Godin Giveaway Results: Best Original Sethisms!

Gilliomisms

icarusdeception_002_prefinal

 

linchpin_006_prefinal

tribes_002_prefinal

thedip_003_prefinal

The above artwork represent the winning entry to the Seth Godin book giveaway in which I asked people to spread Sethisms.

Illustrator Gilliom Werner Claessens decided to reinterpret some of the covers of Seth Godin’s best known books, including The Icarus Deception itself. I love these, in particular because each image is a great representation of the concepts (or ideaviruses) each book is based around.

Also, it was in many ways well above and beyond the challenge I set.

So congrats Gilliom! I’ll be sending you the signed copy of V is for Vulnerable plus a hardback copy of The Icarus Deception.

You can find Gilliom on Google Plus, where he’ll be posting 2 more of these over the next couple of days!

Paulisms

Paul Forrester deserves bonus points for the speed in which he responded to the challenge with his own Sethism:

Metaphorically Speaking by Paul Forrester

“In art, as in life, there is endless capacity for metaphors that describe the same thing. Endless capacity to present one piece of advice so it appeals to as many people as possible. If you’re lucky, you’ve found the metaphor that communicates to you. If you’re really lucky, you can experiment and work out your own metaphor.

Be the wily velociraptor from Jurassic Park.

Be the relentless rolling stone from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In short, be the metaphor that is most simile to the way you create. Then write it down and pass it on.”

You can find out more about how Paul came up with his Sethism over at his blog, Fruitless Work. Thankfully, this bit of work wasn’t fruitless Paul, as I’ll be popping a copy of The Icarus Deception in the post for you also!

Elaineisms

Elaine‘s Sethism was passionate and to the point (lively language warning):

Mine is (after having an angsy year of it): “After months of wondering about how to square the circle; how to fit in – you know what? Fuck that” also “ENOUGH with the fucking navel gazing.”

I asked her to elaborate somewhat and she left another comment which explained further.

2012 summed up for me right there. I had a giant wobble last year tbh Milo – for some reason I was trying to fit in – in a situation that just WASN’T a good fit for me – goodness know why I felt I ‘needed’ validation …. this year I’m back to walking to the beat of my own drum. I achieved so much I was proud of in 2011 and then 2012 was a giant fart of a year in comparison. If nothing else it proved to me that I can do what I’m aiming for. Maybe in small steps and feeling a bit lonely while I do it – but I’ll get there – huzzah! – hence – enough of the navel gazing lol :)

Also – I have put money in the swearbox – I curse like a navvy sometimes.

I’m sure a lot of people can relate. I hope you won’t be swearing when the book arrives Elaine!

Margaretisms

And finally there was this tweet from Margaret Pinard, which was just original enough to win her a book!

Special mentions have to go to the following for sharing Sethisms and thanks to everyone else who tweeted or linked from their blog or liked or commented on Facebook:

And last but not least, Vishnu himself, who did a brilliant job of sharing Sethisms, but insisted that he didn’t want to win the book.

Hope you enjoyed these original Sethisms! If you’d like to find out more about The Icarus Deception, check out my review.

Want to share your art? Visit flyclosertothesun.com

the.icarus.deception

Are You Flying Too Low? Review of The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

the.icarus.deceptionEarlier this week I described how Seth Godin used Kickstarter and his army of fans to fund The Icarus Deception.

Now, finally, it’s time to hear about what’s inside the book itself.

And when Godin asks “are you flying too low” he’s not talking about whether you’ve zipped up your jeans or not.

Taking the Myth

The Icarus Deception centres around the myth of Icarus, who ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun, resulting in over-heating problems with his home-made wings and a fatal dip in the sea.

The Icarus myth is often used as an example of when hubris or over-confidence can go badly wrong.

However Godin points out that there is another part of the story – Icarus’s father Daedalus also told his son not to fly too low as the water could also damage his wings.

According to Godin;

“Society has altered the myth, encouraging us to forget the part about the sea, and created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.”

However, as Seth says, settling for too little is “a far more common failing”.

Fly Closer to the Sun

The crux of the book is this; We all have the potential to be artists and to do great work. However to do so, we need to leave our comfort zones – to fly closer to the sun. What this requires of us is to have the hubris to take bigger risks and create new things. this requires facing up to the pain involved in the creative process, and being open to possible failure and criticism.

The  beautifully produced video below is a great summary of what the book is all about (and inspiring in its own right):

God is a DJ (but not exclusively)

Godin challenges us to consider ourselves on a par with the gods of ancient myth in terms of our creative potential.

