THoughts and musings
I just received Austin Kleon's second book via Amazon! If you read the last review I posted here, you may have guessed it resonated with me! This title so far has disappointed. Part of the reason I am now writing this blog post is because of the inspiration and content in this book 'Show your Work!'.
Some days we feel like we win, others suck and we want to crawl under a rock. Many are somewhere in between. All we have though, are days. One strategy talked about in this book is documentation. That is, regularly highlighting your process through blog's like this one, through social media and other internet tools. Daily. Austin's suggestion is to put out content daily. In small pieces. To let it build up over time. To focus on days.
I like his thinking. At the moment, many things can get in the way. New government restrictions which mean you need a negative test result to get a haircut, like Vienna for instance. I am not against this as it keeps us all safe, but today I went to get my test, tomorrow I get my haircut. Sounds simple but it is still a hassle. To get through the experience, I took this book. I am glad I did. I found a space nook of time to get some reading done. Now I am here, writing about it. Inspired to see what other nuggets and gems of wisdom lay within. This is another idea of Austin's. Find time like you find spare change: in nooks and crannies. A tram ride home, while waiting 15 mins for your COVID test result and while drinking your morning cup of coffee, are all good times to read. Learn something new and educate yourself. Daily. Although I don't know Austin personally, I would like to. I think we would get on well. Now, back to the book, before early to bed!
Whose books, information, pictures and artwork hav made the biggest impact on you?
Who do you quote in speeches, seminars and presentations?
No one is original. We are all creations of those who come before us, just as those who come after us will incorporate what we have created in the world.
This is one of the principles behind the book 'Steal like an Artist' by Austin Kleon. I randomly came across his book while watching a media advert on Instagram by Vishan Lakhiani (CEO of Mind Valley), who mentioned Austin's book 'Show your work'. Amazon had three of Austin Kleon's book on special, the first to arrive being this one, Steal like an Artist.
I am glad I read it. I wasn't initially interested in this title but it contains some real gems and nuggets of information I am going to try out, which is really the purpose of this blog! Feel free to hold me accountable.
One lovely idea put forward in the book is to collect ideas, information and things that you really love. We all have things that resonate and speak to us as people. Collect these things. This book by the way is aimed at everyone, not just those who consider themselves artists. By collecting from many sources, not just one, we are less plagiarizing, as more researching. We are soaking in the masters, mentors and creators who have come before us. These ideas from many sources, may spark out own creations and projects. In my own world a voice coach, I am very much influenced by Julian Treasure, Roger Love, Andy Matheson, Jerry Weismann, Allan Pease and Joshua Freedman. They are just some of the authors who sparked an idea for me or I have taken a concept of theirs and run with it, quoting them and sharing their clips and books with clients.
But, we have to write them down! By hand! Austin suggests carrying a notebook and pen with you at all times. I used to do this and I loved jotting things down, as it made me feel that I was on the lookout for things. I remained open and attentive in the world. Less consumer, more creator, so I plan to follow Austin's lead and reimplement this in my life. We cannot remember everything and the act of writing keeps us connected with ourselves.
Another wonderful idea is to create an analog space. Austin suggests that digital spaces can suck the life out of our ideas. We become more perfectionist when we work at the same space as our digital tech. He actually has a second desk in his office, with coloured paper, pens and other analog technology. I plan to use my kitchen table for this kind of thinking, as I already journal and read there early in the morning. Allowing a dedicated space for ideas and thinking sounds simple but I think it will be a powerful idea to try out. In times of COVID, having different spaces, chairs or parts of your house for different purposes sounds good.
A final idea I want to share with you that I will be implementing having read 'Steal like an Artist', is to keep a Logbook of my day. A summary in brief terms. What did I do and how did I spend my time. What output, excitement and gains did I make? I will add to this Logbook, the idea of a habit tracker, so that I can see my progress. Part bullet journal, part summary of the day, this will allow me to look back on my progress in time to come and see how I spend my time and what gets me results.
