MC15 – The Art is Enough with Charlotte Eriksson

The Mindful Creator Podcast - The Art is Enough with Charlotte ErikssonIn Episode 15 of The Mindful Creator, I chat with Charlotte Eriksson, also known as The Glass Child, a talented independent musician from Sweden who left home at 17 and moved to London to dedicate her life to music and writing.

Through a hell of a lot of determination, grit and honing of her craft in the years since, Charlotte has successfully started her own label (Broken Glass Records), released 5 critically acclaimed albums, had a single, ’I Will Lead You Home,’ reach #2 on the Swedish iTunes-chart and was named ”Breakthrough Indie Artist Of The Year” by Lemonade Magazine.

This episode digs deeper into the challenging journey of the independent artist, the tension between the call to create and the need to build a platform to be heard, and how Charlotte managed to remain deeply committed to her craft while doing whatever it took to build a life from her art.

Link Love

The Official Glass Child Store
The Glass Child on Twitter
Charlotte on Facebook
In Between Frames – Seth Godin
The War of Art – Stephen Pressfield
The Artists’ Way – Julie Cameron

In this Episode

  • Charlotte talks about her introduction to music, the process of leaving Sweden by herself to start a life in music, and the year + she spent essentially homeless traveling from city to city in pursuit of the dream
  • Charlotte’s first year in London as an 18-year-old budding musician and how a drive to just learn her craft and the industry shaped that experience.Charlotte: “I realized quite fast that the way that I want to build my life is doing everything by myself.”
  • Where craft and practice and self promotion can coexist, and the importance of revisiting your why constantly to keep grounded in the former.
  • Why Charlotte doesn’t look at her art or work as a project or career but as her life, and why that dynamic prevents her from doing anything that she doesn’t find true joy in.
  • Why we live in an era obsessed with bottling success and why our impatience may rob us of the chance to get really, really good at something.
  • Brett: “I can’t imagine living or creating anything where the only reason behind creating was an exit plan for my life or a means to an end.”
  • Charlotte: “That finish line should be the last day of your life if you’re wanting to create something of real impact.”
  • Why creating a life of love for what you do will make the “how” of getting to the desk each day more and more irrelevant.
  • The delicate balance of dedication and determination and how to approach those days where you just don’t feel like doing anything.
  • The self awareness needed to understand when resistance is at play vs. time to step back and take a break.
  • Charlotte talks about the last years making her latest album and how she learned to better identify when she needed to push and when she needed to recharge and get inspired.
  • The importance of not forgetting to live your life and using those experiences to fuel your creativity.
  • Why beating yourself over the head to push through the resistance isn’t always the best route.
  • The danger of becoming too focused on the outcome of your art and how that can stunt your growth as a creator.
  • Charlotte’s experience with in-person networking and self promotion and how that taught her to recognize and accept her inherent strengths as an artist (and why she’s subsequently built the majority of her community online).
  • The importance of building success in your own distinct vision, and why no one but you can determine the nuts and bolts of it.
  • Taking a deeper look at bravery and courage in the face of our biggest challenges.
  • Why carefully building your success brick by brick – in your own vision – will help you achieve a deeper freedom and appreciation for what you’ve built.
  • Why real long-term security doesn’t come with the lure of short-term fame and success.
  • Brett talks about getting out of alignment with writing and his journey to discovering what he really resonated most with creatively.
  • Why caving to the pressure to be heard can disconnect us from our deeper purpose.
  • The importance of embracing the parts of your journey where mistakes outweigh successes and understanding that every piece – good and bad – has its place.
  • Charlotte talks about her process for growing an audience for her music.
  • The simplicity of “you are your ideal audience” in building a community for your work.
  • Why marketing is really just about connection and creating an experience. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
  • Real connections with real people is the only long-term approach for building community – there are no tactics in the short term to buy you’re way into the kingdom.
  • Charlotte talks about the process of connecting with one person at a time and what the day-to-day interaction with her community looks like.
  • The difficult balance of making time for craft and time for the people that support your craft, and why staying human no matter what will always work out in the end.

