Ep. #83 How I Make Big Decisions

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #83 How I Make Big Decisions

 I know how easy it is to get caught up in confusion and indecision when it comes time to make those “big career moves”, and sometimes the small ones too!  So, I am finally sharing decision making formula!  In this episode, first we’ll identify how your values factor into your decision making.  Then, we’ll talk about false dichotomies and Zero Sum Thinking. THEN, I’ll give you the outline, a tool that I use to help me MAKE BIG DECISIONS!  I’m also giving you a look at one of my recent a BIG DECISIONS that might surprise you. 😉


Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello my friend and welcome. I’m Dana. This is Words That Move Me. I’m stoked that you are here because today I will be talking about a subject that is near and very dear and probably a struggle to all of our hearts. Um, today we are talking about making decisions specifically big, important looming decisions. Um, and it is safe to say that if you are listening to this podcast, you are focusing on making moves in your career. You’re focusing on making the ‘right moves’ and probably making really, really big moves. So this one is dedicated to you. I’m so excited about it. Uh, but first let’s talk wins shall we? Today, I am celebrating a very important win. If you are an avid listener, you know that I am avidly frustrated with the carwash across the street for me, um, since the reopening, the great reopening, it seems a lot of people are wanting their car washed. And although it used to be a hand wash the car wash across the street from me now has these really awesome squealing vacuums, which has been a struggle for a person with a podcast. Um, seriously, it like I am pulling my eyelashes and my hair out on the daily being in my house, listening to this squealing squealing sound. Uh, so today I’m celebrating that I have made a formal complaint with the city after doing some extensive decibel recording and research found that the carwash across the street is almost four decibels over the acceptable limited for residential area. And I know that doesn’t sound like much, but, um, every three decibels is a doubling of the acceptable limit. So the fact that we’re almost four decibels over is like, oh my goodness, no wonder I’m pulling my hair out. This is like two times as loud as the acceptable limit for a residential area. So I’m stoked that it’s not just me and I’m not just crazy. And I’m stoked to be taking steps in a direction that hopefully gets me and my neighbors, a little bit of auditory relief. Uh, so that is what I am celebrating today. 

Now you go, what is going well in your world? 

All right. Awesome. Congratulations. I’m so proud of you keep doing what you’re doing. Okay. Now my goal for this session is to identify what makes big decisions and sometimes small ones too, so hard. Uh, then I’m going to give you a game plan that will hopefully make it a lot less hard because I know how easy it is to get caught up in confusion and indecision. So, uh, first we’ll identify how your values factor into your decision making. Then we’ll talk about false dichotomies and the zero sum thinking, and then I’ll give you an outline, um, a tool that I use to help me make my big decisions. Uh, and I’ll even give you a real example from my very own, very recent life of how I applied this tool. Okay. Let us jump in and let us talk about why it is so hard to make decisions, big decisions. Um, actually, let’s pause right here. What do you think the answer to that question is seriously, like hit pause and try to answer this question. Why is it so hard to make big decisions go?  

Okay. Uh, I, I, I hope that you’ve paused that answered that question. And if you’re back now, I’ll go ahead and weigh in. I think that it’s hard to make big decisions only, partly because we really want to make the right one and not make the wrong one only, partly because of that. We’ve got thoughts about how good it is to be right, and how bad it is to be wrong. And without a crystal ball, we don’t think we know which one is which so we go back and forth trying to predict the future and doubting ourselves in the moment. That’s only part of it. 

Well, that confusion, that back and forth that self-doubt in that trying to predict the future thing. Those are all optional. And I’m about to clear all of those up for you with one word, values. Yes. Your values. I’ll explain in addition to wanting to be right and not wanting to be wrong. Making decisions can be hard and uncomfortable and confusing because we subconsciously tie bundles of our own values to each choice. So I like to think of, of each choice each option, each decision as a bucket and in each of those buckets, I place certain values. For example, uh, let’s say I’m deciding whether to go to college for dance or to head straight to a big city and jump into the workforce. In the school for dance bucket I might place the following values, having a detailed and predetermined schedule, having some structure, pleasing my parents. Um, this one’s obvious, but a top tier education. Those might be some of the values that I, that I put in the go to school bucket. Well, over in the other bucket, the jump straight into the workforce bucket, I’ve placed values like first-hand experience, independence, change, and of course no student debt. Okay. So we tie certain values to certain decisions. So what, so what makes making decisions a struggle is thinking that by honoring one decision and one set of values, we must completely abandon the other values. You see what I’m saying here? In the case of our example, you might be thinking that moving straight into the workforce means you forfeit your parents’ love and support or a detailed and predetermined schedule or a top tier education. Yeah. Making that decision could feel awful. If you think that you had to give up all those values to have it. On the other hand, you might be thinking that going to school means that you can’t honor independence, hands-on experience and change. Is this is this tracking? When I explain it in this way, of course, big decisions feel nasty. When you think that making them means you have to give up your values. What I am starting to illustrate here is sometimes called zero sum thinking. Zero sum thinking refers to the perception that a situation or a decision is like a game and there will be a winner and there will be a loser. And if someone is up and someone is down, the net is zero, right? Winner, loser net equals zero. That’s why we call it zero sum thinking. It’s occasionally called a zero sum game. Now as zero sum bias means that people think there is competition for a resource or an idea that they feel is limited. Even when the resource in question is totally unlimited, freely available to put this really simply we care about decision-making because we think we will either win or lose our values. But in most cases, our values are unlimited. There is not a, there’s not one choice that we could make where we have to forfeit all our other values, except for the ones that we allocate with that choice.  

