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PP 171: 3 Crucial Lessons for Your Creative Pursuits During & Post-Quarantine

Perspective Podcast Episode 171 Artwork by Scotty Russell | Perspective Collective

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3 Crucial Lessons for Your Creative Pursuits During & Post Quarantine

Life has been a rollercoaster since shit started hitting the fan in early March.

If you’re like I am, your entire routine was tossed to the curb, flattened by a 18-wheeler big rig truck, and finally washed into the sewers with rats and poop (and hopefully washes by the Ninja Turtles hideout den).

There’s no doubt about it, I thrive off routine.

So having to find a new quarantined routine has been an uphill grind.

I’ve learned A LOT about myself during the process of having to respond, adapt, and evolve when adversity caught me and my family with an uppercut to the chin.

So today, I’m giving you 3 Crucial Lessons for Your Creative Business During & Post Quarantine.

1) Don’t Compare Your Output to Others

I preach from this podcast pedestal often: we can’t get caught in the web of comparison trap.

Well, I’ve gotten hella tangled up in this web lately.

I see so many peers talking about how they have all this extra time in their schedules and how their creative output is absolutely bananas.

I can’t help but be jelly and feel like I’ve not been doing enough…

Then I have to remind myself of the unique situation I’m in:

  • I’m new to the full-time grind and still finding my business groove.
  • My almost 9-month prego wife is working from home too and needs an extra hand.
  • My busy toddler is also home, and I play a big role in providing daddy daycare.

I have so many freakin’ ideas of fun content I want to create, but I just don’t have the bandwidth.

I’m almost back to my old side hustling hours.

I’m starting to get up earlier to grind before my son gets up, and my main time block to grind and get my workout in happens during my son’s nap.

Instead of 6-8 hours of focused time to execute in a day, I’m lucky to get maybe 3-4.

So during that limited amount of time, I have to focus on the big picture tasks that:

  • Grow, scale, and move the business forward.
  • Generate new streams of revenue to cover expenses and maternity leave.
  • Provide absurd amounts of value to my students, community, and listeners.

Not to mention that I want to make sure I’m all-in as much as I can to be a family man.

If you’re like I am and feeling like you’re not doing enough compared to others during this time, you probably need to hear what I’m about to say…

Give yourself permission to embrace that you’re doing the best you can with the time and resources you have.

What everyone else is doing is out of your control.

Instead of saying the cliche, “this is a marathon, not a sprint,” I’m going to start saying: You’re not Joey Chestnut in a food eating competition—you’re on an endless buffet with no timer on the clock.

More on this in Lesson #2.

2) Pace Yourself but Have a Plan for When the Dust Settles

As I watch my son grow, I’ve noticed he’s inherited my lack of patience.

When my Little Pizza Roll wants something, he wants it NOW and will have a Level 10 meltdown if he doesn’t get his way. (This is normal for a toddler, right?)

I teach from experience to play the slow and steady grind long-game, but even I get anxious about pacing myself.

While I’ve gotten good at delaying gratification, I’m a pretty impatient person with high expectations and demand a lot from myself.

During this pandemic, it’s especially true.

Unfortunately, I can’t match the output I had when I had a full 6-8 hours a day working for myself like I had at the beginning of the year.

Yes, it’s hella frustrating at times, especially when stuck in the comparison trap. However, I know the future success of my creative business doesn’t depend on the output I have during this shitstorm.

I’m NOT Joey Chestnut trying to eat 732 hotdogs in 10 minutes.

I’m Scotty Russell sitting at an endless pizza buffet with super-stretchy sweatpants and nowhere I have to be anytime soon.

The work will still be there tomorrow and the current daily mindset is still the same: Do one thing a day that moves the needle forward in my business.

Regardless if you have 15 minutes or 6 hours to work in a day, take care of the ONE thing you can do that inches you closer to the prize.

Knocking out one important thing a day for weeks, months, and years will 100% lead to some insane growth and incredible breakthroughs.

So, while I’m forced to pace myself during these times, you better believe I’ll have a plan for when the dust settles.

If you’re in a similar situation like I am, and you’re strapped for time, consider mapping out this approach to:

  • Understand where you’re at right now.
  • Know where you want to be in the short-term (3-6 months or 1 year).
  • Have an idea of where you want to be in the long-term (3-5 years).
  • Have a plan of what you need to do each day to move forward.
  • Have a plan of massive action for when the dust settles.

While you’re placing and planning, make sure you keep Lesson #3 in mind…

3) Rest to Fight Another Day

I live for the grind, and I’m deeply in love with what I do. So giving myself permission to rest here and there has always been my biggest weakness.

During this pandemic, it’s become even more difficult for a few reasons:

  • My time to grind is already limited. (How am I not cheating on my potential and business if I pump the brakes?)
  • My back is against the wall every day since I don’t have a steady day job income coming in. (How can I rest if I don’t know the next source of income that’ll provide for my family?)
  • I invested a large chunk of money to work with my Creative Business Coach, Mye De Leon. (Am I not flushing money down the shitter each time I take a day off?)

I often give into these forces that dominate my headspace each day.

For me, it’s all about making small improvements in this space.

I’m getting better at not only listening to my body, but listening to my wife, as both often try to tell me that I’m worn out and overwhelmed.

During quarantine, I’ve given myself permission twice now to take a full day off to hang with the family and veg out with no work. 

(I even took a nap, which I never let myself do!)

The podcast can be a huge grind on me, so I have to reevaluate a few things:

  • I’m back to taking every 7th week off to bake in a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • While it feels like I’m letting people down, I know how valuable it is for my sanity.
  • Drawing guest episode artwork is fun, but it takes up a lot of energy and time during this season.
  • It doesn’t produce a lot of worthwhile results, so it may be best to step away from it again until I find my new groove with a second kiddo in the picture.
  • I have to continue to find areas I can optimize, delegate, or eliminate to streamline the process and  get more off my plate.

The goal is to one day reach a point where the tables have turned, and I can rest more and work less.

Where to Put Your Focus

To summarize this all, it boils down to focusing on the things that are most important to you that are within your control.

This is true whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic or not.

Just remember, your situation and your creative path is unique.

Trust the process, stick with the plan, and have something worth working toward each day.

We will get through this.

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