It’s hard to follow-up a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of post like the one I wrote yesterday. I am still reading through the comments, savoring each one like the little gem that it is. Some have already made me teary in our camaraderie and others have given me more to ponder as I strive to bring my creative retreat home and hang onto the energy it injected for a little longer. I know that I will have to fight against falling into the same old patterns and mindsets. I’ll have to grip tightly to the things that inspired and motivated me.
A large part of that is going to be keeping creative encouragement on tap. I have to continue to read books, listen to podcasts, read articles and blog posts, and allow the wisdom and experience of others to prod me along. I use to do that a lot, but it fizzled out. It wasn’t that I thought I knew everything that needed to be known. I just got busy. Well, I lost intention. That’s more accurate. I can listen to an audio book or a podcast while painting trim just as easily as I can listen to Hamilton. I do like singing along, though…
Anyway, today I wanted to share some of the words that completely rocked my world during this creative retreat.
I read two books, one was an actual book (more like a booklet) and one was an audio book I listened to while beach-combing and sitting in the sand.
The booklet was Managing Oneself released by the Harvard Business Review.
I read that one before I even got on the plane to Tampa and it really got me off to a good start. It covers the importance of knowing three things about yourself…
- What are your strengths?
- How do you learn/work?
- What are your values?
This seemed a little boring and obvious as I was reading it, but I realized I had no clue how I learned. Was I a reader, a hearer, a writer, or a speaker? After much thought, I realized I was a reader. I like to print things out. I like to read over Jeff’s shoulder, even though he’s reading aloud to me. I prefer learning from a book than a video. And, if I have to learn from an auditory method, like a video, audio book, lecture, I have to take notes and read over them to fully nail it all down in my brain.
It also opened my eyes to the importance of listing my values (and this tied into a podcast I listened to later) and knowing my strengths.
The audio book I listened to was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Affiliate link)
Oh, creatives. Hang onto your hats when you read/listen to this one. I cannot even express how awesome this book was. I don’t agree with everything 100% and there were parts and paragraphs that I could’ve done without, but those were few and far between. They certainly didn’t take away from the creative pep talk Liz offers. (She refers to herself as Liz in the book.)
So much of what she says seems obvious, but sometimes we just need someone to say it to us in a way that’s fresh and been-there-done-that. She knows what it’s like to commit to creative pursuits. She knows the rejections and the elations. She knows the hard slog it can be as well as the soaring heights that can be reached. She also knows the fear of the expectation to always top yourself.
For those who don’t know, she wrote Eat Pray Love. I can’t imagine trying to top that kind of success! I’ve never read that book or any of her other books, but Shaunna told me to read this book and it was referenced in several podcasts, so I downloaded it and ate it up. And I love Liz’s spirit.
One of my favorite parts, and there are many, was when she references a famous saying, “What would you do if you knew you would not fail?” Liz flipped that on its head and made it more powerful. (And I’m paraphrasing because I listened to it!) “What do you love doing so much that you would do it even if you knew you would fail?”
Even if failure is a part of your art, music, writing, singing, playing, making…would you do it, anyway?
If you download the audio book and listen to it at 1.25x, you can get through it in about 5 hours while you clean or exercise or paint. You’ll be glad you did. (Okay, I hope! Because now I’ve really built it up!)
I listened to several podcasts, but the one I kept coming back to was Being Boss. Like Big Magic, I don’t agree with everything 100%, but there was so much good stuff in the episodes I listened to! The three episodes that I took tons of notes on were – Becoming an Enthusiastic Leader , Behaving Like a Boss, and The Imposter Complex.
I found these episodes to be informative, practical, encouraging, motivating, and entertaining. It was like sitting at a lunch table with successful creative entrepreneurs, listening to them spill their secrets and tips. I tried to walk the beach while listening to these, but I just had to park my rear in the sand, so I could take notes. (So I could read them back to myself!)
As a disclaimer, there is a parental advisory on this podcast, because of language. It’s not excessive and I’m not offended by cursing in general, but this is a business podcast and I found it unprofessional when they pulled out the profanities. They also go into some topics on other episodes that might be controversial or offensive to some. I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. I got a lot out of listening to them and can take what I like and leave what I don’t. All of that to say, I would endorse the three episodes I linked and, beyond that, you’re on your own!
Until then, are there any other podcasts I must listen to? Any audio books I should purchase?