Okay. Are you still with me? I’m hoping that this idea of values and decisions has really blown your mind. Um, and if it hasn’t great, we’re going one step deeper so that I can like just firmly split your brain. No not split it, just, nevermind. We’re moving on. You have probably heard, maybe even on this podcast actually of false dichotomies, there’s sometimes known as false dilemmas or when two alternatives are presented as being the only options, but others are actually available. That is a false dichotomy when you are presented with A or B, but in truth, there is actually like C D E F G H I J K. Anyways. My husband has helped me to really understand that. Almost always, when A or B are presented as the only two options you have at least four options option one is to choose A option. Two is to choose B option three is to choose AB or, you know, some combination of the two and option four is to choose neither. Mind blown in half. You don’t have to choose either of those. You can choose nothing. We’re going to call that option C. So when presented with A or B, you know, you have at least four options, A, B AB, or we’ll call it C. This way of thinking can really lift the false pressure of a false dilemma. So if you are thinking, I’m going to either go to school or move to a big city to dance, I can understand how you would feel tremendous pressure. When actually you have so many more options, which some might create even more pressure in your mind, but we’re going to alleviate that in a second, too. 

To add some alleviation. I’d like to introduce the subject of time. Most decisions are presented as a limited time offer. You have to choose by the state. You have to decide by this date, our deadline is this, and that pressure is intended to be manipulative. And usually it’s not binding. Usually you can change your mind at some point out in the future. Most of the time you can straight up, just wait to make the decision. So the next time you were being faced with a big decision, ask yourself how many options do I really have and how much time do I really have to make this decision? Can I make my decision and then change my mind later? Excellent. Breath of relief. Okay. 

Now I’m going to talk you through one of my favorite tools for making big decisions. Eight steps go with me here. Step one is to simply reflect, identify how many options you actually have. Is this a case where it is truly A or B, or is there an AB, is there a C explain what each option would look like? And the example that we’ve laid out already, the, the, the scenario of going to school or moving into the workforce option a might look like going to college, packing up your bags, getting on a plane, moving to a school option B might look like packing up your car and moving to LA to pursue the industry. For example, AB might look like packing up your car, moving to LA and going to college online, option C might look like going on a cruise ship or Europe or staying home, something like that. Actually, I guess those would be CD and E all of those options. So explain to yourself what each of those options looks like. 

Step two for each option that you’ve outlined in step one, tell yourself why you should choose each option. In other words, list the pros. What’s good about each of those decisions. 

Step three, as you might have imagined, outline the cons. What’s the bad part about making each one of those decisions? What could go wrong in making each of those decisions list for each option? 

Step four. Here’s where we get to the buckets and the values. What values does each choice aligned with? In other words, what are the values that you’re putting in each bucket? For example, in going to school, you’re honoring the value of higher education or pleasing the folks or maintaining stability. Um, in, in bucket B moved to LA, you might be honoring real hands-on experience being close to the ocean. Um, maybe you already have a community out in Los Angeles. Maybe you’re putting the value of accomplishing your dreams into that bucket. Um, maybe, maybe the AB bucket is the value or the, the desire to please everyone. Maybe that’s giving you more flexibility in the future. Um, you, you get to decide what values go in the AB bucket, and then in the C bucket as well. What values are you associating with the decision to do none of those with the decision to maybe stay home or go on a cruise ship? Is it the value of saving money? Is it the value of less risk? Is it the value of, um, you know, sticking to what is known? What is comfortable? What are the values you’re putting in each of those buckets? 

That is step four, step five is where we get to identify embrace. Even that the struggle you are having to make this decision is coming from thinking that in order to honor one value or one bucket of values, you must abandon all the others. So get very real with yourself right now and explain how in this case, that is true or untrue. Is it true that by moving to LA you abandoned the love and support of your, of your folks? Is it true that in moving to LA you are forfeiting great education. Is it true that by going to school, you are forfeiting experience. Is it true that by staying home, you are forfeiting experience. Get to really answering those questions for yourself. Explain how is that the case, or how is that? Not the case likely you’ll find that it is very much possible for you to honor most, if not all of your values by simply making one choice. 

In step six, I like to consider if there is someone else whose opinion about this decision matters more to me than my own. I asked myself, who are they? And why in the heck do I care about their opinion? More than mine at this point, I like to remind myself that I cannot control what other people think about me. It’s very possible that I could make the choice that would please this other person. And they could still think poorly of me. So are you willing to make this decision for you? Are you willing for other people to have the wrong idea about you? Answer those questions in step six and get ready for ownership over your life. 

Let’s go instead of seven. Once you understand that your values are not mutually tied to these choices, once you understand that you could possibly honor all of those values with any one decision, what choice do you want to make? What decision will you make, knowing that you can honor most, if not all of your values with one choice, make the choice. You don’t need to act on the choice. You don’t need to actually go pack the car right now, but with yourself to yourself, make a decision and decide what you will think about yourself for making this decision.  

Okay. We’ve made it to step eight and this one is important. Most people do not do it. I can tell because I’ve seen people go for years and years holding onto guilt or curiosity about the path not chosen. So step eight is to decide how you will feel about letting go of the other options. How will you feel about the paths not taken? How will you grieve them? How will you celebrate them? How will you release them? How will you honor them? That is the final step of making big decisions for me. 

All right. Now, I’m going to walk you through this outline, um, with a recent experience of mine during the same week of the, In the Heights movie premiere and surrounding parties that were happening in New York City, I was put on avail for a national commercial in LA. The dates were exactly the same, the dates, exactly conflicted and New York and LA are quite far away. Oh God, that was a cute ride. Um, so in this case, when I identified my options about, you know, do I, do I say that I am available for this commercial? Or do I say that I am not available for this commercial and go to New York A and B, or it was not possible that I both do the commercial and go to the premier and parties and such, um, yeah, the, the AB version of that world couldn’t exist. Of course there is still a C option I could have done. Neither. It could have said, you know, it is just too hard for me to choose. I’m not going to do either of those things, but option C was that’s, that’s not very attractive to me. So as I identified my options, I honed in on A or B, say that I’m available for this commercial, or say that I am not available for this commercial and go to New York. Actually, now that I say this out loud, there was a third option. I could say that I’m available for this commercial and still not book it, and then go to New York to the party. So those are my three options. A say that I’m available B say that I’m not available and go to New York or C say that I am available, not get it and still go to New York. Okay. 