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can please take a moment to leave an honest rating and review of the show on iTunes or Stitcher, it will help improve our ranking and discoverability so that we can reach more artists and creators.

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Quick update on the site migration

I’ve been quiet lately on publishing new episodes of the podcast, and for a good reason.

I recently migrated from our old website to this new domain and ran into a few technical bumps in the road, so I’m a bit behind on the relaunch schedule.

I’ll be back soon with new content and a few goodies to giveaway to celebrate our return.

Until then!

– Brett

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MC14 – Mindful 15: Dark Side of the Hustle

The Mindful 15: Dark side of the hustle with Brett Henley

Welcome to the Mindful 15: A short monthly episode (15 minutes or less) where I step out of the usual format and fly solo, sharing personal stories and insights on self awareness from my journey as a writer.

In this episode, I’m diving deeper into the dark side of the hustle. That is to say, I’m diving deeper into the elements of the creative journey that entrepreneurs and artists don’t talk about often enough.

Link Love

The dark side of the hustle
The rough edges of failure
Stop Waiting to Live: Radically Reclaim Your Aliveness Now – Jonathan Mead
How To Waste Time Properly – Greg Beato

In this Episode

  • Strategic vulnerability – why we don’t discuss the reasons we fall apart
  • Why it’s okay to want to let go of being the model hustler and just be in the moment.
  • Most experts in this internet age only talk about the good parts:  The book ends and the polished steps required to make it to the finish line.
  • We talk about failure at a purely conceptual level – it’s a novel idea, but few of us are willing to really expose why we failed, what happened and the truth of what failure looks (and feels) like in real life.
  • My struggles with perfectionism and shipping projects and what that as taught me about failure.
  • Why an unrealistic picture of how much we’ll actually struggle on this journey is flat out dangerous, and why we need to focus less on boxing up the creative process for self gain and more on painting realistic pictures of what you actually need to navigate the uncertainty.
  • The intangibles you really need = self awareness, trust, confidence. These intangibles are not gained by following a set of predetermined steps. They’re cultivated through daily practice and by connecting on a much deeper level to the purpose that drives your work.
  • Why you should get down and dirty with your core self through reflection. Why are you hustling? What does success look like outside of profitability, marketability and all of the common benchmarks we measure against?
  • Why we need trust, not pixie dust (and to stop trying to engineer away all our flaws and embrace the gifts that we already have).
  • The danger of placing too much faith in external solutions and ignoring our own intuition.
  • Why I’m not remotely attached to this mindless definition of hard work that is “hustle at all costs”
  • Outcome tunnel vision and the danger of not being present.
  • Why there is a fine line between opportunity and obsession (there is always more to be done, more to be changed, more to improve).
  • Why the hustle doesn’t necessarily make you tougher, more determined, grittier than the rest. It just makes you more tired, less effective and out of alignment in the long term.
  • Meeting our fears and struggles with a battering ram and calvary charge isn’t the only way.
  • Why it’s not always about overcoming, it’s about coexisting
  • Why it’s not what or how, it’s why we do it.

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can please take a moment to leave an honest rating and review of the show on iTunes or Stitcher, it will help improve our ranking and discoverability so that we can reach more artists and creators.

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MC13 – Fighting for What You Love with Mike Rohde

Mindful Creator podcast - Fighting for what you love with Mike Rohde

In Episode 13 of The Mindful Creator, I chat with designer Mike Rohde about finding that deeper determination to fight for the work that you love.

Mike is a designer, author, illustrator and sketchnoter with a passion for simple and usable design solutions. He has published two books on sketchnoting, The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook, and has provided custom illustration for New York Times bestsellers, REWORK and REMOTE by 37signals, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and The Little Book of Talent by New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle.

In this episode, Mike and I discuss the evolution of our creative processes and how to push through when real life struggles threaten to pull you under.

