How would you inspire your younger self?

Published: June 17, 2016
Author: Steven Thomas

"The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life" - Muhammad Ali

Speaking to inspire:

On Tuesday this week I was asked by Creative Edinburgh to give a talk designed to inspire creatives of varied disciplines and at different career stages. CE are a fantastic not for profit organisation that help creative individuals and businesses get together, create and collaborate here in Scotland's capital. The format was 20 images in 6 minutes and was derived from the Pecha Kucha framework where young designers get to show their work in a smart, visual and concise way.  It turned out to be a tough but rewarding experience... not least because all of the other speakers were so interesting and inspiring. In preparing I decided to look firstly at how I'd approached my career and how I'd adapted to huge changes and then what advice I'd give my 20 year old self.  I riffed on both the work of Anthony Burrill and lessons from Seth Godin's altMBA whilst adding my own flavour.  I guess you could call it my manifesto for thriving (not surviving) in your chosen career.  

The headlines (manifesto):

  1. Embrace change: It is the only constant, better to make it happen than let it to happen to you (don't be a victim).
  2. Work hard and be nice to people: Adopting a position of kindness and generosity will pay back 10x (and you'll feel better).
  3. Think of your own ideas: Anybody can get creative, they just have to try... don't wait for someone else to do it for you.
  4. Ask more questions:  Ask yourself, your friends, your colleagues, your boss... question f*cking everything.
  5. Do the hard part first: No matter what the project, everything is dependent on getting the hard part right... decide what it is and GYSHIDO.
  6. Seek generous feedback: Applause is mere gratification, find the people who will make you do it better by being honest with you - keep asking.
  7. Dance with fear / embrace tension: If you run from it, it will always find you.  Instead, develop the skills to sit with tension and let the magic happen.
  8. Embrace emotional labour:  Find projects that are exhilarating and draining all at the same time, the ones that stretch you, seek out purpose and channel as best you can.
  9. Make a ruckus / cause a stooshie: Let the lemmings be lemmings, decide how you'll make good trouble and get on with it.
  10. Passion and persistence will take you to great places: I've yet to see anybody who consistently applied both P's fail to create change for themselves and others (eventually).

Anything you'd add to this?  I'd love to know... get in touch or leave a comment below.