all, which is the artwork itself…I allow myself the whole day or maybe the
whole week or sometimes even the whole month to just create and not
worry about any of the other stuff. Creating always makes things very clear
and having these bulletin boards in full view is a constant reminder that I
have oodles of creating to do and somehow that always calms me and acts
as a reminder that I can jump right back to the root of it all and that it’s
there that all will be okay…
How do you go about solving problems in your business?