This isn't meant to be for pursuing goals etc, but it encourages the small steps. To make regular effort towards your creative projects. I could even incorporate this into my ideas book. A small notebook for ideas, habits and a logbook. All analogy. Pen and paper.
The book is filled with other great ideas that might resonate with you, so I encourage you to check these out. I am looking forward to receiving his other titles this week, so I can begin to further explore how I am maintain my creativity and to collect, post and engage with the artists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who have come before me. Thanks to Austin Kleon for his inspiration.
When you think of the words 'retire' and 'retirement' what comes to your mind? Is it something you have done or are thinking about? What if retirement is changing and you might need to continue to work for a longer period in order to fund your life and society at large? What might you do differently?
I am listening to 'The 100 Year Life' on Audible by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. Both authors are university professors and have researched what a 100 year life might look like. Statistically, people born in the first decade of the 21st century, will live over 100 years. Those born in the 90's to around 100, in the 80's until their 90's, in the 70's until their late 80'S etc. Their main premise in the book, is that the traditional 3-stage model of life where you grow up, study, work until 60-65 and then 'retire', will cease to exist for those in Gen Y and generations to come. Many factors are at play that create this situation, which the book expertly describes, so what I want to focus on in this article, from a career perspective, is what will you do differently, knowing you will probably work until you are in your 70's or 80's. How does this change your thoughts about your occupation(s), the types of work you do and the way in which you work?
As we are currently seeing, COVID has rapidly changed the working landscape. We fumbled at first, but are now steadily seeing the advantages of working from home. Productivity increases, less commuting, perhaps balancing our work with family commitments and other responsibilities are fast becoming the norm. It hasn't been easy for most, but it has created a shift in perception. This shift we can apply to our whole working lives and the meaning we give to work.
As a career mentor, I am often fascinated by what work brings up for people. In my own working life so far, I have strived to do activities I am both interested in and skilled in. I have had a variety of jobs and vocations, each calling me to bring my previous skills with me but implement them in a new way. Many years ago, when working in outplacement, the concept of 'active retirement' was given to me, that it is important to not stop work, sit at home and play golf and rapidly deteriorate.
Being active in the second half of your life is crucial. So what does this even look like?
Coming back to 'The 100 Year Life', Gratton and Scott mention we should be aiming for a 5-stage life, meaning that there are periods of work, rest, redefinition, exploration and play. We cannot think economically or socially of retiring at 65. For some, retiring at 65 could be a reality, based on their earning and saving potential throughout a lifetime, but for the majority this won't be possible as government pensions become slimmer, as fertility rates drop etc. And, what if you don't want to stop as you enjoy work and how you exist in society?
I ask you, 'what would you do differently with your work life, knowing you plan to work until you are 80? What choices will you make now that will affect your future?
For me, I made this decision awhile ago. To be at peace with working until I am at least 70 or 75. My own father is still happily working in his late 60's and his father after retirement, started a family business and worked in it for 20 years. This example shows me, that redefinition is possible. In the second phase of your working life, it might not be that you need work 50 hours a week to live, but you will still maintain perhaps 20 hours. This allows you to be active, engaged in the community and to offer value. The question for society is how governments and work culture will change to allow this pattern to emerge understanding the value older employees offer.
We also need to think of the pressures we place on young people, who are leaving high school. After I finished, I went straight to uni. A gap year was considered strange. Several of my cousins who are much younger than I am , have taken gap years or even time out of their studies to travel, work and explore who they are. Gap years and perhaps a few years of work to find out what you want to do before doing formal study are now normal. This is good. The period of 18-30 is now considered a discovery time. This is part of the 5-stage life. We need to embrace it.
So, whether you are early career, mid-career like I am or looking towards 'active retirement' think about what impact you want to have on society and yourself. What dreams, aspirations or new ideas can you generate? Take steps towards these and see what is possible. Imagine a life where you will not retire and deteriorate but remain active for as long as you can, especially as you might just live until 100.