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Love the Crust
It’s time for the final installment of the 3 Life Lessons Learned From Loving Pizza Series. I’d consider it good fortune to have pizza three weeks in a row, and I can’t express enough gratitude that you stuck it with me in this episodic adventure.
Let’s do a quick refresher of the last two weeks:
Life Lesson #1: understanding that you can’t please everyone—you are not pizza. Not everyone will love you or you work, and that’s perfectly okay. Strive to attract the right people to your tribe by creating work that jazzes your spirit.
Life Lesson #2: taking life one slice at a time. Don’t treat your creative pursuits like a sprint; treat them like a long-distance marathon. The day-by-day grind requires failure, and you gotta keep getting back up to the plate and swinging.
We’re on Life Lesson #3 now. This one may be the most important yet: it engulfs your creative pursuits and spills into your everyday mindset on life.
But first, let’s start with a fun fact!
Did you know Pizza Hut introduced stuffed crust back in 1995? They created a whole campaign to convince you to eat the crust first, and the commercial spokesman? Good ol‘ Donny Trump. (I steer far away from politics as possible here, so don’t worry, we’re not going down that shithole.)
I always hated eating the crust. Often, I would leave the crust and toss them to the birds outside my mom’s kitchen window—safe to say, the birds on the block loved your boy.
Sometimes, we need to learn to love the things we don’t like. Sometimes you need to suck it up and Learn to Love the Crust.
What is the Crust?
To know the crust is to love the crust, but what is this crust I speak of?
The crust is those moments in life when you feel, you know, crusty. To be more specific, the crust can be defined as the rough patches in your life when you feel lost, depressed, and insignificant—like you have nothing to offer this world.
I get it, you want to ignore these moments in life and sweep the crumbs under the rug—totally understandable.
However, I have to stress the importance of loving the crust. These moments and experiences define and shape whom you’ll become.
Loving the crust allows you to learn and grow.
Let me start by summarizing my top moments of necessary crust in my thirty years of existence.
My Top 3 Crusty Moments
#1 – Childhood Crust
Back in episode 93, part one of this series, I talked about being bullied, beat up, and losing at everything while growing up.
As shitty as this was, it influenced me to become the person I am today.
As a kid, these experiences me how to be accepting and inclusive of those different than me. It also taught me to appreciate any type of win, big or small.
#2 – Early Adulthood Crust
Back in episode 94, part two of this series, I shared my crushed dreams in college and the rock bottom I hit post-graduation.
This phase of crust taught me how to stand up after life kicks you to the ground. It also showed me how to take control and make things happen for myself with effort, attitude, and mindset.
#3 – Mid-Adulthood Crust
Going into January of 2017, I dealt with a whole new wave of crust.
First off, the holidays got me again as I packed on a hefty 10lbs (damn those Christmas cookies).
Next, I went into my first extensive surgery on my nose and throat. It left me feeling flabby, out-of-shape and miserable.
I went into surgery on January 4th. The 2-3 weeks of recovery after did a number on my mental health.
For the first week and a half, I was glued to a recliner all day and isolated from the world. I could barely breathe, eat, sleep, drink, bathe, or even use the bathroom.
During this time, I had prepped a whole 3-part series on the value of side projects in the New Year. I was super hyped to drop it and the artwork that went with it.
Things didn’t go as expected. I heard nothing but crickets when the episodes and artwork dropped. My pizza tendencies kicked back in as I tied my self-worth to my performance.
Crickets & Cocktails
Here were the 4 lethal ingredients in this cocktail that fucked my head up:
- Three weeks in a row of poor engagement of something I poured my soul into
- Almost two months of eating shitty, not going to the gym, and feeling like Professor Klump
- A rainy, cold, and gloomy Iowa winter (this was not your typical festive snowy season)
- Being isolated from human interaction (as an extrovert, this is torture)
Being doped up out of my mind amplified everything going on in my head. Every 2-3 hours, I would get my fix on liquid painkillers that numbed my soul.
I, slowly slipping away into a dark, depressed funk, had turned into a lost and lonely zombie.
I found myself wondering: “How could pursuing Perspective-Collective, something I love, make me suffer this much?”
After all the small wins I had experienced the past three years, I still contemplated quitting it all as the pain became too much.
I wasn’t myself, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. After bottling up these emotions for two weeks, I finally hit a breaking point.
I found myself wondering: “How could pursuing Perspective-Collective, something I love, make me suffer this much?”
Seeking Someone to Listen
The first person I sought out was my best friend, which is my wife, Emily. I told her I didn’t feel like Scotty and had no idea what was wrong with me?
That initial conversation wasn’t much, but it started the momentum.
Then, I went to my Mastermind group and shared what I was going through. This made me nervous, but it felt amazing when my rockstar friends responded with similar experiences.
It felt empowering knowing I wasn’t alone. Finally, I took all my pain and channeled it into episode 25: Dealing With Creative Funks & Feeling Invisible.
I hit publish and sent it into the world without any expectations. After the previous episodes had flopped, I felt relieved to just get it off my chest.
To my surprise, the feedback I got from people like you was overwhelming. I was shocked by how many people felt like me—alone with the demons that impeded their creative work.
Your response and your reaching out to me to share your stories pulled me from that dark place.
The crust of 2017 helped me learn that more crusts lie ahead. You have to continue to push through, not be afraid to talk about it and seek help from others.
In order to get those sunny days, you have to deal with some shit along the way.
Shit & Sunshine
Do you ever have those moments where everything is clicking—when you’re in the zone and people are vibing to your work?
That’s the sunshine. You’re high on life with some swagger in your step.
When you’ve been a loser your entire life, getting a taste of victory is hella sweet.
I feel, in order to appreciate when things are going right, you have to know how it feels when you can’t catch a break—those crusty gaps are where you feel like the shit on the bottom of that bum’s scuffed up Nikes (Episode 58 dives deep on this topic).
Life, then, is truly a roller coaster filled with highs and lows.
To experience the highs and the sunshine, you have to deal with the lows. When you look on the bright side (pun intended), these moments of crusty shit are temporary phases you’ll get through.
If you’re open to learning from them, they are jam-packed with learning opportunities.
Since a new set of crusts is always lurking on the horizon, you have to have something important to focus on—something that sets your soul on fire.
Find Your Suffering
I mentioned before, how could something you love so much (something like Perspective-Collective) make you suffer? It all boils down to passion—stick with me on this.
You see, passion buzzword has driven me bat-shit crazy the past few years. There’s so many books, courses, workshops, and speakers that target motivation junkies looking for a quick fix.
I find the saying, “Find what you love and let it kill you” borderline insane. In fact, almost all the quotes surrounding “passion” annoy me.
It wasn’t until Episode 43, when my design brother from another mother, Jason Craig gave me a definition that caught my attention:
Let that sink in for a second.
To give that statement some context, I am referring to worthwhile suffering.
For me, I’m willing to suffer for my dream of pursuing Perspective-Collective.
Worthwhile suffering for me means:
- working late or getting up early to hit a deadline
- FOMO’ing and missing out while others party because next week’s episode needs to be completed
- dealing with a H.A.T.E.R. who tries to tear me down
- facing the inner critic during the crusty times
I consider these worthwhile sufferings in the pursuit of something I’m passionate about.
Having that thing that gets you excited to roll out of bed 70-80% of the time makes pushing through the shit that much easier.
Hoard Your Victories
Finally, if you’re like me, celebrating wins big or small doesn’t come easy. I’ve always been triggered to focus on ‘What’s Next’ instead of living and enjoying the now.
When I’d hit a milestone in the past, I never took a moment to enjoy it. I would focus on the next “bigger” prize, and completely brush off that last milestone.
It’s an endless cycle of delayed gratification, and it wears you down.
It’s important to not only have something that lights up your soul, but it’s important to celebrate when something good comes from it.
After my 2017 funk, I randomly started a running list on my Wunderlist App called Good Things in 2017.
Whether I gave a talk in front of 5 people or to a conference of over 500 people, any victory big or small was noted on that list.
I call this Hoarding Your Victories. Trust me, this works and it saved me at the end of 2017.
Going into the New Year of 2018, people began sharing their Instagram Top Nine posts. Post after post had me sinking me deeper and deeper into the comparison trap.
The Mr. Hyde within me convinced me I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile compared to those I followed and put on a pedestal.
I went back to my list and tallied up all the talks I gave, workshops I taught, products I sold, client projects I completed, etc.
Looking at this list from a different perspective showed me two things:
1. Silence Your Inner Critic
Hoarding all these wins showed me that I had done some pretty rad things in 2017 and had my best year yet. My creative path and its timing is different than everyone else’s. Things will happen when they are supposed to if I keep busting my ass in the right direction.
2. Shows Measurable Growth
I’m a very goal-driven person and set my targets high at the beginning of the year. When looking at this list from the bigger picture, I could see that I made measurable growth in these areas.
Progress is progress. Hoarding your victories with your goals in mind makes a huge difference in fighting off or bouncing back from the crust.
Rise Up to the Challenge
You and I, we are the lucky ones. We get to create for a living, and I’d rather do this than anything else. However, it can be a blessing and a curse.
You’re going to deal with adversity. You’re going to fail and fall on your ass over and over again. Yet you always have the ability to rise up to the challenge and respond.
These three life lessons learned from loving pizza—what I had to go through to get here—hasn’t been easy. It’s been a heavy dose of reality and tough love packed into a powerful punch over the years.
Being a creative, you have to learn to roll with the punches and bake them into the dough of your story.
You’re not pizza, and it’s okay. Take life one slice at a time and learn to love the crust.
Do this, and I think you’re going to crush whatever life throws at you—so keep swinging! You got this.
Support the Series With the Limited Pizza Party Sticker Pack
To celebrate this 3 part series, I created a Pizza Party Sticker Pack that is made up of the 3 Life Lesson designs. You can get yours now with FREE US SHIPPING!
- Pizza Party Sticker Packs to Celebrate the Series
- Episode references:
- 25: Dealing With Creative Funks & Feeling Invisible
- 58: Appreciate the Shit & the Sunshine
- 43: Passion Is What You’re Willing to Suffer For
- 93: You’re Not Pizza (3 Life Lessons Learned From Loving Pizza Pt 1)
- 94: Take Life One Slice at a Time (3 Life Lessons Learned From Loving Pizza Pt 2)
- 59: Rise Up to the Challenge & Stake Your Claim
- Dose of Inspiration: @TinlunStudio
- Podcast Editor: Aine Brennan
- Shownotes Editor: Paige Garland
- Podcast theme music: Blookah
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