The Download for June 28, 2016

“Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes

99U: Do you have to be a jerk to be successful?

…One does not need to be an egotistical asshole to be successful. In fact, this is one of the most misleading and destructive myths in all of Western culture, right next to the idea that one must be a drug addict to be a successful musician or starving to produce great art.

The idea that only the swaggering, all-knowing, and ruthlessly ambitious succeed is a lie. One that has discouraged so many people with so much potential—and worse, encouraged many more to crash and burn.

History bears shows the truth. For every Douglas MacArthur or George McClellan, brilliant but laughably convinced of their own greatness and power, there is a George Marshall, a general who accomplished far more (far more quietly) and coveted far less credit along the way. For every Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian (who while successful are also spoiled and entitled), there is a Katharine Graham, who was born into greater wealth and did far more with it.

Allie Explores: Why makers love to create

It’s so difficult to explain, but feeling inspired by the desire to create from that inspiration is the absolute best. I saw a tweet earlier this week from the amazing Kayla Hollatz that explained this idea of why makers love to create perfectly. I instantly retweeted and knew I had to share it in this post. She said, “Don’t create merely to find your ‘next big thing’. Create because your whole being tells you to. Create because there’s no other option.” Seriously Kayla knows all things creatives, community, and so much more. Basically her twitter, twitter chat, and blog are always on point. But she’s right! When you create something, it shouldn’t be just because you are looking for a profit or a different motive. The best creations are created because the makers were passionate about this project and because they felt so intensely inspired that they decided to ride that inspiration to create their masterpiece or product. Makers not only create because they either have this talent or enjoy this hobby, its because they are inspired to do so. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have creation without inspiration and a little bit of imagination.

Without imagination I feel like it would be super challenging to be inspired by something and then have it result in a creation block. Let me tell you, constantly feeling inspired and being excited by your creative ideas to the point where you can’t wait to get home to start working on your latest creation is bliss. Especially when your work is finished, it’s pretty cool to finally say “yeah that idea just came to me one afternoon and I was able to create something I’m proud of.” Artists love to create the same way musicians love to jam out and write music; it’s all relative considering it’s a talent and passion that just speaks to them.

Love what you do and do what you love, so they say.

Amanda Miller Littlejohn:[podcast] Fix your focus, transform your life

Fast Company: 4 counterintuitive tips for raising startup funds

Inc: To be the next Sara Blakely you need more than a good idea

If I received a dollar every time I heard the phrase “I had that idea” uttered in passing – say when, Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx) tops another self-made Billionaire list–I’d likely be on that list alongside her. Here’s the thing: ideas are plentiful, and while purchasing a domain and launching a website is relatively easy and inexpensive, executing is still hard. Really hard! Frankly, there is no resource checklist or accelerator program or pre-packaged mentorship kit to completely ease the challenges of starting and growing a business. It’s for this reason (I believe) that many of us simply have “good ideas”–we may aspire in our minds to build the next Spanx but we don’t know how or lack the motivation to move that brilliant billion-dollar idea into action.

Marie Forleo: It’s all been done before–What to do when you’re feeling unoriginal

Success Magazine: Write your own personal mission statement

Val Geisler: The real truth behind most online course launches

If you want to get off the merry-go-round playing that annoying music box tune called Comparison, here are a few tips:

  • Invest in your work more than you invest in reading about other people’s successes. In fact, hit the unsubscribe button on a few email lists while you’re at it. Turn the volume down.
  • Determine your top 3 most important business goals. Ya know, the ones that matter most to YOU. Write them on a sticky note and tack it to your computer. Stare at it every day until all of the other numbers fade away. Then work toward them.
  • Find a trusted advisor/mentor/friend who is also in the online space who will gladly pull you out of your shit. On top of being really good for your heart, having confidants who understand exactly what you’re going through brings peace to your head when you get too far into it.

Then keep your focus on the impact. You have something to teach and say and you have an audience who wants to learn from you. Keep talking to them. Loving them. Creating for them. Let the impact you have with them drive your next move.

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