Creative Failure

Ally wrote a brilliant piece on why creative people don’t succeed — at least as much as they should succeed.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem to make sense. You’d think that creative people are the ones with the ideas and the ability to carry out those ideas.

Whether it be writing, designing, podcasting — or any other medium — those are the types of folks that could easily knock it out of the park.

She goes on to say something that I resonate with:

What’s stopping incredibly smart, creative people from becoming as successful as they hope to be — and can be — is their own mindset.

Ok, so resonate is a pretty deep understatement, because for me there’s a significant amount of truth in what she says. I am definitely my biggest roadblock — and it’s me who gets in the way of being great.

In other words, I suffer from imposter syndrome big time. It all boils down to a lack of confidence that I am what I say I am.

Thankfully Sonia reminds me I’m not alone:

In my experience, there’s no amount of self-talk or “I can do it!” self-motivation that will really do much for the problem.

And then she says something I needed to hear:

Your authority comes from your audience, from how you help that audience get something they want.

As my friend and colleague Pamela often says, “We focus too much on pushing ourselves on others and should focus more on pulling others in.”

Some really smart words there — and advice I intend to follow.

Brilliant Business Models

Eight years ago I left my desk job and entered the world of online entrepreneurship. There have been many ups and downs since that journey started, but one thing has remained the same.

I am fascinated with, and love meeting, the friends that I have made online. Some of them have become really close friends.

A couple of weeks ago Allison and I talked about online personas, and one of the people we discussed was Erin Loechner.

I came across Erin and her work when I was surfing the internet looking for design inspiration. When I landed on her site I fell in love with it.

Then I spent some time reading through her blog, which is filled with authenticity and being real — for that reason alone it instantly became a “must read” — then I landed on her Work With Erin page.

Let’s start with the fact that she has over a million fans. If you dig a little deeper, you will see they are spread out over a number of social media platforms — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

She also offers a variety of services such as writing, speaking and creating.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out her business model. It’s clear as day, and in my opinion, is brilliant. So take notes on this, m’kay?

Follow your passion. Build an audience. Sell access to yourself.

Being Great

I’ve been struggling a bit of late with my ability to focus. Whether it be design, writing, podcasting — all areas of my work life have been running inefficiently and it’s something I haven’t been able to figure out why.

The ideas in my head flow like an endless river, but finding the time to execute on any of them has always been my achilles heel.

Yesterday I had a revelation, and I think I’ve been finally able to put my finger on (at the very least a contributing factor to said struggles) why things have gone in this direction.

Here’s what I thought, and also what I shared on social media:

I think the more I focus on being great, the less I succeed at being good.

Think about that for minute, will you? Sit on it, and ponder the truth in that statement before you make any judgements about me.

We all strive for excellence, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in my eyes, 95% effort towards it, in my opinion, is 5% short. I think the focus should be on the former of what I tweeted, rather than the latter.

The pressure to be great is — well, so great that it cripples us — injects us with expectations that are typically unrealistic.

We spin our wheels trying to write that epic post. But we have a tendency to measure ourselves up so inadequately to those we admire — so much that, in the end, we don’t write anything.

This is something I’ve realized about myself that needs to change. I’m slowly learning that I cannot be great at everything — and thinking I can be — is merely a setup for self-doubt and failure.

It’s ok to focus on being great, but not at the expense of being good. The saying goes, “Inch by inch it’s such a cinch. Yard by yard it’s awfully hard.”

You can’t reach the summit unless you start at the base of the mountain.