Create Work That Lasts with Todd Henry | Chase Jarvis LIVE

– Hey everybody, how’s
it going, I’m Chase. Welcome to another episode of the Chase Jarvis Live Show
here on Creative Live. You guys better be familiar
with this show by now. It’s where I get to sit
down with the world’s top creators, entrepreneurs,
and thought leaders. If it’s your first time with us, welcome. If you’re a returner, you’re
going to love this episode. My guest today is an
author that I have been following for a long time. I first saw his work when he wrote a book called The Accidental Creative. His next one was called Die Empty. You can see where this is going. And today we’re here with
his new book, Mr. Todd Henry. And Herding Tigers,
welcome to the show, bud! (inspiring music) (applause)
– We love you! – Thanks Chase, good to be here. – Super happy, so we
were internet friends. – We were, way back when! Like on the IIRC or something. – Like 2003 or -4, something like that. Yeah, I remember you had a podcast called The Accidental Creative. It was literally the
first creative podcast that I ever saw, which made me say, crap, I gotta do a podcast! And this was in the early 2000’s. – Yeah, it was like 2005 was
when we launched the podcast. It was funny at the
time because I thought, oh, I’m so late to the podcast thing. (both chuckling)
It’s funny. – It’s 2018 and it’s blown up.
– I think I missed the curve. But yeah, there weren’t a lot of podcasts about creativity at the time.
– None. So yours inspired me to do
one and it was a video one. I don’t know if you know this from the video side,
I think the audio ones were always free, but video you had to pay for your bandwidth.
– Right, yeah. – Well my audience was growing quickly and I had a really popular one and I got a $9,800 bill.
(Todd laughs) For a podcast in 2006, actually. – And, done!
– Yeah! Like wow, I need to
bring some sponsors on! Anyway, super good to meet you. This is literally our first time meeting in person, right?
– It is, it is. – We’ve been ships in
the night at a couple of conferences with Chris Guillebeau, we have a lot of mutual friends. I’m super happy to have you here. – Oh, thanks man, I love your work. – Thank you, thank you! We’re all just digging our ditch. We were talking right
before we came on camera about your arc as an author. I gravitated to your work specifically because you were targeting creatives. It’s easy for us to sit here in 2018, the rise of the creator is so obvious, it’s been coming for decades if not years. The internet has changed everything because now we’ve got tools
and access to information and everything is democratized. But you were on this creator tip basically as early as I
remember being targeted. Outside of art schools and all those more traditional things that happened 20 years ago, the new way of thinking about creativity and your own empowerment. What got you into it? – Well it was really out of necessity. I was a create-on-demand professional. I was having to go to work,
having to solve problems, leading a small team of designers and writers and whatnot. And it was really just sort
of a survival mechanism for me to try to figure out, how can I stay healthy, how can
I keep my team healthy, what is it that some of the people who seem to be producing
great work over time, what is it they seem to have in common that makes them different
from everyone else? And so I started doing a
tremendous amount of research. This is early 2000’s.
– We’re just referencing the early 2000’s over and over. (both laugh)
– I pulled out the encyclopedia, opened it up. – Card catalog at a library.
– Hmm, creative. And found some patterns among some of the people who seemed to be really prolific, brilliant, and
healthy, as I tagged it. And started sharing
those things with my team and then this whole new thing called podcasting became a thing. And so I thought, well
hey, maybe there are people out there who might want to have these same conversations, and so I started teaching some of the things I was learning with people out there in podcast land, and the
podcast quickly took off. It’s a funny story because I called it the Accidental Creative. Maybe like you, I put a whole bunch of episodes out and
kind of forgot about it. There wasn’t any strategy,
I was just trying to put something valuable
out there into the world. And I forgot about it
and went back to iTunes like a month later and there was a podcast called The Accidental Creative that was one of the top podcasts on iTunes. I thought, oh no, I stole somebody’s name. I thought I had literally stolen it. And it was my podcast!
(Chase laughs) I didn’t realize there were actually lots of people listening to it. And so from there it grew and gave me more opportunities obviously to connect with create-on-demand professionals out in the marketplace, and now there’s a consultancy and a bunch
of books and all of that. But it all began with this trying to scratch my own itch kind of thing and trying to solve my
own problem which is, how can I stay healthy as a person who has to go to work every day,
who has to solve problems, who has to do it on demand to keep my job? It’s a lot of pressure.
– Yeah, I think that’s fascinating and I want to go right to something you said,
on-demand creator four times. Never heard that before besides from you. So what do you mean by that? Isn’t that part of your job as a creator? What’s the on-demand part,
how are you looking at that? – Well you know, wouldn’t it be great if we just got to go to work every day and be like, hey, whenever
you get this done it’s fine. – Put a beret on and put your feet up. (Todd laughs) – Just be the precious creative that has all the time and resources
and space in the world. But that’s not what we get. If you’re designing, if you’re writing, you have a strategy that
you’re trying to work within, you have a deadline you have to hit, you have a budget typically that you’re trying to work within. Oh and by the way, the brilliant idea has to be here on Wednesday afternoon because we have a client pitch on Friday. That is the very definition
of creating on demand. You’re basically trying
to organize something that doesn’t want to be organized. The creative process doesn’t
want to be organized. There’s no predictability there. It’s not like oh, well if I just do A, B, and C, then I’m going to get a great result on the other side. You know when that brilliant
idea is going to happen. So the only thing that I could figure out that people who seem to
be consistently brilliant, not accounting for talent because obviously some people are
just unbelievably talented. Even talented people, if they don’t have some kind of infrastructure in their life, they’ll eventually wither,
they’ll eventually burn out. – It’s so true. I think people at home who are just getting into or just
discovering their own creativity and then they look at what they think a professional does out there, they think it’s oh my gosh, it is
just like you sit around with the beret and sip coffee at the coffee shop
until a great idea hits. But the reality is that the constraints are actually the things
that drive creativity. – That’s right.
– And sometimes, those constraints can make
you very uncomfortable. – They can, yeah, but they’re necessary. Orson Welles said the
absence of limitations is the enemy of art. And I think that’s very true. I think that we have to
have some kind of boundary within which to create, within which to channel our focus and our energy. And if we don’t have that,
then it’s really difficult to make any kind of progress. So disciplines and rituals and having somebody to set those boundaries for you as a creative can be really helpful. Especially if you’re not good at setting those boundaries for yourself, it can be helpful to have somebody else who helps you channel that
creative energy (mumbles). – Yeah, okay, so those are basically tactics for being successful. So you talked about being
an on-demand creator. You also touched on something that I love which is not broadly talked
about, which is self care. And there is a concept
of the creative genius who goes mad in their twenties and by 28 they find a way to either
kill themself or be killed. It’s like this concept
of the tortured artist is something I’m actively
trying to program against because I think it’s fiction. I think the best stuff happens over an arc of a creative career. And there’s so many folks out there who are trying to go from zero to one and they’re 47 years old and they’re like, I’m going to leave my
job in the cubicle farm and go discover myself. And it’s such a true statement that that is often when
the best work can be done. But we don’t talk about
that in our culture. So talk to me a little bit about wellness and longevity and self care. What’s your concept there?
