10 minutes | Mar 6, 2019
[Recap for Episode 91] Creativity vs. Natural Inspiration, Stealing in Art, Taking Chances, and Learning from Your Mistakes – Cracking Creativity Episode 91
A recap of episode 91 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Erik Young where he talks about creativity vs. natural inspiration, stealing in art, taking chances, and learning from your mistakes.
64 minutes | Feb 21, 2019
92: Nick Gray on Turning Your Hobby Into a Business, Standing Out in a Crowded Market, and Being a Leader
Nick Gray is the founder of Museum Hack, a twist on the traditional museum experience. The funny thing about Nick is, he used to hate museums. That is until he went on a date that forever changed his life. During a snowy day in NYC, a girl brought him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and showed him artifacts, furniture, and other interesting things in the museum. This changed Nick’s perception of what a museum tour could be. That’s when he started frequenting the MET, and learned to love museums. The first time Nick charged for a museum tour, he even tried to give money back to the people who took it. He had so much fun with the tour that he thought he shouldn’t charge people for it. “The first tour that I actually charged money for, it was a Sunday morning tour at 11 in the morning, and I was like ‘Alright I’ll just see if I can charge money. I’ll charge them $20. See if they come.’ And everyone gave me their cash, and I gave them the tour. And I had so much fun Kevin, I had so much fun, that at the end of the tour, I think I freaked everybody out because I gave them all of their money back. And they were like ‘Why are you giving us… is this Candid Camera or something?’ and I was like “No, I had so much fun. It feels dirty for me to take your money, to do something that I love, something that I’m having so much fun with.’ So for me that was the first time I experimented, but it didn’t really go so well.” Before Nick started Musuem Hack he was a salesman of flat screen monitors. But the success of his initial tours, and the experience he gained as a salesman, allowed him to turn his passion project into a business. “What I think is special about what I’ve done with Museum Hack that your listeners might find fascinating, is that I took something that was a passion project, something that I just did for a hobby, for fun, and I was able to convert it and make it into a business. And my time selling these screens really taught me the importance of marketing and sales and dollar value of creating premium experiences. So for me that was really helpful.” The thing that makes Museum Hack different from other museum tours is what Nick likes to dub the 3 G’s. While most other tours are zigging, Museum Hack is zagging. “The three Gs. These are the three things that makes Museum Hack completely different from most museum tours. Three Gs. Number one, guides. Number two, games. and number three gossip. So it’s the tour guides that are so engaging, that are actors and educators, and science teachers, and musicians who write their own tours who are so special. That’s the guides. The games means that the tours are so fast paced. They’re ultra fast paced. They’re two to three times as fast as most museum tours. And we also do selfie challenges. We takes shots of espresso or drink some wine. And then the gossip, that’s the juicy back story. The cool stuff about the art that we like to talk about.” Instead of trying to find people who are knowledgeable in history and museums, Nick hires guides who are good with people. Anyone can learn about art, but not everyone is good at connecting with people. “The number one thing we look for is someone’s ability to be a good host. How is their body language? How comfortable to they make people? Do they make us laugh? That’s the most important thing. It’s not about their knowledge. It’s not about how much they know about the art history. It’s about how do they make the guests feel. Because that’s what we’re trying to do, right? We’re trying to make people comfortable and we’re trying to get them to warm up inside the space. So that’s really what we hire for first and foremost. And then we can teach them about the art. We can teach them about the museum… We hire folks that are really good with people.” He also gives his guides the freedom to create their own tours. When you are building something yourself, you become passionate about it. So, Nick gives them the freedom to come up with their own tours and write their own scripts. “We think that having our tour guides write their own tours is so powerful because the guests and the visitors can hear that excitement and that passion, and you can hear me talk right now, right? I’m excited. I’m pumped up. I’m jazzed to talk about my business with you, and that’s because I’m not going off a script. No one is telling me what to do. Our tour guides have to be the same way, so we let them explore the whole museum, come up with their own tours, stuff that they’re excited about and they write their own scripts.” One would think that competing with instant gratification culture would be a detriment to Museum Hack, but it isn’t. Nick tells his guides to embrace people’s attention spans and work it into their tours. “We’re dealing with an increasingly ADD generation. These are people that are like me that are on their phones every two or three minutes. I mean, it’s not just millenials. It’s people of all ages that have a short attention span, and we try to teach our museum friends ways to engage with that type of audience. Make it personal. Keep it fast. Don’t be afraid of smart phones. Encourage people to take selfies and pictures. Things like that.” In a world where museums can seem stale and uninteresting, Nick has captured people’s imaginations. That sort of innovation requires curiosity, risks, and failures, and that’s exactly what he has done with Museum Hack. “Figuring out like you did, people who have that curiosity, and people who are willing to troubleshoot and make failures, and I’m guessing the podcast hasn’t been perfect since day one, would that be a correct assumption?… That willingness to make mistakes and resourcefulness to figure things out. Those are two key things we look for.” Read more shownotes from episode 92
79 minutes | Jan 8, 2019
91: Erik Young on Creativity vs. Natural Inspiration, Stealing in Art, Taking Chances, and Learning from Your Mistakes
Erik Young is one of my friends from high school. In this episode we broke from the normal format of the show and talked about our thoughts on creativity, inspiration, the education system, and learning from your mistakes. We also talked about some of the projects he's worked on including his children's book and work as owner of 7Mangos. Read more shownotes from episode 91 with Erik Young
10 minutes | Dec 4, 2018
[Recap for Episode 90] Chalky White on Asking What If, Being Persistent, and Never Giving Up
A recap of episode 90 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Chalky White where he talks about asking yourself what if, being persistent, and why continuing to try leads to success, among many other things.
