Striving for Something New (GWTW785)

Striving for Something New (GWTW785)

What are you striving for in your life right now? Fortune and fame? Recognition from your peers, larger budgets, and dream clients? A story that you can turn into a 7-figure business? Peace, quiet, and a purposeful existence? The list of things we can strive for is endless. And yet, our energy and existence is not. We try to turn the dreams of our youth into the reality of our adulthood, hoping that nothing will change. But the older we get, the truth is that everything is constantly changing. Old stories that fueled our youthful striving no longer fit who we are today. Striving itself starts to look and feel differently as we discover a new path, a new story about who we are, what we are capable of, how and who we love, and why our relationship with striving reveals more about who we are becoming than we think.

Insert Amazing Monologue Here (GWTW784)

Insert Amazing Monologue Here (GWTW784)

If I were to type a prompt into AI to generate today’s episode for me, it would probably be this: “Insert amazing monologue here.” It’s generically specific. Yes, I want a monologue, but make it amazing. I’ll spend hours whittling down the responses, going back and forth with a computer. Until I find something passable, meets my deadline, and keeps me moving forward until real inspiration shows up. How often do we approach our creative journey with the same level of expectation and response. We pick a thing or a niche, attach a one or two word description of our expectations, and then go about our business. When things don’t work out, we change-up the words, and hope the results will change more in our favor. In today’s episode, I want to dive into what we want, because until we know what that is, what we do might not matter.

Off On Tangents (GWTW783)

Off On Tangents (GWTW783)

One of the things I often hear while interviewing people is, “Oh, I’m sorry, I went off on a tangent.” My common response is, “That’s okay, tangents are interesting.” Not only are tangents interesting, they are instructive and important. They teach us about how we learn, our curiosities, what motivates us to keep moving forward, and the very things that matter most to us. In this episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m going to explore a few tangents in my own life from the first car I ever bought, to my latest creative curiosities and experiments.

Don’t Fear Emptiness (GWTW781)

Don't Fear Emptiness (GWTW781)

Ever since I started my creative journey, I feared being empty. Empty of ideas, thoughts, stories, projects, connections, business, ambition. What would become of me if no one wanted to work with me? Who would I be if I ran out of creative ideas? I associated emptiness with negative feelings: imposter syndrome, comparison, lack of self-worth, and low self-esteem. I didn’t want to invite those feelings into my life, so I built processes, systems, goals, fail-safe methods, and a good old-fashioned work ethic to fight the onslaught of emptiness. I wanted nothing to do with it. Every time I felt its pull, I pushed harder, until I couldn’t fight it any longer.

Code Words & Canaries (GWTW779)

Code Words & Canaries (GWTW779)

Some monologues I have a pretty solid idea from start to finish, but others need time and reflection to make sure I’m not just ranting and railing against some invisible force. Today’s episode started with a few early morning rants that I captured in my notes app. As I went through the day, I realized I wanted to shape it into something else, but didn’t know what. So, I just wrote. I fought the urge to apologize for expressing my feelings, ate dinner, then deleted the apology. I’m not sorry, so why pretend? Because I got comfortable using code words to let people know what I was feeling without really saying what was going on. But, it’s time to let the code words go. I’ll still change the names to protect the guilty, but that’s just smart.

Prepared to Be Unprepared (GWTW777)

Prepared to Be Unprepared (GWTW777)

The simplest quotes are often the deepest and inspire endless reflection. In my conversation last week with Gregg Brown—entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author—he dropped a short sentence that stopped me in my tracks: “We have to be prepared to be unprepared.” My mind filled up with questions. How does one prepare to be unprepared? Why can’t we prepare for all possibilities before they happen? How does preparing for how we will respond to the unknown becoming known impact all areas of our lives and work? In this episode, I’m diving into this quote and my questions in greater detail and hopefully discover a healthier mindset when faced with change.

Rules & Tools for Fools (GWTW775)

Rules & Tools for Fools (GWTW775)

What rules do you follow because you believe they will lead to success? What tools do you use to ensure you can be as relevant as possible? What if these rules and tools have the opposite effect on your life, and you can’t see it because you’re too close? What if social media is actually turning you into a new person you don’t want to be, doing what you don’t want to do? What if all your daily actions to stand out and get noticed shape you into a societal clone? How many more questions can I fit into this opening synopsis? One more? I love it when a book enters my world and shakes it up. Anti Rule: Navigating The Lies About Fiction Writing by Christian Francis is the small but mighty book that inspired today’s episode. So, put on your dunce cap and join me in detention. It’s time to chat about what we’re doing wrong.

Beyond Your Body of Work (GWTW773)

Beyond Your Body of Work (GWTW773)

Earlier this week, in my paid newsletter for Getting Work To Work, I was reflecting upon the question: How is your body of work holding you back from experimenting with risky creative ideas and exploring new directions? No matter how long you’ve worked on your craft, you inevitably amass a body of work. The apparent measure is quantity, but you can also look at quality with an eye toward growth and outcomes. But the more I think about my body of work, the more I wonder if it’s a hindrance rather than a help. What does it communicate to a potential employer or client? How can it hold you back by morphing from what you’ve done into a statement of being on-brand, not to mention consistency? Questions aside, I want to explore what to do if you feel stuck and need to take a creative chance beyond what you’ve done before.

Life of Forgotten Dreams (GWTW771)

Life of Forgotten Dreams (GWTW771)

Earlier today, I was writing about the National Geographic docuseries, Photographer, and my lifelong love of photography. This newsletter led me to explore my archives from two trips to Africa in 2008 and Haiti in 2012. Scrolling through thousands of photos, most not very good, I could see something in my work that only the passage of time allowed me to see: the desire to capture and be present with people. In 2008, I could feel the fear, but my creative brain was at work to document what I was experiencing. 2012 was a different story. I was documenting like before, but I was getting closer, physically and emotionally, as I engaged with people. I felt less fear and was more present. And then I came home. I had an adverse reaction to the anti-malarial medication I was taking, and I wanted to die. I didn’t, physically, but part of my creative spirit disappeared over time. And as I look at pictures of me from that time, I realize just how much I miss that young man and his dreams.

Where We Find Ourselves (GWTW770)

Where We Find Ourselves (GWTW770)

How are you doing? No, really, how are you? Scanning social media lately, I see similar messages: clients are disappearing, budgets are shrinking, ghosting has become normalized, big companies are reducing their workforce, and burnout is the new badge of honor for independent creators. It’s tough out there. And in today’s episode, I will dive right into this topic for those of us who have been business owners and independent creators for years and decades. It can be hard to know what to do. I am struggling to know myself, but hopefully, there will be something I share in this episode that helps you face the road ahead.