intention

Lesson 15: Overcoming Adversity and Making an impact with your creative expression

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How to make a positive change in the world with your creativity

With Simon Tam

When you find the right person that connects with the art that you make, there’s something profound in that. You just literally changed their world. You just created something out of your imagination, out of the depths of your soul to move them and there is something that is so incredible about that.

— Simon Tam

This week on Creativity School, I’m talking to self proclaimed troublemaker Simon Tam, founder and bassist of the first Asian American dance rock band The Slants, author, TEDx speaker, podcaster, and the David that went up against the Goliath that is the US government in a fight for freedom of speech.

Simon is a strong believer in creating work from your values and making the things you want to see in the world, in order to make an impact and create positive change. In this episode we talk about why he is committed to making the work he does, even when it puts him on a difficult path, and how he overcame incredible obstacles in the music industry that discriminated against his band simply for being Asian American.

Simon and his band have extensively been in the news because of his 8 year lawsuit against the US Patent and Trademark Office over the right to use the name The Slants (the USPTO argued it was racist), and we discuss what happened when his landmark case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2017. (Spoiler alert - they won!)

We talk about making work that you know you have to make, despite the odds, despite the rejection, despite people not believing in you, and despite having to fight giants like the US government. Simon offers so much wisdom about why overcoming all those obstacles was worth the fight.

**Today’s episode is brought to you by Audible! If you want to get started with a free audiobook download and 30 day free trial head over to at www.audibletrial.com/gracechon.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • How to take action on the things that you want to do

  • How Simon learned survival instincts – perseverance and persistence – from watching his immigrant parents

  • How he finds the time for all his creative pursuits and juggles them all

  • His advice on how to create connection with people and get them interested in the work  you create

  • Why he started the first Asian American dance rock band and why he chose the name The Slants as an act of reappropriation

  • How he deals with rejection

  • Why it’s important to embrace who you are and not let anyone stop you

  • Living in alignment with what you believe is right

  • How starting your creativity journey can lead you to unexpected places

Resources:

CONNECT WITH SIMON:

Website | The Slants | Slanted Book

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

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Lesson 14: Giving Back, Balance, and Turning A Hobby into a Dream Career, Part 2

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How to turn a hobby into a business and dream career

With Kyndra Holley

I am relentless in my pursuit of what sets my soul on fire.
I refuse to quit, even if gets hard or awful.
I keep going.

— Kyndra Holley

This week on Creativity School, we’re back with Part 2 of our conversation with Kyndra Holley, international bestselling cookbook author and the powerhouse behind the massively popular food blog Peace, Love and Low Carb.

If you didn’t listen to the first part of our talk, go back and listen to Episode 13 to find out all about how Kyndra started her blog back in 2011 as a hobby that made zero money, and eventually turned it into a full time dream career that now supports her family.

On this episode, we discuss the importance of advocating for your work and standing up for the vision that you believe in, and why we should create from a place of power and never hold back and stifle our own creativity. Kyndra also shares her thoughts on how to be healthy overall so we can have a long term and sustainable business, and why your career can’t be motivated by money.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • How Kyndra self published her first cookbook after just 1 year of blogging

  • How she got into publishing her cookbooks with her traditional publishers

  • Why it’s essential to speak up for yourself and advocate for your own work and creative vision

  • Her philosophy on giving back to the community, animals and other people

  • How Kyndra keeps her creativity going without burning out

  • How giving ourselves rest allows us to be more creative and have better ideas

  • Kyndra’s thoughts on starting a blog now, in such a competitive landscape

  • Why your career can’t be motivated by money

  • The single most thing that has propelled Kyndra in her business and career

CONNECT WITH KYNDRA:

Instagram | Blog | Facebook

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and connect with me online!

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

If you have any questions or comments for the show, click here

Lesson 13: Abundance, Connection, and Turning A Hobby into a Dream Career, PART 1

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How to turn a hobby into a business and dream career

With Kyndra Holley


Work doesn’t have to be something you dread getting up to. You don’t have to hate Sundays. You don’t have to clock in for someone else and count down the hours until you clock out.
— Kyndra Holley

Have you ever dreamed of monetizing a hobby and turning it into a successful career? It’s entirely possible, and on this week’s episode of Creativity School our guest Kyndra Holley is here to tell us exactly how she did it.

Kyndra is an international bestselling cookbook author, and the powerhouse behind Peace, Love and Low Carb, a massively popular food blog that gets 4 million page views a month. She started her blog back in 2011 simply as a hobby to lose weight, using a first generation iPhone. Kyndra eventually quit her day job in the restaurant business to focus on monetizing her blog. And now 8 years later, she’s supporting her family with a food empire that spans Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and 6 traditionally published cookbooks.

Kyndra doesn’t hold back in this conversation, and shares everything from the steps she took to monetize her blog, to how she kept going even though things got really dark and hard in the early days of her business. We also talk about how she deals with viscous online trolls, how to overcome anxiety and fear, and why gratitude and abundance mindset is crucial to our overall health and wellness.

Tune in next week as we continue our conversation about how Kyndra self published her first cookbooks, her experience getting published with traditional publishers, how to have a long term, sustainable business and much, much more.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Why Kyndra embraces vulnerability and how it creates connection with her readers

  • Why she treated food blogging like a career even though it was a hobby

  • How she ultimately quit her day job to focus on food blogging even though it wasn’t bringing in any income

  • Why she says gratitude is essential

  • How being real and authentic on social media has created connection, community and grown her Instagram following

  • How our emotions and deep inner worlds affect our creativity and the work we make

  • Abundance mindset and how it affects her creativity and business

CONNECT WITH KYNDRA:

Instagram | Blog | Facebook

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and connect with me online!