90 minutes | Nov 13, 2018
90: Chalky White on Asking What If, Being Persistent, and Never Giving Up
Chalky White grew up in an abusive household, so much so that he gave up trying in school as an act of rebellion. When he 17 he joined the police cadets where he worked with alcoholics and drug addicts. It was at this point that Chalky realized he wanted to be in service of others. One day his friend asked Chalky if he wanted to go skiing. By saying yes to his friend’s request, Chalky unknowingly changed his life. Even though he wasn’t very good at skiing on that first trip, he was hooked. A year after that first ski trip Chalky went to Andorra and decided to become a ski instructor. When he ran out of money, he went back to Britain to become an encyclopedia salesman just so he could go back to Andorra. After a series of tests in Andorra, and failed attempts to become a licensed instructor, Chalky went to New Zealand to get certified. Chalky was constantly told he was never going to be good enough to be an instructor, but through persistence and his system of What If? questions, Chalky was finally able to gain his certification. Chalky not only became a certified instructor. He also wrote his own book on skiing and became a motivational speaker through it all. In this episode, Chalky talks about asking yourself what if, being persistent, and why continuing to try leads to success. Here are three things you can learn from Chalky: Ask Yourself What If Many of us give up at the first sign of failure. We let our lack of success define and shape us. What if it didn’t have to be this way? What if we could continue on despite our doubts? That’s why Chalky developed his what if factor questions. These questions help him decide whether or not he should pursue his goals, despite his doubts. “The big dream came true because I never, never quit, and it all happened… because I got the semblance of something I now use in my speech, “How to say nay to your naysayers and have the last laugh,” which I call my What if factor. “What if I don’t continue on with this? What if I don’t follow through? What are the consequences of that?” Of course when you ask yourself that sort of question, you really don’t like the answers at all. In fact, you sort of despise and hate them, but they’re enough to stimulate you to want to be asked the opposite question. “What if I do continue on? What can be the repercussions and consequences of that?” And of course you really like your answers to that.” The benefit of constantly asking yourself positive what if questions is that they make you want to continue on. They help to push you forward instead of falling back or giving up. “By keeping on asking yourself those questions, the negatives and the positives of the What If? factor, it tends to make you want to go on and on and on. And that’s really the premise of my speech.” Chalky believes these what if questions helped him publish his book. They helped him get past his biggest naysayer, himself. They have helped guide him through many things in life. “If I hadn’t asked myself those What If? questions, I’m not sure that I would have followed through and published that book. So by making myself not listen to a naysayer… it tends to translate into… self-doubt. Doubting yourself can obviously be the biggest naysayer of all. So by following through and continually asking myself those What If? questions, I actually was successful. And that’s basically what I’ve done with very many things through my life.” Be Persistent There are many things that help you sustain a long career as an artist. Talent and luck help a lot, but one thing is often overlooked. It’s something we can all control. That thing is persistence. Most of us give up after the first sign of failure. We give up when things are looking grim. We give up when things don’t go our way. We give up when someone says no. But we can’t let those setbacks stop us dead in our tracks. We must go on despite our doubts. Chalky doesn’t believe no means no forever. He follows up with people until he gets a yes. “Every time somebody says no to you, that you can’t do something, or says no I don’t want to buy that, it gets you closer to the big yes. So in other words you get “No I don’t want it, no I don’t want it…” then… because you kept following through, he says yes, and that big yes, if you’re a salesperson… could end up being the biggest sale of the year for the company.” We need to constantly push ourselves, especially when we are down. It’s easy to lose morale when things aren’t going your way, but if you really want to achieve your goals, you have to be persistent. Sometimes we just need that extra push to keep us going. That’s why Chalky constantly asks himself what if. If you don’t like the answer to those what if questions, you have no choice but to keep going. “It’s no good just asking yourself that question once, you’ve got to keep with those questions. You have to keep on asking, sometimes several times a day… Because those questions can really help to keep your morale up because when someone keeps saying no to you all the time, it’s very easy for your morale to go completely down the toilet, and if it’s a dream or a goal that you really really want to achieve, you’ve got to find a way of not allowing yourself to quit.” The Only Way to Succeed is to Continue Trying If you want something bad enough, you will put all your effort into it. You will do everything you can to succeed. That’s often the thing that separates people who eventually succeed and those who don’t. Some people just can’t handle the constant grind, the constant rejections, the constant failure. Failure never stopped Chalky from achieving his dreams. He kept attempting his exams even after multiple failures. He became an instructor despite the doubters. He wrote a book even though people told him he shouldn’t. There’s something inside him that told him to keep going. “Some people just can’t be bothered. There are those out there who go “Who really cares?” But then there are others that really want it, but sometimes the fear of failure stops them, there’s no doubt about it. When I was trying to go through those exams where I kept failing and failing and failing, I was very scared that I wasn’t going to actually get there. There’s no doubt about that. But there was just something inside me that just kept saying “You’ve go to keep going,” When you want something bad enough, you will go on no matter what happens. Chalky uses his system of what if questions to help him stay persistent. “In my opinion, if it’s the right dream for you or the right goal for you, you will find a way to keep going, and the What If? factor is just a way of helping that effort and determination to go on and on and on, whatever happens.” I know it’s scary to put yourself out there. Rejections and failures get to everyone, but think of the alternative. Think of all those people who had great things to share with the world, but were too scared to overcome their fears. Do you want to let your great ideas go to the grave with you? “I’m sure there’s all kinds of people who’ve invented great things and written great things, and are great entertainers, and on and on… but didn’t actually get their things out in front of the public just because they couldn’t be bothered, they were scared, and were too afraid maybe to try and overcome that fear. As has been said in the past, the only thing to fear very often is fear itself.” Read more shownotes from episode 90 with Chalky White
10 minutes | Oct 23, 2018
[Recap for Episode 89] Victor Yocco on Tailoring Your Message, Finding Support, and Having an Effective Website
A recap of episode 89 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Victor Yocco where he talks about why your message should change based on your platform, the importance of a support system, and the power of creating an effective website, among many other things.
