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Todd Henry is an international speaker and best-selling author of 6 books including, The Accidental Creative, Herding Tigers, Die Empty, and his latest book is called The Daily Creative.
The mantra Todd tells himself before going on stage is, "Be Present. Be Yourself." This is a reminder to be in the room, and pay attention to the nuance... And don't try to be someone you're not. Don't apologize for your existence. Authenticity shows that you have skin in the game. I am putting my actions where my mouth is. We crave real experiences: We do business with human beings. The most valuable thing we can do is make genuine connections with people. Make people feel seen and known. Creativity is problem-solving. If you solve problems every day, you’re creative. Have a BIG VISION. Walt Disney started as a cartoonist. Todd has Disney's business plan from 1967 hanging up on his wall. All arrows point to the creative output of the film team. Do the "What would blow your mind?" Exercise. Write a list of things that would blow your mind if you accomplished them in the next 10-15 years. What did you do? Who did you do it with? What impact did it have on others? Our greatest work will be accomplished in the community of others. Todd intends to influence 28 million people. That is roughly 17% of working Americans in his field. That ambition points his mind in a direction. Where do good ideas come from? Adjacent possibilities. "I'm not trying to build a business. I'm trying to grow a life." It's important for your kids to see you doing work. You must grow comfortable with Asking Uncomfortable Questions – Brilliant, effective creative professionals are willing to ask inconvenient and uncomfortable questions. Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone wrote, “Difficult conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, and values.” Clean and dirty fuels — proving doubters wrong or proving supporters right? Detractors can be helpful if they care about you. Reward leading behaviors rather than trailing outcomes. Reward the behavior -- "That was a brave choice." Advice: Get a job and add as much value as you can. Be resourceful. Figure out how to get things done. Understand where you can uniquely add value and pay attention to what's needed. Stick around long enough to connect the dots. Don't follow your passion. What works better? Put in the hard work to master something rare and valuable, then deploy this leverage to steer your working life in directions that resonate. Todd had bumper stickers made that said: “Safety is not an option.” Coming up with safe answers over and over will make us irrelevant. “If you are not inspired, you will not inspire other people.” Focus on your inputs. You must take time to read, meet with mentors, and learn from a variety of sources. Pause. Reflect. As leaders, we must make this a priority. Buffalo, Not Cow – “Son, I need you to be the buffalo, not the cow.” In Colorado, when storms come, they almost always brew from the West. And then what happens is they roll out towards the East. Cows can sense that a storm is coming from this direction. So, a cow will try to run East to get away from the storm. Without knowing any better, the cows continue to try to outrun the storm. But instead of outrunning the storm, they run with the storm, maximizing the amount of pain, time, and frustration they experience from that storm. Buffaloes run at the storm and by running at the storm, they run straight through it, minimizing the amount of pain, time, and frustration they experience from that storm. Prune Relationships – Sometimes we need to cut ties with people who