– I think really, success as a create-on-demand professional needs to be categorized as, am I prolific, meaning am I doing a lot of work, because we have to do that. Is my work brilliant, so am
I actually doing good work? The third piece I think
that has to be taken into consideration is, am I
doing it in a healthy way? Am I doing it in a sustainable way? And I’m sure you know a lot of people as I do, people who think creativity is like water from the spigot. You just turn it on and
hey, this is really easy! And they’re just running, running, running, chasing after whatever it is they’re chasing career-wise,
and then they hit a wall. Eventually they realize,
I’m not a machine. We’re not machines. We’re human beings,
we’re wired for rhythm. And so if we don’t have
some kind of infrastructure then yeah, we may produce
a lot of good work for a short amount of time, but eventually everyone will hit the wall. Either your work will
suffer, either you’ll start cranking out work that’s not quite as creatively intuitive as it once was, either perhaps you’ll slow down your pace of production because you’re not wired to be able to continue cranking it out, or you will destroy your mental or physical health in the process because you’re treating
yourself like a machine. Any good machine needs
good inputs, needs care. If you don’t put oil in your car’s engine, eventually you’re going to find yourself broken down by the side of the road. And we have to take care of the machine of our creativity, we have
to take care of ourselves. And that begins by building rituals, building disciplines around
how we inspire ourselves, how we protect our margin,
our space, our energy. That’s something we don’t think about with regard to creativity
is it requires energy for this whole emotional labor. We have to protect our ability to bring emotional labor to our work or it’ll feel hollow, it’s not going to be the kind of work
we’re capable of producing. So great creatives and great leaders have great rituals.
– Alright. So, softball next question.
(Todd laughs) You’ve talked to so many people, and again, this is part of what I’m trying to do on this show, I’ve had folks who are wildly sort of pixie dust
creators on the show. And they’re fewer and further between than the folks who have morning rituals, have creative rituals,
have a plan and a program. And the thought of
that, I used to actively resist schedules and this is the man trying to keep me down. And what I found was when I switched and started developing some rituals, like when was I the most
creative, what did it look like? I began to deconstruct what
was going on in my life, what were the couple days
before, couple days after? I started building some
systems around that. So you’ve talked to so many people in researching your books and writing. Patterns, habits, what
are some common threads around A, creating creativity
for yourself on demand, and then we’ll shift gears after that and talk about longevity and health. But let’s start off with this. – Yeah, so there are
really five core areas I’ve discovered that, unwittingly maybe, they have these disciplines or
these rituals in their life. But five core areas where most creatives who are prolific, brilliant, and healthy seem to have some degree of ritual. The first one’s the area of focus. Meaning they’re really good at defining what they’re doing and they’re really good at winnowing down their priorities to just the critical few. So most prolific, brilliant, and healthy creative pros that I know don’t have 50 projects that they’re
working on at the same time. They have a critical
few, and they have some on the back burner for sure, but they have a critical few that they’re channeling their creative energy into. So they’re really good at setting rails and establishing focus and understanding the problems that they’re actually trying to solve with their work. And that begins by simply sitting down and defining those priorities. Okay, what am I going to do this week and what am I not going to do this week? What am I not going to focus on? Probably like me, I don’t know about you, I tend bounce from shiny
object to shiny object but I don’t have those rails.
– Structure! – Exactly, so focus is important. Relationships. We do most of our
creative work on our own. Creative work is done in isolation. If we’re part of a team,
a lot of the intuitive creative work has to be done on our own. Most highly productive creatives have some relationships in their life where they’re seeking inspiration. People who are calling
out the best in them, saying, hey you’re really good at this. Hey, have you ever thought about this? Hey, you should try this. But a lot of creatives
tend to isolate themselves. They tend to withdraw from
the social constructs. Especially when they’re working on really difficult problems. So we need to be
intentional about building relationships that inspire us, that challenge us, that keep us on course. And not just the people we work with, not just relationships of convenience, but we need to seek out people in our life who will push us and challenge us. Energy management. This is another big one.
– Love this one. – Yeah. Creative pros who are prolific, brilliant, again there’s this myth of oh, I’m going to stay up
until 2:00 in the morning and I’m going to get up at 6:00 and I’m going to pound
two or three Red Bulls and just tackle the day. Well that’s going to
work for you for a while, and then you are going to hit the wall. You have to treat your body with care. Your mind and your body and all of it, it’s an ecosystem that
you have to care for if you want to get your best ideas. And one of the ways to do that very simply is to practice pruning.
– Pruning. – So in a vineyard, one
of the primary roles of the vine keeper is to prune new areas of growth off the vine. Perfectly good fruit, why would you prune perfectly good vine off
of the growing vine? Because if you don’t, then eventually that new fruit will steal
resources from the older, more mature, fruit-bearing
parts of the vine. There aren’t enough resources to go around to bear that much good fruit if you’re not regularly pruning. Well we don’t struggle with new ideas, new projects, new initiatives, new things we want to take on, new social commitments that we want to put into our life and cram it all in. We think, well as long as
I have time, I can do it. The reality is, every commitment we make requires something of us. Even if it’s not a part
of our work or our job, it still requires something of our energy. So we have to be really good
at pruning and saying no to really good things, by the way. Sometimes really good
things need to go away so that something better can be born. We have to protect the
white space in our life because it’s in the white
space that creativity, innovation, and new connections are formed and all of that happens,
is in the white space. So energy is really important. Stimuli. We have to monitor the stimuli
that come into our brain. We have to be filling our mind with inspiring ideas, inspiring thoughts. Even opposing viewpoints. We need to be putting ourselves in certain stances that challenge us, that make us uncomfortable. So if you’re an introvert,
go to a dance club. If you’re an extrovert, go to the museum and don’t talk to anyone at all. It forces you to interact
with the world in new ways. Steven Sample, former president of UFC, said we should be making it a discipline to commune with great minds. And I think this is what’s so brilliant about this concept of stimuli, is that when we are filling our minds with the ideas and the
inspiration of other people, we’re basically getting to
live through their lives. We’re getting to draw from them as (speaker is drowned out)
to our creative process. And then finally, hours. Prolific, brilliant, and healthy creatives tend to have some rituals or disciplines around how they use their time, but not just for efficiency,
but for effectiveness. One very simple practice that I try to teach create-on-demand pros is something I call back burner
creating, or secret work. (Chase laughs)
– I like it already. (both laugh) – One of the unfortunate side effects of creating for a living is that you get into what you do
because you love what you do. It’s like the flame that
really animates you. You’re like ah, this is amazing, I get to do what I love!
– And get paid. – I get paid for it, are you kidding me? And then a short time down the road, you suddenly realize, I’m actually doing this more for the paycheck than I am for the thing that I love to do. And you lose your first love. And so I always ask create-on-demand pros, do you have anything in your life that you’re creating right now that nobody’s paying you for, nobody’s looking over your shoulder and judging, you’re not
trying to hit the strategy? Do you have any unnecessary
creating in your life, or is the totality of your creating going toward your work life, toward your create-on-demand work? It’s really important
for our creative spirit, for our creative soul, that we have some kind of secret work that’s not for public consumption, but it’s just unnecessary creating,
something we’re doing to fill ourselves, to feed ourselves, as a way of keeping that flame alive. – Do you find that there’s
a pattern in creators that the thing that is their secret work in your world or a side hustle or any of these other great popular terms in pop culture here, that they end up being your next thing?
