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Collin Harness


How to take a creative journey

Everyone is creative. Some people play sports. Some people play music. Some people are accountants. Work is also creativity.

One of the hardest, worst, challenging, creative job that I have ever had was Starbucks. Starbucks is a machine and I worked for Starbucks at the height of the business opening store after store. Each busier than the last. There is a clear cut process to creating a Starbucks drink.

There are lots of different options and people have their own custom drinks, but the base formula is always the same.

My job was an assembly line worker. Pump out drinks.

But there was so much room for creativity.

Every single drink can you make better than the last?

Can you be faster, sharper, pronounce someone's name at the perfect volume?

Can you create a design in the foam?

Can you make multiple drinks at one time and please as many people as possible?

Can you take an order while making a drink and getting more supplies from the back?

We are all on a creative journey. And we go on multiple creative journey's throughout our life. I have been fired and had to pivot more than once. I know that I one day I will retire from the workforce and start an entire new creative journey. Or I might go back to a journey I started when I was a child.

I played the saxophone when I was in middle school. And just yesterday I look at some sheet music and I do not believe I can even read music anymore. Maybe one day I will pick back up that saxophone and learn how to be better at it than I was as a child.

Truthfully, I loved chatting with my friends in the section than I enjoyed learning how to play the instrument better.

And of course now I am taking a new creative journey. This NotePD site is one of my creative journey's and there are a lot of exciting things that will become branches from it. More premium lists, maybe a book, a podcast. The ideas are endless.

But you have to take that creative journey.

How to take a creative journey

    1. Find that section of the library that you could read forever

    This was the hardest task for me.

    My father is a homebuilder. My sister is a doctor. They knew from childhood what they were meant to do. And I have done more than a few different jobs.

    It takes a lot of soul searching. You have to be brutally honest about the things that do not enjoy.

    Just recently I went to a music concert and I realized halfway through that I did not really like the artists and I should not have said yes, just because I wanted to please someone else.

    It took me a really long time, but I did find a section that I love. It did not come natural. I had to make a lot of mistake and read a lot of different books. I love money and business and investing. I could read every book in the library on the topic. I know that eventually I will have my own business where I help people get better with their money.

    But you know what?

    I still work in the technology industry and have not completely found my creative path to making lots of money helping other people on their money journey.

    But I am excited about the process to get there.

    More to come.

    2. Write that mission statement

    My mission statement has not come true yet. But I believe it will and I repeat the statement each day. Even if it does not come true, reading it and saying it, gets me into a better mindframe. It gets me focused. It blocks out the negativity.

    - Get clear about the end goal

    - The time frame

    - What are you going to give in order to reach that goal?

    - What is your clear plan?

    - Write it, speak it, repeat it

    - Then write a new one, when the first one comes true

    3. Create a habit tracker

    I can be really emotional.

    Somedays I am super motivated and some days I do not want to look at a computer.

    On your creative journey you are going to hate your art.

    Tracking helps you learn what mistakes you are making. Your current performance and what you need to improve.

    It also gives you motivation. You have put some much into your goal. Do not stop now.

    4. Start making art

    You may be great or you may be horrible. But you have to start someone and then get better. There is not substitute for practice.

    There are plenty of ways to Skip The Line, once you start, but you still have to start and make yourself uncomfortable.

    Start being creative and try to get better each day.

    5. Make more art

    A lot of times you just need volume.

    The more art that you create, the better you will become.

    Make the art and then review it and try to get better at it.

    If you are a painter. Paint and then think of a better concept you could do, better colors. How your technique could be better.

    Make the art and then ask questions about the art.

    6. Get a coach to review your work and help you get better

    The best players, have a coach. Someone that can watch what you are doing and tell you what you are doing wrong. What you need to do better. They are honest with you, even when you do not want them to be.

    Find someone in your field that is older than you and walked the same path or been a witness to greatness in that path.

    Find more than one coach. Companies have a board of directors for a reason. There should be differing opinions weighing in on everything.

    A coach will make you better.

    7. Keep making art and tracking it

    The more art you create and the more you track will hopefully keep you going.

    I have written hundreds of lists and I have hundreds of lists still in my drafts folder. Writing these lists is one of the longest habits that I have ever had. I am not going to stop. In fact, I am more motivated than ever. I just started an excel file in order to better track my list process.

    BTW, I think my process to create a NotePD list would probably make a great NotePD list.

    The point is the more you track and the more of an expert you become the more motivation it will hopefully give you to keep going.


    Look at all the athletes that have 'retired' and then came back out of retirement. Specifically Tom Brady and Michael Jordan. They reach the mountain top. They spent their entire lives playing and then they cannot stop playing. Once you have created a body of work, it is hard to leave it behind.

    Become great at your art. But also realize when it is time to stop playing the music and start being creative in another format.

    8. Collaborate on your art

    This is one that I am not very good at.

    Every single creative effort has a scene. Look at how many different groups there are on Facebook. Find your scene or tribe or whatever you call it. Someone that shares the same passion as you and can help you become better, sharper.

    9. Promote your art

    Even if you suck.

    Your art is 'bad'.

    Get into the practice of promoting your art. Being proud of what you have accomplished. Because if you cannot promote your art when you are 'bad', then you will not have the confidence to promote your art when it is good.

    Promote it online.

    Talk about it to the people in your life.

    Find people that can help you promote it.

    10. Expand the different aspects of your art

    Let's go back to athletes or music arts. They all create 'merch'. Crap that has their name on it. Shirts, mugs, cell phone cases.

    And you know what? It is part of their art, just in different forms. They have found and look for ways to give value to their fans with different versions of your art.

    Expand what you think is art.

    Paint on different surfaces.

    Write different kinds of books.

    There is no such thing as one correct format.

    11. Evolve

    Every really great artist goes through phases. They have eras.

    Madonna did it. Picasso did it. The Ford Mustang has done it.

    On your journey you will get really good at creating one kind of art. Maybe writing blog posts, but your art needs to evolve. You need to keep it fresh, keep people guessing. Because once a person has witnessed your art, you will want to keep them engaged and keep them in your universe and that happens by creating a new era.

    It may suck. Sometimes musicians create terrible albums. Cough... Adele 30... Cough...

    But then sometimes they take their old work and merge with something new and it is magical. Take a traditional car and add in electric batteries.

    12. Bring in people to monetize your art

    You cannot and should not do it.

    Amazon has hundreds of thousands of people working for them.

    You need to focus on your art.

    Michael Jordan focused on basketball and then worked with people to monetize his craft, which lead to his shoe partnership. First, he had to focus on basketball. And then he need to bring in the right people that could help him monetize his basketball greatness.

    You cannot do great art and negotiate for your art successfully. You are biased. You spend all your time making the art and then believe that it is worth the moon. Being an agent or creating an online store is an art in its own form. Let other people do what they do best and you be the best artist possible.

    Your art is a business. And businesses have lots of different people working on the business growing that business.

    13. Stay healthy, mind, body, soul

    Eat right.


    Have a gratitude practice.

    Take time off work.

    Spend time with friends.

    14. Let nothing stand in the way

    Every single person has times when they want to give up and do something else. But the greatest artists keep pushing through and create electricity.

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