He believes we can each take on a godlike quality (please note the small ‘g’) by becoming shamelessly confident. To do this, we must refuse to accept the shame that others bestow onto us for having the audacity to believe in ourselves and our art, and the willingness to be vulnerable enough to share it with the world:

“While someone can attempt to shame you, shame must also be accepted to be effective”.

This is clearly inspired by the message Brene Brown shares in her book Daring Greatly.

Crystallising Existing Concepts About Creativity

Indeed, the book could be seen as the distillation of all of Godin’s previous work as well as a raft of recent literature such as Brown’s book, into a powerful manifesto on the urgent need to be more creative.

Godin also echoes Dan Pink’s 2005 book A Whole New Mind, which argued that creative people were going to be the cornerstones of the new economy as their skills would be most in demand.

Godin believes that, as Pink predicted, we are currently in the midst of the ‘Connection Economy’, which demands we become artists and share more of ourselves with the world in order to succeed.

He also refers to Steven Pressfield’s War of Art and his concept of resistance as something we must battle each day in order to create. For Godin, the resistance is something to be embraced, because if you feel that sense of fear, uncertainty and pain when you come to make art, then you’re probably on the right track.

Getting to the Crux

A few people have commented that The Icarus Deception doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Godin even concedes in the acknowledgements that he has already tried out some of the ideas in the book on his blog – Indeed, it’s written in the same style – short, snappy segments which deal with one small element of the overall argument at a time.

It seems to me that Godin uses his blog and books as a way of digging down to the crux of how the digital revolution has changed both the economy and our lives. Each post, each short section of a book, each Sethism, is Godin’s method of chipping away at an underlying truth, in the same way that a sculptor brings to life a figure from a block of marble.

The Icarus Deception is a compelling and persuasive read that has really motivated me to create more and embrace the pain involved in creating new things as a necessary and integral part of the process.

And because it contains the most up-to-date distillation of Godin’s philosophy about creativity and the digital/connected world we live in, it’s a great book for both those unfamiliar with his previous work and those who have enjoyed following along as his outlook has evolved.

Buy on Amazon.co.uk| Amazon.com (affiliate links). Read We Are All Artists Now (a free summary of the book)

Win by Creating!

I’ve got four copies of The Icarus Deception to give away and one signed copy of the accompanying picture book, V is for Vulnerable, illustrated by Hugh MacLeod. To win you simply need to help me spread Sethisms.

The more you spread, and the closer you follow the competition guidelines, the more likely you are to win! More details here.

Please note that the closing date has been extended until midnight on Monday 21st January.

Don’t Be Another HMV – Wake Up to What Your Business Needs – NOW

Vintage-Advertising-His-masters-Voice-10705HMV*, the UK’s biggest high street retailer of entertainment products – music, games, electronics (more recently) and DVDs, has gone into administration as of yesterday, meaning 4500 jobs are at risk.

As a former employee (I graduated to the giddy heights of ‘chart buyer’) I feel truly gutted for the staff, and hope that the company are able to survive.**

People are blaming Amazon, Play.com, Spotify, Netflix, the major supermarkets (who sell the most mainstream entertainment products at a loss to tempt people into their stores), and of course illegal downloading.

But perhaps HMV themselves are to blame.

Philip Beeching worked on HMV’s advertising account and he shares a damning account of how he tried to tell them about the triple threat of “online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader product” (thanks to my pal Baxter for sharing).

He says in the article that

“Throughout the late 90’s and right up until today HMV’s single biggest mistake has been a lack of investment in their online offering.”

This is backed up with a quote from the founders of online store Play.com who waited for HMV to come after them – but were surprised when it never happened. It also chimes with my own opinion and many others online.

The same thing has happened with many people as the digital revolution has taken hold, including most of the newspaper industry who thought they were selling papers when really they were selling news (and therefore the medium is less important than the content).

Some people however have seen the writing on the wall early enough to adapt, including Beeching’s own creative agency who saw digital coming and adapted in good time.

Appropriately enough, given my current #Sethisms theme on this blog, Seth Godin has a very apt quote about this:

“Our preconceptions and our fear conspire to make it difficult to see the world as it is.

Buddhists call it prajna – accepting reality as it occurs instead of interpreting it as part of our ongoing narrative.

The trick isn’t coming up with an interpretation of events that allows you to maintain your worldview; it is to accept what happens without stopping to interpret it according to your biases.” #Sethisms

This is something the bosses at HMV clearly failed to do.