– Oh, very often. – Is this more of a
maintenance or does that end up becoming their next thing even when it was thought that they
couldn’t make money? What’s the relationship?
– Very often, because people aren’t thinking
about, is this practical? They’re just thinking, where does my intuition want to take me? And so yeah, very often
it becomes the next thing or it becomes a new
business, a new opportunity which then creates an interesting paradox because then it’s the thing
you’re doing for money so you have to figure out, okay, what’s the other thing I’m going to do? – It’s almost like an incubator. – That’s how you grow. The reality is a lot of us don’t have the space and the freedom that we need to take the kinds of risks we really want to take with our on-demand work. Because we’re doing them for a client or we’re doing them for a boss who has very specific expectations. And so we have to go outside of our work to be able to take those
risks and try new things. Well sometimes when we do that, we realize, oh, this is really good! There’s something here,
either I can apply this to my on-demand work now
that I know it works, or maybe this is something
new I need to explore. But we would never know
that if we don’t have the discipline in our life of engaging in unnecessary creating.
– Unnecessary creating. That’s such a great term. Just confessionally here,
all of the best things in my life have come from that side thing. I was going to graduate
school, focused on, at first it was medical school and then I was a PhD in philosophy. – I didn’t know that, wow!
– Yeah. My photography was always
running in the background and it was like, god, I really want to find a way to make that work. I was running super small-scale fine art selling just a couple of prints to people that I knew that cared. And then obviously if I could transform anything in my life it
would be able to do this, made the leap, and then with photography it was then, oh man, I got
this idea for an iPhone app. It was called Best Camera and I built that as an incubator on the side. It was like, that can
never add up into anything because, gosh, at that point
it was a two megapixel camera, I can see where it’s going but it’s just informing the rest of my work and inspirational, other than that, millions of people (mumbles). And then Creative Live was
actually the same thing. It was like, cool, I’ll
have this side thing where we help creators and entrepreneurs learn skills from other people. And here they are, each
one of those things has become my personal next big thing. I never really think
of that as a paradigm. But clearly it’s (mumbles).
– Well it is, but I think one of the challenges
that we have to confront is we want to make it a thing too early. So if you had set out with Creative Live and you were like, I’m going to grow this, we’re going to have hundreds of thousands of people watching our classes, those rails from the beginning would have probably constrained how you
thought about that project. But because you were
basically giving yourself permission to play, to experiment, to try something, build
something on the side to tinker with it, it didn’t
have to be good initially. It didn’t have to be for
public consumption initially. But just because you
gave yourself permission to do that, it actually turned into something really beautiful
that it may never had been, had you not given
yourself that permission. – Play, the word play, I love it. We’ve had Charlie Hoehn
on the show before, his book Play it Away, that
was more dealing with anxiety. I think the way you’re framing it is as a constructive positive thing that builds on whatever
it is your core focus is. Your first couple of books, Die Empty and The Accidental Creative, were focused clearly very specifically on the creator and the mindset and habits and rituals. I don’t want to go too far from that, I think it’s really important. But what I love about your
newest one, Herding Tigers, when does this drop?
– It’s out. – It just dropped, okay cool. So Herding Tigers is for people that work with creators as well. There’s a lot of constraints and whether you’re leading yourself or
you’re in an organization where you have to foster and grow. A lot of people who start off as maybe designers end up in management. They start their own design studio and then they have to
be designer plus leader. Or in an organization, it
used to be nice to have, now the most successful
companies in the world are wildly creative,
Apple Computer, Virgin, you can see where there’s a culture of creativity and design
embedded in the company. How do you facilitate creativity in those environments, that’s a huge, Herding Tigers, not herding cats, which is a beautiful play there. But why the book and what
do we need to know about it? – So as you mentioned, a
lot of leaders of teams came up through the ranks as a designer, writer, photographer, or doing some sort of tactical work within the organization, tactical creative work. And then all of a sudden
they’re so good at that that they get promoted to a manager. Well great, you’re a great designer, you know what you should do, you should manage other designers.
(Chase mimics a buzzer) Well, that’s an entirely
different skill set. – Totally.
– And not only that, but their entire career up to that point has been a giant setup. Basically your entire career as a creative is if you control the work
and make the work great, so if you’re really
good at doing the work, you’re a great designer, you control it, it’s all about you, it’s all about making the work great then, you’re going to get more money, you’re
going to get better clients, you’re going to get
promoted, all that stuff. The moment you become a
manager, that paradigm goes completely out the window. Because your job is no longer
about controlling the work, your job is about leading the work. So you get to a point in
your life and your career where you get promoted into a manager. So everything that you’ve
known about your life and your career and how I get ahead is now completely false.
– Like the Matrix, you took the wrong pill.
– It is! It is, that’s exactly what it is! Because the moment you cross that line, if you try to control
the work of your team, if you step in and do the work for them, if you step in and tell
them how to make decisions and you’re basically doing
the work for your team, then you’re not allowing them the space and the freedom they
need to be able to grow, to be able to tackle new
and more challenging work, and to develop in their career and develop their own creative intuition. So your team’s capacity will never scale beyond the scope of
your direct involvement. So it requires a totally different set of skills than doing the work. You have to move from
control to influence. And this is really difficult, especially for control freaks like me. When you suddenly are no longer tasked with doing the work but leading the work, that means you have to set rails, you have to protect your team, you have to create space for them. You have to sometimes let the work fail in the short-term so it can
succeed in the long term so your team can develop and grow and understand how to make decisions. This is really difficult
because guess what, when that work isn’t as
great as it could be, it reflects on you. How have you been defining yourself your entire career as creative? – I create work.
– You create work! Yeah, I am known for the work I do. Well how do I define
myself now as a leader? Well, I lead other
people in doing the work. It’s a totally different way of thinking about your life and your career. So really, I wrote this book for people who have never really had a road map about how to lead the creative process. So we’ve talked about rituals before, well how do you create an environment in which creative people have the space and the focus and relational connection and the amount of energy they need? How do you keep them inspired? How do you do that as a leader? And it’s a really tall order, because it’s a completely
new set of skills. – Let’s go into some of
these specifics for a second. All of the research you did, you clearly found out some habits for individuals, and we’ll compare maybe individuals and then we’ll do, as a leader, what are some habits that foster
teamwork or comradery or what are some paradigms that you saw? So go back to the individual, I know we’re jumping around a little bit just to make it dynamic for the listener and the viewer.
– Perfect. – So yeah, habits and
patterns that you saw for individual creators, go. You talked about 9:00-5:00,
some hours, all of it. We kind of ran through
that, is there anything else you want to add to that?
– Yeah, well really, part of the other thing
about Herding Tigers, I’m not taking it back to that. – No no no, it’s all good!