78 minutes | Oct 1, 2018
89: Victor Yocco on Tailoring Your Message, Finding Support, and Having an Effective Website
Victor Yocco went to school and studied psychology and communication. After school he became a researcher for zoos and science centers, but after a while he decided he needed a change. So he asked a friend who worked at Intuitive, a design and research company, if they had any open jobs. Even though he didn't have any experience in design or user research, Victor found that he was a good fit for the job. His background in psychology and research allowed him to make the transition from researching zoos to researching user experience design. The biggest obstacle Victor faced didn't have anything to do with his new job. While everything in his professional life was going well, his battle with alcohol was not. Victor's problem with drinking was interfering with his relationship and productivity. So he sought counseling and made a vow of sobriety. Since his pledge of sobriety, Victor has accomplished many things from articles to writing a book. In this episode, Victor talks about why your message should change based on your platform, the importance of a support system, and the power of creating an effective website, among many other things. Here are three things you can learn from Victor: The Way You Communicate With Your Audience Matters One thing artists often fail to realize is that the way you communicate with your audience can make a huge difference. You wouldn't communicate with people the same in person as you would online. The same applies to how you present information on your website. When you talk to someone in person, you can take your time and gain rapport. But when someone comes to your website, you only have a limited amount of time to capture their attention. "If you take that into the digital world, we know people have such short attention spans, and you are somewhat forced through a screen to project your message immediately... what it is they should be doing and why? So looking at what makes sense for your product... What key messages should you try to get across to people in that three seconds that you have?... You have to draw somebody's attention and you have to show them immediately why they should be there." Something we can do as artists is start filtering what we show people on our websites. Instead of trying to show all of our art to people when they land on our homepage, we should share a curated selection of the type of work we do. To get this point across, Victor points to the example of restaurants with a lot of items on their menus. When you give people a lot of choices at once, you make it hard for them to make a decision. "When you were speaking earlier... and you used the word filtering, I really like that word because it's an important concept in psychology especially in persuasion, which there is such a thing as information overload and even too much of a good thing. An example is when you go to a restaurant and they hand you a menu, and there are eighty five things on there and they all sound good, that it's very hard to make a decision." One of the best things you can do with your website is use ideas you see on other sites. For example, you can provide recommendations for people. This creates a more curated and focused experience for people who are interested in your art. "Provide people with recommendations because they're on your site because they like your work or they trust you and think that your recommendation is going to hold weight. So really filtering is something that helps people process information in a lot better way then just providing 'Oh, here's everything. Do what you will with it." Find a Support System As artists, we believe we need to do everything ourselves. We don't want to rely on anybody else. We want to work as independent creators. But this way of thinking often backfires on us. We become stressed out. We take on too many projects. We can't handle all the things coming at us. That's why it's so important to have a support system. This is especially true if you going through struggles with drugs or alchol like Victor was. "I say to everybody who feels like they might have an issue like drugs or alcohol... that one of the first steps that I found to be helpful was finding support. I don't know how I would have been able to do it." You might think asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it's not. People want to help you through struggles because they care. Asking for support is a strength, not a weakness. "Definitely when I was drinking, I thought asking for support was just an admission of being weak... and what I found was the exact opposite. Through AA, through my counselors, through my family members when I would talk to them about what I was going through. That I found support and I found people who wanted me to succeed." Having a support system was critical to Victor's development and growth. He believes it was one of the most important things he did to change his behaviors. "Asking for and getting support around what you want to accomplish I think is critical. And then if you are trying to change I behavior, I think you need to insert some other behavior." Make Your Website a Positive Experience There are a few simple ways you can make your website better for potential and returning customers. Your website is the best representation of your work online. So it should be as positive of an experience as possible. One of the first ways to do this is by showing people that your website is secure and sells what people are looking for. "People need to believe that using your product is a positive thing that will lead to the outcome they want and again you can address that through telling them 'Buying through my site is safe and secure but also showing them through different ways of displaying information that their information is secure using your site or that the products you have on your site are unique to you, and so that influences the behavioral belief that using your site is a good thing to get the products that you're selling." Another thing you can do to convince people to buy your art is by showing that other people trust you. It's easier for people to buy when they see other people already trust you and like your work. "Then there's also social norms that people need to understand that other people think that using your product or your website is a good thing. Can you display testimonials? Can you have people like or rate your product? So that it shows that other people have been there and used it and that it's a good thing for people too." If you want to convince people to buy from you, the best thing you can do is show them how it will affect their lives. It's great that you love your art and want to sell it, but that doesn't mean other people will automatically want to buy it. You have to show them how your art can make a positive impact on their lives. You have to show them how their life will change when they buy your work. "When it comes to persuasion, one of the biggest things you can do is making sure people understand why what you're doing and why what your product is, is relevant to their life. So that's about how you display information and how you do capture people's attention immediately to say 'How does using my website make my life better? How does making sure that I purchase my art through you make my life better? What are some opportunities that you have to show people this immediately or make the experience so usable that they realize using your product saves them time, saves them effort that they wouldn't want to go a competitor to do that, or they wouldn't want to choose not to buy your product because your site, they don't understand how to use it, therefore they don't see how it's relevant to accomplishing the task they are trying to accomplish?" Read more shownotes from episode 89
10 minutes | Sep 18, 2018
[Recap for Episode 88] Shawn Coss on Being a Popular Artist, Defining Your Success, and Business Being Hard Work
A recap of episode 88 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Shawn Coss where he talks about why there’s no formula for becoming a popular artist, defining success on your own terms, and why running an art business is such hard work, among many other things.
73 minutes | Aug 22, 2018
88: Shawn Coss on Being a Popular Artist, Defining Your Success, and Business Being Hard Work
Shawn Coss grew up loving cartoons, but never dreamed it could become his full-time job. He grew up in a time and place where art wasn't considered a viable career. His dad told him he should get a "real job" instead of pursuing his dreams. The thought was, you could only be a professional artist if you went to an art institute, or learned at Disney. Like most people who grow up in difficult financial situations, Shawn's dad didn't want Shawn to grow up with the same hardships he had to go through. Shawn hit his first break when he met Kris Wilson of Cyanhide and Happiness through MySpace. Kris liked Shawn's work so much, that he invited him to work on the C&H team. Cyanide and Happiness provided Shawn enough financial stability to start his own clothing company, Any Means Necessary. One of the clothing company's campaigns, Inktober, brought an influx of fans and attention. This brings Shawn to a an exciting but difficult crossroads. Should he go all-in on his company or keep it as a side hustle. In this episode, Shawn talks about why there's no formula for becoming a popular artist, defining success on your own terms, and why running an art business is such hard work, among many other things. Here are three things you can learn from Shawn: There's No Secret Formula For Becoming Popular When we see other artists living out their dreams, we often wonder how they achieved success. We want to know exactly what they did so we can copy their path. The problem is, there is no secret formula for becoming a popular artist. There's no shortcut for gaining raving fans. Sometimes all it takes is a little luck. Here's how Shawn explains his break in the art world. "When people ask me 'How did I do it?' I always tell them 'Look, I was just super lucky.' I've been gifted this ability to draw well enough to where other people, large masses, appreciate it, but the chances of someone like Kris Wilson, someone of his caliber, having a company that popular, finding me, was just a needle in a haystack. He could have messaged anyone else he wanted... but at that moment he messaged me. And that kind of changed my life." One thing you can do to keep your sanity is, stop chasing the idea of being a popular artist. Popularity comes when people appreciate your art. It's not something you can manufacture. "I'll have other artists message me, and be like 'How do I become a popular artist?' Well that's your first mistake, because you're trying to be a popular artist. I never pursued the popular art, I just did artwork and unfortunately, not everyone gets to do it." Define Success on Your Own Terms Success is such a subjective thing. My version of success is different from yours, which is why it's so hard for artists to define what success means. We all think that once we "make it", everything will get easier. But as Shawn explains, there's no such thing as making it. There's only re-defining your goals. "There is no making it as an artist. You make it to a point, but there's always another point. There's always a next level to get to or achieve to." One of the problems many of us encounter as artists is the ups and downs of being a creative. One day everything is going great and everyone loves your work. The next day there's radio silence. That's the problem with riding the wave of social media success. We have no control over who sees our posts. We are at the whims of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. "It's definitely a weird emotional ride because some days you're riding cloud nine and everything's awesome, and then maybe in a week or two, there's nothing happening. You're not getting the accolades that you're used to and I feel like social media has a lot to blame on this because I feel we are programmed in a way... to chase these likes and these shares and all these accolades on social media that really have no weight to anything." Social media provides that jolt of endorphins we all crave. But what do these likes and hearts really mean? When it comes to our success as artists, they feel great, but they don't really mean anything. They don't help our businesses. They don't build our fan base. They are just vanity metrics. We need to stop chasing the shallow feeling of success social media provides us. We need to redefine our goals based on tangible success instead of our social media stats. "How do I get that, how do I chase that back? I feel like that's been a huge issue. That happiness we get, a lot of it is being fueled by social media, and a lot of these new artists are wanting that notoriety on social media, but it's such a shallow feeling." Running an Art Business Takes Hard Work Many of us fantasize about growing our art hobby into a business, but there's a lot that goes into making a business work. You are going to face hardships and low moments. So the best way to deal with it is to grow a thick skin. "Grow a thick f*cking skin. I think that's a good one because there's going to be a lot of down times, a lot of hardships you're going to go through. I thought there were a lot more downs than there were ups initially and that weeds out a lot of people. And then giving yourself time to figure out 'How long will I pursue this before I say, okay, this isn't going to happen," and I think being honest with yourself is one of the hardest things to do." At some point in our journeys we will question whether or not we should continue pursuing art as a career. The reality is, not everyone can make it as an artist. Not everyone is going to find success. Sometimes we have to be brutally honest with ourselves. "You just have to say 'Do I really want to keep pursuing this to make it successful, or in reality, is this going to be successful? Maybe it's not going to be successful, maybe it's not going to.' And maybe I'm wrong to say that as an artist who is successful, but again, not everyone is going to be successful. That's the reality of it. Otherwise we'd all be rich. We'd all be doing it. and some people can do it, and some people can't." Running a sustainable art business takes a lot of work. It's not for everyone. Don't think just because you are doing what you love that everything will go smoothly. Be prepared to put in the work. "It's not a popular thing because I don't think a lot of artists like to discourage other artists, but it's a hard thing. It's a lot of work. I tell artists I work more doing this than I've ever worked any nine to five job. I'm working day in and day out... and it doesn't bother me but it's definitely not for the weak who want to draw a picture once every couple of weeks and sit on their laurels." If you fantasize about resting on your laurels as an artist, you might want to reconsider your path. Just because you make art for a living doesn't mean you get to just create for a few hours and call it a day. There's a business involved too, and running a business takes hard work. "People think as an artist I draw a piece of art and I just get to hang out all day. I'm working so much all the time... There's a lot of work involved... No, there's a business in there too. I think that's where you get that separation of people who get it and people who don't. They see the fantasy of it and then you get people who actually understand that's there's actually hard work involved." Read more shownotes from episode 88
8 minutes | Aug 2, 2018
[Recap for Episode 87] Derek Miller on Creative Action, Having Positive Mindsets, and Not Getting Down on Yourself
A recap of episode 87 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Derek Miller where he talks about why you need to keep your creative momentum, the power of a positive mindset, and not getting down on yourself, among many other things.
91 minutes | Jul 25, 2018
87: Derek Miller on Creative Action, Having Positive Mindsets, and Not Getting Down on Yours
Derek Miller has always had a creative side to his life. As a kid he wanted to be a cartoonist, and little did he know, he would become deeply entrenched in that world as an adult through the web comic Cyanide and Happiness. While he was in college, and a few years afterward, Derek was part of a small metal band and also ran a small music blog. He was also a part of a non-profit to help artists turn their passion into full-time jobs. All that experience in the art world helped Derek run three successful Kickstarter campaigns at Cyanide and Happiness. Instead of treating Kickstarter like another crowdfunding tool, he treated each campaign like its own event. After three successful Kicstarter campaigns and constantly being approached by creatives about crowdfunding, Derek decided to write a book on the topic. This led to the creation of his book Six Figure Crowdfunding. In this episode, Derek talks about why you need to keep your creative momentum, the power of a positive mindset, and not getting down on yourself, among many other things. Here are three lesson you can learn from Derek: The Importance of Acting on Your Creativity As someone interested in creativity, you have probably felt the urge to do something, anything, to get your idea out there. The problem is, a lot of times, we feel that creative urge, but never take action on it. Derek believes movement is the most important thing about creation. Creative people suffer when they stop creating. So remember to always leave time for your own creative projects. “The act of creation is very important for intellectual growth and happiness. I really think the most important thing about creation is movement. And the movement of creating it forces you to make decisions, figure out what’s important to you and what’s not, and what kind of emotion, what kind of world you’re trying to create. So any time I’d be overwhelmed with too many projects or something, it came down to I had to drop a project to give myself breathing room to create, because… the process of creation improves all other aspects of your life because it teaches you to generate ideas.” The problem many of us have is, we bog ourselves down with too many projects. We feel the need to occupy all our time to stay busy, but we don’t leave enough time to work on creative projects of our own. That’s why Derek advocates for coming up with, and more importantly, executing your ideas. “Everything you do is ideas and executing ideas. That’s the basic equation for getting anything done… It’s been very important, and any time I’ve jumped in the deep end too much with too many projects, it made my performance suffer and everything, if I didn’t have time to be creative.” Just remember creativity is not a binary thing. There’s no such thing as being creative or not creative. Creativity is a process. “It seems a lot of people view creativity like you are or you are not. That’s a weird way to do it. Oh, you’re either healthy or you’re not. No. It is a process. It’s a process of self-care. It is a process of development. It’s a process of just using your brain and stretching it. It’s not something you are or are not. It’s either you are behaving in creative ways or not creating. It’s not a binary thing. It’s not just Oh I’m creative so that part of my life is handled.” The Power of a Positive Mindset Many of us believe talent and luck are the things holding us back from finding success. Luckily for us, that usually isn’t the case. The thing that most holds us back is our mindset. You can have all the talent in the world and still find failure if you have the wrong mindset. That’s why Derek believes in the power of a positive mindset. “The biggest thing holding most anyone back, myself included, it’s mindset, it’s behaviors, it’s the strategies you use. Those are the thing that hold you back more than in-born talent or whatever aptitude you’re born with. It’s the mindsets and strategies you use and the way you’re able to push past the uncomfort that makes you good.” One of the most helpful mindsets you can develop is one of an experimenter. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from trying things out. After all, trial and error is one of the best teachers you can have. “I like the test and failing mindset because again, that gives you the right mindset to focus on the fact that, yes some things you do are going to suck, no matter what. There’s no artist that I can think of, regardless of context, that has not put out one or two bombs… That’s the process of learning and figuring out what your art is. You’re going to bomb. Just learn. Every time you bomb, learn from it.” Just remember that failure isn’t final. It is is our ability to dust ourselves off after failures that allows us to grow and become better. “A failure now doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t turn out being something fantastic a couple years down the line.” Don’t Get Too Down on Yourself No matter how much success we have, we will inevitably face some failure. That’s why you should never let yourself get too wrapped up in your own success or failure. Celebrate your success, but also keep in mind failure could be just around the corner. “Even when there’s a lot of public facing ‘Oh, this is going great.’ Again, struggle, and difficulty, and uncomfortableness, it’s a constant in life.” The thing to remember is to not let your struggles get to you. Most people don’t see your struggles. If you are creating great work, most people will actually like your work. Don’t let negativity drag you down. Know that there are people who will be behind you, no matter how much you don’t like it yourself. “It’s very easy to get down on yourself and focused on the moment of ‘This thing is bad right now.’ But when it comes down to it, the majority of people watching anything or any piece of art you do are not going to know and see all the struggle… A majority of the audience won’t notice that, and the few of them that do, that’s fine. You put a piece of art out there. Nothing’s perfect, but you put a piece of art out there that makes people happy.”