Here’s where you need to ask yourself honestly – are you doing something similar with your business right now?

  • Are you aware that you need a strong online presence, which involves clearly communicating why you do what you do?
  • Are you publishing engaging and valuable content consistently in order to drive traffic to your site?
  • Are you taking specific, strategic actions to grow a tribe of people who are interested in what you have to say?
  • Are you aware of how to use the latest social media and multimedia tools to help you do this?

Yes, you probably are aware. So, are you doing it yet? 

How I Can Help

If you’re interested in finding out more I’m going to be volunteering at a series of free social media surgeries beginning this coming Monday at Leith McDonald Road Library. These surgeries are primarily aimed at “local voluntary or community organisations, local charities, clubs or societies who are interested in making the most of the web and social media.” (Download event poster in PDF format.)

I’m also about to hold a number of workshops on how to Pimp Your Online Presence at various events around Scotland.

And, whilst I’m in the process of revamping my freelance copywriting business, I will be available for both consulting and content production from the beginning of February.

Get in touch if you’d like to have a chat about how I can help you.

Don’t be another HMV.

*HMV of course, stands for His Master’s Voice because the company sold gramophones in the early days (that picture of their dog Nipper is pretty iconic. I met Nipper once, when the Edinburgh Princes Street store re-opened. Well, it wasn’t the original Nipper, it was probably the 10th reincarnation. Meatloaf also made an appearance at the opening, as did his biggest fan, Pete Loaf).

**I also feel for the staff of Fopp, which was a great indie record store which HMV bought out to save it from going under a few years back. I’d hate to see Fopp disappear altogether, especially because they used to sell my band Swivel Chair’s CDs back in the day.

How Seth Godin Leveraged His True Fans to Publish his Latest Book

IMG_5926The Icarus Deception is as interesting for how it came to be published as it is for the content of the book itself.

Seth Godin wanted to use Kickstarter to demonstrate the potential of a hybrid method between the slow and stagnant traditional publishing model and the immediacy but intangibility of digital publishing.

He made a deal with his publishers that if he could raise $40,000 from his tribe to fund 3 new books (The Icarus Deception, V is for Vulnerable and The Behemoth), they would also be willing to invest their resources into publishing and promoting the books to a wider audience.

The Kickstarter project for The Icarus Deception went on to raise a little more than the intended $40,000 - $287,342 to be exact. That amount was contributed by 4,242 backers, so each contributed way more than the cost of a single book ($67.73 each on average). I think it’s fair to say that most of those backers (including myself) could be described as ‘true fans’ of Godin’s work.

From the outset, Godin explained that Kickstarter is the way to leverage your tribe of fans/true fans – not to build that tribe. Godin already had the fans, thanks to the impressive body of work he has built using his blog, his previous books, and his other projects. Just like Amanda Palmer already had a tribe to leverage when she raised $1,192,793 to fund her latest album, art book and live tour.

For you and I, Kickstarter is unlikely to produce such massive results – but that’s not to say that with the right idea, a small and supportive tribe, the right rewards and price points for backers, and some good old fashioned hustling, we couldn’t achieve success. A couple of my WDS pals have done just that. Nathan Agin, who I interviewed recently, raised over $10,000 to create his new TV show about travel and healthy eating, and singer-songwriter Kim Jennings raised almost $4,000 for her new record.

My full review of The Icarus Deception is coming next. You can still enter the competition to win a copy (deadline has been extended until midnight on Monday 21st January).

IMG_5892

Some of the best Ideaviruses Unleashed by Seth Godin

IMG_5892Much in the same way that the internet as a whole both reflects and feeds our collective consciousness, Seth Godin has a knack for both synthesising the digital zeitgeist and influencing it directly.

Godin has used many of his bestselling books to coin and spread a specific (high) concept. Those concepts have often gone on to be rapidly adopted into common parlance amongst his many supporters.

In addition, all of Godin’s ideas complement and build on each other like pieces of a jigsaw.

In the book Unleashing the Ideavirus, which was released as a free download in 2000 and is still available for free here, Godin says:

“An idea that just sits there is worthless. But an idea that moves and grows and infects everyone it touches… that’s an ideavirus.”

He also declares that

“The future belongs to the people who unleash ideaviruses.”

which he defines as

“…a big idea that runs amok across the target audience. It’s a fashionable idea that propagates through a section of the population, teaching and changing and influencing everyone it touches. And in our rapidly/instantly changing world, the art and science of building, launching and profiting from ideaviruses is the next frontier.”