Step two. Let’s take a look at the pros. The pros for doing a commercial are making money. I’m working with people that I admire and haven’t gotten to work with before, getting my after health care back. Um, not having to travel at all during weird COVID times. Yeah. The pros of going to New York are being in a city that I love seeing people that I haven’t seen in a long time, um, getting to party. Yeah, duh. And the pros of saying that I’m available, but also not getting it and going to New York anyways, are that I demonstrate to myself that I’m open to new work. I’m open to new ideas and I’m capable. I’m flexible. 

Okay. Now let’s take a look at the values that each of these choices aligns with. Why should I be available for this commercial? Well, number one, it would mean my husband and I get back on our SAG-AFTRA healthcare. That is massive. I lost healthcare coverage during, uh, the pandemic year. And so we’ve been paying month to month, which is way more expensive. I am very, very motivated to meet my minimums and be covered fully again by SAG- AFTRA healthcare. Um, that’s number one, number two, this was a big, big music video and commercial director that I would love to work with. Also big, big choreographer that I would love to work with haven’t had the opportunity to yet. Let’s see, make money. Obviously, in addition to, uh, meeting, meeting healthcare requirements, make like actual cash and let’s see what else, right? Allocate, uh, what other value did I tie with this? Oh, the next that extra spending of money, which is required in trips to New York City, not the cheapest. Okay. So why should I choose B? Why should I choose going to New York for the premiere of this film and the parties surrounding it? Oh, this one was easy. A sense of closure and accomplishment, a celebration. Um, the other values I associated with going are, um, connecting with the community, uh, celebrating the people involved and yes, having a party like actually celebrating, playing, having fun. That is definitely a value of mine. Now, option C in my case, I didn’t have much control over. I can say that I’m available for this project and they can say, oh, we’re so glad that you’re available.  We don’t need you. Which spoiler alert is what happened. But first I had to actually make the decision where I said, I am willing to be available. That is the decision that I’m talking about. It is poor form to say, yes, I am fully available. And then a psych, just kidding. I’m going to not be to nevermind. Poor poor form. 

Okay. Step three. Why shouldn’t I choose each option? Why should I not choose to do the commercial? Because other people might think that I am putting money above a very emotional and personal project. Why shouldn’t I do the commercial? Because In the Heights is one of the most meaningful projects to me that I have ever done and selling stuff for a big corporation is way less important to me to start. Why shouldn’t I go to New York because it’s going to be expensive. Um, for the Associate Choreographers, that trip was not paid for,  that was on us. Now. I know. Um, why shouldn’t I go to New York? That’s all I can think of. Only 2 reasons. Great. 

Now in step five, I get to identify that the struggle that I’m having is coming from thinking that making one choice means I abandoned all my other values deciding to take the commercial means that I abandoned celebrating my team. It means that I abandoned connecting with the people. It means that I abandoned a sense of closure. Is that really the case? Absolutely not. Is it possible for me to achieve a sense of closure without going to New York city and standing on a red carpet? You better believe it. Is it possible for me to celebrate my team without flying to New York and going to a party? Yes, it absolutely. Is. Is it possible for me to connect with my team without actually being there 100%? In fact, as I was going through this, this outline, I realized that one of my favorite things about one of my favorite people, Mr. Andy Blankenbuehler is that he writes personal emails. I mean, I know it sounds kind of small, but this is one of the busiest guys I have ever met. And yet out of the blue, I might receive an email. Hey, Dana, thinking about you because saw this thing thought of you, blabbity-blue. Appreciate you. Hope you’re good. I love that this person who I think is so busy is not too busy to connect with his people. I want to be more like that. Could I write an email to all of our cast and crew? Yes. I mean, it would take me some time, but probably not longer than a five and a half hour flight to New York, probably not longer than the four days that I would have spent there. And in fact, I might even find myself feeling more connected with them and writing personalized messages than shouting at the top of my lungs over loud music at a party or a passing wave in a fleeting hug in a movie theater. It might be possible that I get to connect deeper by not going than by going, okay. 

Let’s look at the other side of the spectrum. Could I meet my SAG-AFTRA health requirements by going to a party? No. Could I work with these two, uh, this choreographer director by going to New York to the premiers? No. Could I work with them eventually? 100%. Yes. Am I excited to now know that that is important to me 100%? Yes. Are there things that I could be doing that would get me closer to that desired result? 100%. Yes. But none of those are achieved by going into New York City for a party. Okay. Pretty well. Fleshed that out. 

So let’s look at step six. Is there someone else whose opinion about this decision? I’m considering more than my own? Yes. I was considering about 300 people’s opinion more than my own. I was considering what people would think. If I wasn’t there. I was considering what people would think. If they thought that I had chosen a commercial over them, I was considering what the casting agency might think. If I said I was available and then changed my mind later that they might think I was unprofessional. I was considering a lot of other people’s thoughts about me. When I started thinking about missing the premiere to do this commercial. I thought that people might think the movie didn’t mean as much to me as it did to them. And I placed myself in my imagination there at the premiere. Is it possible that people could still think that even after having spent a lot of money on a ticket and lodging and food and fancy outfits, is it possible that people could still think that, yes. Am I willing for people to be wrong about me? Yes. In fact, it is inevitable in my life that will happen. 

So let’s take a look at step seven, understanding that my values are not mutually tied to these choices. For me, understanding that I could still achieve closure, celebrate my team, connect with my team and celebrate myself without going to New York. In some ways I might even be able to do those on a, in a deep, deep way, in a very personal way, in a very effective way. Impactful way. Once I realized that my decision was clear, I would decide to be available for this commercial. I would decide that my way of releasing the premiere would be to review every single photo and dance, every single combo and light a candle for Abuela Claudia and email, personally, all of the dancers. This was how I would honor and release the path not taken. So I got on the phone and I called my agent and I said, I will be available for this commercial. And they said, that’s great, noted. And then for four days, the four days before the week of the premiere, I was on hold. And then I was released. The commercial said, no, thank you. I hit up Airbnb. I bought myself a plane tickets so fast and my feet landed firmly in celebration, connection, closure, and New York City. But all the while I felt open to more work, I felt like my past work is not the only work. I felt even more able to celebrate the people I was with because I was thinking that I could do so much lifting from afar. Imagine how much I can do near. I felt that I was exactly where I should be. And I felt open to being anywhere. 

