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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Atomic Habits (with James Clear)

On today’s show we have a guest who can help us better understand the habits that form the foundation of our success or failure. His name is James Clear, and he’s just released a book called Atomic Habits, which is about the small changes we can make in our daily life to create big change on the other side. It’s a guidebook to healthier habits in life and work, and our conversation with James is coming up in just a moment.

The Big Idea: Die Empty

This is part two in a series of episodes in which I share the "big idea" from each of my books. This episode covers the big idea from my 2013 book Die Empty, which is about the common places people and teams get stuck and fail to do the work they are capable of doing. 

Talk Triggers (with Jay Baer)

When you think of the restaurant The Cheesecake Factory, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Probably the menu, right? Or how about Doubletree Hotels? The chocolate chip cookie? These are examples of what Jay Baer calls "Talk Triggers", and they are essential in creating effective word of mouth marketing about your product or service.

The Messy Middle (with Scott Belsky)

There is no shortage of advice about how to handle the start of a project, or how to push through and finish one, but what about that grey area in-between? What about the challenges and problems we encounter in the space between? On this episode, Scott Belsky is back to share wisdom from his fantastic new book The Messy Middle that will help you navigate the most challenging pitfalls of any creative endeavor.

Changing The World One Step At a Time (with Scott Harrison)

Scott Harrison is the founder of Charity:Water, and organization dedicated to bringing fresh drinking water to areas of the world in need. On this episode, he shares how he transitioned from in-demand night club promoter to on-mission advocate for those in need, and offers lessons for how each of us can pay attention to the clues in our lives to discern how to create deep impact. Scott's new book is called Thirst.

How A Study Plan Will Forever Change Your Career

A study plan is the most valuable tool you have for keeping yourself inspired. But a study plan takes effort, and measured discipline to implement effectively. You need to ensure that you are spending your time wisely, and that you are thinking about application, not just absorption. Information is useless without application. On this episode, we share a few insights for how to build a healthy study habit.

Discover Your Productive Passion

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going even when you face difficulty and overwhelming odds? For many people, the answer is something other than the tasks or the job. Rather, it's something deeper and more closely knit to their sense of purpose. On this episode, we discuss a few questions you can ask to help you identify your "productive passion". 

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.