Brené Brown’s Inspiring Message to Writers, Designers and Every Other Creative Person in the World

If you ever struggle with the fear of putting yourself and your work out there in the world (as I do), you’d be well-served to invest 22 minutes watching this video. It’s a keynote address from Dr. Brené Brown speaking to creative professional at a 99U conference.

In this video, she offers several gems of wisdom for folks like us, including my favorite Theodore Roosevelt quote about critics, courage and perseverance. If you don’t have 22 minutes to spare, here’s her message in a nutshell:

“If you’re going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee, and that is, you will get your ass kicked … That’s the only certainty you have. If you’re going to go in the arena and spend any time in there whatsoever, especially if you’ve committed to creating in your life, you will get your ass kicked …

“Yea, it’s so scary to show up. It feels dangerous to be seen. It’s terrifying. But it’s not as scary, dangerous or terrifying as getting to the end of our lives and thinking, what if I would’ve shown up? What would’ve been different?”

5 Scientifically-Tested Ideas to Help You Get Back On-Track Toward Achieving Your Goals

So you got off-track with your goal. It happens. Behavior change takes time, and it takes persistence. Research on people who quit smoking, for example, shows that it takes several attempts before they finally quit for good. Beating yourself up over a short-term setback will only keep you stuck. Instead, forgive yourself completely, and use these five tips to start fresh today.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann … Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

10 Brilliant Examples of How to Open Your Next Blog Post With a Bang

“The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead. And if the second sentence doesn’t induce him to continue to the third sentence, it’s equally dead. Of such a progression of sentences, each tugging the reader forward until … safely hooked, a writer constructs that fateful unit: the lead.”

- William Zinsser, On Writing Well

bloggerWith respect, I must disagree with Mr. Zinsser. We all know the most important part of any article is the title. Without a compelling title, your reader won’t even get to the first sentence.

After the title, however, the first few sentences are certainly the most important part. Journalists call this critical introductory section the “lede,” and when properly executed, it’s the bridge that carries your reader from an attention-grabbing headline into the body of your blog post.

If you want to get it right, try one of these 10 clever ways to open your next blog post with a bang.

Michael Jordan on God-Given Talent

I realize this is a Nike commercial, but the message is no less inspiring to me.

“Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I led you to believe it was easy, when it wasn’t … Maybe I led you to believe that basketball was a God-given gift, and not something I worked for every single day of my life.”

- Michael Jordan

Is “Grit” the Key to Long-Term Success? Angela Lee Duckworth Explains

In this brief TedTalk (approx. 6 minutes), psychology researcher Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth explains her theory of “grit” as a key predictor of success in life.

“In all those very different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ.

It was grit.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality.

Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Steve Jobs on Focus and Innovation

“Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff … People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

Steve Jobs