Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Dear Barb, Get Out of My Way!
Such was the case last week.
My friend Paul Boynton, author of Begin with Yes, approached me about coming up with a design that he could use for lapel buttons, which he would give out at talks and book signings. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked. I mean, geez, what an honor! Before I could give myself half a minute to find reasons to talk myself out of accepting, I said... "Yes!"
And then That Barb showed up. She likes to doubt. She likes to think that people are only being nice, that they don't really see any value in what she's doing. In short, she is full of shit. Even so, there she was, standing in the way. She whispered things like, "Why did you take this on? You know you're not capable," and, "It doesn't matter what you come up with, it's going to look like crap and he won't like any of it."
Silly me, I just took it. I spent the week fretting. I spent a partly sleepless night wondering how I was going to tell Paul that I didn't know what I was doing, and that I really shouldn't have accepted the job, and that there are thousands of people more qualified. Had I done so, I'm sure Paul would have very kindly clobbered me with a full case of his books. I mean, Begin with Yes is all about positive living and taking action. I know, I know - I've read the book three times. You'd think I'd have learned something.
I fell asleep Friday night thinking, "Tomorrow I'll email Paul and let him know that I just can't do it." And I dreamed. In the dream I was sitting by Puget Sound, watching the waves roll in, and thinking about how to approach the whole design and coming up short. Just as I was becoming really frustrated by it all, Paul (whom I've never met in 'real' life) walked up to me. I mentioned my frustration and that I wasn't sure I was up to the task. Paul looked out at the Sound, shrugged and merely quoted Buckminster Fuller, saying, "Each wave has its own integrity." Then he walked away.
I woke up and knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Even though I knew what I wanted to do, she was still standing in the way, still casting doubt. "Okay, so you have a vision for it, but can you really implement it?" I ignored her. Instead I emailed Paul and said, "I am working on your design today!" Then I went upstairs to my studio.
I sat in front of the blank paper, paints and paintbrushes laid out on the table. I mixed paint to the color I wanted, dipped my brush in it and swiped it back and forth on the palette until it was loaded just perfectly, and hesitated, brush poised just above the paper. That was when I heard my Dad's voice - although I can't be entirely sure it wasn't my voice doing a really great Harold imitation. "You're a sign painter's daughter f'chri'sakes! You know how to do this... it's in you. It's always been in you."
As I touched the brush to paper, splayed the bristles just ever so and followed the line and curve of my design, I knew it to be true. Right then, That Barb disappeared, and This Barb learned a whole new truth about her involvement in the art she so loves doing.
The truth is, I can do anything if I'll step out of my own way...
... it begins with Yes.
PS: Paul loved the design I came up with. Please follow one of the links above and get a copy of his book. I firmly believe in what he has to say... even if at times I'm so stubborn that I have to whack myself over the head with his book to get myself to comply. Really. Read it and apply it. It works.
Posted by Barb Black at 5:55:00 AM