– But part of it was I realized that a lot of
creatives in organizations don’t understand how to communicate what they need to their manager. They don’t have terminology for it. They don’t know how to say what’s wrong. There are all these myths that exist about creative people. Oh, they’re so sensitive,
oh they’re so full of ego, it’s all about the idea, they
just want complete freedom. You and I know, we’ve been
doing this for a long time. We know that most of those myths are not true about the vast majority. Now there are some egomaniacs out there, there’s some really unhealthy people. – Sure, of course. But there are that in
everything in the world. – Absolutely, there are
egomaniac sales people. So those myths are marginally untrue. But the reason that behavior is exhibited is because it’s a response
to poor leadership, it’s a response to creatives
not getting what they need. So when we talked about things like focus and relationships and
energy, stimuli, hours, those really fall into two
categories for creatives in terms of what they need
from the organization. The first thing is they need stability. They need to know that
there is a stable playground on which they can do their work. There are clear boundaries. They need clarity from their leadership. So tell me what we’re going to do, when we’re going to do
it, what we’re not doing, how we’re going to do it, I
want a clearly defined process so that I can take creative risks. It’s difficult to have
a poorly defined process and also by the way, we also want you to go out and take all
of these creative risks within the midst of this
poorly defined process. Well, no! I need some stability.
– I need to feel safe so that I can run all
the way up to the edge and not over it.
– That’s exactly right. And I know where my hand’s
going to get slapped. Like hey, here are the boundaries. Do anything you want inside of here, but if you cross this boundary, that’s when you’re
going to get in trouble. We need that. We also need protection
from our leadership. We need to know that
you’re going to protect the time and the space that I need to do what Cal Newport calls a deep work, to do the deep creative work
that I need to be able to do. So I need to know that you’re
going to go to bat for me if I fail, and I need to know that you’re going to actually stand up for me, you’re not going to
throw me under the bus. So I need those things from my leadership. So stability is huge but I also need to be challenged as a creative. I need to not be bored, I need
to be pushed to take risks. I need to know you believe
in me, that you see me, that you know me, you
know what I’m good at, you know what I’m not good at. That you’re coaching me, helping
me be better at what I do. That if I do make a creative leap, that you’re going to be
there to catch me if I fall. And I want to feel like I’m
doing work that matters, that there’s a why behind what I’m doing. This is one of the complaints I hear from creative in
organizations all the time. We’re doing a lot of work but I have no idea why any of it matters. Well for highly talented people, we need to see not just
what you expect from me, but why does this matter?
– Where’s my impact? – Right, exactly, that’s
part of the intuition that we bring as creatives, is the ability to take a core why and
say, I know you’re asking for this what, but what
if we did this instead? It’s tied back to this core why. We have the ability to
make those intuitive leaps, but we have to understand
the why behind it first. The problem, Chase, is that
stability and challenge exist in tension.
– Yeah, for sure. – They do. – Product and marketing,
there’s 100-year-old problems or in this case thousands
of year old problems. – Absolutely, so as
you challenge your team as a leader, you’re going to destabilize the organization by nature,
because you’re pushing them, you’re wanting them to take
new risks, try new things. That’s going to create
instability within the process. And as you stabilize, you tend to decrease the amount of challenge that you feel. So as a leader, we have to
keep our finger on the dial, not just for our organization as a whole but for individuals. I need to know what Chase needs, I need to know what Jill needs, I need to know what (mumbles) needs, (mumbles) I need to know what all of these people need from me as a leader. Some people might need more challenge, some people might need more stability, but I need to be able to dial
those things in for my team in order to get the best work out. – That’s so smart. And we’re talking about maybe individual creator process here, a
designer inside a company. Let’s take it to the macro for a second. Reid Hoffman, who sat in the chair that you’re sitting in
right now, he’s saying, you don’t manage to zero chaos, especially in a (mumbles) environment. If you manage to zero chaos, then there’s not enough innovation. Mario Andretti, if you’re
not almost crashing, you’re not driving fast enough. So there’s some happy medium there. And (mumbles) what we find
at just Creative Live, it’s like as soon as
we figure out a system and it gets super stable,
everyone has the right amount of hours, and then it almost gets, boring is the wrong word.
– Are we settling in? – Right, you start to be complacent. And in this environment, if you’re not always creating the next thing, like what are we doing about VR? Or what’s the next
thing around the corner? If you’re not thinking about that, then it’s hard to both
be excited and motivated. There’s this energy, and to me energy, life force or whatever, people feel that and it’s so palpable and without it, what have you got? I don’t see a lot of creativity coming out of flat, low-energy organizations. – That’s right. We have to feel stretched. And especially highly talented people, you’re not going to keep talented people in your organization for long if they’re not in that kind of environment you’re describing where it feels like we’re always just on the edge, we’re almost out of control but we’re somehow holding it together. That’s where talented people want to work. – And there’s seasons too.
– There’s seasons, absolutely, it’s rhythm,
back to the rhythm thing. They’re going to do peaks and troughs. They can’t all be peak all the time. – That’s why like if
you think of an athlete, football season is the season,
in this case pro football, they get together for 16 or 20 weeks. Teams are all-in, and then
they have quiet periods. Or even seasons like winter, it’s dark. (Chase laughs)
It’s dark at four o’clock and it’s dark until 8:00 a.m. So people sleep more, they rest more. You just see these patterns. And you’re suggesting that it’s the leader’s responsibility.
– Yeah, I believe it is because one of the things that we unwittingly fall prey to as leaders is we engage in what I call snapshot productivity measurement, where it’s like Jill is delivering, there’s nobody here named Jill by the way.
(both laugh) I keep talking about Jill.
– My head of marketing at Creative Live is Jill.
– Okay. (Todd laughing)
– She’ll listen to this and she’ll be like, oh my
gosh, they’re talking about me! – But you know, Jill does something that’s way over what we expected, she over delivers like
130% of what we expect. We’re like, wow, that’s amazing! And the next time, Jill
basically hits her mark. She does 100% and we’re
like, what happened to Jill? – Where’s the game, Jill?
– Right, why didn’t she over-deliver, this is
expectation escalation. We engage in this as leaders sometimes. We have to recognize
there’s an ebb and flow and a peak and a trough
to creative productivity. If we expect peak
productivity all the time, what’s going to happen? Well Jill’s going to figure
out the game pretty quick. She’s going to say, listen, I had to work 85 hours that week in
order to produce that. And if that’s going to be
my baseline expectation I’m not setting the bar that high again. I’m going to sandbag a little bit so that it doesn’t become
this thing where you’re like, why aren’t you over-delivering every time? And teams do this, teams are really smart. If we don’t embrace the
peak and trough nature of creativity then teams will start occasionally kind of phoning it in. If they take a hill
because this is the most important hill we’re ever going to take, and then there’s another
hill on the other side and you’re like, never mind, this is the most important hill! If they see that enough
times, then pretty soon they’re going to say, hold on, I’m going to conserve my energy because I have no idea what’s
coming around the corner. So you have to be really careful. – Yeah, which is a pattern
for lack of great work. We were talking about that in the context of organizations or design leaders or groups and creative leadership. The same is true for individuals. I fell into this trap a
lot, when it’s just you and there’s so many folks out there, solo entrepreneurs who
are just getting started and trying to go from zero to one. They don’t have a lot of outside input or they’re just like, oh
I took this photograph, I designed this thing, I made this shirt, I built this small car wash company or whatever the thing you built was. And if you don’t have other folks, then you’re always either like I’m killing it, or I’m blowing it. (both chuckle) What have you seen or heard from folks to moderate the individual
independent creator, what’s the self talk, what do you think healthy self talk sounds like? – Well I think we have to extend ourselves the same grace that we
extend to other people. I think we are our own worst critic, we’re our own worst boss. We say things to ourselves that we would never say to somebody else. You’re terrible, you’re never
going to amount to anything. – Of course you blew it.
