It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since The Accidental Creative released. Just for kicks, here’s the video we made to launch the book.
Have you ever been at a cocktail party, had someone ask you what you do for a living, and wished you could come up with something impressive-sounding to wow them? Adam Stelztner probably never experiences that. He’s an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has worked on flight missions including Galileo, Cassini, and Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Exploration Rover project. He has a lot to say about innovation and leadership.
Having worked with and interviewed hundreds of professionals, I’ve come to believe that each person has a “sweet spot”. It’s comprised of the situations and activities where they are maximally effective, and where they create the most unique value for their effort. It’s not necessarily a specific job or task, but rather a mode they go into that separates them from the pack. It’s a unique kind of value that they become known for, and that others seek out.
GTD is a system for organizing and acting on the work that matters most. There are a lot of nuances to the system, and as a result many people get lost in the weeds and intricate details and get off track and stop utilizing it altogether. That’s unfortunate, because there are many principles that can be borrowed from GTD and acted upon, even if you don’t use the entire system.
The ugly truth is that great work isn’t enough. No one tells you this early in your career; It’s something you learn over time. Cream doesn’t automatically rise to the top, and we don’t live in a meritocracy. If you want your idea to be heard, you have to go the extra mile to ensure that it’s framed to resonate with the right audience.
After expending so much time, energy, and focus on something you care about, it can be devastating when it just doesn’t click. What you do next is very important.
Because I’ve been writing much more “out there” over the past few weeks than around here, I’ve compiled a list of some of the interviews and articles featuring Louder Than Words.
There are some common “sticking points” that can stall your work’s impact. You must push through them to take your work to the next level.
I am awash in paperbacks! My publisher just re-configured its office space, and sent me a few boxes of Die Empty and The Accidental Creative paperbacks.
Books aren’t meant to be kept in a box, they’re meant to be read, so I’m giving giving away 15 signed paperback copies of Die Empty and The Accidental Creative.
Back in April I received an e-mail from Marie Forleo and team asking if I would come to NYC to chat about Louder Than Words on an episode of MarieTV. I thought for – oh – about one second before saying “yes”.
It’s noisy. Not physically noisy, but culturally noisy.
Everyone is clamoring for attention, and clanging their gongs trying to win a few seconds of your precious time. Clickbait, shock tactics, and distractions are so commonplace that they are now used even by previously “credible” institutions. It’s tempting to follow suit and fall into these tactics with your own work. Don’t do it.
You can’t afford to put the fate of your work into someone else’s hands. Fight for it and be tenacious. No matter how great the trainer, every boxer has to step into the ring alone.
Don’t spend your life chasing a vapor. Don’t waste it bouncing from one comfortable place to another, hoping things work out in your favor. Commit to doing the difficult work of excavating, then utilizing your authentic voice. The journey is challenging and the hurdles are very real, but in the end you will point with pride to a body of work that represents you well. It begins now, in this moment.
People who choose bravery know what drives them, and they care more about the outcome than they do about temporary discomfort.
There are times when it’s wise to settle for the most reasonable answer, but don’t allow the daily grind to lull you into mediocrity.
Winning is often a game of percentages. Practice and hone your skills through unnecessary creation, follow your instincts for opportunity, and don’t be afraid to take shots and miss.
With the increase of information crossing your attention span each day, it’s easy to forget even the most impactful experiences. Make every effort to capture these, and to ensure that they become a valuable part of your creative process.