Link Love

Writer Pro (Mike uses for his books)
Showing up can be simple
Music For Focus and Creativity (what I use for writing/creating) – The American Dollar
plannerhack.com (Mike mentions in our segment on productivity hacking)

In this Episode

  • Mike talks about his 20+ year journey as a designer and an illustration.
  • The evolution of Mike’s design and illustration processes and how this introduced intentional limitations into his work.
  • The advent of sketchnoting, or “visual note taking,” in Mike’s process and how that led to a variety of opportunities at conferences and an eventual book deal.
  • How Mike’s willingness to accept and seek out limitations in creative projects forced himself to be present in his work and find more satisfaction in the grind.
  • The journey of writing and handling all of the production work on his first book, and the struggle to be creative and see this project through while dealing with serious family challenges.
  • Using challenges as a way forward.
  • Leaning on learning from your struggles when everything seems to fall apart.
  • Why my failure to place “purposeful limitations” around creative work has led to incomplete or unfinished projects.
  • Why we can’t always choose our situations, but we can choose how we creatively respond.
  • Learning to recognize the true nature of your struggles through self awareness and acceptance and reframing them.
  • Mike – “Sometimes fighting for what you love means pushing against a situation and finding a way to change it.”
  • Why accepting where you are can help you get passed denial that keeps you from moving forward.
  • Why acceptance is about creating space to take the emotion out of the equation so you can gain some objectivity to deal with creative struggles (which is really hard when you’re deeply attached to your work).
  • Mike talks about the real tests of determination that he faced on higher-stake projects and how he overcame them (note – every big project Mike has done had some sort of major challenge personally).
  • How Mike managed the production work on Rework in the middle of his daughter’s birth, including working in the hospital room while his wife and newborn slept.
  • Why focusing on making a little progress each day and letting go of some expectations helped Mike navigate through his struggles to ship these big projects.
  • Mike – “the only way I could do it under the circumstances was just to be satisfied with what I could do within that day and not worry about the future because I can’t do anything about tomorrow – and yesterday’s gone.”
  • The power of reframing difficult situations in a positive light (just enough to keep you moving forward).
  • Mike – “I guess I was agile before agile was cool.” (Love this. Note – Mike is referencing his lean, agile creative process and how he’s now working on agile design/dev project teams and seeing it from a different perspective).
  • How staying agile empowered Mike to adapt and adjust the design and production process for the Sketchnote Handbook.
  • Mike talks about “batching” his tasks on creative projects and having firm “principles” vs. a rigid process (Note – I call this “parameters” where you know your bookends and can stay flexible in between).
  • Why marrying yourself to specific outcomes will make it very difficult to adapt your process when necessary.
  • Why staying level headed in challenging creative situations is a vital skill that takes practice.
  • Why staying anchored to the “why” and finding joy in the work are critical to sticking with it.
  • Mike’s process of envisioning how his ideal audience will engage and interact with the finished product and how this helps him stay connected to the creative process.
  • Why having entire seasons of TV shows and documentaries on in the background actually helped Mike stay inspired and active late at night while hustling on his big deadlines.
  • Mike reflects on his early days as a print designer doing annual reports and tedious design work and how it taught him the benefits of getting into creative flow.
  • Mike and I discuss the pro’s and con’s of productivity hacking (hint – I think it’s mostly bullshit and overhyped). Mike talks about being more analog and why that works for him.
  • Me – “When the task managing becomes a task, then you know it’s not working.”
  • Recognizing when productivity and organization is really just avoiding the big, scary tasks and how practicing this awareness can help you recognize opportunities to let go.
  • Knowing when it’s time to let go vs. hold on to creative projects (and how alignment can help you understand what needs to stay and what needs to go).
  • Why the deeper intuition that we often ignore disconnects us from the awareness we need to understand when we’re putting energy into projects and tasks that don’t align with what we want.
  • The power of turning a “no” into a “yes” for someone else.
  • Accepting the day for what it, appreciating the things that you have and being grateful for them, and gaining the needed perspective to just go with what life puts in front of you.
  • The unofficial theme for this episode = perspective.
  • Mike breaks down the nuts and bolts of the Sketchnote Handbook and Workbook (hint – they are fucking awesome).