That book itself amassed more than 400,000 downloads in 30 days, which pretty much proved his point in of itself.

Here are a few of the (other) most potent ideaviruses unleashed by Godin.

Permission Marketing

Published in 1999, the purpose of Permission Marketing was to encourage marketers to build what Godin calls ‘a permission asset’ instead of spamming people with ‘interruption marketing'(i.e. traditional forms of advertising like TV and radio and magazines, plus aggressive and annoying tactics online). He says in an updated introduction:

“Anticipated, Personal and Relevant messages delivered to people who want to get them is the core of marketing for the foreseeable future”. #Sethisms

The thinking behind this book is the reason why I, and thousands of other bloggers, businesses and artists only send our newsletters to those people who sign up voluntarily.

But some people are still in the dark about this concept. I still get emails sent to me by people who haven’t asked my permission first, and don’t provide an easy way to subscribe. What can you do? I just sigh, delete the email and think ‘haven’t they read this f**king book yet?”.

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

IMG_5901Purple Cow

This is the big un. The big purple one, to be specific (oo-er missus).

In this book, Godin argues that marketing tactics aren’t enough – you have to have something remarkable to share in the first place.

As he says:

“Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful light, but they’re still boring.

A Purple Cow, though. Now that would be interesting. (For a while.)”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

Tribes

There’s no doubt that the internet has given us a massive opportunity to be part of hitherto nonexistent communities, both online and off, made up of like-minded people across the globe.

In this book, Godin challenges readers to also take up the opportunity to create their own community or tribe, and lead it.

He says:

“There are organisations everywhere now, inside and outside of organisations, in public and in private, in nonprofits, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection. This is an opportunity for you – an opportunity to find or assemble a tribe and lead it. The question isn’t, Is it possible for me to do that? Now, the question is, Will I choose to do it?”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

The Dip

The Dip is probably my favourite Seth Godin book. It deals with the thorny issue of giving up – and it’s not as clear cut as those inspirational quotes you see all too frequently on Facebook and Pinterest would have you believe.

Sometimes, in fact, the best thing to do is to give up, especially if you realise that you are ‘flogging a dead horse’. Occasionally though, you need to keep going through the tough times that are inevitable with any worthwhile goal, in order to get through to the other side.

The trick, Godin explains, is knowing when to quit and when to persevere.

“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new. In both cases, it’s about being the best in the world. About getting through the hard stuff and coming out on the other side.”

You won’t find any concrete guidance for your own situation in this very short book, but it will help you to consider whether what you are currently doing is a good use of your time or not.

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

IMG_5898

Linchpin

Linchpin is the Godin book that’s perhaps most relevant to the Mad Genius Career Masterplan. The book’s intro even begins with the sub-heading:

“You are a genius.”

and goes on to say that

“The tragedy is that society (your school, your boss, your government, your family) keeps drumming the genius part out. The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability”.

This book, he says, is his personal manifesto to encourage individuals to become indispensable at what they do:

“Becoming a linchpin is a step-wise process, a path in which you develop the attributes that make you indispensable. You can train yourself to matter. The first step is the most difficult, the step where you acknowledge that this is a skill, and like all skills, you can (and will) get better at it. Every day, if you focus on the gifts, art, and connections that characterise the linchpin, you’ll become a little more indispensable.”

Buy it on Amazon.co.uk | Buy it on Amazon.com

Stop Stealing Dreams

In another free manifesto (Godin is nothing if not generous with his work), the subject of school and education comes up again. As we saw in the Design Your Own Curriculum Micro-Guide, the current school system has horribly failed creative people. This manifesto seeks to create change by getting both teachers and students to speak up about what’s needed in today’s world.

“If school’s function is to create the workers we need to fuel our economy, we need to change school, because the workers we need have changed as well. The mission used to be to create homogenized, obedient, satisfied workers and pliant, eager consumers.

No longer.”

This is just a small selection from Godin’s body of work and Godin has also founded a number of notable companies and projects including Squidoo.com and The Domino Project. To find out more go to sethgodin.com.

And don’t forget to enter my competition to win a copy of his latest book, The Icarus Deception. I’ve included 11 Sethisms in this article alone to help inspire you!

Please note: links to books are usually Amazon affiliate links. I’m still waiting for my massive cheque from those buggers. I’m betting your local library will have the books too.

For Godin’s Sake, Be More Ridiculous and Rampantly Spread Sethisms!

Artwork by Hugh MacLeod

Artwork by Hugh MacLeod

In his new, Kickstarter-funded book The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin says that:

“The hard part of bringing art to your tribe, your culture, or your market is understanding where the line between boring and ridiculous lies.” #sethisms

He elaborates on this argument in a recent blog post entitled ‘Ridiculousness is the new remarkable‘.

“We can view the term ridiculous as an insult from the keeper of normal, a put-down from the person who seeks to maintain the status quo and avoid even the contemplation of failure.

Or we embrace ridiculous as the sign that maybe, just maybe, we’re being generous, daring, creative and silly. You know, remarkable.” #sethisms

Indeed, the behemoth book that Kickstarter funders including myself, were sent, is so ludicrously large, I also couldn’t resist filming myself unboxing it. Despite the fact other people had already filmed themselves unboxing it, or taken photos of their baby asleep on top of it. It’s the same height as my TV for Godin’s sake!

The Prizes Inside!

In today’s wee video, you’ll also see the prizes I have for you this week – four copies of The Icarus Deception and one signed copy, of the picture book for grown-ups – V is for Vulnerable.

Now, here is your challenge:

To Rampantly Spread Sethisms.

Take a photo, draw a doodle or write a blog post or carefully crafted comment inspired by one of the Sethisms I post throughout the week or any concept which you find particularly inspiring from Seth’s blog.

You could even write your own Pseudo-Sethism, as long as it’s in the spirit of his writings and adds something to the conversation.

In the spirit of Seth’s writing, keep whatever you do short, sweet and snappy. Don’t think about it too much, just do whatever comes to mind. Ship!

Make sure you link back to this post and/or leave a link to your contribution in the comments, and share your Sethisms on social media to help spread the word.

The four winner’s posts/ideas/art/Sethisms will be featured here on Sunday 20th January with one lucky person winning both The Icarus Deception and the signed copy of V is for Vulnerable (hint: extra points will be given for ridiculousness).

Objects of Affection: Seth Godin’s Behemoth

IMG_5717

As part of this week’s Seth Godin Spectacular, here’s the latest in this strange little series of videos celebrating the physical in a digital world, which I’m calling ‘Objects of Affection’.

This time it’s Seth Godin’s ridiculously big Behemoth of a book, which is called This Might Work or This Might Not Work, depending which way you look at it. It certainly didn’t work when I tried to use it as reading material on the toilet, that’s for sure.

You can’t buy this book in the shops as it was only for Kickstarter funders, however a slightly smaller version is available, called Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck & Other Provocations (Amazon UK/Amazon US affiliate links)

And yes, I know someone has already filmed an unboxing of it. I posted it a while back. But it’s so bloody big, I couldn’t resist filming my own!

Here’s today’s Sethism, from his new book The Icarus Deception. and I’ll be announcing how to win yourself a copy tomorrow!

“Your art at first will be timid. It might not be based on a truly clear awareness of the world, because the lizard brain will cloud your sight in order to protect itself.

But day by day, project by project, you can train yourself to ship. Ship small art. Ship medium art. Then ship world-changing, scary, change-your-underwear art.” #Sethisms

Previous Objects of Affection:

Elsewhere

The Istanbul Review

Seth Godin Spectacular!

seth-godin

This coming week on Clear-Minded Creative will be a Seth Godin spectacular, to mark the release of 3 new books by the influential blogger and bestselling author: The Icarus Deception, V is for Vulnerable (with cartoonist Hugh MacLeod) and Watcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

I’ve got 4 copies of The Icarus Deception to give away, and one person will also get a special copy of V is for Vulnerable signed by Seth himself. But you’ve got to be in it to win it, so to find out how to enter you’ll need to stay tuned. You can subscribe to the newsletter (make sure you tick the ‘every post’ option), like the Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter.

I’ll also be sharing carefully-crafted and inspiring quotes each day, or ‘Sethisms’ which have become Godin’s trademark. I’ll leave you with an excellent ‘Sethism’ from the Icarus Deception:

“The door to art and connection is open, but we have no idea for how long.

Every day on the other side of the door is better than a day on this side.

Every moment that we wait, biding our time, waiting for the perfect opportunity, is a moment wasted, and worse, a door that closes, possibly not to open again for a long time to come.”

p.s. I’ve updated the Clear-Minded Creative About Page with a new Mission Statement on why creative people should ignore doubters and critics, which was in no small part inspired by Seth Godin’s work.

Something To Link About – Good Intentions Edition

Polatross Calendar 2013 by Blythe Robertson

Polatross Calendar 2013 by Blythe Robertson

What have people been talking about this week? The vast expanse of a brand new year, of course.

The Onset of Annual Review Syndrome

Chris Guillebeau has written about his annual review process now for a number of years, but this was a more vulnerable post than usual, as he is coming towards the end of his goal to travel to every country in the world, and has been feeling “sad recently for reasons I don’t understand”. The final country he is visiting will be Norway in April and I’ll be joining him in celebrating his achievement at a party in Oslo.

Other annual reviews I enjoyed included ones by Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike, Jonathan Mead of Paid to Exist, and Lis of Last Year’s Girl.

Don’t Mention the R-word – Goals, Habits and Good Intentions

New Year’s Resolutions are soooo 2012. I shared some New Year “What Ifs” – read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Michael Nobbs has decided to delay the New Year and make January a month of reflection and planning.

Fabian Kruse, meanwhile has declared 2013 a year of writing.

James Clear writes about the power of small wins and identity-based habits.

Dan James writes eloquently on A Big Creative Yes about the benefits of a daily practice in his post Permission, Practice and Coming Out of Hiding.

Dave Ursillo urges you to create more bad art.

Vishnu, a spiritual guru who is after the jobs of both Chopra and Oprah, spoke to life coach Susan Fox about setting goals.

Kim Manley Ort is planning a year of contemplation by studying the poetry of Rilke.

Mary hopes to spread some postal joy in 2013.

Blogging, Digital Marketing and Social Media

Fellow copywriter Andrew Nattan raises some burning blogging issues for 2013.

Daily Beast/The Dish blogger Andrew Sullivan raised $333,000 in one day to support his move to running a completely independent blog.

Dave Charest shares a great library of small business marketing tips over at Constant Contact.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation shared their review of 2012 and digital rights activism across the globe.

Wired UK did a feature on Scott Harrison from Charity: Water who has used digital campaigning to great effect.

And finally, William Shatner uses personal communicator to transmit message to space.

Have you read anything good this week? You can post a link in the comments.

Have a great weekend! 

The Ditch the Day Job Diaries: World Domination Special

And after yesterday’s epic round-up post, you’ll be glad to know this is definitely my final post about the World Domination Summit 2012!

While I was in Portland I filmed some (rather shaky) footage and decided to edit it together for a kind of ‘bonus’ episode of The Ditch The Day Job Diaries. Whilst there isn’t any info about freelancing in the video, the trip is an important part of the story because it contributes to some of the decisions I’ve made that will be explored more in Season 2.

As well as clips from the PuttyTribe karaoke night, the Portland Blues festival, and the WDS opening and closing parties, the video also includes cameo appearances from four WDS friends:

Hung Pham, a Career Consultant turned Travel Photographer whose work can be found at www.HungOnTheWorld.com. Hung is currently on a 6 months trip to China, Vietnam, SE Asia, Australia, & New Zealand. I spent quite a bit of time with Hung in Portland and found him wise, hilarious, and extremely generous. Hung was also one of the attendees invited to speak on stage at WDS.

Melissa Dinwiddie, multipassionate artist, teacher and songwriter, who treated me to an impromptu ukelele gig/lesson in the park!  It was so lovely to meet Melissa “in real life” after knowing her for ages online and admiring everything she does to help creative people succeed. We had a great conversation about creativity and life in general (read my interview with Melissa here).

Dr Elise Bialylew, a trainee Psychiatrist and meditation teacher who writes at Curiously Creating and founded Mindful in May, an online, global meditation challenge. In May 2012 there were nearly 900 people meditating from 12 countries, that raised $26,000 for Charity Water. Pretty amazing eh? Elise is such a joy to be around, being extremely insightful, funny and a real force of nature, so I was delighted to be able to spend time with her despite the fact she never seemed to stay still for long!

Jason Digges, a professional video producer, musician, filmmaker, writer, photographer, philosopher, and entrepreneur. Jason writes at Practical Art. I met Jason right at the end of my trip and really enjoyed our conversations, and hearing his deeply spiritual perspective on things, as well as the four-person bike ride we enjoyed around the river with Hung and Elise! As a long-time creative freelancer, Jason also has a lot of experience and wisdom to share.

Finally, as we weren’t allowed to film during the event itself, here is the ever so slightly more slick official recap of the event, which is a bittersweet reminder just how far the gap is between my current video production skills, and what I would like to be able to achieve!

New Year “What Ifs” Part 3 – The World Domination Edition

The “What Ifs” I’m asking you to consider in this third and final part of the series were mostly inspired by my trip to Portland for the 2012 World Domination Summit (aka WDS2012), which was definitely up there as one of the most life-changing events of 2012 for me.

Whilst I went there expecting to maybe get a few tips about running a freelance business, I got something entirely unexpected instead; a whole new way of looking at the world.

What if.. “no-one else belongs here more than you”?

Portland Firefighters

That was one of my favourite quotes from Brene Brown’s talk at WDS2012 in Portland, Oregon.

It’s a good reminder that you are just as worthy as anyone on this planet, or in any particular, unfamiliar, out-of-your-comfort-zone place you should find yourself. It was such a welcoming, empowering message to hear when I was away in a strange city on my own for the first time in years.

Ultimately though, and mostly because of the people I met there, Portland felt like a home from home.

Not only was it gloriously sunny the entire time I was there, not only did I get to enjoy healthy food, karaoke, the 4th of July celebrations with new friends, a blues festival, and bonding with beautiful people in the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, but I also got to explore the city. I particularly loved Powell’s Bookstore which is so big you need a map (or smartphone app) to get around it, and which has a cafe that’s open until 11pm and sells liquorice tea (my favourite).

Here are some of the photos I took during my time there:

Portland/WDS pics on Flickr: Part One Part Two Part Three

And please also check out the stunning photos from my WDS friend ‘Olasis’ who is one of several very talented photographers I met there.

Another favourite of the WDS community is Gregory Berg’s Radio Enso. He’s interviewed quite a few of the speakers at WDS as well as many other interesting folk and it’s well worth a listen.

What if.. someone told you they believe in you?

Chris Guillebeau gave everyone at WDS2012 $100 to invest how we saw fit. It felt like an extremely generous and meaningful gift but one which came with a fair amount of responsibility. In my case, I couldn’t decide on one thing, so I ended up investing in quite a few different things, including myself!

It’s hard to explain what this gift meant.. a lot of people said that they felt that the real gift was that they got the message that someone believed in them.

Here are a couple of great projects started by other WDS attendees using their $100:

Natalie Sisson’s $100 Change e-course

Dave Ursillo’s The Literati writer’s group

What if.. you told someone you believed in them?

If it wasn’t for the support of my primary school teacher Mrs Bliss, I might never have believed in myself as a writer. I might never have come back to it after a long hiatus during college.

Not enough creative people get this kind of support, and frankly, we deserve better. I now see it as part of my mission in life to support creative people in their endeavours at the same time that I work towards becoming a creative professional myself.

I’ve done it in the past through writing for local magazines about music, film and books, and of course more recently through this blog. I also buy records from local musicians when I can, and support people online who are doing good things.

Kickstarter and other fundraising sites are a great way to support other people’s creative endeavours, and I helped to fund quite a few projects this year from people I admire. 2012 was also the year that Kickstarter finally allowed people from the UK to get involved.

One project I was keen to support with my $100 was this one which Chris Guillebeau tweeted about which aims to create portable solar power:

%CODE13%

What if.. you believed in yourself?

But I also invested $100 in myself and booked a session with confidence coach Steve Errey, who I met on one of my last days in Portland. After speaking to him for an hour I had the insight that I not only had a lot to compassion to offer other people, but that I also needed to treat myself with some. This has made a big difference already in my approach to how I treat myself on a daily basis and the way in which I’m going forward.

What if… you used your knowledge or skills to help others?

After I got back from Portland I volunteered at a couple of social media workshops organised by the North Edinburgh News, and also helped the organisers film a couple of videos to promote the sessions. This was really rewarding, especially when I was able to help people to publish their first blog post or understand how to make simple videos for the web. Was it entirely unselfish of me? No – because one of the side effects was that it also helped me boost my own confidence – plus it was really good fun. So much so, that I’ve now volunteered to help out at the Edinburgh Social Media Surgeries which return later this month.

What if.. you honoured your heart’s desires instead of chasing meaningless goals?

Desire12

I attended a talk by Danielle La Porte at WDS2012 which was very inspiring. I was very impressed by her calm but confident poise and the intensity with which she shared her wisdom and experience.

Although her book The Firestarter Sessions had just come out, at the time she hinted that she had a new project in the works, which turned out to be the book and multimedia extravaganza that is The Desire Map. She suggests that we set goals without fully understanding why – in fact, what we are seeking is how those goals will make us feel, rather than the goal itself.

In a recent video, Danielle says “your feelings are like road signs – they always point back to your soul”.