That is what I have for you today. A little template for making your big decisions and a peek into one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make in the last couple months. All right. That’s it wrapping it up? Hope this was useful. And if you happen to have other tips and tricks and techniques for making big decisions, I would be so curious to hear where they are. Hit me up, DanaDaners on Instagram or Words That Move Me podcast on Instagram. Get out there into the world, make your decisions and keep it super duper funky. I’ll talk to you soon.  

Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review because your words move me too. Number two thing. I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit thedanawilson.com for links to free workshops. And so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

Ep. 68 FOMAD (Fear of Making a Decision)

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. 68 FOMAD (Fear of Making a Decision)

This episode is a response to something I have noticed coming up A LOT lately.  I’m calling it FOMAD (Fear of Making a Decision), but you can call it whatever you’d like.  I created this acronym to address the feeling of immobilization that comes along with thinking: “It’s HARD to choose a path when I don’t know exactly where I’m going and I have so many interesting paths ahead of me!” 

Let’s uncover how having many different interests is a STRENGTH not a weakness, and let’s find the adventure in GOING at our own pace… even if we don’t know exactly where we are going. 

Quick Links:

Join WTMMCOMM Here: https://www.thedanawilson.com/wtmmcomm

The Clown School: https://www.theclownschool.com/

Cat Meme: https://www.thedanawilson.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_1343.jpg


Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: All right. All right. Hello, my friend I’m Dana. This is words that move me. I’m stoked that you are here today. This is a fun one. Um, last week we talked about FOMO, fear of missing out, which is of course the anxiety that so many of us experience when we think that we’re missing out on something, good, something cool and exciting and rad. And we aren’t a part of it that is FOMO. And, um, I, I suppose as much of the world comes out of lockdown and some of the world goes back into lockdown. That’s a pretty timely subject. So if you’re feeling that FOMO, or if you’ve ever felt FOMO, go check out last week’s episode. But, um, something else recently slightly related has caught my attention. And, uh, for now I am calling it FOMAD. That is the working title. We might evolve it to something else. FOMAD: the fear of making a decision, I’m calling it FOMAD, and it’s real. It pairs quite well with this moment in time. And honestly, many moments in time. Uh, so lace up and hit the rosin box. I said that hit the rosin box because we’re going to take this new conceptFOMAD for a spin. We’re going to address having many different interests and that being a strength, not a weakness. And we will find the adventure in going and going at your own pace. Even if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. Even if you have no idea where you’re going, we are going, but first wins. If you’re new to the pod every single week, I start the episode with wins because I think it’s important to celebrate. What’s going well, big and small. This week, I’m celebrating well, is it okay if I celebrate two? I’m the host I can. I’m going to celebrate two. Number one win, I am really loving clown school, I mentioned I think two episodes ago, I don’t know. You guys.. They really do blend together. Um, I enrolled in clown school. It’s called the clown school. There’s an online program kind of at your own pace one-on-one feedback every so often. I love it. I’m having an absolute ball. Uh, so that’s win. Number one, shout out the clown school. They didn’t tell me to say that. Win number two, is that I recently got to talk with, uh, a dear friend. I almost said an old friend, but we were both quite young relatively, I guess anyways, a longtime friend. Um, that’s been part of my dance life journey since I was probably nine years old. And I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. Uh, lucky for you, by the way, we were rolling on that conversation. So be on the lookout for an upcoming episode with Erika Mori, um, fascinating woman with a very interesting story and some exciting wins of her own that I’m jazzed about sharing. Okay, that’s it for me?  

What is going well in your world,  

Keep it up. You’re doing it really doing it. I’m proud of you. Super stoked for you. Keep winning. All right. Now I have gotten word from many of my students, some coaching clients, my coworkers, um, words that move me community members and friends and family all alike hearing that people have used the lockdown, the quarantine to spend time working on themselves. A lot of soul searching, um, honing in on strengths, strengthening weaknesses, um, focusing on self care, focusing on self love, growing, centering, giving back all of these lovely, lovely things, right until FOMO creeps in or real life, quote unquote comes a knockin. Um, which by the way, I would like to remind you, everybody was asking for everybody was like, why can’t we go back to real life? And now real life is here and we’re like, wait, something’s not right. Um, so somewhere in, in our minds at, or around the time that FOMO sets in or real life comes knocking, we, we start to think that some imaginary gate has been opened and some imaginary starter pistol has been fired and everyone’s off the blocks and running full speed ahead. And you’re like, wait, where am I? What am I doing before I start running? Just, I don’t want to exert any unnecessary energy. Where am I? Where am I going? What am I doing? And do I even want to be running right now? Everybody’s running. Wait, I want to restart, right. Is this sounding familiar? Now it might look like everyone who has their one focus and one desire. And one thing that they wish they’d been doing for all of lockdown, it might look like they’re running full speed ahead, getting closer to their finish line. But what about the rest of us that have many different interests, many different creative callings projects, people, things to tend to, what basket or baskets do we put our eggs into? Oh, drats, just missed Easter. We’re going to leave the basket analogy. Let’s go back to this race thing. What finish line do I run towards? What track do I take? And also, is it bad if I don’t want to be running, I got you, my friends, this episode, we’ll be answering all of those questions. So I’ll use this example. 

One of my words that move me, community members brought up an awesome story and I’d love to share what it uncovered. They talked about being a very goal oriented person in the past and that serving them very well. They studied the people. Who’d accomplished great things. They did interviews, they set goals, they stressed. Then they achieved the goals. And that went pretty much according to plan. But now with much new growth, new perspective, but without having a specific material or hard coded goal, this person is feeling lost. Now they mentioned that in school, they had a professor tell them that people with many passions or skills are often paralyzed to take action because of not knowing which avenue to pursue next. Yeah. That’s why we’re here. And what I would like to offer you today is that the story that people with many passions and skills are being paralyzed to take action because of not knowing which avenue to take that story. That story is exactly that.  

It’s a thought. Just because a professor said it does not mean that it is true. And it certainly, isn’t always true. Always the case for all people, right? Certainly not. And furthermore, it is probably not helping you. So if you’re still reading that story, the one that says people with many interests get paralyzed with not knowing what to do next. If you’re reading that story, I beg of thee, put it down, put that story down. Here’s why I say that. If you hear “people with many passions and skills, get paralyzed to take action because of not knowing which avenue to pursue next.” If you hear those words and you think, “Oh my gosh, yes, that’s happening to me. I’m totally immobilized by all of my interests.” And you’re probably feeling lost or frustrated. And when you feel lost or frustrated, the action that you take is probably more widely inaction, right? You retreat, you have cyclical thoughts, you lack follow through. So on. And so on the result of that, the result of feeling lost, feeling frustrated, because you’re thinking that you’re immobilized by all of your interests. The result there is not only are you immobile, but you’re likely losing interest in all of those wonderful things that used to interest you. All of those things that sparkled to you, you’re letting them dim. You’re likely sparkling a bit less yourself and that’s okay. That’s totally okay. We do not all need to be full voltage, electricity all of the time, but it’s important that you know that there is another option. You don’t need to buy that story. So what if you could choose the thing that your many diverse interests, all of the things that sparkle to you are, what make you sparkle? What if, what if all of those various interests put together are your superpower? What if, what if, all of those unique and varied interests? What if those don’t make it hard for you to decide what to do? What if they help you to enjoy where you are no matter where you go, what if they help you to enjoy where you are? Even when you’re lost? That is the true beauty of having many different interests is that no matter where you are or who you talk to, you can get interested in something. You can make something sparkle. You can sparkle no matter where you are, no matter who you’re talking to. And that is an interesting person. My friend, that is an interesting person with an interesting life. Now I’d much prefer to feel that an interesting person with an interesting life than to feel immobilized and to be losing my shit. So if you’re a person who’s looking for some sort of harmony and balance and shine in your life yet you don’t have a clear material goal, fear not to get there, to achieve that life of harmony of balance of shine. All you have to do is explore you, follow what shines and what sparkles. You try things. You course correct. You trust your gut. You don’t go too fast. You don’t go too slow, but mostly you don’t quit. And in order to do those things right, in order to trust your gut, don’t go too fast. Course-correct all those things in order to do that in order to do that and to not quit, you probably want to feel something like adventurous or open. Or how about, I don’t know if this is an actual, actual technical feeling. Like, I don’t think this is an actual emotion, but I’m going to try it. What about cruising? Like when I feel like I’m cruising, I don’t go too fast. I don’t go too slow. I don’t stop. I course correct. Check my lane, check my mirrors. I follow what’s ahead of me when I’m cruising. That feels good. And to feel like I’m cruising, I might need to think a thought like I am in the driver’s seat. And my drive is the perfect kind of drive. My drive is never over or under.  I am driving and my drive is perfect or this is not a race. This is the ride of my life. And I’m driving a convertible and it can change shape and change route. While I write multi-dimensional thoughts for multi-dimensional people with multiple different interests, this is what I’m talking about. So can you see how I just turned multiple interests and modes and directions and options and things into a strength. I went from feeling lost to feeling adventurous from feeling frustrated, to feeling easy, open cruising. That is powerful. My friends. And it is an option for you.  

Now let’s, let’s stick on this road, car driving analogy thing, because I had another words that move me community friend, come to me this week, struggling to get off the blocks, like trying to get out of the garage off the starting line. Oh man, my analogies are getting weak. Um, so she has also done a lot of work, very impressive work, finding her creative voice, refining her tools. Um, yet she still doesn’t know how to direct her focus out there in the big world. That seems so, so, so much bigger now than it did maybe pre quarantine. And what we discovered in her particular case, and you might relate was that the real problem here was the thought “I can’t crack where I fit in. I I’m, I’m starting to know who I am and what I can do, but I can’t see where I fit in .” Classic. I’ve thought this thought 1000 times. And when I think that thought, I don’t know where I fit in, I feel uncertain. And when I feel uncertain, I procrastinate. I don’t follow through. I engage in self doubt, negative self-talk I retreat. I isolate. Oh, and here’s one of my favorites. I busy myself with mindless tasks that get me nowhere, but keep my mind very busy. They keep me from taking risks from putting my feelers out from initiating new projects in general. My busy-ness keeps me from putting myself forward. I stay right where I am and when I behave that way, right. When I feel uncertain and I do those things and I don’t take risks, I don’t put myself out there. The result of thinking, I don’t know where I fit in is I do not stand out. Hell. I don’t even step out. And when I don’t step out, I’m much less likely to find the places where I feel I truly belong. Right? So the result of thinking, I don’t know where I fit in leads you to not standing out and not finding places where you feel you belong. The spin-off struggle of that as if that wasn’t enough, right? That is so not the dream. The spin-off struggle there is that, so many of us find in this situation, when you, when you don’t know exactly where you fit, right. When you can’t see that crystal clear destination, people find it hard to make moves, right? Hard to leave at all without a clear idea of where you’re going or where you belong. Again. Of course, that makes total sense. It’s hard to get somewhere that you don’t know how to get to because you don’t know the location of it, but there’s always a but, right? What, if you could think that it was fun to not know exactly how things will work out or where you’re going to land.  Think about every time you go to a movie where you don’t know how it will end. If you’re like me, you beg people to not tell you how the movie ends. Like, honestly, raise your hand if you like being surprised. And I don’t mean like the jump out from behind a corner type of surprise. I mean like, what do you want for dinner? I don’t know. Surprise me like that type of surprise. Not knowing is okay. Now hear me out, I get it, I am a huge fan of goal setting, but nobody, even the people with iron clad, crystal clear goals and tools and life coaches and all the things, no one, no one actually knows where they’re going or exactly how to get there. Because humans cannot 100% predict or see the future. None or all of us have any idea where we’re going or how we’re getting there. Some of us just think that we do, and that makes a really, really big difference. So pretend for a second that you do know where you’re going, I’m going on an adventure, right? I’m going on an adventure. And I might start by thinking of a place that I wouldn’t mind ending up. Career-wise that might mean, um, I w I ended up a featured dancer in a film or a soloist for a company or, or, or et cetera, et cetera. I encourage you to fill in that blank for yourself. What is a place that you really wouldn’t mind being a place you would like being now, you get to ask yourself, what do I do to get there? Surely if I am a feature dancer in a film, Is your desired, uh, destination. Then dance training would be on your list of things to do probably exposure and familiarity with casting directors, agents, choreographers, understanding, dance for camera, probably some acting training, possibly voice training, solid materials, like a headshot, a website, resume, et cetera, et cetera. Oh, also being in the right place at the right time. And in order to be in the right place at the right time, time in order for that to happen, you must trust your gut and go with the flow and you must leave the cave. You have to get out of the bubble, get out from the inside. And of course you must not quit. Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you must not  

quit. I know that kind of sounds like a lot, especially for somebody who previously didn’t know what to do. And now you’re like, Oh my goodness, all of these things, I know what to do now. You’re like, Oh my goodness. It turns out I know a lot of things that I could possibly do, or a lot of different route routes, routes, routes that I could take to end up at this destination. That wouldn’t be so bad. Okay, cool. So you leave, you go, you don’t quit. And one of the things that’s tremendously helpful in doing that is a feeling, how would you need to feel in order to train, expose yourself to agents, directors, choreographers, understand dance for camera, take some acting classes, take some voice classes, get your materials all solid together. Um, stay the course, right. Be in the right place, be in the right time, trust yourself. How do you need to feel in order to do those things? How do you need to feel in order to not quit? For me? I think optimistic would help. I think determined would help. I think excited might help, but it might burn out. So I, I really do prefer determined or optimistic really when I think like, Oh, absolutely, yeah, this is going to work. Or this is going to be fun or, Ooh, that’s going to be great when I feel optimistic. I think I do. I take a lot of those actions that I just mentioned. Oh. And I don’t quit because I’m thinking of how of how great this could turn out. One of the thoughts that helps me feel optimistic is I love adventures or a new, personal favorite of mine that I found as a meme recently. And will 100% be sharing with you in the show notes is ‘chances are slim. Hopes are low, but I live for the gamble. So let’s see how it goes.’ Um, and this, this photo of a cat jumping over flames, it’s not a photo, it’s an illustration. And I love it. Chances are slim hopes are low, but I live for the gamble. So let’s see how this goes. Um, I suppose, with a gamble involved, that thought doesn’t have me feeling optimistic per se, but adventurous for sure. Okay. So we just remembered that it’s not actually hard to go when you don’t know where you’re going. You’re just not thinking that it’s fun yet. Right? Remember all the times that not knowing exactly what’s going to happen is fun is exciting. And remind yourself that that’s life you won’t always know. In fact, you will never know. Even people who pretend to know don’t really know, raise his hand silently in podcast booth. Alright. So the next time you’re feeling stuck, lost uncertain of where to put your efforts or unable to decide, simply decide that having a lot of interests or options does not immobilize you thinking, I don’t know where to go or how fast to go.  There does immobilize. You decide that this creative life is not about fitting in, decide to stand out and decide to step out, knowing that no matter where you think you’re going, you have no idea how you’ll actually get there. And that’s okay. Nobody does. Which reminds me any expert that you talk to about their journey. Any, any person that’s quote made it there. They’re talking about their journey in retrospect. So of course their route looks clear. Of course it looks like they know exactly what they did to arrive where they are, because they’ve already done it, but they likely are not telling you about all the dead ends and the flat tires, et cetera, et cetera. Remember driver’s seat. You got this. Learn how to fix flats with your mind. Okay. Enough with the car analogy. I think I need to move on.  

Listen, Super duper, shout out to my words that moved me, community members for bringing these topics forward for coaching. I know you are not alone. I know that I have struggled with this in the past. And depending on the day, my friends, you might find me coaching myself into the driver’s seat right there with you. Um, so thank you words that move me members. And if you’re relating to these topics, if you’re digging what you’re hearing and you aren’t already a member head over to theDanawilson.com and click on the membership tab, I would love to see you in the words that move me community and work with you, uh, along this journey on becoming a person who is not afraid of making decisions. Yes, I will help you tackle that FOMAD and maybe rename it. I don’t know if I’m FOMAD fan. I think I like the nomadic nature. I’m not sold. Give me your feedback FOMAD is on the table. Um, thank you all so much for listening. I hope you found this episode useful and I hope that you head out there into the world and keep it super funky. I’ll talk to you later.  

Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review because your words move me too. Number two things I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit thedanawilson.com for links to free workshops. And so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

Ep. #58 The Sliding Scale of Commitment

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #58 The Sliding Scale of Commitment

This episode is all about mining one precious resource, COMMITMENT.   The dictionary defines Commitment as “The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” That is a very neat and tidy way to explain such a dynamic spectrum of being!  I see commitment as a sliding scale, and I see the WTMM Team dialing up our commitment to racial equity.  Happy first episode of Black History Month!  We are thrilled to be celebrating, now and ALWAYS. 

Quick Links:

Karida’s Griffith’s 3RD Program: https://karida-griffith.mykajabi.com/R3D-enrollmentFEB2021-page

A Brief History of John Baldessari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU7V4GyEuXA


Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you, get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

All right. All right. Welcome everybody. This is words that move me, I’m Dana. I’m stoked about this. Um, it is black history month and I have some big plans for upcoming episodes. I am so excited to be sharing the mic with some of my heroes, uh, several historians and living, breathing history, period. I am jazzed about it. And my goal is to do more than drop names and dates of important people in places and things, and just hope that you remember them. Um, my goal is to really put that history into context, uh, to make it sticky and to engage in meaningful conversations around it. So I am committed. I am committed to education and celebration of black history, and that my friend, is really big and really, really broad. So this week I want to start by talking about commitment period in and of itself. Um, this episode will *blah blah*. This episode will pair really, really nicely with episode 55, uh, where we discussed resolutions and doing daily. So if you haven’t already dug into that, you might start there, um, and bounce on back here, or you might stay here and then bounce on back there either way, bounce around. You’re going to dig. Um, okay, so let’s, let’s talk commitment. 

