I believe in the benefits of mindfulness and simplicity.
Less, but better.
Yet, to an outside observer, these past couple months might tell a different story.
Two simple words encapsulate my mindset as of late:
On top of the day-to-day tasks that keep SPYR and BYLT humming along, I’ve been doing quite a bit:
- I’ve put together a mini podcast studio in my home office/gym.
- I’ve been hosting, recording, and mastering 2 new podcasts, with a 3rd on the way.
- I’ve been shooting, editing, and making some cameos in YouTube videos.
- I started sending our long-neglected email newsletter and have had some wonderful, deep conversations.
- I briefly started using social media again.
- I’ve been helping build a new business from the ground up.
Well, it’s been 8 weeks…and I’m exhausted.
But despite the exhaustion, and at times overwhelm, I feel invigorated.
I want to do more.
The things that I’ve added to my life have added stress, but rather than the familiar distress, they’ve instead added eustress. Eustress is “a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being.”
Working out is a common example of eustress. We place stress on our muscles to improve our performance.
Similarly, these recent months have been working my creative muscle.
If you’ve spent any time in the health and wellness sphere, you’ve likely heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is characterized by alternating periods of intense exercise with brief periods of rest.
I take a similar approach when change is on the horizon. I call it High Intensity Interval Creating.
HIIC consists of brief bouts of intense creative time, followed by long stretches of normal daily life.
Just as HIIT improves our physical resiliency, HIIC improves our adaptive resilience; our ability to handle whatever life throws at us and our ability to roll with the punches.
High Intensity Interval Creating is a technique I turn to whenever I’m asking What’s next?
We can contemplate, pontificate, and become an idea machine, but a deep understanding of who we are and what we want comes from experience.
We gain experience by taking action.
Whenever you feel like you’re at an inflection point without a clear answer as to what’s next, I propose that you set aside some time to create.
It can be as little as an hour a day for a few days, but as you embark on these creative workouts you may begin to find that that hour becomes two, or that the days become weeks.
Lean in and see where it takes you. Keep what works and discard the rest.
The way you spend your HIIC time should be unique to you. Don’t merely choose something because you think you should be doing it or because it might be a way to make some money. And definitely don’t choose something just because it’ll get likes on social media.
Instead, start with one of the things that you’ve said you’d do “one day” and then move on to the next.
High Intensity Interval Creating is comprised of four steps:
- Do things.
- Do more things.
Just remember that one of the key aspects of HIIC is the Interval. To go, go, go with no end in sight is a recipe for burnout. High Intensity Interval Creating is a brief sprint, not a marathon.
Just be sure that HIIC remains a tool rather than your default setting and it will serve you well.
As I mentioned above, part of my HIIC has involved starting multiple podcasts. For many years, podcasting has been one of the things that I told myself I’d start “one day.”
Well, one day starts today, or should I say it’s Starting Now.
As of today, the first episode of my brand new show, Starting Now, is available wherever you listen to podcasts. It’s the show that I wanted to create specifically for you and the rest of the BYLT community.
Starting Now is a show about change, resilience, and your next big idea.
In each episode, I speak with an entrepreneur about their journey to unpack what worked, what didn’t work, and to reveal the timeless truths that can help you get started on your idea.
If you’ve been enjoying these emails, then I think you’ll love the show.
In the first episode I speak with Brian Gardner, the founder of StudioPress and the creator of the Genesis Theme for WordPress.
In our conversation, we talk about how he started his one-person side hustle, how it grew to dozens of employees, and, finally, what it’s like to go from founder to contractor after the sale of a company. We also get a tiny sneak peek at what he’s up to now and his next big idea.
Since my podcasting skills are in their infancy, hitting publish was a far bigger hurdle than I’d care to admit, but nevertheless I’m starting now.
My hope is that this podcast, in its small way, will help you hit publish and get started on your next idea.
Just remember that with any new endeavor doubt creeps in because our taste invariably exceeds our skill. I’ve yet to find anyone who’s articulated this better than Ira Glass. I hope you find his words as inspiring as I do.
Nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish somebody had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? It’s not that great. It’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?
A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point, they quit. And the thing I would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be — they knew it fell short, it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have.
And the thing I would say to you is everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase — you gotta know it’s totally normal.
And the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work — do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, or every month, you know you’re going to finish one story. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. It takes a while, it’s gonna take you a while — it’s normal to take a while. And you just have to fight your way through that, okay?—Ira Glass