63 minutes | Jun 19, 2018
Katie Hornor on Sharing Your Gifts, Respecting People, and Defining Success
Katie Hornor knew from a young age that wanted to serve God. She also realized that she had a teacher's heart, so she majored in education. After finishing school with a degree in education and a minor in Spanish, Katie and her husband moved to Mexico as missionaries. While in Mexico she worked at a Bible college and local mission college. But one of the most pivotal decisions in her life was deciding to home school her children. This was the moment she realized that other parents in Mexico had no resources for home schooling their children. So, to supplement her income and help out parents who wanted to home school their children, Katie and her husband started a home school blog. Katie realized their was a massive whole in the market for home schooling in Spanish, so she filled that gap. Her home schooling blog became so successful that bloggers started approaching her asking how she grew her business. Katie now helps teach bloggers from all over the world how to grow their blogs and businesses. In this episode Katie talks about sharing your gifts with the world, respecting everyone even if they don't deserve it, and defining what success means to you. Here are three things you can learn from Katie: Share Your Gifts with the World One of the things that many creatives take for granted is their ability to change the world through their art. We are so concerned with creating our art that we overlook how much of an impact our work has on everyone else. Katie believes we should share our message with the world, and the best way to do that is by working for ourselves. "Working for yourself is so much more fun. It's something that you offer. There's a couple different analogies. When you have a message to gift to the world, when you have something to offer to the world, your vision and your passion come out as the answer to 'What does the world need?" If you can answer that question, then you know where your passion lies and what it is you have to offer. The world just needs that, and you can offer it to them, and that can get you excited about it and excited enough to get up early and work on it before you go to your job or to state up late... and things like that." One of our biggest fears as artists and creatives is not being good enough. We think that our work isn't good enough. We fall into the comparison trap. Katie's solution to that problem is focusing on our unique message. Sure, other people may do the same thing as you, but no one does it exactly like you do. Embrace that advantage. "Working for yourself, you're getting that message out there... I deal with a lot of bloggers who are afraid of comparison. I'm doing the same thing as somebody else. Either I don't want to compete or I'm not doing it as well. I just tell it. You have to stop comparing. You're going to reach people with your own unique message. Yours is different because your life is different. Your life experiences are different. Your training is different. The people who are drawn to you is different than the people who are drawn to that other person. And there's going to be people you can reach with this message that those people would never reach. And if you don't give that message, then those people who you were going to reach are going to go without. If you don't bring this dish to the table, there's somebody on the other side that's going to go hungry because you didn't do your part. And that is a big motivator." It's up to us to share our message with other people. Our gifts can help people who are trying to succeed. All we can do is try to share our message with the world. It's up to others to decide whether or not they want to listen to you. "When you have that knowledge or when you have that experience that can help other people, and when you have that message that's going to change someone else's life, it's your job to give it. Whether the person on the receiving end takes it or refuses it is not a reflection on you, but it's your job to offer." Respect Everyone Sometimes working with potential customers makes you want to tear your hair out. But the thing is, you should always put your best foot forward. It's easy to become angry or frustrated when dealing with tough customers, but as the face of your business, you need to always be your best self. Katie believes this means doing the right thing no matter what. "Those messages of 'Do it right no matter what it costs you, and do it right even if someone looks down on you for it,' and the messages of respect them because they are a person and treat them right even if they act in a way that doesn't deserve it. All of those messages have been huge with us building our business." These interactions are all important because business is all about connections. It's about connecting with your customers and potential customers too. You don't want to lose future business because one person was unprofessional to you. We need to treat each and every person we encounter in our business with respect because our relationships form the foundation of our businesses. "It's the connections that matter... and it is the people. If it wasn't for people, there would be no business, so the relationships are huge." Create Your Own Definition of Success When we start our creative journeys, we often forget to define what success means to us. We know we want to be successful, but we rarely define what success actually means. Katie is a huge proponent of defining what success means to us. While most of us have a general idea of what success is, our definitions of success probably vary a lot. Success to you might be quitting your full-time job to work on your art, but my version of success might be traveling the world while practicing my creativity. Before you do anything else, you should define success for yourself. "If you want to begin building your own online presence, number one you need to know what your goal is and what your definition of success is. So your goal for building an online business might be different from mine or the next guy's, and that' okay, but you need to know what it is or you're not going to be able to make good decisions about how to get there and then to know what your definition of success is: How are you going to know? How are you going to evaluate if what you are doing is working? How are you going to know if you've reached success?" Although your definition of success might not be making a lot of money, you still need to make money to support your creative practice. The only way to make enough money is by educating yourself on marketing. This is especially true if you are trying to do everything by yourself. Once you know how to effectively communicate with your audience, connecting with them will become much easier, and you will have an easier time selling to them. "You need to educate yourself well... because if your business is online, you're competing in words a lot, and so you need to learn marketing and you need to learn copywriting. Learn how to sell, how to formulate your story, how to communicate and connect with people in a way that's meaningful and memorable so that you can compete in the different areas that you are present in with your business." Read more shownotes from episode 86
8 minutes | May 23, 2018
[Recap for Episode 85] Ron Dawson on the Power of Stories, Putting in the Work, Learning on the Fly
A recap of episode 85 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Ron Dawson the power of storytelling, putting in the work, and learning on the fly among many other things.