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can please take a moment to leave an honest rating and review of the show on iTunes or Stitcher, it will help improve our ranking and discoverability so that we can reach more artists and creators.

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MC12 – Rocking the Small Corners with Maisie Smith

Mindful Creator Podcast - Rocking the small corners with Maisie Smith

In Episode 12 of The Mindful Creator, I chat with Maisie Smith about rocking the small corners, whether we are all meant to serve on the grand stage with the rest of the influencers, and learning how to define our bodies of work through our own distinct lens.

Maisie is a freelance writer, storyteller, blogger and owner of the Audacious Muse Writing Studio, where she uses the power of words to connect small businesses with their people.

Link Love

I Wish You Nothing But the Best As You Take Over the World – Maisie Smith
Building a Business You Love – Brett Henley
Deliberately Small – AJ Leon

In this Episode

  • Maisie talks about the self promotional tidal wave she encountered at WDS 2014, how that impacted her concept of service, and why it prompted her to write the blog post on this idea of rocking the small corners (note, she also talks about how much respect and love she has for the conference, and that in know way did she feel that this reflected on the overall conference experience).
  • Maisie on the interactions at WDS – “I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of people desperately trying to do good work.”
  • Why the collective struggle we all face in owning our own unique space as creators and figuring out what service means to each of us creates this air of desperation in how we promote our work.
  • The irony of focusing so much on the serving that we forget about the people that we’re serving (i.e. the bigger picture).
  • Maisie talks about her journey from personal fitness training to advertising to her current adventures as a creative entrepreneur, and how a workshop by Pam Slim at WDS 2013 helped the light bulb come on for her.
  • Why we tend to find what we’re looking for when we stop looking for it.
  • Maisie talks about her definition of small corners and how that has evolved in her work.
  • Maisie: “I found that I had more options in staying small; it allowed me to create exactly what I wanted to create.
  • Why small corners are not about being small so that you don’t have to be big – it’s not about giving up on the dream.
  • Why service is more and more about perspective the further you get in your journey.
  • Why quality of life is a big part of both Maisie and Brett’s small corner, and why they don’t necessarily identify with the parts of the hustle that a lot of entrepreneurs seem to get off on.
  • Brett – “Figuring out how to show up in the world is really fucking hard.”
  • Why part of learning how to show up is learning how to promote without losing sight of service.
  • Why Maisie hates the question, “what do you do?” (fist bump to JFM).
  • The problem with believing that we can only truly show up to our work once we define it in concrete terms.
  • The danger of associating service with making a big name for yourself.
  • Why we (wrongfully) assume that sustainability is about bigger = better.
  • Why our vision of mattering to the world is too often caught up in comparing how big our platform is (or could be) to the big influencers, and why we need to realize that creating impact isn’t about the size of your audience.
  • The importance of being honest with what kind of platform you want to own – intimate connection vs. serving the masses? small community vs. large army?
  • Seeing through the filters, illusions and polish of online influence and recognizing that even the biggest and baddest internet movers and shakers are just normal human beings.
  • Understanding that service can’t be defined overnight – it, like many aspects of the creative journey, is in constant flux and evolution. Be patient!
  • Why Brett has started to let go of “drinking from the fire hose instead of the tap” when it comes to opportunity and growth.
  • Brett: “For me, a small corner is really an ethos.”
  • Maisie: “A small corner isn’t really a place; it’s a mentality.”
  • Why doing good work doesn’t have to mean changing the world all by yourself.
  • Maisie: “Service is not a numbers game.” (boom)

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can please take a moment to leave an honest rating and review of the show on iTunes or Stitcher, it will help improve our ranking and discoverability so that we can reach more artists and creators.

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MC11 – Balance is Bullshit with Laurel Staples

Mindful Creator podcast - Balance is bullshit with Laurel Staples

In episode 11 of The Mindful Creator, I talk with Laurel Staples about the magical myth of work-life balance and why we should ditch it for good.

