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Category: Monologues

Drawing Out Stories (GWTW621)

A funny thing happens when I talk to people: I hear amazing stories. I’m not sure where this ability comes from, but I can trace it back to a young age when I would listen to my parents and sisters talk about what they were going through. This ability to listen is excellent, but I’ve also learned to listen within for the question I really want to ask. And that’s when the stories start pouring out. In this episode of Getting Work To Work, I’ll share a few ways to listen and five questions I love to ask that draw out stories from anyone. By the end of this episode, you will have the tools necessary to hear unbelievable stories of love, loss, success, and failure. You’ll never know how it will impact your creative future.

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Embrace the Void (GWTW620)

It’s been an interesting time of decline and I’m honestly enjoying it. I’m not talking about society, culture, or my business, but my artistic ambitions and connection with others. It all started when I read this phrase in a book by Eric Barker: “the right amount of weirdness.” I’m a weird person, I’ll admit it, but I’ve learned to hide it, so I could be accepted by as many people as possible. I’ve even shoved my weirdness aside when it demanded to be shared with others. What did I get for my conformity? Burnout and boredom with my creative pursuits. Fortunately, the way forward is clear to me: embrace the void so in obscurity my weirdness can thrive once again.

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Great Expectations (GWTW619)

The first time I heard it, I took great offense. But I started to hear it more and more. From an older generation who remembers life as it once was and no longer is, of a singular expert worker who knew the answer to every question and the solution to any problem—even if no one said it aloud. “I guess this is what we get nowadays” is not an ideal way to start any engagement, but the perfect statement to reflect upon in today’s episode of Getting Work To Work. Yes, technology and convenience have changed the world of work, but they have also changed our expectations as customers. How are we to respond as workers?

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The Missing Path (GWTW618)

Living a creative life isn’t always glamorous and Instagrammable. Sure, there are perks: a level of autonomy and creative freedom that doesn’t exist in other organizations. But what do you do when you are chasing a vision that you wholeheartedly believe in and have moments where you can no longer see your way forward (or even backward)? When the path is missing, do you keep flailing around looking for salvation or stop and wait for a change in perspective? So many questions as I stop and recognize that my own path has disappeared for the moment. I know where I want to go, but I think I need to continue groping around in the dark for a bit longer.

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Why Buy New Gear? (GWTW617)

Why do you buy new gear? Is it to achieve your creative vision? To compete against other creatives in the marketplace? To be cool? To realize unknown ideas? There are a million reasons to buy new gear and many valid counterpoints for using what you have. Regardless of where you sit on the continuum between new equipment and using what you’ve got, injecting the occasional purchase of something new into your rig can be inspiring and spark new ideas. But how do you do that if you are short on cash or don’t know what would be the best use of your funds? I’m going to share a few ideas on today’s episode of Getting Work To Work.

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Becoming a Team Player (GWTW616)

Are you a team player or a lone wolf? For most of my career, I have worn the badge of the lone wolf. I wanted to show my strength and capability without needing anyone else. I would take offense when wise elders told me I needed to build a team around me: “I’ll show you!” Because of this mentality, I would take jobs I knew I could do alone. And even in moments working for larger companies, I was still a loner. I didn’t fully engage in the team around me, and eventually, I returned to what worked in the past. But what if the work that I needed to do was let go of old stories and accept what my future self is becoming?

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What Will THEY Say? (GWTW615)

How often do you fear what other people will think and say to you and about you? For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been afraid of the anonymous collective of imaginary haters waiting to pounce on me the second I put something out into the world. Because of that, I don’t like to ask others for feedback, and I often keep my voice silent on issues and topics important to me. Fortunately, I’m slowly learning how to respond to the actual voices of others — in front and around me. The more I do that, the stronger my connection to my creative soul, and my fear of “the others” loosens its grip on me.

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Slow Down and Do Less (GWTW614)

How often do you get ads for proven systems that help you create more content faster? For me, it seems almost daily. A year ago, I would have loved a plan to help me do even more than I was attempting to do. But today, not so much. I want to do less, at a slower rate, so I can do the work that truly matters. In today’s episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m going to explore seven bundles of questions that will help you examine a downshift from fast to slow. It’s not going to be easy, but much like driving the speed limit, you usually get to the same place at the same time as those weaving in and out of traffic.

