The concept that we all, by our nature, approach tasks and accomplishing things differently actually came as a bit of a surprise to me.
l figured the kids I went to school with who left their homework till the last minute or often arrived late to class, were just... naughty. Like, they must hate school even more than I did and might even enjoy detention in some weird masochistic way.
It wasn't until I became good friends with one of them that actually loved school, got good grades and even though she left everything till the last minute, the teachers generally loved her.
Now, I understand that my friend is a Perceiving type. I on the other hand am a Judging type.
If you're familiar with Myers Briggs, you've calmed on to what all this means, but for everyone else: then two functions Perceiving and Judging are about how we approach life: either in an open, flexible way (P) or in a structured, orderly way (J) - which is what this episode of the Self Knowledge mini-series is going to dive into.
I should point out that whether you’re an introvert or not, the way you are affected by your environment still varies a lot between person to person.
And you might remember the episode in this series in which I described High Sensitivity - if you’re a HSP, you’ll likely be more affected by lights and sounds than the average bear, like myself.
Regardless of how sensitive you are to your environment, there is still going to be an optimum environment you thrive in.
This episode in the Self-Knowledge mini series is going to dig into different aspects of our environment you can start taking into account, and other little lifestyle hacks you might want to experiment with to up you creative game whether you work in an office or from home or from a coffee shop.
Let’s start with Carl Jung, grandaddy of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He’s responsible for much of this series, because of his theories on psychological types.
He introduced three areas or preferences, each of which are dichotomies: as in there are two ends of a pole, and your preference lies somewhere along that pole.
Introversion or extraversion are one area, sensing or intuition is another, and thinking or feeling is the third - and the one I’m going to dive into today.
The concept of doing what you love and following your passion has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, and I guess before I launch into this episode I should probably address that side of the fence first.
Cal Newport would be the first person I think of touting the idea that doing what you love is in fact, overrated. In his book, So Good They Can't Ignore You, he suggests the problem is that we don’t have much evidence that this is how passion works.
“Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have preexisting passion, and b) if you match this passion to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job.
What I'd like to do in this episode of the Self Knowledge mini-series, is help you get closer to finding your passion, whether it’s making more time for one you already have or finding a new one altogether and cultivating that.
Download your free accompanying workbook here >>
Not exactly a topic I've talked much about or even mentioned in the Creative Introvert podcast so far. May be something to do with my INTJ android-like personality, but really I have no excuse.
We know that even the hardiest Thinking types need a little tender lovin' care - whether it's from a partner, or in the simple friendship of an old pal. Or y'know, from your pet gecko.
Whatever your source of love is, isn't the topic of today's show. what I want to talk about is the way we prefer to receive and to give love: also known as our love language.
This is a concept coined by Gary Chapman, author of the book The 5 Love Languages amongst others: your love language can be identified by asking yourself: what makes you feel loved? What do you desire above all else from others?
Or on the flip side, what hurts you, or makes you feel unloved?
It can also be seen in how we express our love and appreciation to others.
The importance of understanding our own lore language as well as that of those around us is really really important, may be the most important in this Self-Knowledge series.
After all, if you can't communicate your love and appreciation to someone else or receive it from them because you're speaking two different languages, it's going to have a pretty detrimental effect on the relationship.
Already I know this is going to me one of my favourite episodes in this self-knowledge series.
The way we experiences the world is… kind of everything. From the moment we’re pushed or pulled out of our mum’s baby-maker, we’re dealing with sensory information and how we respond to that is amazingly individual.
Even from those early years, we start exhibiting clear signs that some of us are experiencing the world in very different ways. This depends on both how we’re wired neurologically and biochemically, as well as what particular environment we’re being raised in.
More on determining factors later, but for now I want to talk about the different categories psychologists and smart people in lab coats have given us to describe how we might experience the world around us.
In every case, I’m willing to bet there is a sliding scale, just like introversion and extroversion, someone can be at the very end of the scale, or somewhere closer to the middle.
I remember clearly being in school and being taught about learning styles. The teacher went through the model taught to her, which boiled down to auditory, visual or kinaesthetic.
It made sense to me that I must be a Visual learner, given that I was the designated class cartoonist, at least when there was a Rugrats character to draw.
Later, I learned that this was just one of many (supposedly there are around 70) models to describe our preferred learning style.
It's also possible - in fact very likely- you have a mixture of styles. Some may be best used in certain circumstances. For example, learning how to put an Ikea wardrobe together requires different processing than learning a language.
Plus, you can develop or change your preferences over time: in fact 1 did this through listening to podcasts. Now, I process audio - with or without accompanying images - way better than I did at school.
