It’s been almost 7 years since Tom and Donna of Parks and Rec gave us the greatest holiday of all time: Treat Yo Self. While I am definitely an advocate and celebrate this holiday, I updated my “Treat Yo Self” version for 2018: “Invest In Yo Self.”
Deciding that 2018 would be the year of investing more in myself, one of the things I looked into was where and how I was spending my time. A little over a year ago, I made it a point to either try to read a news article or blog, for personal development, to catch up on current events, or be more informed, rather than catch up on my social media news feeds. This kind of digital detox really allowed me to focus more on what was important to me, and truly be able to control what I would consume in terms of media.
As part of ARTLABguide, these upcoming posts will be an ongoing series of tools and resources that can help you make the best investment — the one you make in yourself. In my last post, I mentioned I’ve come to learn that business development is as much about self-development, or as Gary Vee says self-awareness. Much of what could be roadblocks, or as what Tony Robbins calls “chokeholds to overcome”, to getting where you want to be, are more about our own psychology, and getting our mind right. I would even go on to say, getting other things right (mind, body, spirit) for our own self-care and self-love. While no one is certainly perfect (I know Queen Bey has her off days, too), we can still be the best version of ourselves. So while I wholeheartedly think Tom and Donna were on to something, consider “Invest In Yo Self” their unofficial epilogue.
As we are way into the second half of this year, it’s not too late to re-visit any dusty resolutions or goals you jotted down in your journal (er, Notes App) for 2018 — or heck, let’s be honest, it could be for 2017, or even years before, this is a judgment-free zone. Take a real assessment of where you are right now, especially if you stumbled upon this post, you might be wondering what steps you could take toward your own self-investment.
For 2018, here are what jump-started not only my creative career but my own personal development: podcasts. I know, I know — you might think I was living under a rock since 2004, but it’s only been within the past couple of years that podcasts have really started to catch like wildfire (more on that at the end of this article). And certainly, I’d like to chalk it up to synchronicity that I got hooked on them this year, but I definitely think my 1.5-hour commute was a catalyst — especially when you have to keep yourself from cultivating some deep road rage being stuck in some serious LA afternoon rush hour traffic trying to head home after a day’s work.
So if you’d like to find some zen during your daily grind, and contribute to your own self-development, be it creative, business or otherwise — here’s an awesome starter list.
After reading Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic”, I didn’t even realize I was diving into the world of “podcasts” at the time since I thought the podcast more of a companion to the book. If you’ve read “Big Magic,” it’s a wonderful resource in which I feel like it’s Gilbert’s love letter to Julia Cameron’s, “The Artist’s Way”, which inspired her “Eat, Pray, Love” journey and then book. In a nutshell, you could watch Liz Gilbert’s TED talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius”, but Big Magic deep dives into this topic. The Magic Lessons podcasts are then a series of episodes where Liz interviews artists who have written to her for creative career advice. What I like most about this series is that Liz calls upon her awesome network of friends and fellow creatives, and their stories and experiences help shape each artist’s unique advice. By the end of each episode, she even follows up with each artist to check in on their progress.
This is the podcast started my serious listening. At the beginning of this year, I found myself on Medium, A LOT (no surprise as to why I chose to blog on this platform), thanks to Google searches about productivity and learning new skills. And I’m sure many of you are quite familiar with the infinite rabbit holes of the interwebs. Through one of those rabbit holes, I came across some amazing content about creativity and productivity from writer Srini Rao. Some of my favorite articles at the time were about your informal educationafter finishing school and “What We Should Have Learned in School But never did.” It wasn’t long before I saw that he had a podcast, The Unmistakable Creative, which has an archive of over 500 episodes, with new ones launched each week. He interviews all walks of life, and you will gain invaluable insight from some of the tops in their field, such as business, art & design, writing, finance, you name it. Through Srini’s podcast, I’ve found the works of so many other creatives and entrepreneurs, many of whom have their own wealth of free resources to help you get started.
Not long after I found the Unmistakable Creative, I went through more rabbit holes of researching podcasts for designers and creatives. It didn’t take long for CPT to become one of my favorite podcasts, and Andy J. Miller aka Andy J. Pizza / Dr. Pizza passionately delivers creative pep (quirks and all) to his Pepperonis (CPT listeners/fans) every week: everything from motivation, creative career advice, business and marketing strategies — basically a full arsenal of tools to help you thrive in your career and sustain your creative endeavors. Dr. Pizza interviews other designers and creatives and has a ton of series that go in-depth on particular topics, whether it be about your creative career path, creative process, or how to arm up your social media content marketing strategies.
Around the same time I came across CPT, I also became a quick fan of Manchester graphic designer, Ian Paget, aka the Logo Geek. While doing research for logo projects, I came across his blog and articles on Creative Bloq, I was happy to find that he had a podcast as well. Not only has he done some incredible logo work, but the designers he hosts on the show range from those that are in the top of their field to emerging freelancers. His interviews with them are thought-provoking and value-packed with inspiring career advice. Ian provides an amazing resource into the business of design having interviewed some designers and entrepreneurs I’ve followed for some time. He recently just launched the podcast’s third season, and after binge-listening through previous seasons, I’ve discovered other creatives, entrepreneurs, and design agencies through his podcast.
One of the interviews that struck a huge chord with me from the Logo Geek podcast was with Chris Do of The Futur and Blind Agency in LA. Not only did he speak about the relevant topic of how to charge more for your designs, he spoke about his innovative approach to teaching design and the business of design online. The Futur podcast provides an audio experience to their killer YouTube content, everything from online courses, work critiques, portfolio teardowns, documenting class lectures, to major interviews and one on one sessions with emerging designers.
After learning more about entrepreneurship and the business of design, from The Futur, I started looking into more business-minded podcasts. The next couple of podcasts are from some serious heavyweights and probably don’t even need any introduction. I’d seen their short posts or even product/service ads on Facebook, but never fully engaged with the content until watching their videos on YouTube and listening to their podcasts.
Not only has he written the book (on) “Crushing It”, he lives it. Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee personifies bravado in his talks and in the content he produces, and though that might come off as too much alpha male energy, he’s got as much heart as he is in-your-face-blunt about what it is to be an entrepreneur, what it takes (the stomach, as he calls it), and on-point tactics. I first came across Gary Vee on FaceBook and really appreciated his tell-it-like-it-is approach. On the show, he’s got interviews, he documents meetings and his talks, delivers bite-sized laser-focused content, and always delivers. Gary speaks from real experience, being front and center in the trenches of the entrepreneurial grind, and has launched a multi-million dollar business for his father’s family wine business, all before launching his own empire and helping a mass of others. My biggest takeaways are his preaching about self-awareness and patience.
Is there something in the Jersey water? It’s no coincidence I came by Marie Forleo much like the same way as I did with Gary Vee because she was a refreshing new voice in Oprah’s movement with OWN’s SuperSoul Sunday. Her approach is super practical, funky, and just hilariously entertaining (I don’t know anyone else who can deliver “art’s like Swiffer for your soul”). She packs so much into her invaluable content, with her Q&A’s, interviews, and quick tips, Marie is totally rockin’ it on the show along with her own courses/programs at B-School and The Copy Cure, just to name a few things she’s up to.
“And remember, we can talk about making a difference, we can make a difference, or we can do both.”
— Debbie Millman
The first podcast on design, it is award-winning and still going strong, show host Debbie Millman is a force working as a designer, author, educator, and brand strategist (working with some of the biggest brands at Sterling Brands), Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts, editorial/creative director of Print Magazine, president emeritus of AIGA, author of six books, and she’s totally down to earth to boot. She’s made an art out of interviewing her guests to have them share their own life’s design. You can also catch the host sharing her own incredible stories on CPT and from the Tim Ferriss Show, definitely some game-changing episodes, especially when she talks about her 10-year plan assignment at SVA, a take on Milton Glaser’s 5-year plan approach.
When I was on my digital detox, and taking on reading more news, I stumbled upon the lady bosses of The Skimm, with their new approach to delivering news and current events through email marketing, Learning more about Co-founders and co-CEOs, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg company, which they literally started from their couch, their podcast, Skimm’d from the Couch, brings it back full circle. Carly and Danielle interview other female entrepreneurs about their careers, how they got to where are they are, all their ups and downs, or as they say, “No BS, no sugarcoating.”
While researching email marketing tips and wanting to know more about being a solopreneur, I came across Paul Jarvis and his work about running a minimalist business. (By the way, from a design perspective, I completely respect and love his refreshingly minimalist website as well.) After reading more articles about freelancing, the Creative Class soon became my next binge-worthy podcast, since Paul and Kaleigh Moore (a freelance writer for SaaS and eCommerce brands), do a fantastic job in fitting so much in short bite-sized episodes, covering career advice, challenging topics in money, imposter syndrome, networking, and more. I’m already looking forward to the next season and checking out Creative Class as an online course.
While there are a ton of others, these are the ones I come back to constantly, as these podcasters update pretty regularly. The ones I list here barely scratch the surface as I am continuing to dig deeper and find more shows that resonate with creativity, entrepreneurship, freelancing and self-development. I hope this list encourages you to find and create your own list of favorites. Feel free to suggest any shows or episodes in the comments below!
Side note: If you’re interested in reading more about the recent rise of podcasts or even how to start one, you can check out these posts: