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The Power of Play in Innovation

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The answer isn’t always to work harder.

In fact, as creatives, hard work gets in our way sometimes.

Think about where and when you and your team have had the best ideas. Read more…

SXSW 2015 – Writing Your Next Act

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I was honored to be chosen to speak at SXSW this year.

Writing Your Next Act was a full session attended by a diverse audience of restless, successfuls looking for the next step in their career. A great reminder that we all experience transitions in our work, passions, and focus. The question is – are you leveraging your transitions to get you where you want to go?

We’ll share the video when it’s ready, but if you are curious about the specific content, you can click here for a summary.

Why It Isn’t Your Job to Make People Happy

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overfunctioning

Happiness isn’t everything. Especially in how you lead.

Is it important to help build happiness? Yes. Is it the main thing that matters? No.

Your No. 1 job is to engage your people. Trying to make them happy and engaging them are two very different things.

We don’t always have perfect contentment, ease and satisfaction at work. And, really, we shouldn’t: Read more…

How Do You Gain Success at the Top?

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Come to Life

Here’s something you probably didn’t predict about your career when you started out: Midway through, with plenty of success behind you, you’re still looking for your path.

The secret that no one tells you? It’s totally up to you to figure it out.

The landscape of the work world is a lot different than it was when you first started out. Companies that still lay out succession paths of how you can move up are few and far between.

Who you are — and what you need to do to keep succeeding — is different, too. At this stage, your success is less about how you execute and more about how you manage relationships and make things happen.

So you’re in charge of the path. What does that mean for you now? Read more…

The Crappy Part About Passion

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Passion_Commitment

We like to talk a lot about following our passions. What we mention a lot less, though, is that passion can mean suffering.

I was recently watching Todd Henry’s talk “Be Creative Under Pressure” from the 3% Conference. The whole video is worth a watch, but one part especially stuck with me: He talks about the Latin root for the word passion: to suffer or to endure.

Think about people, things and ideas you’ve been passionate about in the last few years. Now, can you think of the suffering that accompanied those passions? Read more…

The Year of Refinement

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Priorities

Sometimes we think we have to do a lot or change a lot to get where we want to go. But lately a different approach has made a big impact for both me and my clients. The best part? It doesn’t involve looking outside of yourself for solutions.

I decided that 2015 would be my Year of Refinement. And I’m talking about refinement in all its meanings. Read more…

Get More Sleep (and Creativity)

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Sleep. On the one hand, we talk longingly about it like it’s sex or dinner at a four-star restaurant. On the other hand, we brag about how hard we work, how little we sleep and how caffeinated we stay just to get everything done. We read with awe about super-productive people, from startup founders to music stars, who insist they only need four hours of sleep, and we think that should be us, too.

But as more and more research shows how powerfully sleep affects our brains, the clearer it becomes that we’re actually being counterproductive with all the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” machismo.

Working late might look impressive, but how much are you really getting done when you labor long hours — and how good is the work you’re producing? Read more…

How to Get Your Company to Invest in Your Development

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One question we get asked over and over again, is, “How do I get my boss or my company to pay for my training and development opportunities?”

Entitlement=ambition without the context. The Creative Executive

Ongoing training and professional development benefit you, certainly, but they also benefit your team and your company at large. Helping your managers imagine the future potential is essential to getting them to invest in your growth. Being strategic in your ask will go a long way. Here are six things to think about before you have the conversation.
Read more…

Something to Look Forward to All Winter Long

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It’s December.  The holidays are here in full force.  How do you feel?  Is the gratitude practice working?  Still feeling pulled in a million directions?  Like there isn’t enough time to catch your breath, let alone do all of the things you’ve planned?

And, just to ratchet up the tension a little bit more, this is the time of year when most of us start thinking about our next year–our big plans, our goals, our gotta-make-it-happen’s for 2015.

We have a solution to help you focus.  Read more…

Meditation Matters

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The New York Times recently featured an article touting the benefits of meditation and looking at how the worlds of business, networking and meditation are all converging. But more importantly, this article was on the front page of the Style section.

Now as a journalism major/ex-dotcommer/Pilates teacher and studio owner/sustainability consultant/entrepreneur/breast cancer survivor/meditation teacher, all with a consistent and underlying minor obsession with all things style and fashion, this was beyond exciting for me. It was as if all my worlds were coming together in the New York Times Style section – the epitome of external validation.

But while I love spreading the good word  of meditation and its benefits, if there is anything that the past two years have taught me it’s that this external validation doesn’t define who we are Read more…

The Creative Executive Reflects on the Best of 2014
Part Deux

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We’re beginning Part Two of our Best of 2014 list with, well, lists. A big part of creative inspiration is discovering the peers whose stories, bright thinking, and advice we can all learn from. Here is a recap of our best-of lists from 2014: Read more…

The Creative Executive Reflects on the Best of 2014
Part One

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I love this time of year. From celebrating friends and family, to taking much needed time away, to preparing for the year ahead – it’s an amazing time to reflect and to look forward.

So as 2015 approaches, we wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite articles (both original and ones we discovered) and resources for Creative Executives. Read more…

How Empathy, Connection, and Trust Enhance Creativity

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Today we welcome a guest blogger with some serious creativity cred. Melinda Rothouse is the founder of Austin Writing Coach and the co-founder of Syncreate. Based in Austin, Texas, she’s a writing, creativity and communications coach and consultant. She brings to her work a background that spans everything from music to Buddhist meditation. Melinda is working on her doctorate in psychology with a specialization in creativity studies at Saybrook University in San Francisco. We’re so grateful she had time to share some thoughts on creativity and connection with us.

Why do some creative partnerships and working relationships thrive, while others crash and burn, or simply stall out? What qualities should you look for in people or organizations that you choose to collaborate with, and continue to work with over time? Read more…

Thanksgiving Love

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acknowledgment

You know how November goes.

An eye blink from now, we’ll be in the holiday whirl of shopping, traveling, eating, drinking and gathering.

And then it’s the end of the year. Already. I know.

Before it all starts, I invite you to reclaim Thanksgiving as a time to get some perspective and connect with others.

We pay a lot of lip service to gratitude this time of year. But I want to invite you to take it deeper. Read more…

Mind Bone: Turn Your Work Mode Off and Turn Your Creativity Up

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inspiration

We all need creative inspiration.

Whether you are in the process of making great ideas come to life or finding yourself experiencing idea fatigue and needing some mojo, staying dialed into what inspires you creatively is key.

In this month’s list we’re highlighting some of our favorite reporters and resources for just that – creative inspiration. Some will have you thinking more strategically about your creative teams, but most will have you entertained with stimulating “mind bones.” No matter your creative yearning, we’re sure there is something on this list for everyone! Read more…

Creative Leadership in Action:
Aaron Burgess, Director of Content
PayPal’s User Experience Design (UED) Group

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Great ideas can be fleeting, fragile things at first. They need a protector to grow and thrive — and sometimes even appear at all.

That’s you, Creative Executive.

“Most of us have tons of great ideas throughout the day, but without a sounding board or platform, we may shrug off these ideas as whimsy,” says Aaron Burgess, director of content for the User Experience Design Group — and a protector of ideas — at PayPal.

Based in Austin, Texas, Burgess leads a couple dozen content designers and video producers and works with colleagues across six states and four continents. While he admits that he’s never really off the clock, he also points out that his “work rarely feels like work,” and that his life beyond PayPal includes skateboarding (“I think my wife and my knees would prefer I stuck to a safer form of exercise”), meditating, going for runs to the sounds of Minor Threat and Slayer and starting to make stuff again. He’ll tell us more about that in this Creative Leadership in Action interview, where he also delves into building culture, nurturing ideas and creativity and forgiving yourself. Read more…

What’s Your Impact?

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Your leadership can make all the difference in you and your team’s experience of work, resiliency through tough times, and how a mission and vision can be actualized in the day-to-day.

Here are some things to think about…

– The things you know about leading powerfully
– Things that get in the way of you being effective
– How to persuade and share your ideas with others

You have the opportunity to share your leadership gifts with the worlds you encounter. Remember that gift has great power.  Use it for good.

Inspire, Move, Transform: Top Resources for Honing Your Pitch

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Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend a 5-day intensive training that helped participants shape their own narrative and hone their presenting skills. It was transformational (more on that to come), but it also got me thinking about the influential leaders out there who help creative leaders become better speakers. Read more…

10 Mistakes That Sink Creative Executives

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Every Creative Executive’s path to success looks different. But the mistakes that knock us off course are universal, and easy to get caught in. Do these sound familiar? Read more…

What Do Great Creative Leaders Know?

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Being a Creative Executive can get pretty intense. You’re rallying others, and reaching for your best, every day in the quest to make something great. You need a support structure, and we think it’s these five pieces of knowledge. Read more…

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