– Of course you blew it. Of course you did, of course! What should I expect? We would never say these
things to other people, but we say them to ourselves. And I’m not saying you
should blow smoke at yourself and say I am the greatest photographer in history, no, of course not. But you have to extend
yourself a bit of grace. You have to love yourself if you want to be able to love other
people through your work. And it’s just the nature of it. And so I think it’s important to identify those narratives, the things that are playing out in your head. Journaling is a great way to do this. I do an exercise called
morning pages that comes out of the book, The Artist’s
Way by Julia Cameron. It’s funny how many
artists engage in this. – It’s an incredible book too.
– Three pages of stream of consciousness writing
first thing in the morning, when your brain’s waking
up and you just write. And I am amazed, Chase,
at the kinds of things that find their way onto the page that I had no idea are in my brain. Things I’m saying to myself, narratives that are playing out in my life. – Can you go there for us? What are some recent ones that you maybe would otherwise not share? (both laugh) – Deep dark secrets!
– I know the nature of it. Yeah, but just, when you’re writing in the morning I think some people think they need to put some great shit on the page, it needs to be insanely amazing and it’s like, no it’s
actually the opposite of the program, the
program is a brain dump. And then there’s also a part of it which is programming yourself for what you want your day to be. But talk to me about,
what does it sound like or what are things that
would be not uncommon to find in one’s morning pages? – Yeah. A lot of anxieties that I have. It’s the typical thing you would expect. – Fear of failure. – Feeling like I’m not
enough, I’m not sufficient. Feeling like I’m not equal to the task. I’m blowing it. I feel like I’m blowing it. Even in the midst of things
that are going really well! I think I mentioned this off camera, I spent my early 20’s as a musician. We were playing shows in front of a couple thousand people
opening for some major act. And it was like on top of the world and the next night you’re playing a bowling alley for like 10 people. (Chase laughs)
And they’re telling you to turn it down. And that encounter in the bowling alley would leave more of an imprint than the night before, playing in front of a couple thousand people who were screaming and all of that. Because we are biologically wired to gravitate toward negative thoughts so that we avoid pain and death, they are very real biological reasons why we gravitate toward those things. – They used to keep us
from the saber tooth tiger. – That’s right.
– But now it keeps us from embracing the big
successful night out versus finding at the bowling alley, I’m the worst ever.
– Exactly. Yeah, so we have to be really careful about the stories we tell
ourselves as creatives. And I mentioned expectation escalation as it applies to organizational life, but that applies to us on
an individual level as well. Are you comparing your in-process work with the absolute best thing that’s ever been done in your industry? – That’s (mumbles) social media. You know what’s going on in your life. You should know, we
don’t, than when we look at someone else’s Instagram feed, it’s their highlight reel!
– That’s right, absolutely. – And so culturally, we’re programming ourselves for this anxiety. I think that’s why some of the folks who are the most
transparent and vulnerable end up having more honest connections. Because that’s what I want to see and do. I don’t want to just
see some sort of glossy, shiny perfection. So it’s culturally being
rewired that we’re not enough. So whether through morning pages, we need to continually
actively deprogram it. Do you use morning pages for that? – I do, I do, and to identify what’s going in on my brain, and frankly just to get some of that
chatter out of my head. I think peripheral vision
is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it’s great if you want to see what’s
going on around you and use it for inspiration
and all of that. And it’s a curse because
it can very quickly become self-condemnation. You can see what other people are doing and think, well I’m not
doing what she’s doing. I’m not doing what this other writer is doing and other people. And we engage in this
expectation escalation for our own work and
then we start thinking, what’s the point, why even do it? If I’m not going to be the best, if I’m not going to be
what that person is, then why even try? We forget that that person was once sitting in the very seat
that you’re sitting in now, that their finished product
that you love so much probably was really crappy when it was in its first draft form. And we also don’t account
for the role of luck. We look at these people who have– – Made it.
– –made it. And of course there’s hustle, of course there’s having a brilliant idea, of course there’s being really sharp and incisive and intuitive, of
course, all of those things. But there are also a lot of things that happen to get people to the top of their industry that we
often don’t like to talk about. And we think, well it’s always my fault. If I fail, it’s always my
fault every single time. The reality is, you have to focus on the body of work that you’re building and say listen, I am going to build a body of work that’s reflective of who I am, of what I care about, of what I’m passionate about. And if it doesn’t become the thing, I’m okay with that. I’m okay just influencing the lives of the people that I’m able to each with my work, and that’s fine. I’m not going to engage in
this expectation escalation that says, if I’m not doing
what that person’s doing, then somehow I have
massively failed myself. So we have to identify those narratives and make sure that they don’t begin to (mumbles) our behavior
in an unhealthy way. – With such a radical
idea, and I don’t remember when I finally figured this out. If you’re always chasing what’s trendy or someone else’s thing
or the style or whatever, you’re always behind, you’re always second, third, or 258th. Versus doing what is inside you. Just plowing ahead and it’s the excitement of when the market actually turns and comes to the thing
that you’ve been making for X days, weeks,
months, years, or whatever that you feel validated because
you kept your own vision. Trends go up and down,
just even look at fashion. I’ve got stuff in my closet
I look at and it’s like, oh my god, I haven’t
worn that in 10 years! Oh, it’s cool again!
(Todd laughs) I think there’s a vision that creators are always chasing some new thing. And the concept of chasing
something is, you’re behind. Versus continuing to build the thing that you’re building and that you know intuitively, internally. – Yeah, and if you haven’t defined what success looks like
for yourself in advance. There are always going to be people who will be more than happy to tell you what success should look like for you, tell you what kind of thing
you should be pursuing. If you haven’t defined that for yourself, then you might very well end up someplace and say, how did I get here? I am very far from my values, very far from what I care about, from
what I intended to build. You’ll spend your entire life and your entire career chasing vapor. Basically chasing what everybody else tells you you should be chasing. – Do you have some tactics for how to stay on that vision for yourself? Is this part of morning pages
or is this a different habit? – Certainly, again, themes come out in the midst of that for sure, but surrounding yourself with people who are willing to speak truth to you, I think, is a really important discipline. And that’s something that has been a core part of my life
for a very long time. Because it’s really easy, again, if you’re building something,
if you’re isolated. I had a great conversation
with a phenomenal leader. General Casey, actually. He’s a former Army General Chief of Staff. We were both speaking
at a conference recently and I just said, hey, what’s a thing that you see leaders doing? What’s a mistake you see them making? And he said, the more
successful you become as a leader, the harder it is to find people who will
speak truth to you. People don’t want to
say what they really see because they want to tell
you what you want to hear. Why, because you’re the one
with all the power in the room. And I think the same thing
is true for creatives. If you don’t surround yourself with people who are willing to tell you, hey, here’s what I see in you,
here are the good things, and by the way, you’re
doing something right now that doesn’t really seem like you. – Doesn’t serve you.
– Doesn’t serve you, doesn’t seem like it’s on vision for where you think you want to go with your work. Can you tell me about
that, what’s going on? Why are you making this decision? It’s a great question by the way to ask, is there anything you see me doing that doesn’t seem like me? It’s a great question to ask your spouse. (both laugh) They’ll definitely give you
all the low-down on that. But I think a big chunk
of it is just having people around you who are willing to speak truth to you and help you stay on course. – What a great take-away that is. How do you find those people? – I think the problem is
that you have to find them before you realize you need them. If you go looking for them–
– When you need them, – –prematurely.
– help me! It just seems clingy. These are the people that have been true to you for a long time probably. – Absolutely, yeah, people who know you, that have seen your entire journey. They’ve seen the ups and the downs, are involved in your personal life as well as your professional life. It’s always easy to find people who will say, oh, you
should absolutely do that! Absolutely take that risk, because they just kind of want to see what
happens, to see if you do it. They don’t really care about you, they just want to see
if you crash and burn. Those are not the people
that you want in your life. You can always people
who will encourage you. What you want are people
who are willing to tell you, I know you really want
this, I know you really want to do this, you think it’s a great idea. This is not a great idea. This might be a great
idea for somebody else. This is not a great idea for you. And let’s talk that through,
because I care about you, I really want what’s best for you. Especially idea people,
highly-talented creative people, we need those kind of people in our life. – So do you cultivate that? I’m trying to keep two
paradigms going at once here. One is the individual creator. I identify with how that
would logically fall. So you’ve got to keep people in your life, whether it’s your spouse, your X, your Y, or some people you went to art school with or the people you started your first company with or whatever. Inside of an organization,
is that the role of the leader, is that the role of every individual person in that group? How do you think about it?
– Well the leader certainly can foster that kind of cross-pollination, those kinds of conversations. I think it’s every
individual’s responsibility. I think we own our creative process. Not your mom, not your boss, whoever. We own our own creative process. And so we have to be responsible for finding those people in our life who are willing to speak truth to us. So if you don’t have someone in your life you can go to, if you have an idea for something you do and
you can’t immediately think of, this is the person
I need to go share this with, that’s probably something that you need to start working on in your life. – Cultivating community, the community that cares
about you and understands you. Wow. So the cultivating community thing, there’s two angles I want to go down. And I want to put a pin
in cultivating community, but I also want to talk about some specific habits that you have. You said that we all need to
own our own creative process. I think one of the things that I hear from a lot of folks who
are in a second career, a third career, or folks who are trying to go from zero to one, they’ve said, okay cool, I’m leaving this
old life and I want to do this, is personal voice, personal style, personal set of behaviors and habits. And one of the ways I love to uncover that is just by asking people
who are on the show, what is yours? And this is meant to be inspiration. Or rip it off and copy it
and see if it works for you and tweak what doesn’t, so
let’s talk about Todd Henry. What’s Todd Henry’s
personal creative process, or what are some habits that you have? And maybe you can talk about around your writing, around the book. Take me through your morning or habits and just identify that for me. – I’ve had the same morning
routine for about 15 years now. – Wow!
– Yeah. It’s been a long-standing tradition. So I get out of bed, of
course, first thing I do. – I get out of bed.
– There we go, we’re done! – Sorry, this podcast
is in Todd Henry’s bed. We haven’t made it out yet, no. – I get out of bed, I
make the same breakfast every morning, and I’ve had the same thing for breakfast for a very long time which is oatmeal, frozen
blueberries, and some nuts. And the same coffee mug
for the last 15 years. And I have two of them,
these two gray mugs and I rotate them from day to day and I’ve had the same mug.
– Do you travel with it? We’re in Los Angeles and you flew here. – I don’t travel with the mug. I actually do have my own morning routine when I’m traveling though,
which is totally different, and I did do it this morning actually. And then I go to my
home office and I study and I write for an hour. That’s when I read whatever I happen to be reading at the time. I don’t just read but I think about, how does this apply to
my life and my work, and then I engage in morning pages and do some journaling work as well. So that’s really the first hour of my day and my family’s getting out of bed and they’re getting ready for school. I have three kids.
– Oh wow, nice! – They’re also getting ready
for work, or for school. – Put ’em to work early, right? (both laugh)
Go to work! – So they’re all getting ready and then I’ll typically see them off to school and then the very first thing I do if I’m working on a book project, which I’ve just written
four books in a row so basically I’ve only
had a couple of months in the last eight years
where I’ve not been under deadline for a book.
– Wow. – The very first thing I do is I work on whatever my core writing project is that I’m working on at that point. I have a word count that I try to hit and it’s not a minimum word count, it’s a maximum word count. – Oh, I love this.
– So if I’m working on a project, most book manuscripts are like 60,000-70,000 words or so, at least in the space that I’m writing in. And I’ll write maybe 120,000 words to get to those 60,000, because a lot of the stuff ends up on
the cutting room floor. But I know that I have
to sustain my momentum, my enthusiasm, my energy for the project. And if I sit down and I’m really inspired and I write like 4,000 words in a day then I know the next day
I’m going to be like, you know what, I’m good, I’m covered. And then the next day I’ll be like, well you know, I actually wrote enough to cover today’s load too so maybe I’ll just put it off. Or I might write myself into burnout. I might get to a point where I’m like, okay, I’m out of ideas. So what I’ll do is I have
a maximum word count. Typically for this book
it was 500 words a day. And I know if I write 500 words a day, five days a week, for X number of weeks, I’m going to get to my target word count for the manuscript. I’ll write 500 words,
when I get to 500 words if I write 501 or 502,
I’ll stop mid-sentence. Because I want to know where I’m going to pick up the next day. I call it ending with
the beginning in mind. You hear, begin with the end in mind. This is ending with the beginning in mind. I try to end my writing session knowing exactly where I’m
going to pick up the next day. So when I sit down the
next morning to write– – It’s mid-sentence.
– –it is, it’s mid-sentence and I just start writing because I know exactly where I’m going
to start the next day. And it’s helpful too because I tend to write books from the inside out. I don’t write in linear format. So I might start in the middle of the book and be writing a chapter, or I might skip from chapter to chapter as I’m writing, depending on that day,
whatever is inspiring me. So it helps me to keep my pace and to make sure that I’m staying in line with my objectives for the book and where I want them to go. So it’s been a really helpful discipline. In Great By Choice, Jim Collins talked about the concept of the 20-mile march. So you get up every day,
and you march 20 miles. And if it’s a beautiful
day, you march 20 miles. If it’s cold and miserable and sleeting, you march 20 miles. But that discipline of the 20-mile march, some days it’s going to be easy, some days it’s going to be hard, is something that’s really
helped me as a writer. Just knowing, listen, I’m going to give myself permission to stop. When I get to a certain point, I’m done. I’ve done my work for
the day, I can feel good, I’ve made progress and I know I’m going to hit my target if I just keep putting enough of these
500 word days together. – I think this is going
to be a breakthrough for a lot of people who are listening. Relate this to flow,
because we were also told in other paradigms,
we’ve had Steven Kotler on the show where it’s just like, your whole goal is to get into flow. When you’re in flow, it
just effortlessly pours out. You just get into flow at word count 426, and then you only get like 75 words when you’re in flow and
then you’ve got to stop because you’re following Todd Henry’s idea of only writing 500 words a day. I like the concept, because people tend to look at the blank age, and we’re using the blank page here in
writing as a metaphor for all you folks out there,
it’s not just for writers. So you sit down and you think, oh gosh, you can just pick up where you left off. Where do you maximize? Do you maximize on having to sit down in the morning and you
see the partial sentence and you know exactly where you’re going? You think that pays off? What about the concept of flow? Help me Todd, I’m confused.