I did a little Googlage and I found that the online dictionary, I believe it was Miriam Webster says commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause activity, et cetera. Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, et cetera. Now, I like to think of commitment. Um, the state or quality of dedication as being a sliding scale, there are degrees of commitment to a thing. So maybe, maybe zero is like, not at all committed no effort or interest in a cause or activity. This is my ballet slippers still in a bag in my closet, but actually then again,  that again. Now that I say that out loud, I do have ballet slippers in a bag in my closet. So maybe I would give that like a 0.001 on the commitment scale. It is, it is like the essence of commitment. Like maybe it rubbed elbows with commitment, but it isn’t actually commitment. It is the intent of being committed, but not committed itself. Um, anyways, on, on that sliding scale, zero is, you know, zero action, zero effort, and 10 is absolutely possessed, all in, interested, invested and activated, taking massive action toward a cause or activity. In this metric of measurement, Um, I would place Beyonce, Superbowl halftime show performance from 2013 at an 11. Um, by the way, I’m not a football fan, but I did recently watch all of the recorded Superbowl halftime shows in history that are on the internet. Um, I learned so, so, so much by the way, lessons from super bowl halftime shows coming very soon. Um, speaking of which Abel, AKA the weekend have a freaking ball this weekend. Oh, no pun, intended. Um, Oh, also I hear that Amanda Gorman will be the first poet ever to perform the Superbowl. Come on for progress! That’s amazing. I am so thrilled by that. I’m really excited. Okay. Back to commitment, focusing on commitment.

I have, um, I’ve talked before on the podcast about John Baldessari, one of my favorite artists, and there’s a video online, a YouTube video called a brief history of John Baldessari. Um, yeah, you can find it on YouTube. It’s simply one of my favorite things on the internet. It will be in the show notes, but one of my favorite parts of that, uh, of that short film is where John Baldessari tells us three things. He believes every young artist should know. Number one, talent is cheap. Number two, you have to be possessed, which you can not will. And number three, be in the right place at the right time. Now I don’t typically like to argue with geniuses. Um, but I do want to talk about that second point. You have to be possessed, which you can not will. I think that I agree you cannot will being possessed. You either are possessed or you aren’t, but I do think you can, will excitement. And I certainly think you can, will commitment to me. I being possessed by something, it means to be taken over by it, like inhabited by it, against your will even, um, but like somehow out of control. And to be honest, I don’t love the idea of being out of control. I can handle the idea of being the vessel or the conduit, but I’m not thrilled about the idea of being out of control or under something else’s control. So to be totally honest, I don’t think that I am possessed by dance. I think I really, really love it, but there are fully days on end where I do not boogie and I don’t make that mean that I don’t love dance. So do you have to be possessed to make brilliant, not boring art? Maybe. Will you get to a John Baldessari or Beyonce level of impact without being possessed? Maybe not. But do you have to be possessed to make it in the dance industry? No. I think that that is actually a common misconception that can scare a lot of up and comers. Um, this idea that you have to be possessed or obsessed in order to make it. I, I hear that a lot. I hear like “I really, really love dance, but I also kind of love writing and I’m really digging standup and Oh, I love fashion. Maybe someday I’ll have my own clothing line, but man, I probably won’t make it as a dancer if I can’t just focus on dance, right? Like, should I even try?” Um, now I, I don’t like giving definitive yeses or nos to questions like that, but I will say that I know a lot of industry heavy hitters that do not eat, sleep, breathe, sweat, dance, they have other interests. They may love photography or fashion or film or cooking or simply eating and drinking as much as they actually love dancing. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t committed to dance. In other words, if commitment is like a dimmer switch and we have this sliding scale where possessed is the maximum, then I would say yes, more light makes more things visible, more light makes more things possible. Like try finding your keys with the lights off and then try finding your keys with the lights on brighter is righter, but to make it and more importantly to make change, I do not think you have to be possessed.  I think you have to be committed. You have to be willing to try again. You have to be willing to get it wrong. You have to probably be willing to get it wrong more than once before you get it right. And here is why that matters. In last week’s episode, Galen Hooks talked about her volunteer work with dancers Alliance and SAG-AFTRA, um, we worked side by side in several grassroots efforts, so I can definitely attest to this. That work can be exhausting. It can be unrewarding at times, and it can be very hard to stay committed, let alone possessed yet in order to make lasting change, you must be committed or, you know, possessed, It helps. now even outside of volunteer efforts, commitment really does matter a lot in the world at large, but in a creative life, especially. And here is why, because creative work is not time driven. It is idea-driven, you know, the quality or quantity of your output is not determined by the number of on the clock hours. There will always be days where you go into the studio and workshop for hours and not one solid phrase or eight count comes out. Or I suppose I should say there will be days where you don’t like one solid phrase or eight counts that comes out. Um, and on those days, your brain will probably offer that you quit or that you beat yourself up for your lack of productivity. You’ll need to decide on the thoughts that will keep you going. These thoughts are your fuel. And for the rest of this episode, I’m going to offer a series of questions to help you reveal those thoughts to help you mine that precious resource, commitment. Okay. 