Get the Desire Map here (this is an affiliate link which means you will be supporting the Clear-Minded Creative if you make a purchase).

What if.. it’s ok to be the quiet one?

One of the best books I read last year was Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts (yes, she also talked at WDS, in conversation with Jonathan Fields). Now that I’m a teetotaller (temporarily, at least), I’ve realised that drinking has long been a way for me to become more extroverted and dealing with big social occasions, although it could be said it often took me too far the other way!

Being sober, I’m coming to terms more and more with being an introvert – someone who needs alone time to recharge – instead of feeling bad, or conflicted about it. Of course the book explores the concept much more deeply, and is well worth reading for both introverts and extroverts. It ultimately made me feel much more accepting of my natural inclination to be “the quiet one” and to see that the world needs introverts (who tend to be more creative) and extroverts equally.

You can find out more about the book by watching Susan’s TED Talk below:

Phew. I think that’s enough “what ifs” for one week. I hope these have provoked a few new possibilities for you. Do you have any suggestions to add, life-changing experiences, or thought-provoking books to recommend? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

New Year “What Ifs” Part 2

IMG_5401

This is the second post in a three part series where I suggest various “what ifs” for the new year instead of typical advice about making resolutions.

Read Part 1

Part 2 contains some bigger, more challenging ideas about what you could possibly do during 2013 – and it just so happens that the first three are things which I did during 2012, so this is partly an annual review for me also.

What if.. you ditched the day job?

I’ve now been self-employed for 11 months. Honestly, I still feel a bit like I’m driving on a unfamiliar country road at night with only headlights to show the way (an analogy I read recently but can’t remember where!), but I do feel like I’m getting gradually closer to my goal of getting paid to do meaningful work that I’m passionate about.

I’m so grateful that I received enough redundancy/severance pay to keep me going whilst I tried out various ways of making cash as a freelancer. I’m not sure I would have lasted this long otherwise.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, please be prepared, be ready and don’t expect it to be easy. Was it worth it? Yes. But don’t expect miracles in the first year unless you have a very good client base and business plan. Allow time for emotional and physical recovery, especially if you’ve had a tough time of it at your job or been unhappy in your work for several years. And allow time for celebration and enjoyment too!

Below is a summary of Season 1 of the Ditch the Day Job Diaries, in case you missed it. To access all 14 episodes, you can subscribe to the newsletter.

What if.. you gave up drinking?

As regular readers will know, I gave up drinking on 1st October 2012 in order to raise money for Charity:Water and to experience a ‘Year of Clarity’. I was delighted to raise more than double my original target thanks to some extremely generous friends, family and readers of this blog. A massive thank you again if you were one of the people who contributed!

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a drink, getting drunk is great fun, but for me it was beginning to have more downsides than upsides, and I wanted to see how things would be without it.

It’s now been 3 months, and whilst my social life has been pretty quiet because I’ve felt less inclined to go out,  I’m enjoying the novelty of being sober. I won’t pretend I feel great every day, but it has meant I’ve done more exercise and been a little more organised (though I still have a long way to go!). New Year’s Eve was the only time I’ve really missed having a wee drink.

What if.. you took up meditation?

I’ve now done 48 days of meditation using the Headspace programme and I’m really seeing the benefits in terms of how much more ‘clear-minded’ and generally better it makes me feel – I highly recommend it. This is something I don’t think I could have done if I was still drinking regularly.

What if.. you gave yourself until February to put your New Year’s goals into action?

December is a busy month, and the New Year can creep up on us, meaning we barely have time to catch a breath before the 1st of January, never mind deciding how we’re going to live for the next 12 months. During this podcast I recorded with Fabian Kruse of the Friendly Anarchist, he suggests waiting until the beginning of February before even trying to start a new schedule.

%CODE12%

That suits me this year especially, because I left my job at the beginning of February 2012, so my first year of freelancing isn’t strictly over for another month. That buys me some time to catch up.

Our mutual friend Michael Nobbs over at Sustainably Creative has also decided to take this approach, and is inviting people to join him in ‘a month of reflection and planning’ during January.

Giving yourself some space and time for planning is a great way of taking the pressure off. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, I’d advise you to try it, and I guarantee you will feel a sense of relief at not having to change your entire life all at once!

And you might even find, by taking the pressure off, you actually achieve more of what’s really important.

I’ll be back with the final part of this series tomorrow, in the meantime, I’d love it if you shared your achievements during 2012 in the comments.

What are you most proud of from the last 12 months and do you have any major goals for 2013?