Louder Than Words - A Brief Conversation with Todd Henry

I had a great opportunity, after being a preview reader, to ask a few questions of Todd Henry about some of the concepts in his newest book, "Louder Than Words".  

Who is Todd Henry?  Todd is the founder of Accidental Creative and "arms dealer of the creative revolution".  Todd is one of my "virtual mentors" and his second book, "Die Empty" came at a time when I was on a journey to find my passion and his book helped me get there.  

Why should you care about Todd Henry? He has written three books, and his newest, "Louder Than Words", is already an Amazon #1 New Release in Job Hunting & Career Guides.  He knows what he is talking about in relation to creativity in the marketplace, and making a plan for businesses and individuals to share their authentic gift with the world.

What did I learn from Todd Henry?  One of my favorite things he quotes, at the bottom of his website, is this:  "Create fiercely, love well, and die empty."  That about sums it up and tenets I live by.    

If you are interested in learning more about finding your voice, check him out. Get his newest book right here.  It's good.  I know I'm going to have to read it more than once to absorb everything. And, make sure to go back and read his first two books, "The Accidental Creative" and "Die Empty".  I would not have made it is this far on my journey without him.


Me: What is your personal manifesto, or elements of it? 

TH: A few of the tenets that guide my life and work are “I create every day, even when I don’t feel like it”, and “I speak uncomfortable truth, even when it’s easier to appease.” I’ve had to remind myself of these multiple times with clients or while writing, because it’s so easy to acclimate to a place of comfort and forget the core, driving reason for the work, which is to impact lives. 

Me: If you could distill the essence of this book down to one simple sentence, what you want people to get from it, what would that be? 

TH: Develop an authentic voice so that you don’t spend your life building someone else’s body of work. 

Me: I love that you use the word "excavation" in finding authenticity, because that is exactly what it is like.  When the excavation gets hard, when it's down and dirty work, what is the one daily practice that keeps you the most grounded? 

TH: I mentioned it before, but it’s definitely choosing to write every day even when I don’t feel like it. As someone who writes books, I know that if I don’t stay in practice then I will begin to atrophy. Writing is never easy for me, so I really have to make it a discipline. Another one is taking time each day to fill my mind with inspiring thoughts of others. I do this through study time, and through finding space to experience great art, film, and lectures. It’s been an absolutely invaluable aspect of my growth and development.

Me: In writing this book, what is one thing you learned about yourself that you did not expect? 

TH: I learned that I’m often a terrible judge of the efficacy and quality of my own work. I’m in constant self-doubt as I’m writing, revising, and re-looking at research, and without people around me to help me stay calibrated, I would go down the rabbit hole pretty quickly. That’s why relationships, and having people in your life who will speak truth to you, are so critical in staying the course over the long-term. You can survive in the short-run, but without others keeping you aligned, you will eventually spin out. 

As serendipity would have it, this week's email from Marie Forleo featured an interview with Todd, which expounds further on his book.  If you do not know him, get to know him.  But be careful, you just might find yourself becoming an accidental creative.  

The Chief Curator of Inspiration

Hello my people!  It is your Chief Curator of Inspiration here.  

Meet Todd Henry

Where did that come from? I've been "pre-reading" a new book by Todd Henry, the Accidental Creative, called "Louder Than Words".  And so, earlier today, while finishing up his book, that title came to me as far as one of the things I do.  I curate inspiration. Pulling from this source and that source to encourage people to live their own adventure and trade in boring for brilliant.  I've had the privilege to be part of Todd's book launch team and send him a few questions, so once he answers, I'll be posting those.  The book releases on August 11th.  If you don't know who he is, get to know him.  His prior book, "Die Empty" was a huge part of my quest for my passion and pursuit of adventure.  I did not want to die with my best work inside of me, and so here we are. He remains one of the biggest creative inspirers in my life.

What I Learned

It has been a whirlwind summer.  I've been on so many adventures, learned so many things, been so many places.  In the last year alone the amount of places I've gone is staggering, compared to the four or five years prior.  Here are a few things I've learned so far:

I need trees.  I need to hear the wind in them, I need to see their vivid colors, need to be near them.  And thus, I do not care for the desert.  Too hot and too exposed.  I can appreciate it as a different kind of beauty, but not for me.   

I need space.  I get very stimulated by too much activity around me (a little known quality of introverts). I have to have a place I can retreat to.  Too many people drain me and I have to recharge on my own.  I like to see and hear neighbors, but I don't want them right on top of me.

I need nature. I feel most at rest when I can be outside.  Whether that means sitting on a deck reading or writing, taking a walk, getting in the water, being near water, or any other way to get out into nature, I crave the peacefulness of being outside.  The concrete jungle is not for me, nor can I stand being cooped up inside all day either.  

BestThings

As always, there are a slew of things to be grateful for.  I haven't written a "Best Things" since Friday.  I had a busy weekend, and this is what I appreciated most over the last five days:

Housesitting.  I wrapped up my job housesitting on the houseboat, and now I am out at a Victorian country home.  The wind rustles in the trees, clouds grace the horizon and a train whistle blows in the distance. I can see the edge of the hills in the distance, a darker blue than the sky.  Birds call and twitter, somewhere a lawnmower starts and the breeze carries snippets of the neighbors' conversation.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  My soul feels rested and recharged.  

Birthdays. On Sunday I had the privilege of attending my goddaughter Bailey's birthday party.  She opted for an Optimus Prime Transformers party.  Such a cool, unique girl.  And she's only six!

Karaoke. We haven't been to Chopsticks III for quite a while.  What a fun night!  I got to spend it with some folks from Open Mic that I don't really know and we had a great mix of people.  I think another one will be coming around soon.  Everyone did incredibly well, the singing was awesome!!

Open Mic.  Every Monday, at Corkscrew Wine Bar in Sellwood, my friends host a great open mic.  I read a new poem I wrote (the first one in nearly two years) and listened to some very talented musicians play some great music.  My attendance has been hit or miss for me this summer, mostly miss. The list filled up with 20 attendees and my well of inspiration filled up at the same time.  I suppose it's time for me to ante up and play some of the songs I've written.  Chris and Jen have built a strong, supportive community of the most amazing people.  You should drop by and listen if ever you are in the neighborhood.  

Relationships.  This is a constant because I have such good ones and I'm so blessed by every single one of them.  This summer has also been a lot of re-connecting old relationships, forging new ones and maintaining the ones that have been a constant in my life.  How can I not be grateful for them?

Work.  This comes in many forms for me.  Driving is what I do to pay my bills.  Lyft and Uber, for now, and a few odd jobs.  My true work is writing.  I feel a clarity coming back to me in the last week or so that has been a little lacking.  Fresh ideas for both of my books and a desire to complete them and get them published.  Resistance still tries to keep me safe, keep me from getting them out there, but that is a cheap way to live.  No more.  I am figuring out this new way of being an independent contractor, without a guaranteed salary.  It's the first time in 25 years of working that I have no idea what my salary will be.  It is a little terrifying at times.  And, sometimes I feel guilty because I don't work 40 hours a week. But, my vocation is writing.  So whatever I do in regards to bringing money in has to be in support of that.  40 hours a week of working takes my best energy from me, so for now, I'm not doing it.  Period. On that I will not compromise.