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I’ve compiled a list of common myths creative people perpetuate. Many people repeat these myths to themselves, and often offer them as advice to others. I want to talk about why they are misconceptions and how you can change your mindset.

It’s rapid fire and we don’t slow down in this episode (well, except for the unexpected yoga bit). It’s chock-full and jam-packed. Unofficially, we’re calling it the “Gold Nugget” episode.

Show Notes
  • 1. I don’t have time.
  • 02:46 You’re saying you “don’t have time,” but you do have time. Everyone has the exact same amount of time and you’re doing certain things with your time.
  • 03:17 The first thing people do is list off their excuses. You talk about how much you have on your plate and how many responsibilities you have, but guess what? Everyone has responsibilities. You have to stop focusing on what opportunities and availabilities you think someone else has that you don’t and start focusing on the things you can actually change.
  • 03:56 “What are some things you can actually change?” The things you can change are the things that you are doing with your time.
  • You won’t ever find time, you can only make time.

    You make time by giving up something else.

  • 05:13 Comparing yourself to other people doesn’t get you anywhere. You’re still in the same place, the only difference is you have a list of excuses.
  • 06:48 Looking at someone else’s situation and saying they have it better or they have less on their plate doesn’t get you anywhere.
  • 08:04 Time is not going to fall into your lap. You’re not just going to find or discover it. You’re not going to find time automatically, you’re going to fill it automatically. The only way is to make time. You have to schedule time. Stop waiting for the time to come to you and set aside the time for what you want to do.
  • “I wish I could play guitar like him. If only I had the time.”

    Well, what are you giving up to make that happen?

  • 10:01 Those who are doing awesome things aren’t blessed with 25 hours in a day. They sacrifice. They make time.
  • 2. I’m just not motivated today.
  • 10:26 “I’m just not really feeling the passion for this thing right now, y’know man?” – hippy dude voice.
  • 10:58 I have news for you: If you’re neglecting your passion, then it’s not important to you.
  • 11:06 We do the things that are important to us. The things that are important to us don’t need to be prioritized—we’re already doing them.
  • 11:31 If you’re not doing one thing, it’s because something else is more important to you.
  • “What am I NOT doing to make something more important possible?”

  • 12:16 Setting aside time every single day is critical. Pursuing your passion has to be a thing that you do. You do it because it’s what you do. Not because you feel like it, not because you have the inspiration for it, not because you’re feeling motivated today, but because it’s what you do.
  • 3. I don’t have the talent.
  • 12:47 “That guy’s just got a knack for it. I just wasn’t born with the ability to do what he does.”
  • 17:53 Everybody has to work hard to become excellent at something. You don’t need talent.
  • 18:00 Hard work beats natural talent that doesn’t work hard.
  • 4. I’ll never be as good as…
  • 19:01 You’re basically saying “I’m not good enough.” What are your standards? What were your goals before you decided the results were not “good enough”? What are you comparing to? Evaluate your expectations.
  • 21:10 This is one of those “if you believe it, then it’s true” things.
    If you think you’ll never be as good as someone else, then you never will be.
  • 21:33 The mature person won’t focus on being better than someone else, but being the best that they can be.
  • 21:46 It’s about being better than your current self. It’s about beating your own records, it’s about defeating your own laziness.
  • 5. There’s just too much competition.
  • 22:31 “I’m just one more person doing this thing.”
  • 23:54 Even in a small niche, there’s going to be a group of people who identify with your specific expression of that thing. The more clear you make that unique expression, the easier it’s going to be for them to find you.
  • 24:16 Also, it’s a really huge world.
  • 24:22 Just a reminder: There really aren’t that many people, relatively, doing awesome things online. That’s hard to remember when you’re in a bubble of awesomeness and following the cream of the crop, but truly, if you pour your heart into making something really great, you’re already in the top 10%. The vast majority of the world cannot do what you can do, and of those who can, most are sitting around consuming.
  • As soon as you make the choice to flip the switch from consumer to producer, you position yourself as an influencer.

  • 27:05 4,000 people. $1 million.
  • 6. I need to take whatever work I can get.
  • 31:32 People often tell you to take what you can get when you’re just starting out. This is bad advice.
  • 32:04 The switch that happens.
  • 32:16 You do not want to chase clients (because of the rule of reciprocity) and you do not want to just take on anything.
  • There is no magic point you reach where you are able to be selective with clients.

    You are able to be selective by practicing selectivity.