I still think it's useful to explore learning styles, and not just the ones you think you have a preference over. It's useful not just to help you learn stuff more effectively, but to communicate better with others,
When you know what style someone else prefers, you can accommodate them. It's something I try to take into account in my online courses, as well as when I'm coaching someone or consulting with a client.
If I pickup that they're a visual/spatial learner, I scribble down images to represent my ideas, or use visual analogies to give from to my sometimes vague and floaty concepts.
Or if they're kinaesthetic I try to slow my speech a bit. This is another weird factoid: apparently kinaesthetic types speak slower.
There are 7 styles that I like to take into account now, which gives a slightly more detailed range of preferences than I was taught at school.
I dig deeper into these learning styles in today's episode, and what knowing your learning style might mean for you.
The point of this mini-series is, quite simply to help you discover more about... you.
Self-knowledge is arguably the most critical catalyst in personal development : how you manage your energy, how you interact with others, where your strengths lie... Not to mention a key player in business success.
When you know yourself, you can make decisions more effectively, have greater clarity on where you want to go, what you want to be doing, and how you do it best: when you're at your most creative.
Ok, so if you're not sold just yet, what if I told you I could make this self knowledge super simple: breaking every aspect of the journey down into easy to digest podcast episodes?
Well, hopefully that's enough to convince you: it's happening anyway.
I'm pushing pause on interviews for a wee bit while I run this Self Knowledge for Creative Introverts mini-series and over the next 10 weeks I'll be guiding you through the ultimate self-knowledge series.
Find the workbook mentioned here: http://wp.me/p5bc9S-29k
I tackle the common questions I get about the League of Creative Introverts including...
Isn’t it a bit of a paradox? A community of introverts? Isn’t that like starting a beach for vampires?
The League will be open for one week, so you have until HALLOWEEN - er, October 31st 2017 at midnight GMT - to get yourself a spot.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast a while, you might have heard a bit about my story - how I left my day job as a professional pixel pusher - I mean, web designer - to pursue my childhood dreams of becoming an illustrator and above all - be able to work from HOME.
At the time, I thought it was just the youngest child, red headed rebel in me that provoked my decision to leave my stable 9-5 job in exchange for the free range, freelance life.
But for this episode in particular I want to highlight the challenges we face when attempting to build a business or pursue a new career or go rogue like I did and work for youself.
This entrepreneurial trend is only growing, and whilst we’re encouraged as introverts to pursue these lofty dreams, I want to be clear that there are some very real challenges that can and will crop up - at least they have in my experience - and more importantly - give you some tools and strategies to actually deal with them.
Hopefully it will be of more use than another article on Forbes about introverts are naturals at networking - probably written by an extrovert.
A word almost as cringe-inducing as saying Volde-I mean, he who must not be named.
Regardless of whether you’re an introvert OR an extrovert - I actually don’t know if anyone admits to enjoying networking.
It’s kind of like exercise. We know it’s good for us but it doesn’t come without some pain - especially at first.
May be over time some of us develop a taste for it - but for the majority of us - we’d rather be at home networking with our cat than shaking hands and pasting on forced smiles with people who couldn’t care less what you do - but they ask anyway because it’s a way to talk about what THEY do.
Can you tell I’m not a big fan of networking?
Just over a year ago I found myself in a new city, away from any contacts or friends i had back in London who I could depend on throwing me a bit of work or helping me out in a time or crisis.
It dawned on me that I was going to have to make a bit more effort than I had been in networking - which prior to this had consisted of going to the occasion meetup with some illustrators and necking a couple of pints.
Looking back, I realise it wasn’t super effective networking anyway.
So first things first: I had to find some opportunities to meet new people.
What I’d like to do in this podcast episode is firstly help you if you know you need to start networking and secondly - to help you do it effectively. Oh and finally to be realistic. If you’re an introvert, like myself, I know that someone telling you to go and do all these mad manipulative tactics like mirroring or working the crowd - it just isn’t going to resonate.
If you’re anything like me, the likelihood of even going to the networking event you signed up for is about a 3/10 chance.
So - hopefully this is actually useful if you’re in a position like I was, knowing you need to network - but doing anything you can to avoid it and reason your way out of it.
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Nicola Mills, opera singer for the people.
If you ‘google’ the words ‘self sabotage’ you will see there’s nearly two million results for this term.
Two million? If that’s anything to go by, I’d say self sabotage is a pretty common human behaviour - even if it doesn’t always make sense on paper.
When I first heard the term, I snorted: why would I want to sabotage MYSELF? I’m all I’ve got! I want me to win! At the very least, I want to keep myself safe.
Then I found out that it’s a lot more sneaky a behaviour than we might expect. In fact, it’s so sneaky it still amazes me that we can be capable of doing this to ourselves - usually, without even knowing it.
Self sabotage isn’t this overt, masochistic urge to touch a hot stove or throw ourselves in front of moving vehicles - it’s way more subtle than that.