101 minutes | May 10, 2018
85: Ron Dawson on the Power of Stories, Putting in the Work, Learning on the Fly
Ron Dawson‘s earliest experience with film came through a time traveling caper film he created when he was a kid. Unfortunately, like many creatives, “real life” aspirations took over. Instead of following his passion for film, he followed his interest in business. Ron’s first endeavor in business was attempting to buy and sell businesses with his cousin. Although this idea did not work out, it gave him a taste of the business world. After failing to launch his business buying venture, and graduating with a business degree from UC Berkley, Ron got a job at Screen Play Systems. After some time there, he later moved up to become a business manager at Intuit. While working for these different businesses, Ron was also working as a wedding videographer on the side. This was a pivotal crossroads for him. He could either continue with his six-figure salary, or he could venture out on his own. Instead of continuing to work at a high paying job he didn’t love, he chose to do a job he did love, making films. In this episode Ron talks about the power of storytelling, putting in the work, and learning on the fly among many other things. Here are three things you can learn from Ron: Tell Stories with Your Work One of the things that sets artists apart is their ability to tell a great story. Stories give your work meaning. They impact your audience in a way that your work can’t do on its own. Ron believes his ability to tell a story set his work apart from other wedding videographers. Instead of just documenting the wedding, he got to the emotional truth of the moment. “There is a documented truth in the images that you capture because this is what happened on that day, but I would argue that it’s not an emotional truth of what happened, but then you take those same emotions… and you kind of reduce them down to their core essence and you edit it in a way that flows like a story… and instead of an entire 60 minute Catholic ceremony… you just have the poignant parts of it and all those kinds of things that punch the emotion and you show that in such a way that anyone who watches it will be moved… then that has a more ringing of emotional truth.” The ability to tell a good story allows you to connect with anyone, even if they aren’t naturally connected to what’s happening on camera. Ron realized that anyone can document an event, but not everyone can tell a story that makes an impact. “The emotional truth of the day is that this is a day that moved people to tears or to laughter or to whatnot, and the best way to capture that and instill that in people who are not that emotionally connected naturally is through storytelling and music and the kind of things that filmmakers have used for a hundred years in order to tell stories.” Being able to tell a story through your art makes a huge difference. It allows you to connect directly to the moment. “It makes a huge difference the way that you deliver and tell a story in terms of being able to communicate a message or like I said, an emotional truth.” Put in the Work Before You Think You’re Ready I’ve talked a lot about how the perfect moment does not exist. It’s a lie we tell ourselves so we don’t have to put in the effort. But you will never get anywhere if you continue to wait for the perfect moment. You just have to walk through that open door when the opportunity presents itself. “As you do projects like that, ideas come up and the industry evolves, opportunities and doors are opened, and so it’s about doing that kind of stuff, and being mindful of the doors that open, and walking through them when you have the opportunity to do so.” Don’t wait until you have the right amount of money or equipment for the job. There is no right formula. The perfect moment doesn’t exist. Get started where you are with what you have. “I think a lot of creatives want to wait… until they have all the money that they need or they want to wait until they have all the equipment that hey need. They’re always waiting for just the right time or just the right formula and you can’t wait. You just have to start working on it.” The best way to make progress with your business is by building momentum and learning by doing. Don’t make excuses. Just do the work. “You need to actually get the momentum and start doing the thing you want to do, and then start learning along the way. But it’s the momentum of doing it, because you can always find excuses as to why you can’t or shouldn’t.” Learn and Do We’re all guilty of placing blame for why we haven’t found success as artists. One excuse we like to use is saying we don’t know enough. “I don’t know how to do that” is a phrase commonly heard among artists. The only way to learn is by doing. You have to put yourself out there. Like Ron says, if you want to be a filmmaker, start making films. “Always be learning anyway, but going back to that Pressfield quote about putting your ass where your heart wants to be, go out and start doing it. If you want to be a filmmaker, start shooting, start making films. This is going to be the number one piece of advice any filmmaker is going to tell you… if you want to be a filmmaker, start making films.” I know everyone wants to be prepared before they get started. But you can’t prepare for everything. There are some things you can only learn by doing. You have to learn as you go. “Start making something and learning how to make it and kind of learn as you go. Don’t feel like you have to learn everything at once.” The point is that you have everything at your disposal to become a successful creative. Stop making excuses for why you can’t do something. If you truly want something, you have to put in the effort to achieve it. “It’s so easy with all the tools at our disposal to do any kind of creative endeavor online now or offline. There’s no excuse whatsoever. Price is not an excuse. Time is not an excuse. There is no excuse to not just get out and start doing whatever it is you that you want to do.” Read more shownotes from episode 85 with Ron Dawson
70 minutes | May 1, 2018
[Replay] Colin McCann on Productivity, Taking on an Ambitious Project, and the Power of Beliefs
This is a replay of episode 31 with Colin McCann. Colin believes there is a better way to be productive in our lives, so he set out to create it himself. Most of us would be way too scared to leave our cushy jobs and try to go at it on our own, but with a plan of action and comfortable savings, Colin took that chance. --- Here are three things you can learn from Colin: Big Risks Don’t Need to Be Made with Snap Judgments Just because you are doing something drastic or daring, doesn’t mean you have to do it on a whim. Before Colin thought about quitting his job, he saved up enough money to make the jump. He lined up his finances so he would have the freedom to work on his project without worrying about how he was going to pay for things. If you want to take a risk, don’t make it a blind risk. Make sure you have everything lined up and planned out. Get all your ducks in a row before taking that leap. Break Things Down Into Small Steps Instead of approaching projects like this great big thing you need to tackle, approach them like many small tasks that can be conquered. When you are trying to accomplish any goal, figure out what the next small task is. When you keep tasks small, your brain can focus on the task at hand. Otherwise, you can get bogged down by the enormity of it. Break each task into bite sized pieces. This allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you make your way towards your goal. Believing in Yourself is the Best Way to Self-Improvement Self-improvement is all about your beliefs. Before you can better yourself, you must believe in yourself. Your beliefs are not accidental, they are the result of everything you do. If you want to make improvements in your life, you have to believe you are capable of making them. Once you do, everything becomes easier. We may not be conscious of it, but our beliefs shape who we are and how we approach each day.