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough (GWTW613)

As I’ve been sharing recently on Getting Work To Work, I’ve been putting myself in situations that reveal how much I don’t know. I have to learn as fast and as safely as possible. Most importantly, I have to recover from mistakes quickly. Some days it just feels like my best isn’t good enough. Sometimes people get upset, which in turn makes me feel awful. And that perhaps presents the most valuable skill anyone can learn: how to bounce back quickly after a setback, conflict, or mistake. If you are a chronic people-pleaser like myself and want to find a way to be okay with giving your best, even when it isn’t enough, this episode is for you.

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How to Learn New Things! (GWTW612)

How do you learn new things? Are you like me and read books and other sources of information until you feel confident enough to try? Perhaps you’re like others and love watching videos or listening to podcasts to get the same hit of information acquisition, but in a quicker way. As life-long learners, it seems like there is a never-ending source of learning opportunities until one day you wake up and ask yourself a powerful question: how do you learn new things? I grapple with this question and more in today’s episode of Getting Work To Work.

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Attitude of Impact (GWTW611)

As I look back over the past twenty-plus years of working, I can see a clear pattern of behavior that I’m not proud of: an attitude of irreplaceability. I said yes to every task and increased my level of responsibility, not as a way of helping out and making an impact, but to prove that I belonged. To show that my work was great, even if it wasn’t that good. And to hold others for psychological ransom about how hard it would be to replace me. What a horrible attitude! Fortunately, as I get older, I not only learn how replaceable I am but how the attitude of impact can actually get me what I always wanted.

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Road to Creative Recovery (GWTW609)

I was feeling it, massive burnout. Creativity seemed to take every ounce of my energy. My curiosity was absent. I was finishing significant projects, but other things were falling through the cracks. Bills were piling up, and I just couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the work I needed to do to move forward. I was tired of delaying the big decisions I needed to make to begin the healing process. I’ve been in this place before, and I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I did in the past. I wasn’t looking for salvation this time, just change. I didn’t want to close my business; I just needed some relief. So I did something completely different. And found a new road to creative recovery.

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Fresh Routine or Day-Old Poutine? (GWTW603)

I love routines. I used to get up early, read for several hours, write and gather my thoughts for years. Then two weeks ago, my established and well-worn routine crumbled to pieces as my wife and I welcomed a new member into our family: Cosmo, The Wonder Pug. He doesn’t care about my need to read and write. He wants to eat, poop, play, and sleep. Quickly we learned that puppies need structure. As we planned his days, I realized just how much my routine required a reset. It had become a disgusting pile of day-old poutine leftovers.

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Recalibrating Success (GWTW602)

Last week, several friends got together to talk about success and career development. I was invited to participate but couldn’t attend due to an appointment, but I’ve been thinking about the question, “What is success to me?” since then. I didn’t feel I had much to offer at the moment. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have traditional notions of success anymore. Maybe it’s just that I don’t feel successful or even deserve success. But I think it’s more that I have outdated definitions of success. In today’s monologue episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m going to share a few thoughts, stories, and ideas about what success is to me today versus 25 years ago when I was starting my career.

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Forgotten Loves (GWTW598)

It’s been a week full of reminders of past loves. At times, I was reliving distant memories from the pre-pandemic days, and other times, seeing the echoes of dreams lost in the passage of time. From travel, chasing down photo opportunities in the desert of Arizona, and meeting my brother, to listening to everyday people telling stories about their lives and impacting the community through their service, I felt the rekindling fire of what I once loved to do. And it felt refreshing as I continue my creative journey into the future. What are the forgotten and forsaken loves you’ve left behind in your creative journey?

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Make Something Worth Finding (GWTW596)

I’ve been thinking about two practices lately: making and discovering. At first, I thought they were two different ideas, but I’ve come to understand that they rely upon one another. The chance of being discovered increases as you create, and the more you make—especially something worth finding—the more likely it will be found. So many people I know want the right strategy before putting in the work, but I argue that the best approach is to work. In today’s episode of Getting Work To Work, I will explore what it takes to make something worth finding and why discovery is the hidden skill of the 21st-century.

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Aspirational Hoarders (GWTW594)

Hello, my name is Chris Martin, and I have a confession to make: I am a hoarder. But not in the way you might be thinking. I am an aspirational hoarder. I collect all of the labels of who I want to be and what I want to do. From the earliest dreams to the weird, early-morning fantasies of living off the land, I don’t want to eliminate anything that could define who I am. So, I call myself a multi-hyphenate and feel better about the fact that I can’t let go of the past or accept that some dreams have run their course. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m the only one.

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The Gradient Ascent of Life (GWTW592)

I can’t stop thinking about a concept I read in Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas. It’s called the gradient ascent. Instead of looking at the destination and plowing straight ahead, no matter what, you proceed until you need to recalibrate your direction. And change accordingly. I’m not sure why this has freed my thinking this week, but something feels different. And that change is showing up in expected places, from my mind and body to my bookshelves and living space.

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Learning to Let Go (GWTW590)

As I reflect on life, business, and everything in-between, I recognize I’ve let too much head trash accumulate to the point of overflow. I’ve been raising the flag of surrender, talking with friends and professionals, and bringing in the bulldozers to make piles, sort and organize, off-load, and burn. Metaphorically, of course. Living a creative life, running a business, being a good person, all of these pursuits take a toll on each of us; that’s why we need to learn to let go of the stories that are no longer serving us. In this episode, I’ll share a few that I’m learning to let go of, hoping you can identify a few for you.

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Do Your Thing! (GWTW588)

One of my favorite questions to ask people and reflect upon myself is: What advice would you give your younger self? While it’s a question that reveals a future direction by examining past decisions, it sometimes isn’t enough to get you out of a rut. As I was thinking about the question today, I felt a variation bubble up from the recesses of my mind: What advice is your younger self giving you today? Like most of us, I often lose my way, and it is the wisdom of past experiences that are the best teachers, so it’s time for me to pay attention.

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Practice Makes Perfect? (GWTW586)

As this month’s theme of practice comes to an end, I want to reflect on the following question: Why do you practice? Perhaps you’re like me and were indoctrinated as a young child with the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” It’s a simple statement with profound consequences over a person’s lifetime. To be perfect, or said another way, the best, you must devote yourself to daily practice. You must sacrifice everything you have. But what if there is more to practice than perfection? I think there is, and chances are, you believe that too.

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Practice Becoming Performance (GWTW584)

When I was thinking about the theme of practice, the first thing I wrote down was the connection and confusion between it and performance. With social media and digital technology keeping us connected to everyone and everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s no wonder we have turned every possible moment into a stage. But non-stop performance is exhausting and unsustainable. What could we become if we took even an hour of our day and stopped performing and started practicing? What if we took a break from brand management and tried something new? What if we stopped playing the hits on repeat and created something new, something daring and bold?

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Practice Your Process (GWTW582)

Continuing the monthly theme of practicing your creativity, today I’m exploring how practice defines an entire creative process while simultaneously shaping each step uniquely. I’ll share a few examples and set you up with all you need to define your process and specify what you should practice next. Whether you’re new to creativity or an established professional, nothing will shake up your work quite like practice.

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Deep Dive into Practice (GWTW580)

This month on Getting Work To Work, I’m focusing each monologue on one theme: practice. I’ve been thinking a lot about practice each day as I play my guitar. Even though I’ve been playing for 27 years, my fingers have minds of their own. Practicing scales and exercises make sense with the guitar, but what does practice look like in other parts of my creative life? What does it look like in your creative pursuits? In this episode, I will set the stage for practice and do a deep dive into what it is, why it’s essential, and why it isn’t as popular as it should be.

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Screw It…Still Do It! (GWTW578)

As we wrap up 2021, fully immersed in the fog known as the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I was thinking about words of wisdom to share with you. Nearing 600 episodes of Getting Work To Work, what’s left to say? How can I inspire aspiring content creators? How can I encourage the hardened cynics who have been at this game longer than I have? In the spirit of episode one of this show: screw it…still do it!

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