The first question is this, what is your desired result?  Let’s put emphasis on what is your desired result. Now all of these questions are designed to help you and your commitment. So focus on your desired results, the things that are in your control, um, to demonstrate the difference between your desired results and general desired results. I will use this example, “The desired result that I have for the world is equal rights and equal justice for all.” Now there are a lot of people involved in the world. And even if I actually was able to change policies as an individual, I cannot change the way that other people think and feel and act. So my desired result is “to be an example of commitment to racial equity.” For example, the next question I would ask myself is why, “why do you want this result?” And this is important. This is what you’ll come back to when you want to quit. My why is this, “Because not only do I want to live in a world of equal rights and equal justice for all, but I want to be able to teach and encourage others who are interested in that world to do the same.”  My next question,  What will it cost to achieve that? What will it cost me to become an example of commitment to racial equity? I’m going to get very real with you now. And I think the next several weeks will be a testament to this. It might cost me some comfort. It might cost me some relationships. It might cost me a couple follows perhaps because I’ll be talking about things that I think are important and maybe other people don’t think those things are important. I’ll likely have some uncomfortable conversations, I’ll likely learn some hard lessons in facing truths about myself and my world. It’ll cost me time in research, reading and volunteering. Um, let’s see what else. Um, it might cost me convenience, for example. If I’m to begin shopping at a black owned bookstore, instead of buying my books on Amazon, I might have to wait until they have the book in stock, I might not get that free two day shipping. So this might also cost me money in those kinds of convenience fees, but also on a bit of a larger scale. Sometimes being an example of commitment to racial equity might look like passing on and passing along a paid opportunity to someone else. All right. I think that’s, that’s, that’s a pretty complete, although not exhaustive list of what it might cost me to achieve my goal of becoming an example of commitment to racial equity. Now the next question, after I’ve asked myself what it will cost to achieve it, I get to ask “what will it cost if I don’t commit or follow through, what will it cost if I do not achieve it.” 

This was a tough one for me. I do not commit if I, if I do not try and try again, if I do not follow through all become another person who’s talking and not doing, I’ll become a person that I do not want to be. And that is a price that I do not want to pay.  

The next question is “what must I believe to achieve this?” I have to believe that I’m responsible for my part, that small efforts add up to big changes. That big changes can happen, um, that I have to do it perfectly the first time or every time, but I do have to do it over and over and over again. Those are some of the beliefs that will help me achieve my goal. 

My next question is “how does it feel to believe those things?” When I believe that I’m responsible for my part, when I believe that small efforts add up to big change and that big change is possible, that a poet will be performing at the super bowl. When I believe that I don’t have to do it perfectly the first time, and then I get to do it over and over and over again. I feel empowered. 

My next question is an important one. “What do you have to stop believing in order to achieve this desired result?” For me, in my specific instance, I need to stop believing that I’m already doing enough. I need to stop believing that the ball is now in someone else’s court. I need to stop believing that things are never going to change. I need to stop believing that my degree of comfort is more important than growth. I simply need to stop believing those things. All right, let’s see, three, four, five, seven, Seven simple questions. And I have revealed so much. Answering these questions has given me awareness in knowing what I want, why I want it, what I’m willing to pay for it. But really this is just the beginning of the game plan. I know what I’ll think. And I know what I will stop thinking, and I know how I’ll need to feel to get it done. Now, my example is, is very much about a commitment to a way of life, but these questions can help guide you in your commitments, in the context of relationships, creative projects, and yes, absolutely. In doing daily. So what is your desired result? Why do you want it? What will it cost you to have it? What will it cost you to not commit? What do you have to believe to achieve it? How does it feel when you believe those things and what do you have to stop believing to achieve those things? Now you have the awareness and the plan you have mind the fuel. Now put it in the tank, think, feel, and go out there and make change. Speaking of change, I see daily doers. I have so many new #doingdailyWTMM hashtags, actually by the time this episode is released, we’ll probably be well over 3000 #doingdailyWTMM So if you are a, a new daily doer, make sure you’re using that hashtag so that I can see all your daily, daily doings. Also, I see so many of you daily doers using the words that move me daily, creative prompt calendar. I am jazzed about that. Good on you. Um, such a fun resource. You do not need to overstrain your brain to decide what you will do today. Simply take a glance at the words that move me daily, creative prompt calendar, and a letter rip. If you’re interested, those daily creative prompts calendars are available @ thedanawilson.com/shop and also by becoming a member of the Words that Move me Community, which I am thrilled about. Uh, shout out to all my WTMMCOMM listeners out there. If you are not a member yet, don’t stress out. You can join at literally any time, just visit theDanawilson.com and click the membership tab. Boom. There you go. Okay, everyone, that is my lesson on commitment. That is me inviting you to join me and the words that move me community in our doing daily to make lifelong changes. And that brings me to my win.

I am so excited to share my win with you today. It is extremely important, and I think that my win can be your win. Um, I just had the pleasure of sitting in on an hour and a half seminar with the fabulous Karida’s Griffith.  She is a phenomenal dancer. If you don’t already know, I do encourage you to go do a little digging on, on Karida, but she is also an educator, a fabulous educator. And right now she is offering a six week professional development program for dance educators. So for all my dance teachers out there, and I do recommend this for, for dancers as well, period. Um, the program is called roots, rhythm, race, and dance. She calls it R three D and it is basically, um, a workshop in teaching age appropriate fact-based lessons about race and dance history. And I could not be more excited about this. I’m thrilled to get started. Um, you have until February 7th to register, I will absolutely be linking to Karida’s website and the enroll page in our show notes. For this episode, I cannot express in the actual words, how enthusiastic I am about Corita’s work and how excited I am, um, to have enrolled in this program, period. I’m so jazzed about it. That is what I’m celebrating. Um, I hope that you get to go check it out and if it looks like a good fit for you, I will see you there. Uh, all right, now you go, what Is going well in your world?  

Congratulations. I am thrilled for you. I am thrilled for you. I am thrilled to get your feedback on this episode, and I’m so excited to be sharing the mic in my next several episodes. Um, you really don’t want to miss a beat, please subscribe and download these episodes. They like you’ll want to have them in your pocket. I’m just saying that’s, that’s me celebrating a future win. By the way. That’s what that sounds like is me proclaiming the win, the success of these future episodes. So, so, so excited. Um, all right, everybody. I think that is it for me today. I am going to go dance. You go do whatever it is that you are doing and just make sure you are keeping it funky. Well, yeah, I’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye 

Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time, almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review because your words move me to number two thing. I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit theDanawilson.com for links to free workshops. And so, so, so much. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye.