I hold space for vast amounts of uncertainty in my life – creatively, entrepreneurially, existentially. My closest teammates, friends, and family know this.
We don’t just need each other. We thrive with each other. How can we stay open and fresh in collaboration? Who’s exemplifying the best of creative collaboration? How can we work together to make change that matters in this world?
Archie had made up his mind.
He told his two friends he just couldn’t risk starting his own animated studio. “It’s a stupid fantasy.” Benjy and Sahib sat silent and stunned. Read more
Last week we gathered with a group of creatives and entrepreneurs from around the globe to discuss the epidemic of isolation and introduce people to how they can break that trend and find support through collaborative alliances in our Business Artist Alliance.
It was a warm sunny morning in Taos, New Mexico when I guided fifteen writers through a meditative yoga flow. When I asked them to check in with questions such as, “What am I here for?” and “What am I writing for?” a couple of them got watery eyes. Read more
Maybe we think that because we can kind of sort of figure things out on our own that we should do it on our own and that we’re skilled “enough” to figure it out on our own. Read more
The New York socialite Mabel Dodge knew something about putting talented, engaging people from different backgrounds and creative media in the same room. With the right atmosphere and combination of people, ideas could ignite that might inspire creative action (including even, a few love affairs). Read more
You can craft to design experiences to take people where you promised, you can have meetings to plan, and you can gather and lead exceptional people on your team, but ultimately you have to get out of the way.
When you build something, you never ultimately know how it will be experienced.
Something happened a few years back that as I recall it still sends me reeling. Read more
I’ve never had a mentor to guide me on my career path. If you’re a woman, and haven’t had a mentor either, you’re not alone. According to a 2011 LinkedIn survey of almost 1,000 female professionals in the U.S., nearly one in five women have never had a mentor.
It’s not surprising to me that so many women haven’t been mentored. Few role models exist in American culture of women having mentors, and even fewer of women being mentors. Neo has Morpheus in The Matrix, Daniel has Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, and Luke has Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, but few heroines in American culture are depicted having mentors, especially female ones. Read more
You could make a long list of celebrities who attained fame and then wished to flee from it as if fame were pursuing them instead of the other way around. Fame can be the siren’s song that lures you into thinking you need heaps of applause and accolades to feel good about your work in the world. It is the veneer reflection of good work.
Chase after applause, and you measure success and contentment by how many and how loud. When the clapping stops, you leave yourself wide open to a chasm of disappointment or worse.
Here’s an interesting thing: When you chase after applause, you’re in such a hurry to gauge other people’s surface responses that you overlook the very thing that brings you abiding joy – the challenges of honing a craft, building an endeavor, improving a skill set, learning to do something brand new, and making something that in turn changes the way people think or feel or act.
It’s tough to resist this lure of instant mini-fame. It’s especially tough in a time when programmers who make apps and social media platforms know how to tap into our base needs for instant gratification. Like, Like, Like, Like.
We don’t need fame to thrive. We don’t need millions of people throwing accolades our way for our art or business or endeavor to make an impact and to make a return. Read more
Alison had published three books, delivered a talk at a renowned conference, and advanced her distinct brand enough to garner gigs around the world.
So, what was the problem?
“I’ve kind of run this thing to its end. I’m ready for what’s next, but I don’t know what that is. And whenever I get an inkling, it seems radically different from what I’m known for.” She wanted to start off her new year with a whole new “thing.”
And sometimes, most times, that’s fine and necessary. But this kind of situation raises profound doubt. The kind of doubt the Alisons of the world experience has a different hue than the kind of doubt, say, of someone just starting out with his first venture ever. Alison’s kind of doubt comes post-success, post-mastery. She’s already accomplished in one field. So, for her to arrive again at uncertainty makes her think she’s a failure or a fool for surrendering success in that one proven arena. To become an uncertain apprentice again who must ask for guidance feels, to the accomplished professional or creative, kind of vulnerable.
But this junction of doubt turns out to be profoundly normal for successful people who excel in creative and entrepreneurial fields.
The hard part for Alison and others of us like her is staying in the confusion long enough to let something real and true germinate. When we cannot endure the unknown next horizon, we often respond in one of three ways:
Not fun. Read more