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.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts · Email

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. 

How Fear Paralyzes Your Creativity

There's a hidden dynamic that inhibits your ability to connect dots and do brilliant work. Unfortunately, it's also misunderstood. Fear can erode your ability to think creatively and to take necessary risks, but not all fear is something to be shunned. Sometimes fear can help us stay alert and make decisions. It can be a signal that you have a healthy respect for your environment and its potential dangers. On this episode, I talk about the two kinds of fear and how to begin to dismantle them and produce your best work. 

The One Thing (with Geoff Woods)

If your organization is like most others, expectations are rising and resources are probably dwindling. We're trying to cram more activity into our days, but often feel like we're only falling further behind. On this episode, Geoff Woods is here with practical advice for making sure the most important things get done each day and that you don't go through your days in reactive mode. Geoff is the host of The One Thing Podcast, which is based on the best-selling book The One Thing. 

How Dissonance Steals Your Creative Edge

Have you ever had a sense that things just aren't adding up? Your brain is sending a signal that there's a gap between what you're doing and why you think you're doing it. That's a dynamic I call dissonance, and it can quickly rob you of your ability to engage fully and freely in your creative work. On this episode, we dive into a few of its sources and how they affect you.

Off The Clock (with Laura Vanderkam)

Annie Dillard once wrote "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing." However, many of us struggle to find a good balance with our time. We always feel like we're running behind, and that we lay our head down each night a bit behind where we awoke that morning. On this episode, time expert Laura Vanderkam is here to help us understand how people with a healthy perspective on time allocate their hours effectively. Her new book is called Off The Clock.

Exactly What To Say (with Phil M. Jones)

Have you ever been in a big client pitch, a challenging company meeting, or a conversation with a peer and been at a loss for the right words? What do you say in those difficult situations to improve your odds of success? This episode features Phil M. Jones, the author of Exactly What To Say. He will help us understand the words that will help you achieve your goals, influence others, and connect more deeply with your peers and clients.

Why Empathy Is Essential (with Michael Ventura)

Every so often, a word becomes so common in the marketplace that it begins to lose its meaning. I believe that empathy is one of those words. On this episode, SubRosa CEO Michael Ventura shares insights into how to leverage empathy to thrill and delight your clients and customers and creative change in the world. Michael's new book is called Applied Empathy.

Choose Wonder Over Worry (with Amber Rae)

How much time do you spend worrying every day? For many of us, the answer is "too much". When you worry, you disengage parts of your mind and perspective that are necessary for creative brilliance. On this episode, Amber Rae shares how to identify those voices of worry in your head, and how to instead choose to focus on possibility. Her new book is called Choose Wonder Over Worry.