It shows itself in behaviours like:
extreme guilt or modesty
It shows itself often when we’re trying to achieve something for our greater good or higher self - like losing excess weight, maintaining a healthy relationship, getting a promotion at work or starting a new business venture.
Let’s look at some self sabotaging behaviour patterns.
Take a work situation. You hate your job. You work too many hours, you allow yourself to be treated like shit by your boss, and you make no time for doing what you really love - painting.
Yet you don’t look for a new job. You tell yourself you don’t have the time. You tell yourself your art isn’t good enough to make any money from anyway, so you’ve stopped that altogether. You don’t know what you want to do with your life - and have stopped asking yourself or researching possible career paths.
You’re stuck. Why?
Here are some possible thought patterns:
“If I fail in a new career or creative project, everyone will judge me as stupid and inadequate.”
“I’ve always been pushed to succeed by parents and teachers - I want to rebel because I don’t want to feel controlled by them”
“I only deserve to be at the top, I won’t start something new if it means starting at the bottom”
“If I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll eventually work something out. Something will come up. It will just fall into my lap (even though it hasn’t and i’ve been doing the same thing for years)”
Do you see how we can rationalise our behaviours? Even if we’re not expressing these to ourselves, on some level we’re using these beliefs as a way to keep ourselves safe and ultimately self sabotage.
So what causes self-sabotaging behaviour?
That's what we're tackling in today's episode + some ways to nip self sabotage in the bud.
You might not know this about me but before I starting blogging as the Creative Introvert, I had a blog called - wait for it - Cat Food is Good For You.
It was mostly about my food philosophy - my quest to find the perfect diet, the perfect exercise regime and perfect everything really. I was really into health in a big way. So many great things came out of that blog, and it’s where I think I found my voice and my way of expressing myself at least through the written word.
It was also when I started listening to podcasts, many of which I’ve traded in now for less-health oriented shows, but Zestology is one that I still insist on listening to when it comes to optimising all different aspects a healthy, happy life.
Tony Wrighton is the host of Zestology, and as much as I love the guests he interviews, he is reason I listen and recommend his show to so many people.
I was lucky enough to get to interview Tony for today’s podcast - and - even more of a treat - this interview took place on a very sunny morning in an unusually quiet park in London.
More info here: http://www.thecreativeintrovert.com/
I had made the heady decision on New Years Day to book plane tickets to Japan, signalling my no-way-backing-out-now decision to leave my safety bubble that was my 9-5 job as a web designer in London.
It also signalled the start of my 6-month experiment: be a Freelancer.
Spoiler alert: the experiment went well and I am still working for myself.
But… it was not an easy 6 months. In fact, the years following weren’t exactly a walk in the empty-introvert-friendly-park either.
Like this report shows, many freelancers feel less secure financially - and the pay brackets show this - than being full-time.
Despite the fact that going solo, either freelancing or setting up your own biz, may be the dream for many introverts who can’t abide the office life: it does come with it’s own challenges.
That’s what I want to spend this episode tackling.
Now I touched on one of the biggest sticking points in episode 031 - The Troubleshooting Guide for the Demotivated - which is, you guessed it, dealing with the issue of motivation when you work for yourself.
And naturally, I recommend that particularly if you’ve been freelancing or WFY for some time.
But today is more like a… primer. May be for those who are considering cutting loose from the 9-5 and fancy themselves as a one-man (or woman) band.
Why is knowing what's important to us - er - important?
I mean, can’t we just accept that this life is random, may be even predetermined and nothing we do is of any real importance?
Er - well, if thinking that helps you: go for it. But if you’re not of the nihilistic ilk then you’re probably looking for a bit more.
There’s something funny about us humans that seems to separate us from the other creatures we cohabit the earth with: We really like having a purpose.
We prioritise aspects of our lives in terms of what’s important to us, and mostly, act accordingly.
When we have a ‘why’ we can do some incredible things.
But what if you are reading this right now and don’t know what you want, or what’s next for you? You might be at a transition point, or trying to make some tough life decisions.
That’s what I’m going to spend this podcast episode helping you work out.
Rather than take this grand theory of Maslow’s as a blanket rule, I want to get specific, and actionable - and leave you with a way to live your life that is in alignment with what matter most to you.
(I’ve also made a handy little workbook to help you work through the method I outline in the show and figure out what MATTERS MOST to you.)
May be this was just my experience. May be it happens to everyone as they grown up, fly the nest and have to start getting by on their own two feet.
For me, someone who thought themselves as naturally motivated to perform well, focus on whatever task I had at hand, and get things done: I woke up to a bit of a shock when I graduated from uni and got stuck into my first job.
This was actually an unpaid internship - and looking back, I don’t blame myself for not feeling particularly motivated.
Other than my deeply engrained good-girl fears of ‘being told off’ I had nothing to motivate me to go above and beyond.
Now, none of this was a major problem until I started working for myself.
Don’t get me wrong: I was living the dream. I got to shun that ‘oh god it’s Monday!’ feeling. I could stay up late on a Sunday night. Heck, I could stay up late any night!
I was the boss of me.
This was super fun! For… may be a month? That’s when I began to notice feelings that would become frequent visitors over the course of my freelance career:
Ung.. I don’t want to get out of bed - why should I bother?
What’s the point - nothing I do even works! No one wants what I make.
What the fuck should I do today? I have so much to do - I don’t know what to do!
And introverted dream aside, I was starting to feel lonely and isolated - no one could relate to what I was going through.
After all, I chose this. I asked for this dream - it was my responsibility that it had become a bit of a nightmare.
I was one demotivated creative introvert.
So this episode may not be useful for every single person listening: you might be in a full time job and very happy with your productivity thank you very much - but may be not. You might be trying to get a side-gig, a passion project off the ground in your free time and are struggling to motivate yourself and get it going.
Or you’re a freelancer who knows if they don’t get their act together, this month’s bills are going to be left unpaid. Or worse - you’ll have to go and get a ‘real job’ again.
My aim is to share what I’ve learned in my time as freelancer and solopreneur. What to do when you’re feeling unfocussed, demotivated and well, a bit depressed.
Well, I’ve been there and I know how painful it can feel. Now, we’re going to change that. We’re going to do this as a super tactical, super doable troubleshooting guide for the demotivated creative introvert.
Todays guest is kind of a big deal.
And not just because she’s a New York Times best selling author, or because she was voted as one of the Guardian’s Top 100 Creative Professionals of the Year or any of her other awards and accolades - Joanna Penn is a big freakin deal because it was her podcast - the Creative Penn - that was responsible for me entertaining the idea that one day, may be I too could have a podcast.
Ok - so may be that’s just why she’s a big deal to me. But if you aren’t already a fan of JP - her books, blog or podcast - then I’m willing to bet you will be by the end of this interview.
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten with a ball of yarn (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)
If you've done much research into what introversion actually is, you might have also come across terms like 'highly sensitive person' or have read that introverts are more sensitive to stimulus in the environment than the more extroverted humans among us.
You might have even come across the term ‘high sensation seeking’ and got wildly confused because how can someone super sensitive to sensation ALSO be a bit of a sensation junky??
But this is where the science-backed brain studies and pop psychology folklore gets muddled - and in this week's episode of the Creative Introvert Podcast, I'm going to clear this confusion up - once and for all!
Or at least attempt to ;)
If you leave a review of the Creative Introvert Podcast on iTunes by September 1st 2017, you will be in the mix to win ONE MONTH of creative coaching from myself.
All you have to do is...
1) Leave a review by going to this podcast page in the iTunes store, and
2) Shoot me an email telling me just so I know which review is yours!
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Jasmine Star - photographer, branding expert and all round SUPERSTAR!
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten with a ball of yarn (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.
Well, let's start with what I mean by journaling.
Bujo’s (bullet journals) are incredibly popular on Instagram and the internet at large, but this is not what I’m talking about here.
I’m talking long-form, ideally handwritten, dear-diary style writing.
I’ve been heavily influenced by the concept of Morning Pages, a term used by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.
While the overall book is more of a 12-step program for recovering creatives who’ve, well lost there way and need to get back on the art-making band wagon, it’s this practise of Morning Pages that are at it’s core, and that most people I’ve spoken to benefitted most from.
Morning pages described by Julia:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.
And even if the Artists Way approach - which is very much inspired by God and the 12-step AA process - isn’t for you - there are tonnes of left-brainy people out there who recommend journalling - including fellow INTJ Tim Ferriss - you only need to google the term ‘Morning Pages’ to see a whole host of people raving about them.
But the underlying premise is this: journalling is a powerful tool for unlocking creativity, making sense of your own crazy thoughts, and I’m convinced is the number one backbone of my day - above meditation, even.
Yeah I said it.
Even when I’m on holiday or totally thrown off track, I can make time to journal before any of my other life-hacky routines and habits.
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Diary Of Samuel Pepys
Captain Scott's Last Expedition by Robert Falcon Scott
A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
Conversations With Myself by Nelson Mandela
Runaway by Evelyn Lau
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
The Intimate Journal by George Sand
The Journals of Sylvia Plath
Julia Cameron's Morning Pages
My habit tracking worksheet example:
I’ve compiled my epic compendium of 70 journal prompts as a downloadable, print-ready resource for you, which you can grab for FREE below!
You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a clam (or sob into my pillow depending on what you write.)