There are eight million artist stories in the city. This is mine. This is “It’s Not the Hows and Whens, But the Whats and Whys That Matter.”
I found myself at a training put on by the University of Oklahoma Extension School at a hotel in Wakefield, Massachusetts about eight million years ago. It was a training for trainers – how to be a good trainer. I remember none of it with one exception. I remember that someone gave this advice: “Tell them what you are going to teach them – teach them – then tell them what you taught them.”
So here we go. The purpose of this blog, the primary purpose of this blog, is to convince you – the loyal reader – that it is without any doubt in your best interest, never mind the interest of the planet, to buy some of my Buddy Cushman Original Art Greeting Cards. That’s my job here. I’ll show you what I mean.
I have read in many books, and heard at a number of on-line seminars, that when it comes to setting goals, stating intention to The Universe that this is my dream, this is my goal, this is the thing I must have, it is best to leave out the Hows – how it will happen – and the Whens – when it will happen, and instead keep the focus on the Whats – what I intend, my goal – and the Whys – why it is important, why it matters, why I simply must have it. Let me use my greeting cards as an example.
Here is “The What”: “I intend to develop and own a wildly successful greeting card business.” When I am in a really fun mood I think “wildly successful internationally known and loved” greeting card business. I have some thoughts about “what” that would look like, number of sales growing exponentially, number of states (and countries) shipped to, inventory and supply on hand, like that. Then there is “The Why”: Because I have followed this mysterious path into an artist life which has now lead me to a mysterious-er path into a greeting card entreprenuer’s life, and it is a possible adventure I simply cannot refuse, to which I must say “Yes!”. Because I am, really, think about it, selling acts of kindness: it is kind to yourself to purchase a work of art, even a little one; and it is kind to support an individual guy and a friend, versus a corporate card company, trying to chase a dream; and it is kind to yourself to pull out a bunch of hand-painted cards some rainy day to cheer yourself up; and it is just so kind to send someone you love and care about, a family member, a really true friend, a card in the mail they are not expecting. How did you feel the last time you received one in the mail? I am chasing a dream and my dream involves promoting kindness.
What matters barely at all is “The How”: how am I going to develop a wildly successful, internationally known and loved line of greeting cards? I HAVE NO IDEA. Do I write a specific plan, one action after another, and none of the actions work, or hardly work. What if I leave the best idea of all off the plan because I don’t know it now? It is outside my today scope of experience. Maybe I have hot coffee spilled on me Friday by the woman at the next table who happens to be an international marketing expert? And she loves my cards. I just don’t know the ins and outs of The How. Also mattering almost not at all is “The When”: am I plunged into depression because I haven’t sold more than 20 cards in the next week, month,year, decade? Who said I would know when things would begin working, take off, explode with blinding energy?
I told The Universe “What” I intended to do, very clearly, written down, repeated often throughout the day. And I am clear that “Why” I intend to do this is all good, good for everyone involved, good for me, good for the planet in it’s tiny little way. The “Hows” and “Whens” are just not my business. I will write down lists of things to do, and when I hope they are accomplished. But it is all just moving forward. The important work is already done: the What and the Why.
So you see, when you buy one or some of the Buddy Cushman Original Art Greeting Cards you are taking a direct action, you are making a clear statement, that it is your intention to make the planet a better place. You are supporting the little guy. You are cheering yourself up. You are buying something for very little money that will go a very long way to brighten someone’s day. Not to get all sappy and everything, but remember that song: “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this a better world if you can.” Okay, that is too sappy. Maybe a better line is “All you need is love.” You get the idea.
So, there it is. I told you what I was going to teach you, about the Whats and the Whys, I did make my best case to explain them versus the Hows and the Whens. I said my specific goal for this blog was to sell you on the idea that it is without any doubt in your interest, never mind the world’s, to buy and then send along some of these cards. I explained why that is. I can tell you your How: go to my Etsy Store, click the Add To Cart button, and pay; I can tell you your When: a card or cards will be shipped to you immediately, that day or the next. I just can’t tell me my How and When. But that is okay. The What and the Why are enough.
I told you what I was going to teach you, I taught you, and I told you what I taught you. They would be proud of me in Norman – Oklahoma.