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

If you have any questions or comments for the show, click here

Lesson 12: Creativity + Perfectionism

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How to stop being focused on perfectionism to improve yourself and your work

With Grace Chon

It is better to have work that is imperfect and have it exist in the world,
than have nothing at all.
— Grace Chon

On today’s episode of Creativity School I discuss perfectionism and why it’s so detrimental to our creativity, especially when we’re starting something new!

Listen to find out why we should stop being focused on perfection, and what we can do instead to create work from a space that’s healthier, more loving, and free of shame, judgement and fear. This episode is a must listen if you struggle with perfectionism in your work, and you feel like you can’t share anything you make until it’s absolutely perfect.

I also share why I’ll be taking a few weeks off from the show, so listen until the end if you want to find out more.

This episode is dedicated in loving memory of Maeby 2005-2019.

Mentioned in this episode:

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and connect with me online!

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Lesson 11: Perseverance, Creating From Your Why, and the Best Donuts in LA

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How one of the most popular cafes in LA was built from the ground up through pure grit, a clear intention, and a heart of service.

With James Choi

Intention, hospitality and your why.
At the end of the day, if all those things are in line and you’re clear with that, then whatever you’re doing to do, it won’t fail. You’re going to succeed at some point.
— James Choi

How did an aspiring pro-golfer turned accountant end up opening one of of LA's most popular cafes with ZERO restaurant experience?

Tune into today's episode of Creativity School, to find out the incredible origins story of how my good friend James Choi started Cafe Dulce, one of the most popular bakeries and cafés in the entire city. With 4 locations, thousands of reviews on Yelp and lines out the door, people can’t seem to get enough of Dulce’s specialty coffee and creative pastries – especially their famous donuts. (My favorites are the Snickers and Green Tea, and I love their iced Vietnamese coffee!)

James explains how he quit his job in accounting 8 years ago to build Cafe Dulce from the ground up with his late mother, thanks to a whole lot of grit and perseverance. He also talks about his struggles during Dulce’s early days when he had to “fake it til you make it” and how he ultimately began to grow his business and loyal fan base through having a very clear intention for his business and a heart of service for his customers and community. His advice for how to build something meaningful and impactful is really insighftul and applicable to any creative work.

And you'll have to listen to find out the surprising way I met James back in the mid 90's, when he was a kid in Southern California and I was in Philly. (It's pretty funny and so very 90’s!)

Mentioned in this episode:

  • How James pursued a career in professional golf since he was 10 years old

  • Why he ultimately quit college level golf and majored in accounting

  • How he was able to keep Café Dulce afloat in the early days when they had maxed out credit cards and piles of debt

  • Why James says you have to be clear with your messaging and be intentional with why you’re doing it

  • Why good hospitality is NOT just for the hospitality industry and will help any new business thrive and stand out

  • How to add heart to your business

  • The best way to create something meaningful and impactful

  • James’ advice on how to be patient when you’re building something, especially through hardship and obstacles

  • Simon Sinek – Start With Why Ted Talk

  • CEOs Say How You Treat a Waiter Can Predict a Lot About Character

CONNECT WITH JAMES:

Instagram | Facebook

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and connect with me online!

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

If you have any questions or comments for the show, click here

Lesson 10: Creating with Intention, Going Viral, and Making Your Dreams Come True

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Lesson 10: How to create work that connects with a wide audience and manifest the career and life opportunities of your dreams

With Nathalie Basha

Complacency is the death of creativity. If you always set new goals for yourself, and you’re in a constant cycle of reaching and striving, that’s when you’re going to get the best out of yourself and your creative muscle.
— Nathalie Basha

Nathalie Basha is a Webby nominated travel journalist with a passion for telling stories about the intersection between people, culture and fascinating places. She shoots, writes, edits, and reports on her stories both at home in LA and around the world on assignment. Basically, she has a dream career! And her pieces regularly go viral, getting millions upon millions of views per story. One video alone has more than 70 MILLION views and counting!

If you're interested at all in being a content creator, learning how to create stories that connect with people, and learning how to make things that resonate with an audience, this is a must listen episode.

I love this conversation, because we learn all about Nathalie's journey to working in such an incredible career, with stops along the way as an entertainment news reporter, features news reporter, and the surprising part time job she picked up to support herself when she quit TV news without a plan and decided to go full force with her YouTube channel The Travel Muse.

Nathalie shares why it’s so important to create roles and opportunities for yourself, why we have to purposefully conquer our fears, and how to manifest the exact dream career and life that you want.

We also talk about going viral - why she thinks her work connects with such a massive audience, and her advice on creating work with the intent of going viral.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • How Nathalie burned out of TV news, quit without a plan, and started her YouTube channel The Travel Muse

  • How she developed The Travel Muse over 3 years, without generating any income, and took a part time job to pay the bills

  • Why it’s so important to create the opportunity for yourself and take the initiative if you want something to happen

  • How Nathalie finds the stories she reports on and why she is interested in telling the stories of the people that make the places she travels to special

  • Why feeling nervous is a good thing

  • How she has had countless videos go viral

  • Nathalie’s advice on approaching content creation with the intent of going viral

  • How Nathalie and her fiancé Dr. Evan Antin both manifested their dream careers

  • How to get started in telling stories through video like Nathalie

Nathalie’s videos mentioned in this episode:

CONNECT WITH NATHALIE:

Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

CONNECT WITH CREATIVITY SCHOOL:

Thank you so much for listening!

Subscribe so you never miss an episode, and connect with me online!

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

If you have any questions or comments for the show, click here.