  • 33:00 “But what about in the beginning when I don’t have any clients?”
  • 33:10 That’s Scarcity Mindset (Related: e056 Eliminating Scarcity Mindset & Recalibrating Your Perspective).
  • 33:38 You can’t start by working with the wrong type of clients and expect that road to eventually lead to good clients and good projects. They are two different directions.
  • 34:35 The only way you can create distance between yourself and Scarcity Mindset is by using The Overlap Technique. You have to protect yourself. You can’t allow yourself to compromise on your morals, your process, or your rate. Scarcity Mindset only ever breeds more of the same. You won’t ever get ahead of it.
  • 35:02 Even big, well-known companies can be bullies. If it’s all about working with the big client to you, you will compromise.
  • 7. Just make the client happy.
  • 36:17 No. It’s about solving problems.
  • 37:32 You are not designing for the client, you are designing for the client’s customers.
  • 38:00 When you present the design solution, you tell the client what the design accomplishes. You never say, “What do you think?”
  • 38:44 You should know if the design is good because it’s supposed to solve a certain set a problems. It’s not supposed to solve someone’s subjective, preferential whims (aka the client’s “happiness”).
  • 38:58 The One Concept Approach. Design professionals don’t provide multiple options, they provide an objective design solution.
  • 39:21 If a designer has arrived at two concepts, his work is not done. Design is an iterative process. You start with many ideas and you continually refine. You dismiss the less effective ideas and distill down to the one that best serves the project goals.
  • 39:40 It is the designer’s job to establish a process that concludes with the most effective concept. If a designer cannot determine which of two remaining concepts most effectively serves the project goals, then they are not to the point where they should be taking on clients.
  • 8. It’s the client’s fault.
  • 40:12 Everything is your fault.
  • 40:32 The definition of a professional is someone who is actively seeking and acquiring responsibility.
  • 40:49 A novice will consistently try to put blame off on someone else. A professional seeks responsibility.
  • 40:58 When something goes wrong, you are actively looking for places where you can take responsibility for that having gone wrong. Something in your process could have prevented this problem from happening—find it, or implement it.
  • 41:03 Responsibility vs. Blame.
  • You, as the professional, are responsible for every single problem that occurs.

  • 42:14 Something in your process could have prevented this problem from happening—find that and fix it. Implement a solution, iterate, and move on.
  • 42:38 Nothing is the client’s fault. If you’re trying to blame someone, you’re a novice.
  • 42:42 This is going to be really hard for some people to hear right now. That means that you’re not mature in your professionalism. You’re not there yet. If you can be objective, if you can be mature, if you can come outside yourself and outside your ego, and actively look for something that you could have done to prevent this problem, you will find it every time.
  • 43:42 No one can be a client unless you take them on.
  • 44:01 The only reason there are “bad clients” in the world is because bad designers took them on. Not a single one of them could be a client unless someone took them on.
  • There’s no such thing as clients from hell because only designers from hell take on those type of clients.

  • 44:18 Every “client from hell” is a designer’s responsibility.
  • 9. My idea is valuable.
  • 44:30 Your idea is worthless (Related: e041 Your Idea is Worthless. The Sooner You Realize the Better.). A lot of people are afraid to announce their product launch ahead of time because they think their competitors will “steal” their precious idea.
  • 45:26 The problem is, when you don’t announce something, nobody else knows about it. You’ll launch to crickets.
  • 45:39 You shouldn’t be worried about competitors hearing about your ideas, you should be worrying about your customers never having heard of it. People don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency.
  • 45:59 Backwards-building products.
  • 46:36 The people that copy you can only ever be a step behind.
  • 47:56 We insulate ourselves from risk of failure by holding ideas in our mind because ideas are safe in our mind. They can’t fail in our mind, they’re insulated. We want to keep them there because they can’t fail. The problem is they can’t succeed either. We want to feel like ideas are valuable because it’s easier to hold onto an idea than it is to execute on it and find out that it wasn’t really a great idea.
  • 47:22 Ideas are multipliers of execution.
  • 48:13 “What if a competitor does release a comparable product sooner than me?”
  • 10. I’m just a “creative.”
  • 51:14 “I tried, but I’m just not a business guy. I just like to make things. I don’t do that contract or marketing stuff.”
  • 52:33 No! That’s lazy! You have to be willing to learn, you have to be willing to fail at stuff, you have to be willing to suck at stuff at first. You can’t just do one single thing and isolate yourself from everything else.
  • 52:55 “Can you delegate at all?” Of course you can delegate! We just did a whole 3-part series on growth scaling—growing your business through delegation (Related: e076 Growth Scaling Part 1 of 3: Systems & Superhero Syndrome).
  • 53:02 But you have to have a fundamental understanding of every aspect of your business. That means doing everything yourself at first before you’re able to effectively delegate it.
  • 53:36 That might mean learning PHP so you can better work with a developer. That might mean understanding postage. That might mean understanding accounting and taxes.
  • 53:51 Does that mean I can’t have someone do my fulfillment and shipping? No. Does that mean I can’t have an accountant? No. Does that mean I can’t have a developer? No. But you need to at least be able to understand these things.
  • 54:01 At least be willing to do them yourself. Do the hard work. Do the sales. Do the business. Understand the accounting. Build the website. Learn PHP. Brush up on your typography skills. Understand color theory. Put in the effort. Do some work on your marketing. Find out how to do conditional stuff with your email autoresponders.
  • 54:29 You have to be willing to learn. Unwillingness is not going to get you anywhere. If you’re looking for excuses, you will find them every single time.
  • 56:31 We’re built to work. We’re built to make things and find fulfillment in what we do.
  • 59:17 You don’t have to believe these myths. If you’re following people that say these things, unfollow them. Whatever you’re feeding yourself, whatever you’re reading, whatever you’re saying to yourself, whatever you’re saying to other people, you’re going to believe that. These are not true things, you don’t have to buy into them.