(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


An artist friend was talking about her frustration from taking a commission to create a new piece. The client had seen a work of hers and wanted one similar, but with changes. As she created the piece the client suggested/requested additional changes. By the time she was finished she was totally frustrated. After a while it dawned on her why.

When she is creating from her own inner impulses she is the only one she’s out to please. But when she’s executing a commission (at least one with a hands-on client like this one) she’s required to please the client.

As a marketer of her work – and she always wants someone to buy her creations – her only job is to be pleased with what she creates and then offer it. Sooner or later someone will also be pleased with a piece and buy it. In other words, she creates to please herself and then releases it to see who else it will please.

With a commission there is a shift from creating to please herself to creating to please someone else. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with pleasing others. It’s a part of how we get along as a society.

Whatever you provide to the world – whether painting or parenting, making or serving, doing or inspiring – is your ‘art.’ The rub comes when you let the creation of your art be diminished by trying to please another.

Creating and pleasing are not mutually exclusive, but they do have a sequence.


Coaching Point: Do you look at the journey of your life as a creation? Are you pleased by what you are creating?


Copyright 2015 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.