Skip to content

Top 10 Lessons of a Creative Year

Warming up to a nice bowl of borscht and sipping a green smoothie made with my new bullet mixer, (thanks Santa!) I’m skipping the eggnog and getting right down to some of the top creative lessons of this past year.

Creative Butterfly Formula Photo by ArtsyBee via Pixabay

In true Dave Letterman top ten fashion here’s my list of lessons learned in a creative year.

10. Morning rituals can be just what you’ve needed..

Emerson is often misquoted as saying “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..” when in fact the actual saying is a “a foolish consistency is..” BIG difference, right?

For me I’ve avoided rituals and meditation for a long time. So, it’s been the biggest shift for me to finally tackle these, and I found both in Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning.

While I have to admit that I’m still not an early morning riser, developing a morning ritual was a game changer. You can read more here..

9. Curiosity vs Passion

I’ve struggled with the typical “follow your passion” advice. For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me. Even after connecting with Emily Wapnick and the Puttytribe, I still wondered this.

Slowly, I realized that it’s not only okay; it’s something essential I needed to develop - or what I now consider the most important skill in business.

8. One Thing Done Well Can Pay Dividends

This is something that developed over the past few months. I started recognizing how much can come out of a few interviews. For example, after interviewing one guest like Kyle MacDonald.. I’ve created a YouTube video.. plus, highlight clips.. plus, a podcast.. plus, blog posts.. all from one interview!!

7. Out of Our Darkest Moments can Come Some of Our Greatest Opportunities

On a recent interview Dana Parker shared how she suffered from fibromyalgia. Things got so bad that at one point she could barely move - much less get out of bed. Through different techniques she learned to regain movement and even now dances tango.

After losing my car, I was really struggling myself. But to be honest I’d probably still be doing my previous work driving up and down the coast. So, sometimes what seems like a curse may be a blessing.

6. Creativity - Muscle , i.e. idea machine

This past year I spent a good part of my morning ritual doing the Ideal Machine lists by Claudia Altucher, and while I wouldn’t say that I’m the perfect writer and that words flow 100% effortlessly, the change has been pretty awesome. My word count has gone up to nearly 1500 per hour and generally hovers around 900.

5. 80/20 Rule is More like 90/10 for Your Efforts

By now you realize that busy work doesn’t necessarily translate into results. Here’s what I’ve also discovered. Most of us have heard of the Pareto Principle where 20 percent of our efforts yield 80 percent of our results. (Who doesn’t want to just figure what that 20 percent is, right?)

In reality it’s closer to 10 percent of your struggles and often this can be like trying to find that pony in the manure.

4. Relationships are Built on Trust over Time

There’s really no substitute or “hack” for this.
Here’s Brene Brown’s “BRAVING” model ..

B – Boundaries
Respecting boundaries are essential. When we’re not clear about what’s okay and what’s not, we need to ask, and it’s okay to say no.

R – Reliability
Boy, this is a big one. So simple yet sometimes so hard sometimes. Do what you say you’ll do. Talk is cheap; it’s time to saddle up pardner! “Money talks, bullshit walks.”

A – Accountability
Sure, things happen. But you better own up as soon as you can, apologize, and do what you can to make it right. How you recover says a lot about what you really think - of me, our relationship, and what it all means to you.

V – Vault
Circle of trust, man, circle of trust - you are in, or you’re out as Robert DeNiro says in Meet the Parents. Can I trust you to keep what we share in private confidential?

I – Integrity
What do you choose when no one’s looking? Do you choose courage over comfort? Do you choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy? What choices do you make over time?

N – Non-judgment
Can we each ask for what we need without fear of being judged?

G – Generosity
Do you assume the worst? Giving the best meaning possible to the intentions behind the words and actions of others is a way of giving trust to get trust.

3. The IndieCreative Entrepreneur’s Journey is the Hero’s Journey

It's a journey of transformation. I’ve often shared this Matthew Winkler TED video because it’s the most amazing capture in 4 minutes.

It’s not just what you learn or do along the way. It’s not only who you connect with to help you on your path. It’s about who you become.

What I like to say now is “Who you were got you to this point, who you’re becoming will get you where you want to go!” (click below to tweet)

Tweet: Who you are got you to this point, who you’re becoming will get you where you want to go! @jycmba

2. Your Surroundings Reflect Who You Are.. literally!

We’ve heard of this idea by Jim Rohn that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.' Well, I’ve been reading up on the power of mirror neurons. So it turns out that there’s actually scientific basis in this principle. Go figure!

1. Keep Going

I’ve been blessed to have interviewed creative entrepreneurs this past year and they echoed what some of the best business mind I’ve worked with have said. Sometimes you just need to stay the course.

Unmistakable Creative podcast hot Srinivas Rao talked candidly about how he nearly quit and something told him to keep going.

That’s the thing that I’ve heard again and again - from successful writers, musicians, film makers and other artists. Keep writing, keep singing, keep shooting.. keep doing what you can’t stop doing even if you fail.

As Jim Carrey said, “I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”

I wish you and your loved ones all the best for a fantastic holiday! Here’s to even more inspired creative awesomeness in the new year!

Happy Creative New Year!