(Todd laughs) – So I think this is a really difficult balance for us as creative professionals. Because you’re right, ideally, I’ll write 50 words and I’ll start experiencing breakthroughs and flow and all of that, and then the next several hundred words will be in that moment of creative rapture. The reality is that I think those moments of flow are fewer and farther between than we often want them
to be as creatives. If we depend on experiencing flow in order to produce our work, I think a lot of days I’m probably not going to produce a lot of work. So for me, I see it as my job. I know Steve Pressfield has said basically, sit down, do the work. You have to carry your
lunch box to the job site, you sit down, you do your thing. Some writers have a different approach. They say, I’m going to write for an hour, I’m going to write for two hours, they have a time limit instead. This has worked really
well for me to do this. I don’t tend to get into flow when I’m writing, which is funny. It’s not something that I’ve
really experienced a ton. I do tend to get into flow
when I’m conceptualizing, when I’m thinking, when I’m creating, when I’m white boarding things, that’s when I tend to get into this state of creative ecstasy. The (mumbles) flow kind of thing where I feel like I’m challenged but I have the skill
to meet the challenge. That tends to happen to me
when I’m conceptualizing much more so than when I’m doing the tactical work of writing. So maybe that’s why I don’t feel the need to get into that when I’m writing. – Interesting. I think you might be the first person that I’ve sat with that has separated actually creating the
craft from conceptualizing as still a very important
part of the process but that flow is in that concept phase. And I’m just sitting here thinking, crap, I think that might be me too. When I’m shooting a
photograph or doing whatever the thing is, writing for example, I’m working on some stuff right now. Wow. This is interesting.
– If you’re on-demand, if you’re on set and
you’re making a photograph, you don’t have the luxury
of telling everyone, okay everyone, we’re just going to do a bunch of stuff until I start to feel it. (Chase laughs)
You don’t! You’re burning money!
– Yeah. – You might as well just take a wad of cash out and light it on fire. Because you can’t predict when that’s going to happen, you just
have to produce work. And sometimes in the midst
of producing that work, you’re going to experience
creative ecstasy. And sometimes it’s going
to feel like drudgery. And the funny thing is, I don’t know if you’ve experienced the same thing, but the funny thing is, the moments when it feels like drudgery to me are sometimes my best work. And the moments when I
feel that creative ecstasy, like oh, this is really great! And I go back and read it later and I’m like, what was I thinking? So we’re terrible judges of our own work. We are terrible judges of our own work. And sometimes the moment that feels really good to us isn’t
really all that great in terms of what we’re
trying to accomplish. It was great for us personally. Like hey, it was good for me! But it’s not necessarily good in terms of meeting the objective.
– I think it’s cool to be able to be okay
with having flow state in a conceptual, brainstorming, strategy part of the world. My best ideas have come
in that space for sure. I think it’s an important
thing to shine a light on, which is we can’t be our
most creative amidst chaos. You’re taking in information,
input, input, input. The synthesizing takes
quiet, it takes space. You talked about white space earlier. I think that’s true for me, that’s also a pattern that I’ve seen on the show. – That’s another ritual. I take a long walk in
the middle of the day and I’ll often experience flow in the midst of those long walks. Because I take a long walk and I’ll put some kind of drone-ish music on in the background just be thinking about a problem or conceptualizing or coming up with whatever I’m working on, whatever the project is. And often it’s in the midst of that that I experience that
sort of creative ecstasy, where I feel like, oh,
things are really clicking and my mind’s going a
million different directions and my heart starts
racing and all of that. It’s often in the midst
of those conceptual walks much more so than when I’m
doing the tactical craft that I have to do in order (mumbles) – I just feel like I got
a little bit more free. (Todd laughs)
Thank you! Tools, let’s talk about
tools for a second. I think some of your
habits, your morning routine is great, I think that
cracked something open for me. But talk about some of the tools. We talked earlier about Scrivener. – Yeah, I love Scrivener.
– The writing tool. – The short version of that.
– Scrivener has completely changed my world as a writer because I mentioned I don’t write sequentially. I write from the inside out and Scrivener allows me to write sections of a book. – It’s almost like you’re
writing on Post-It notes and you can move it around.
– Exactly, you move it around wherever you want
it, which is far superior to having to cut and paste and you sort of write in a more linear format. Now there comes a time when you have to start writing in a linear format, when you have to start
filling out the book. But it’s really helpful to somebody who is a bit of a drifter, I tend
to bounce from idea to idea. It’s helpful for me to
have that flexibility. So I absolutely love Scrivener. – Wow. And is that available
on all of the devices? – It’s on all the devices.
– Okay, because a lot of my ideas are in coffee
shops or airplanes or whatnot. – Yes, I use it on my Mac. I also use it on iPhone, iPad. So if I want to go the pool with my kids in the afternoon in the
summer, I can sit there on my iPhone and actually work on a book, which I shouldn’t be doing. I should be hanging out
with my kids, but anyway. – You don’t want to always be in the pool. – That’s right. – Okay, other tools? Other little, I don’t know if it’s a hack or some tools of your
trade, besides the software. You said the journal also. We talked about that Julia
Cameron morning pages. – Morning pages, right. I created a sheet for
myself that I use every day. I call them my day sheets and basically it’s a way for me to
track my daily activity, log my daily activity, what I do, what I accomplished, all of that. But I also have on that sheet a space for tracking what I studied that day, so what I interacted with, what I read, what I learned from it, so I keep all of those notes in one place. – When do you do that? Do you do that at night
before you go to bed or do you do it in the morning
about the previous day? – No, I do it as I’m actually doing it. I’ll record hey, here’s what I read, here’s what I learned from it. I’ll take notes interactively. And then there’s a space
for what I call the dailies. And the dailies are the daily practices that I want to try to engage in every single day as a matter of ritual. So there are a handful of dailies that are just right there on the sheet that I practice every single day. So one of the dailies is I want to have a meaningful conversation with
each of my kids every day, which is difficult when I’m
traveling but I do try to. But if I did it that
day, great, check it off. If you have meditation
as a daily practice, check it off, great, study,
daily practice, check it off. And then there’s some business things like business development. I want to engage in some act of business development every day,
great, check it off. Review projects, great, check it off. So there are a certain number of dailies that I engage in as well.
– How many roughly? 200 or four?
– There are eight dailies. (speakers are drowned out) – Yeah, I’ve got 10. And they occasionally come and go. When I truly absolutely have the time to think about them anymore, I track them. I stopped tracking them but I’ve got 10. That’s fascinating (mumbles) Do you share this page that you’ve made or is it very private, like is there a place where people can go to find it? – That’s a great idea actually. – I think you should publish it. – I think I should share it, yeah. – There you go. Maybe it’s a page in one
of your future books. I want to put a bow on this. To me, you have written from a couple of different perspectives. You’ve written from
the individual creator, to the creator trying
to fit into their space, from the leader leading inside of organizations big or small. Have you completed the Tour de Creative? (Todd laughs)
Or what’s next, or what’s in the hopper for you? – I don’t know. I’m in that space right
now where I’m trying to figure out what the next
thing I’m going to make is. I have some projects I’ve been working on, back burner projects I’ve been working on. – There you go, the side
hustle, the back burner. – So they may be the next thing. And then we’ve created a bunch of personal interactive workshops
around Herding Tigers. My goal is never just to write a book and give people interesting ideas. My goal is to transform behavior because it’s only when we act on what we know that we actually change our lives and the lives
of the people around us. So we want to really try to help people build practices and disciplines and rituals and conversations and things into the workplace to create a space where creatives can come alive. So that’s something that we’re working on and launching very soon. And just super excited. My goal is to try to help people be the leader that they never had, to try to be a leader that makes echoes and be a leader that transforms lives. Our legacy is not the work we create. No matter how great
the work is that we do, in 100 years, nobody’s
going to remember our work. No offense, but nobody’s
going to remember your photos, nobody’s going to be remembering my books. Even the companies we build,
chances are in 100 years, nobody’s going to
remember those companies. But the impact we have through the lives that we influence, through
the people we lead, that impact is going to continue to ripple for generations. And I just really want to help creatives and leaders be people who make echoes, who build a body of work they can point to and say, yes, that represents the sum of my greatest accomplishments, not the sum of my greatest compromises. – That’s beautiful. Before we go, one final question. I get these questions all the time, flip the script here,
when I’m in this chair that you’re in right
now getting interviewed. I hate like, what’s the most,
best, a superlative thing. So I don’t ask those, but I do like being challenged in real
time with no preparation. And so I’m going to categorize roughly into two groups of listeners here. There’s the group who
is trying to figure out to go from zero to one
and transform their life and start a new one. So I want some advice for them, and then I want some advice for the people who are trying to go from two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, whatever, up to 10 or 11, we’ll call it. They want to go to 11. So two groups of folks. Give them a piece of
Todd Henry advice, go. Zero to one.
– So the people going from zero to one, it’s really important
to recognize that there are going to be people in your life who are going to give you advice for all different kinds of reasons. Some people are going to give you advice because it serves them really well. Some people are going to give you advice because they just want to
see what happens to you. You need to have a trusted council of advisors in your life. Especially when you’re in those places where you’re establishing a new vector, you have to have people in your life who will speak truth to you, who will tell you when you
have spinach in your teeth, people who will tell you
when you’re full of delusion. And also people who will
say, I think you can do this. I really believe you can do
this, this is a great idea. You need those people in your life, so you have to seek
meaningful relationships. I know we already covered
that but I can’t– – No no, that’s perfect.
– –emphasize it enough. Because when we’re creating something for the first time, we tend
to go into isolation mode. It’s all about the hustle,
it’s about the grind, I’m working 75, 80, 90 hours a week trying to make something happen and it’s really easy
to close ourselves off to other people and to become the worst version of ourself right when we need the best version of ourself to be taking the forefront.
– Beautiful. – So that would be my encouragement. Make sure that you’re
finding those people. – Beautiful.
– For people who are trying to go–
– They’ve been doing it for a while, they want
to go to the next level. – I think it’s important to recognize, listen, everything you do every day, every conversation you have,
every dollar that you spend, every conversation you
have with your barista at Starbucks, how you
interact with that person, every product decision you
make, every marketing decision, every hiring decision, all of that. You’re building a body of work. You’re building a delta
that is the sum total of value that you created because you’ve sucked air on this earth. And I think people lose sight of the fact that they’re building that body of work that’s going to stand as a testament throughout all time of
what they cared about, of who they were, of what they valued. They lose sight of that
in the midst of the fray and the midst of all the
little decisions they make. And that big delta, that big change is comprised of a lot of little deltas. Little decisions you make every single day about where you spend your focus, your assets, your time, your energy. So my encouragement to people is listen, make sure every single
day that the decisions that you’re making are decisions being made in accordance
with what you value, with your definition of success, and they’re not being made according to somebody else’s definition
of success for you. Because it’s really easy
to build a body of work and get to the end of your career, to look at it and say, I built somebody else’s body of work. I built a body of work that was based on what everybody else wanted for me, not based upon what I truly value. If you don’t have a framework
for making decisions– – About what you do and what you don’t do. – –about what you do and don’t do before you get into those
pressure packed moments, those critical moments, it’s going to be really easy to
compromise your values. So build a body of work
that’s reflective of you. And whatever you do, take the risk and don’t take your best
work to the grave with you. It’s not worth it. You’re going to regret a lot more of the things that you didn’t do than the things that you did do and then realized, oh,
that was really dumb. So make sure that you’re
building a body of work that is reflective of who you are and make sure you’re
getting your best work out into the world every
day so you can point to a body of work with pride. (snap)
– Mr. Todd Henry. Thank you so much.
– Thanks man. – I’m so happy to have
had you on the show! Don’t forget to pick up Herding Tigers, you guys, an incredible book. Be the leader that creative people need. (inspirational music builds)
(speaker is drowned out)

14 thoughts on “Create Work That Lasts with Todd Henry | Chase Jarvis LIVE

  • I love your videos amazing you are amazing thanks alot good luck what ever you do all best 😊😊😊😊🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

  • So much of this resonated with me. And I learnt a lot, as always. Thanks Chase!

    Would love you to check out my art journey sometime as you've inspired it so much! or


  • Thanks for inviting such an articulate guest, Chase … I've dealt with expectation escalation recently but didn't know how to name it. Thanks for highlighting the importance of our internal narrative and self care for the solo-preneur too. Super helpful 🙂

  • Hey, Chase, amazing video as always.

    I see there are many creative people who enjoy to watch and to learn from your videos. Do you have or know a community forum for creators and creative people, just like we are? It would be interesting to talk to such people, to share the experience and to support each other with a feedback if needed.

  • I read Louder Than Words and did Audible on Die Empty and was hooked – cool to see this interview – good job!

    His short mention of what his morning pages time is with being honest and vulnerable was good for me to hear.

  • Hey Chase,
    You've mentioned constraints as a catalyst for creativity. There is research to support that idea. Psychologists gave subjects a physical problem to solve. One group had about a dozen items like tape, string, a pencil…the other group had about four items. The group with fewer items was able to solve the problem much faster because there was less ambiguity about which items to focus on ( constraints ) . I'm a product developer and inventor and my creativity is very broad, but at the same time, the majority of my inventions come from specific problems I find with everyday items.


  • This is very helpful! I feel like u r creating less content recently is it so? Pls dont stop caus your content is very valuable!

  • awesome interview! i read Todd Henry's books and they go so well with my mindset, the interview was inspiring and uplifting, and i always learn something new, thank you!

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