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Input creates output. The things we choose to let fill up our brain space is important. Especially for people who make things for a living. Think of it as being as important as the diet changes you’re making for your health. What diet changes are you making for your creative health? What things are you going to choose to consume and what things are you going to choose NOT to consume?

It’s important. Your work, your mindset, your life, will become what you think about and what you continually consume.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a few things I recommend. Some of these books are older, and some are new but this is what I’m reading to start this year. I hope you enjoy:

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this book. The subtitle of this book is what drew me in: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative. It’s fascinating. Things like:
-How to include nature in your busy schedule.
-Scientifically, how much nature is enough to have an effect?
-How looking at the very design of nature seems to help us create more interesting things.
-Studies on how nature helps halt trauma-related symptoms. And offer REAL healing.

It’s amazing you should just read it for yourself 🙂

The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

Started listening to this one about 4 weeks ago (I don’t usually read books straight through. I like to bounce around and get different ideas from different people.) and it’s awesome. There are some stories about success and failures they’ve had at Virgin. There’s some great leadership lessons. FANTASTIC points about customer experience. Read it. I think you’ll like it.

Building A StoryBrand by Donald Miller

I’ve been listening to the StoryBrand podcast for quite sometime and was a fan of Donald Miller’s work before. (read A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. I re-read it every year.) This book and the philosophy behind StoryBrand in general just makes sense to me. And there’s a reason for that. A psychological reason that we’re all drawn to stories and always have been. The book is about clarifying your message. Who doesn’t need more of that?

Tribe Of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

Jen got me this book for Christmas. I had been jonesing for it ever since he announced it. The basic idea of this book is that Tim reached out to everyone who he wanted mentoring from or who he thought had some great logical life advice, and he asked them a series of questions. The book is full of all the answers he received. To questions like: “When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?” or “In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to?” Simple questions, but imagine getting to ask those questions of people like Larry King, Neil Gaiman, Jimmy Fallon, Brene Brown, Gretchen Rubin, Tony Hawk. And more than 100 more. It’s over 500 pages of solid gold.

The Power Of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

I heard of this one from the StoryBrand Podcast. There’s a fantastic interview with Chip that is all about using the power of moments to create memorable client interactions. Basically to create a remarkable, unforgettable, stand-out moments to give people a memory. It takes very little effort but moments are how we remember things. We don’t remember all the aspects of our life and story, we remember moments. This book is about that and how you can create moments to significantly impact your life and work. I’m excited about this book.

 

 

That should get us started with some healthy input this year! What are you reading? 

 

Make Great Things,

Chris

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I’ve been reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. Jen got it for me for Christmas because she’s awesome. I was reading Steven Pressfield’s entry in this giant book of advice from the giants. Here’s the quote that jumped off the page at me:

“If you want to become a billionaire, invent something that will allow people to indulge in their on Resistance. Somebody did invent it. It’s called the internet. Social Media.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Pressfield, he wrote a little book called Do The Work in which he personifies that wall we all come to when creating things. He calls it “The Resistance.” The resistance is spiteful and angry and it stands between you and the things you know you could make. It’s a dragon that must be slain before completing the journey. The Resistance wants nothing more than for you to give into those voices that tell you’re not enough, you don’t belong here, just stay in your lane. And it will present plenty of complimentary evidence of this fact.

If there was every an invention that encouraged people to stay the same, it’s social media. Trapped in our tiny echo-chambers we become flooded with confirming thoughts, posts, videos… all telling us to stay the same. Don’t step out and change things. Just sit here and keep scrolling. Social media is a megaphone for Resistance. With it, Resistance doesn’t even have to try to stop you from creating your best work. It knows that when we wrap ourselves up in that world, we’re so far from actually doing the work it takes to create something that it can take a lunch break until we wake up and decide to do something.

I will not be exiting the internet just yet. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think social media can be a beautiful thing and I will continue to use it. (for now) But I do recognize that sometimes I’m using it to numb and to distract. I know that because it’s obvious.  I’m indulging in my own Resistance, making the dragon’s job easy.