Laurel is a Business “Jumpstarter”, marketing expert, writer and podcaster who left a corporate career as a hardware engineer In 2007 to launch a retail clothing store. Today, she is the founder of Go Fire Yourself – where she helps corporate prisoners escape the rat race, make a shit ton of money with their business & live life on their own terms. Laurel is also the host of The Go Fire Yourself podcast as well as co-host of the RED (Real Entrepreneur Development) podcast with David Hooper.

Link Love

Why You Should Ditch the Work-Life Balance model – Laurel Staples
Let’s make a “to-don’t list” – Brett Henley
How a Good Life Builds a (Better Than) Great Company : The Zen of Jonathan Fields - Terry St. Marie (Jonathan talks about the vitality, connection, contribution buckets I mention in my interview w/ Laurel).

In this Episode

  • Laurel shares her story of working in the corporate world as a mechanical engineer designing color laser printers, the process of leaving the rat race behind to start her own retail clothing store, and the realization that led her to becoming an online entrepreneur.
  • Laurel talks about balance in her early days running a brick and mortar vs. her work today, and how running an online business has taught her how to work smarter, create intentional space, and make more money without killing herself.
  • Why work/life balance is an “unattainable ideal.”
  • Why we are consumed by this notion that we can create equal weight between obligations and passion, and why striving for balance is burning us out.
  • Why the process of creating an intentional life creates an urgency and pressure to achieve this false sense of balance.
  • People have to define a clear vision of what freedom looks like for them before they can understand how to prioritize and achieve their goals.
  • Why productivity and time management isn’t about “checking off” priorities; it’s about aligning them with your vision and goals and identifying what isn’t helping you reach your goals.
  • Why the concept of working smart vs. working hard is about mindset and energy, not tasks.
  • Laurel’s strategy of compartmentalization vs. balance and how we start to prioritize and be fully present in each “compartment” that comprises our day-to-day work and life.
  • Why it’s more effective to maximize the space that you’re in and not “cross the streams” between work and life (i.e. when you’re hanging out with family, hang out with family).
  • Beating distractions by breaking big tasks into small steps that you can work on in short intervals and giving 100% focus to whatever is right in front of you.
  • Making a to-don’t list instead of filling our days with arbitrary tasks and goals that we may not be aligned with
  • Why identifying the work that truly resonates will make the “chore” of prioritization much easier.
  • Why everyone is not necessarily destined to be an entrepreneur and that it’s okay to be an asset working for someone else.
  • Seeking alignment and the power of letting go of anything that does not serve our true selves as creators.
  • Why trusting your intuition is part of gaining experience as a entrepreneur. It takes time, but eventually you will learn how to prioritize based on what works best for you.
  • The importance of scheduling recharge moments into your day.
  • Why identifying what to say no to is always much easier than actually saying no.
  • How making a “to-don’t list” can help you eliminate arbitrary tasks and priorities to give space to what matters.
  • Laurel’s process for capturing ideas and still staying focused on what is right in front of her.
  • Laurel – “Letting go of who you were to become who you are … It’s not always clear, it’s not always certain. The way is not paved. I feel like I’m bushwhacking the trail at times.”
  • Why balance can lead us into a bad cyclical relationship with control.
  • Sometimes you just need to trust and to turn inward, learn to let go and make the best decisions with the information you have at hand.
  • Why mindfulness to Brett is really about being fundamentally okay with where you are in the journey right now.
  • Why gratitude is key to being mindful of where you are while maintaining focus on where you want to go.
  • Brett – “Opportunity isn’t always easy, but it’s better than the alternative in every case.”
  • Laurel – “In my life, the only way to really fail is to give up or never start. So if I’m not doing either of those, I feel good about myself.”

 

Thanks for listening!

If you can please take a moment to leave an honest rating and review of the show on iTunes or Stitcher, it will help improve our ranking and discoverability so that we can reach more artists and creators.

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