Paralysis by Analysis – Stop Sabotaging Your Art Career

Planning is good. Planning is useful. Proper planning makes efficient execution possible. Too much planning and not enough action will wreak havoc on your art marketing plans.

Mind Map Creativity Timing is Overrated

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. ~ George S. Patton

Proper timing is overrated. There’s always a reason not to do things – it’s too expensive, or it’s not the best time, or this, or that – but I believe there are wonderful opportunities sailing by, and you have to be ready to grab them. ~ Mary Engelbreit.

Art Business Book Club

Planning is good. Planning is useful. Proper planning makes efficient execution possible. Too much planning and not enough action will wreak havoc on your art marketing plans.

Yes, jumping into an art business project too soon can create problems. But, never jumping in because you are waiting for the right moment, or until you get those never ending last details done, is far worse than starting too soon.

The above quoted Mary Engelbreit started her art licensing business when she was six months pregnant. Her $100 million in licensing sales later attests to her wisdom. Henry Luce started Fortune magazine in 1930 in the midst of the Great Depression. Eighty years later it remains a top global business magazine and information source.

Four inches to success

The distance between success and failure in your art career is about four inches, which is the space in your cranium that holds your brain. In other words, if you are endlessly planning and worrying over minutiae instead of taking action, by over thinking and underacting you are sabotaging your fine art career. If this is the case, you may need to stop and figure out why this is happening

Art Business Book Club

The dread is worse than the do – you can unlearn being fearful

Arguably, fear is the primary cause of stalling tactics. Whether you are afraid of success or afraid of failing doesn’t matter. You have to learn to overcome it because it is irrational. It is in your mind. As long as you allow fear to keep you from action, you will be blocked from reaching your goals and from achieving those things of which you are perfectly capable of doing .

The good news is this is fairly normal behavior. Some of us are naturally aggressive and do not filter our thoughts with worry about outcomes other than the ones we are pursuing. Others of us, by nature, nurture or both, have to learn to overcome and suppress irrational fears. It is a matter of learning how to get out of your own way.

How do you do that? First, you have to learn to accept you have this behavior. Second, you have to think through what is the worst outcome if you should change your behavior. When you do, you will realize there is really nothing to be afraid of. Releasing fear will help you to start doing things instead of planning to do them. You have to accept and unlearn the paralysis by analysis that is holding you back. Finally, you just need to do it.

First things first – keeping the main thing the main thing

The worst thing you can do is nothing. Planning is not action. Useful prioritizing your activities is the best planning you can do. Understand you are not getting closer to your goal by dwelling on those things that are unimportant. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, uses a quadrant analogy to describe activities and how to address them. The four components are:

  1. Urgent – Important
  2. Urgent – Not Important
  3. Important – Not Urgent
  4. Not Important – Not Urgent

Urgent Important Matrix

If you read the information in the graphic below, you realize your key to being effective is managing your time to work on Quadrant 2. When you learn to do this consistently, you will stop managing by chaos and have fewer fires to put out. You will find the number of things in Quadrant 1 gets smaller.

Just for balance, I will say all action and no planning is also a prescription for failure. Take enough time to learn what is important, both urgent and not urgent and start acting on them. Just do not fall prey to old habits and over plan your actions. Keep the words and wisdom of Mary Engelbreit and General George S. Patton in mind, keep taking action and watch your success grow!

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Art Business Book Club

Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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