So what’s the answer? Honestly, it’s simple. Pour yourself deep into ‘a work’ and stay there. Work is the ultimate anti-Resistance force.  With it, all the tools of Resistance no longer matter. Work is what quiets the dragon.

When faced with Resistance — work.

Here’s a couple more directives to take with you for the new year:

-Don’t stay in your lane.

-You’re enough. Now go make something.

-Let go of what’s happened. Being present makes a way for what’s next.

-You belong, now act like it.

-Always Change.

This year is going to be epic. I can feel it and I bet you can too. Run with that. Believe that. Make good things.

-Chris

P.S. Happy New Year, my friends. I’ve missed you. Let’s talk more this year, ok? 🙂

 

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You can start over.

You can switch it up.

You can ditch the rules you’ve written and rewrite the whole damn book.

You don’t have to be stuck where you are. You don’t have to settle for a business or job or process that is not brining you the same joy it used to. Resilience in a creative field is not all about persistence or sticking to one course. It’s about sticking to the RIGHT course and redefining what that means for you based on your goals.

Maybe somewhere along the way you got off track. Maybe somewhere along the way you changed directions based on what everyone else was doing. Maybe someone told you couldn’t.

Screw all of that.

You can start over  right now, today. And here’s the cool part: You are so much further than someone starting with nothing. You have something. You probably have lots of somethings. So you can start over but it’s not starting from the beginning. It’s starting with knowledge and experience that only comes from years of growth and change.

If you’re in a season of life right now where it seems like everything you’re working on is not sticking and you’re not getting the right traction, you’re not stuck. You can start over.

Make great things my friends.

 

Chris

 

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Yesterday I sent out an email to the Resilient Creative tribe (If you’re not a part of THAT party yet, you should be :)) and asked them to give me their own personal definition of freedom. I got so many great answers back!

How would YOU define freedom? What does freedom look like for you? 

I believe that you find “freedom” at the intersection courageous action and clear vision. And in a way, those two things work to prop each other up. When you have a clear vision, you take courageous action. And when you feel brave enough to take courageous action, your vision gets a little bit clearer. So freedom comes to those who can define where it is they want to go and take courageous steps to get there.

Maybe your freedom looks like never having to worry about money or to never feel limited. Or maybe you want to be able to travel when you want. Or maybe it’s being able to wake up every day and go for a hike with your family! Whatever it is, know that if you define the vision you can then start to figure out what courageous actions need to be taken in order to make it real.

So, what does freedom mean to YOU? My guess is you already know. So how do you get there?

Make Great Things,

Chris

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It’s easy to get lost in the land of stuff and things. It’s easy to get lost in the land of busyness and starting. As entrepreneurs we love starting things. We see holes in the market often and we think of ideas that fill them. That’s what we do. But what we really want is some sort of theme overarching our ventures. To pursue things that align with our values, our hearts, our reasons for making the stuff we make. So here’s a quick test for you to run your ideas and ventures by the next time you are flooded with adrenaline about a new one. I want you to ask yourself:

What would I scream from the mountain tops even if no one could hear me?

What is it that you believe so hard that you would stand and fight for even if no one joined in and said me too? Answer that question, define those beliefs. Then when that rush of the new idea comes, ask yourself:

Does this idea or venture align with, help give legs to, or provide a megaphone for the beliefs I would scream from the mountain tops? 

If the answer is HELL yes, it’s worth your time. If no, move on. What separates music from noise? Harmony. Rhythm. When things line up. That’s what makes music. If it doesn’t fit, it’s just noise.

Oh, this also works for products, conferences, opportunities, work, and (especially for photo and video folks) gear. My friend David duChemin says it best “Gear is good. Vision is better.”

Friends, life is too short to not do the things you want to scream from the mountain tops. And this is not a “follow your heart” post. It’s a productivity post. Follow what you know, that you know, you should follow. Anything else is wasting precious time and energy.

Make great things.

Chris

 

 

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