THE PODCAST

Weekly inspiration in your ears.

With millions of downloads, the Accidental Creative podcast has provided weekly tips and interviews with top thinkers, leaders, and artists for over a decade.

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Make Maps, Don’t Just Follow Them (with Wes Kao)

As much as we'd all love a simple and easy to follow plan for career success, the reality is that we're all mostly making things up as we go. However, that doesn't stop many people from slipping into comfort mode instead of pushing for creative growth and personal challenge.  On this episode, marketing consultant Wes Kao shares how to embrace map-making as your core mode of operation, why it's important to have a "spiky" point of view, and how to present your ideas so that others can receive them.

Letting Go and Moving Up

A creative career (and a life) have seasons, but it's often tempting to hold onto something long after it's grown stale simply because you're too comfortable to make a move. On this episode, we share insights from the book Louder Than Words about how to know when it's time to let go and move up the growth curve. 

What To Do When You Fail

Everyone loves to win. The accolades, attention, and rewards are addictive. However, if you’re trying to do the work you’re capable of doing, you’ll eventually fail. If you’re leading a team of capable, driven people who are stretching themselves creatively, you’re probably going to fail often to hit your mark. You will eventually fail. On this episode, we share four important questions to ask in the moment of failure to help you move forward and grow as a creative pro and a leader. 

Creativity For Its Own Sake (with Srini Rao)

Many people begin their career as a creative pro amazed that they get to do work they love, and get paid for it. Then, at some point, it becomes more about making a living than the joy of creating. On this episode, Srini Rao discusses the importance of embracing creativity for its own sake with insights from his new book An Audience Of One. 

Running Down A Dream (with Tim Grahl)

There are a number of creative battles that must be won in order to get from where you are to where you want to be. Unfortunately, many creative pros are "taken out" of the game because they aren't prepared for what's inevitably going to come there way. Tim Grahl has been in the trenches for years, and on today's episode we discuss some of the common pitfalls creative pros face in building something great with insights from his new book Running Down A Dream. 

Your Legacy Is People

Leadership and legacy are not just what you do, but also how you do it. It will be determined by a series of choices you make over your life about how to spend this moment – here, and now. The challenging thing is that each moment feels like a throwaway, because another one follows closely on its heels. How you choose to engage here and now speaks more to your character than whatever residual stuff you leave in your trail.

How To Quit Your Approval Addiction

Which do you value more: being liked, or being effective? For many creative pros, they'd say that being effective is their highest ambition, but the reality is that they do many things simply for the sake of approval from others. You can be both liked and effective, but you can't chase both at the same time. On this episode, we share three ways in which you can quit your approval addiction and unleash the work you're capable of.

Four Ways To Reclaim Creative Energy

When was the last time you purposefully pruned your life (and project list) so that you had the time, focus and energy you needed for your most important work? Doing this on a regular basis is difficult, because each pruned idea and project feels like you’re abandoning a child, but this kind of ruthless dedication to energy management is what’s required in order to sustain over the long-term. On today's episode we share four quick questions to help evaluate a project for potential prune-ability.

Why Many Creative Pros Struggle With Discipline

Discipline is sometimes perceived as a “dirty word” because it’s interpreted as pushing through the muck, doing the unenjoyable activities first, and forgoing the chocolate cake for the steamed broccoli. However, I think this is a gross misunderstanding of the word. Discipline simply means making an agreement with yourself, and keeping it. On this episode, we share three reasons why creative pros often struggle with discipline, and what to do about it. 

Three Career Investments Creative Pros Should Make

I am frequently asked for career advice, and I very, very rarely offer it. Why? First, because I only intimately know my own path and those of a few others. Second, because all advice is local. What works for one person will be misery for another. With that in mind, this episode features three career investments that I think every single creative should be making now, and should continue to make consistently. These are the three aspirations that you should be chasing in order to ensure that you are positioning yourself to do increasingly meaningful and valuable work.

Getting Things Done (with David Allen)

If you do complex creative work for a living, you probably have some kind of system you use to help you organize your work and ensure that nothing is slipping through the cracks. But how reliable is that system? If you can't rely on it completely, then it's not really working for you. On this episode, David Allen is back to share some additional insights about Getting Things Done, and to discuss his new book (along with Mike Williams and Mark Wallace) Getting Things Done For Teens. 

Leading With Emotional Courage (with Peter Bregman)

In the uncertainty of today's marketplace, it's a challenge to show up each day with confidence and clarity about who you are and what you're trying to accomplish. On this episode, Peter Bregman helps us understand how to cultivate the emotional courage necessary to do brilliant and brave work, lead with precision, and unleash the best in everyone around us. 

Keep Your Overhead Low

Lynda Barry once said "The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.” (h/t Austin Kleon) However, this doesn't just mean financial overhead. There are other kinds of overhead that we accumulate that can suffocate our abilty to do the creative work we're capable of. On this episode, we share three areas where we can accumulate overhead and a few challenges for streamlining and similifying. 

Don’t Fall Prey To The Tyranny Of The Adequate

What’s the greatest barrier to brilliant work? Is it fear? Lack of time or resources? Confusion? All of these contribute to one degree or another. I’ve written a ton about each of them, (including a full chapter in The Accidental Creative.) However, there’s one word that I think better stands as the bastion of mediocrity in many workplaces: adequacy. On this episode we discuss a few causes of the normalization of adequacy in the workplace and how to counter them.

How To Measure and Monitor Creative Work

Effective creative leaders maintain both a scoreboard and a dashboard for their work. These tools help them track important aspects of their team’s progress, health, and culture. On this episode, we share how to establish both a scoreboard and a dashboard to help you guide yourself and your team toward brilliant work. 

Avoid The Blame Game

A culture of blame can erode trust and cause creative teams to do sub-par work. It can easily infiltrate your organization and client interactions and begin to eat away at your ability to produce great work. On this episode we share four signs that a culture of blame is beginning to affect you and your team, and some practical things you can do to prevent it. 

The Road Back To You (with Ian Morgan Cron)

Self-awareness is a valuable asset if you want to lead well, create effectively, and live a good life. However, many people move through life reactively without a clear framework for how they're wired and what truly drives them. On this episode, Ian Morgan Cron shares insights from his book The Road Back To You, gives an overview of how the Enneagram framework can help you identify what drives you, and offers tips for applying that self-knowledge to life and work. 

How To Have The Right Idea at the Right Time (with Allen Gannett)

If you solve problems for a living (which most of us do), then ideas are critical to your effectiveness. But how do you increase the odds that you'll have the right idea just when you need it? On this episode, Allen Gannet will help us better understand the dynamics of creating under pressure with insights from his new book The Creative Curve.

How Expectation Escalation Keeps You In Your Comfort Zone

Are you comparing your in-process work with the absolute best thing ever created in your industry? How about this one... have you ever had a manager express disappointment that you only over-delivered a little instead of a lot? If so, you might be experiencing something called Expectation Escalation, and it is probably preventing you from taking risks, experimenting, and iterating your way toward brilliance. On this episode, we discuss how it affects you and what to do about it.