Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
What do you fear most in the work you do? Is it failure, inadequacy, irrelevance, obscurity, poverty? Perhaps it's "all the above."
Your work is fraught with challenges, uncertainty, and obstacles. So much is beyond your control. But you do control the most essential asset required to thrive in any situation or circumstance. What asset is that?
Your mindset. The way you perceive "the game."
And just three little words can reframe any state of affairs. You can find possibilities within challenges, options within uncertainties, and opportunities within obstacles.
We Are All Creatives
We are born with the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and a social nature. This combination of characteristics differentiates us from all other living things on the planet. It’s also the source of your limitless power and potential. Potential people like us...
Your life, your work, your year. When you look back at each of these, you can lose sight that they are built from months, days, hours, and minutes.
But it’s in each moment that you have an opportunity to start, or try, or test.
Each juncture provides an opportunity to face obstacles, misfortunes, and challenges with greater clarity and equanimity.
Each instant is a chance for you to succeed or fail, but also to learn, to grow. The opportunity for you to develop yourself.
And the next moment is your next chance to start again, or restart, or quit, or pivot, or change course.
And that’s how every endeavor is built. How each project, your life’s work, and your very life itself is constructed. Goal by goal. Action by action. Result by result.
Accepting what comes and then deciding what to do next.
Living and working moment to moment interrupts the voice of doubt living in your head. The self-critic, the over-planner, and the over-thinker that tries to hijack your...
Connection is a basic human impulse.
Driven by the social imperative that enabled us to survive as a species, it is still our best chance of survival going forward.
When our conversations are driven by curiosity and courage instead of certainty and confidence, we invite collaborations worth cultivating and celebrating.
What will you do to create healthy connections that encourage happiness to spread today?
Keep flying higher!
“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment, action for the common good in the present moment, and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” — Marcus Aurelius
I had a fascinating discussion about Stoicism and creativity recently with my friend Chris Gill, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Thought at Exeter University. Chris is a deep thinker, a humble soul, and quiet dispenser of profound wisdom.
During our chat, we discussed acceptance.
As human beings and creative souls, we so often and easily attach ourselves to things beyond our control. Recognition, compensation, the opinions of others. These may appear important. They aren’t. The measure of our worth and that of our craft is reflected in how we approach them and toward what purpose we intend to serve.
We don’t control how we or our work are received. We must accept what comes. Resisting this is a path to suffering.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Do you seek excellence in the work you do or an endeavor you engage in? How do you "level up" in an enterprise worthy of your time and effort?
It's one of the most profound lessons I learned in Seth Godin's altMBA.
Work we do for others is done better when it's done with others!
I believe in Epictetus' maxim, "Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily." But that "work" is pretty useless if it doesn't also elevate and enhance the lives of others. Toward that end, the advice of Seneca comes in handy. "Associate with those who will make a better person of you."
Find your people. Peers to train with, encourage, and support. Mentors, guides, heroes, and teachers to learn from. In turn, share, teach and train those you serve.
Navel gazing, self-help, and personal development that doesn't serve a greater good are pretty pointless (and a bit...
A few weeks ago I spoke with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit, about my work with Creative On Purpose. During our chat, he said something that knocked me back on my heels a bit.
"You need to have a sustainable life. If you are a force for good in this world,
get your shit together around how you fund that."
For the better part of two years, I've been cranking out free content that seeks to help others experience greater fulfillment and prosperity through developing their potential and delivering on their promise.
I've received countless endorsements about the value of this work, including this from my friend, mentor, and employer, best-selling author and altMBA creator Seth Godin:
"Scott will open your eyes to a different way of doing work that matters. His generous, persistent, consistent belief in our ability to level up and contribute comes through. This is time well spent."
I've loved every minute I've been immersed in this work. It's connected...
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist
when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
In The Stoic Creative, I assert that creativity is an inherent human impulse. If you don't agree, think back to your childhood. A time you were a fearless and unselfconscious creative. Who doesn't remember playing with blocks or dolls, drawing and coloring, dancing and singing songs, or simply telling stories?
There are some interesting studies on where creativity comes from, but I find how creativity happens far more interesting. How is it that you struggle so hard to be creative one moment, only to have inspiration strike "out of the blue" during a walk or shower?
I don't care where creativity comes from, I'm just grateful that it comes! And I find regularly sitting down to work is an invitation creativity finds difficult to resist.
Like a cat, creativity paces warily out of reach when you call it, but as soon as you sit still and turn...
Do you ever wonder what work that matters looks like? I sure do!
Last Friday my wife Lisa and I attended the commencement ceremony at Floyd County High School to watch a dozen or so of my guitar students graduate. After the ceremony, I congratulated each of them and presented them with a copy of Seth Godin's What to Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn).
The young lady in the picture above is Hannah. A student of mine for ten years or so. What does the picture "say" to you? To me, it represents and reflects work matters. Work that I do and seek to get better at every day.
Work that matters is different than work that's famous or work that makes you rich. It's the work we do as human beings in service to other human beings. Work that enhances and elevates the lives of everyone it touches, including the one who creates it.
Work that matters is done by employees, entrepreneurs, and employers. It's also the work done by artists and professionals. The work...
Depression and anxiety are temporary emotional states that we all experience from time to time.
Yes, sometimes depression and anxiety are sustained clinical conditions that require professional treatment. But often depression and anxiety are merely temporary emotional states. Too often we seek to avoid them through the least healthy means. Doctors overprescribe anti-depressants and anxiety suppression meds.
Even when we don't seek medical "solutions," we choose drugs, alcohol, or other means to dull the pain or push it away. This approach only causes further harm to our health and knocks us out of alignment with our virtue.
Recognizing that this kind of suffering is self-imposed and caused by our attachment to the past or future, allows for a healthier approach. We can choose to return to the present moment. Take a pause. Contextualize our situation or circumstance.
We can ask ourselves, "Is what I'm choosing to feel serving me? Serving those I care for? What can I...
Let's face it, you can not live a life worth living without making mistakes. Getting things "right" involves going through a lot of "wrong."
And some of those "wrong" choices of word and deed come with a heaping helping of regret. And when regret appears, you can be sure that shame is following close behind.
But here's the thing, when shame comes to visit, you don't have to extend it an invitation to come in for an extended stay or even an overnight. You don't need to invite shame in for lunch or even tea.
Don't draw the shades and lock the door. That only encourages shame to hang around. And shame is very patient and extremely persistent.
Instead, meet shame at the door and thank it.
"Thank you shame for coming by. Your presence is an indication I have some work to do. A mistake to own, apologize for, and make amends for. And sitting with you, for even a minute, will only get in the way of the important work I need to do to make a wrong a right. So, thanks...