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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Wisdom At Work (with Chip Conley)

There are many stages we go through in our career, from novice to being the senior and most experienced person on the team. How we think about our role as we transition through these stages plays a large part in the quality of the body of work that we build. On today's episode, Chip Conley, a strategic advisor at Airbnb, shares insights into the making of a modern elder from his new book Wisdom At Work. 

Predicting The Turn (with Dave Knox)

How do you know which idea is the right one to execute? And, how do you avoid some of the pitfalls that all people who try to execute an idea inevitably encounter? On this episode, Dave Knox (author of Predicting The Turn) shares insights from his experience working as a brand manager, a leader, and an investor and mentor to startups. 

Design Your Business To Run Itself (with Mike Michalowicz)

Many freelancers and business owners get pulled so deeply into their business that they are unable to spend their time doing the things they are actually uniquely capable of doing. Instead of focusing on the value they're creating, the art they're making, or the vision for their business, they find themselves instead doing things that anyone could do. On this episode, Mike Michalowicz shares principles for setting your business up to run itself with insights from his new book Clockwork. 

Inside Apple’s Creative Process (with Ken Kocienda)

Over a period of fifteen years, Ken Kocienda had a front-row seat to the development of some of the most innovative technology in history. As a team member, he was responsible for helping develop the software on the iPhone, including being personally responsible for the development of the iPhone keyboard and autocorrect features. In this interview, he shares insights into how Apple's creative process works, what it was like to pitch and demo to Steve Jobs, and how we can all learn from Apple's successes and apply some of their methods to our own life and work.

Staying Out Of The “Danger Zone”

We each have danger zones we have to watch out for in the course of our work. They can be particular habits or patterns we fall into when we go into “coast mode” or areas or situations where we are likely to get irritated and short-circuit collaborative relationships. On this episode, we share about the importance of avoiding the temptation to hide in the shadows, and a few strategies for bringing yourself fully and freely to the work you do. 

Get Rid Of Ghost Rules

Do you ever find yourself doing things for inexplicable reasons, or making decisions in your work that you can't really explain? It's possible that you're living with "ghost rules". These are invisible narratives that limit your thinking and creating, and can - over time - cause you to underperform. On this episode, we share a few sources of ghost rules (from the book Herding Tigers), and how to begin to overcome them.

How To Choose The Best Idea

We've all been there. You have ten great ideas on the whiteboard, and you have to make a decision today about which you're going to work on. How do you know which one is best? It helps to have a framework for making these decisions. On this episode, I share a simple framework for choosing the best idea, and for making those "from the gut" conversations about creative direction a little less stressful.

Eliminate Unnecessary Complexity

Things rarely get more simple. They typically only get more complex. This applies to our creative process as well, and unnecessary complexity can have a terrible effect on our ability to gain mental traction. On this episode, we share three ways unnecessary complexity can creep into your process and how to begin to identify and overcome them. 

Dropping Insecurity Work

I first heard the phrase "insecurity work" from Scott Belsky a number of years ago. He defines it as work that has no intended outcome, doesn't move the ball forward, and is quick enough to do without realizing. It's most common to slip into insecurity work when you feel overwhelmed or perhaps even unequal to the creative task at hand, and it gives you the illusion of progress but actually robs valuable resources necessary to produce value. On this episode, I share three sources of insecurity work and how to recognize and address them. 

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.