9 minutes | Apr 10, 2018
[Recap for Episode 84] Brett Michael Innes on Adapting to Your Situation, the Power of Mentorship, and Not Giving it to Fear
A recap of episode 84 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Brett Michael Innes where he talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you.
81 minutes | Mar 28, 2018
84: Brett Michael Innes on Adapting to Your Situation, the Power of Mentorship, and Not Giving it to Fear
Brett Michael Innes didn't know if he would ever fulfill his dream of becoming a film maker. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to make movies but there were a few things that stood in the way of him accomplishing his dream. During that time, his family went into debt, so he couldn't afford to go to film school. He also had to work at a call center just to support himself. After some introspective thinking, Brett decided he wanted to pursue his dream of film making. So he worked a year at the call center so he could afford to go to film school. With the help of his parents and a scholarship, he was able to finish with a degree in film production. Although Brett wanted to major in directing, he was forced to get his degree in film production. This ended up being a stroke of luck because this experience with production helped him land a contract with M-Net, the HBO of South Africa. With the help of M-Net, Brett was able to work on his novel, Rachel Weeping, and his movie Sink, at the same time. Both the novel and movie were met with critical acclaim, which has allowed him to continue work doing the thing he loves, making films In this episode Brett talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you. Here are three things you can learn from Brett: You Can Always Adapt Many of us feel stuck in our jobs or our careers. We believe it's way too late to change. Should haves flood our thoughts. I should have started earlier. I should have taken a different path. I should have taken more chances. If your mind is filled with should haves, I have good news for you. It's not too late. Stop dwelling on the past. Everything you've done up to this point will help you moving forward. "I think nothing is wasted. A lot of people may switch a degree or change jobs or careers in their forties and feel that everything that led up to that point now has been wasted because they take a sharp right, but actually, it all feeds into that thing that you're doing. Now I'm appreciative of it, but when I was in the midst of it all, it completely overwhelmed me." The most most important thing you have at your disposal is your ability to adapt. Human beings have adapted and evolved many times over millennia. Brett was able to adapt to his surroundings. You can too. "I think if I look at myself, it's that flexibility of not saying this is the only way it's going to be done and if I don't it won't work out. If it doesn't work out this way, it's a failure. But to now see that as with water, I've just got to find the grooves that are in the landscape and the career landscape that's happening around me, and just keep going at it." All you have to do is be like water. Even when things get in its way, water learns to maneuver through the gaps. "Just keep being creative and to just move like water through that space. I'm able to find success and see something happen not according to my own plan." The Power of Mentorship Artists often overlook one of the most beneficial relationships they can be a part of, mentorship. Before the industrial revolution, that's how most occupations worked. You would work under the tutelage of a master. You learned directly from someone who was skilled in the craft. Nowadays we try to do everything ourselves. We aren't interested in learning from others. Brett believes we can greatly benefit from having a mentor. "A lot of guys disregard what someone with thirty years of experience could teach them. And for me it's that curiosity of learning from those who have gone before even though market is changing drastically and how we do things changes, there's just something incredible about just the emotional intelligence of someone who's done it before is able to impart to you." The only problem is mentors have to be willing to take you on. They must want to impart their wisdom on the upcoming generation. "The reality is it comes from his side, someone who is older actually seeing that they want to father or mentor a younger creative. And it is as it is in life... Babies don't bring themselves into existence... It's the parents who make them and father them and choose to impart knowledge into their lives." Brett's goal is to become skilled enough to impart his wisdom on others. He wants to pass down wisdom so future generations can find success like he has. "Hopefully when I get to the point where I can teach someone something, I will see that that young filmmaker who just needs someone as a sounding board, to be there for them." Don't Let Fear Hold You Back One of the biggest reasons artists don't have successful careers is that they let fear control them. Instead of going out and doing the things they dream of, they do nothing. They give in to insecurity and fear. "If I look at a lot of my peers who are wanting to do stuff, who are single with nothing standing in their way, the biggest thing that holds them back is insecurity and fear, and I don't have that side to myself when it comes to pursuing a career." Another problem many artists have is one of perfectionism. They wait for the right moment of perfect opportunity. But there's no such thing as the perfect moment. You can't wait for permission. You can't wait for some imaginary benevolent patron. You just have to go out and seize things yourself. "I know a few artists who really, they don't want to do anything because, if it can't be done perfectly, they don't want to attempt it at all, and I think that's a mistake to make. It's a thing of starting to do it and not waiting for someone to pay you to do it either... If you have a job that enables you to do the stuff that stuff for free, don't try and make it so that you have to... make a career out of it. That can come later. Just do it on your own dollar." Stop waiting to be discovered. That rarely happens. Most artists who are discovered have worked many years at their craft. They worked relentlessly at their craft with an obsessive passion. "I think there's a big discovery kind of fairy tale that's fed by your idols or... if someone just discovers that I can tell or write a story and they'll pay me to do it, then I'll do it. That's absolute B.S. Firstly those people who are discovered... have been doing it for years and it's just the way these shows work... that's not real. It's a scene that we love because in our own heads it means that someone can wave a magic wand and our lives can be transformed in a creative lotto, where suddenly we get to do this. But some of the best artists in the world never received a dollar for the paintings that they made or the poems that they wrote. They were just obsessed with this thing and they did it. I think that's a healthier approach to how we do things." Read more shownotes from episode 84
67 minutes | Mar 13, 2018
[Replay] Natalie Kim on Choosing Yourself, Being Vulnerable, and Dealing with Mixed Reactions
This is a replay of episode 30 with Natalie Kim. Natalie believes we should not rely on others to further our careers. We are no longer beholden to decisiosn from the gatekeepers. We are the deciders of our own destiny. In this episode, Natlie tells us why we need to pursue own own dreams. --- Natalie Kim is an actress, writer, and artist. She also hosted It’s a Draw With Natalie Kim, where she interviewed comedians and cartoonist while they drew. On this episode, Natalie talks about why you need to work on your own projects, lessons she’s learned from stand-up and improv, and why vulnerability helps with acting and in life. Here are three things you can learn from Natalie: Choose Yourself For a while, Natalie listened to what other people told her. She let her manager and others decide what roles she would appear in, which led to burning out. It was only when she went back and worked on her own projects that she was able to find happiness in her work. Don’t let other people tell you what you should be working on. Decide for yourself. If you don’t like the projects that people are offering you, work on your own projects instead. The Power of Vulnerability Natalie has learned that being being vulnerable and open not only helps you with acting, it also helps you in life. By being more open, it allowed her to be more human and to experience things more fully. We often go through life trying not to show too much emotion, but the thing is, people are more trusting when we are open. It is much easier for people to empathize with you when you are being honest with them. This mutual honesty and trust allows you to build a strong connection with each other. Dealing with Inconsistent Audience Reactions As a stand-up and improv performer, Natalie has learned to deal with different reactions from the audience. Some nights people will laugh, others it will be silent. The only way to deal with this is to realize that not everyone will have the same reaction to your work. Instead of worrying about it or letting it get to you, learn to move on. Don’t let what others think dictate what you think about yourself. You just have to hone your craft and be so good people can’t ignore you. The difference between professionals and amateurs is the ability to deal with criticism and the reaction of your audience.
9 minutes | Mar 7, 2018
[Recap for Episode 83] Cebo Campbell on Putting Everything Into Your Work, Taking Your Time, and Striving to be the Best
A recap of episode 83 of the Cracking Creativity podcast. If you liked it, check out the full episode with Cebo Campbell where he talks about why you should put your all into your work, why you should take your time, and why you should always strive to be the best.
124 minutes | Feb 20, 2018
83: Cebo Campbell on Putting Everything Into Your Work, Taking Your Time, and Striving to be the Best
Cebo Campbell grew up with a father and a community only interested in one of his talents: football. When he was a kid, his father was the coach of his football team where he stressed one thing, be the best you can be. Cebo took that advice to heart and became a dynamic football player, but due to his height, only got a football scholarship from one school. So he took it. This is when Cebo started to shift his focus from athletics to academics. He was always creative, but it wasn't until his teacher encouraged him to major in writing that he truly started to focus on it. When you're a football player, your teammates shun you for being smart, so Cebo always tried to hide that part of his life. But after winning a writing competition as a freshman, he realized there was something there, so he ran with it. After graduating and spending a short stint on the west coast, Cebo moved back to Florida and worked at a hotel. While working at the hotel, he convinced the owner to let him work on the hotel's website. This would be the second big shift in his life. Cebo became interested in everything he could accomplish with website design and writing. So much so that he went to a conference centered around it. That's where he met AJ Leon. Cebo and AJ hit it off immediately. This fateful meeting ended up being the beginning of a great friendship, and eventually a job as the creative director of Misfit Inc. In this episode, Cebo talks about why you should put your all into your work, why you should take your time, and why you should always strive to be the best. Here are three things you can learn from Cebo: Put Your All Into Your Work Something Cebo believes in is the power of pouring yourself into your work. Most people believe talent is the ultimate predictor of great work, but Cebo believes great work is the result of being completely present when you're creating. "When it comes to what is good... that whole measure, I don't think measure exists in your talent. I think the measure is in how much of you are you allowing into be present in the work that you do. Can I see it? Can I feel it?" One of the things that prevents most of us from putting ourselves into our work is that when you make something personal, you open yourself up to criticism. But Cebo doesn't let that criticism stop him. "The minute that you allow yourself to be into the work that you created, you open yourself up to criticism and I have no fear of criticism." That's the problem many creatives have. They are afraid to expose themselves to criticism from the world, so they play it safe. "That's true of a lot of creatives. They're afraid of being exposed, and so they do just enough as opposed to letting it all hang out." And that's what separates Cebo's remarkable work and distinct style from most creators. He is willing to put everything into his work, even if it means opening himself up to vulnerability. If you want to make an impact with your work, you have to be willing to accept and embrace views from the outside world. Don't Be in Such a Hurry One of the burdens of being an artist is knowing when one of our pieces is ready for the world. Sometimes we toil over it for days, and other times we try to get it out as quickly as possible. Cebo believes we shouldn't be in such a hurry to release our work. We need to own it and chisel it until it's ready. "Not everything has to be shipped so fast. Not everything has to get out the door. Not everything has to be expedited. Start. Control it. Own it. Make it the way you want it to be. Chisel it if it needs to be chiseled. That's just how I look at it... I don't want to be here today, gone tomorrow." Our necessity to get things out quickly is especially true of people who work in the digital space. "We have a tendency, in particular with the web, any digital interface, to time stamp it to the trends of today." Cebo doesn't believe in following today's trends. He wants his work to stand the test of time. "I am very particular about my art. The same way I was very particular about playing sports... When it comes to art, I have no problem saying it's not ready." Even though much of his work lives on the web, Cebo doesn't treat projects like one and dones. He doesn't let other people dictate his work. He treats everything he does like a piece of art. "If it's not ready, it's just not ready. I hold to that because I think in the end it's art. If you abide by the rules that other people are imposing on both time and completion, then it's not your art anymore." That's the way we should all consider approaching our work. Whether you're a writer, musician, or painter. You should treat each piece like a work of art you can be proud of. Always Strive to Be the Best Often times we will settle for good enough. We work so long on a project that it starts to feel like a burden. We want to get it out of our hands so we can stop worrying about it. This mindset often holds us back from achieving greatness in our work. But if we want to create our best work, we need to trust ourselves and stop holding back. "I believe wholeheartedly that you have to trust your talent... and there's so many people that I work with, where you can feel them holding back. You can feel it. You can see it in the work, where they're just holding back, holding back, holding back because they're afraid their skill set doesn't allow them to go further. But I will tell anyone, when I do design workshops, don't let up. What you don't know now, you'll learn. You have everything you need to do everything you want so just keep at it and you'll get where you want to go." Always doing your best can be a challenge, but no one ever said being an artist would be easy. Anyone can create art, but very few people can create great art. "I think it's a challenge, and it's not just a challenge to art. it's a challenge to us as humans to be the best that you can be. Take it there... If it's not where you think it should be, hold onto it." Cebo doesn't settle for good enough. He puts everything into his work. Even though he knows he might not be the best at everything, that doesn't stop him from doing his best. That's the attitude he wants everyone to pursue, not just with their art but in everything they do. "It's only the best that I know. It doesn't mean I'm going to be better than every person in the world. I just want to realize the potential that I feel that I have, and I think individually as a pursuit for everyone, not just in art, but in their lives just go out with intention and purpose. Take yourself seriously." Read more shownotes from episode 83