The Accidental Creative



The Accidental Creative podcast shares how to build practical, everyday practices that help you stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and work. Host Todd Henry (author of the books The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, and Louder Than Words) interviews artists, authors and business leaders, and offers tips for how to thrive in life and work. Listen in and join the conversation at


  • The Silent Killer Of Your Creative Process

    23/05/2022 Duration: 20min

    In the creative process, one of the silent killers is expectation escalation. It’s very important that we have a healthy understanding of our abilities and developmental opportunities, but for some of us, myself included, our expectations of ourselves and our work is our greatest competitor to full, free creativity. In his work On Intelligence, Jeff Hawkins writes of a phenomenon in the mind called the “invariant representation”. This is a mental construct that represents the ultimate form of whatever subject we are considering. In other words, and this is greatly simplified, the ultimate chair, table, lamp, etc., all exist in our mind in some form and are used to compare all of our experiences to determine what we are seeing and experiencing. The same thing happens with our art. We create mental constructs, or invariant representations, of what great work would look like, and often these are so high and perfect that it would be nearly impossible to achieve them. When we do this, we not only limit ourselves

  • Happy People Are Annoying (with Josh Peck)

    16/05/2022 Duration: 29min

    We live in an age in which we often only see the best aspects of the lives of others. People share their successful destination, but not the (often difficult) journey they took to get there. This leaves many people thinking there's a missing "manual" that everyone else has but they somehow overlooked. Today's guest is Josh Peck. His new memoir Happy People Are Annoying shares his journey from child star to acting alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. We discuss why growing up as a child of a single mother impacted how he thought about business, great advice he received from Sir Ben Kingsley, and why love of craft is about more than just a feeling but is a deeper sense of connection to the work. This episode is sponsored by (Indeed). Mentioned in this episode: Herding Tigers podcast Listen to the Herding Tigers podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Atomic Habits (with James Clear) - from 2018

    06/05/2022 Duration: 28min

    Twyla Tharp once wrote “Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.” If we want to succeed, we need good habits. On the flip side, Warren Buffet said “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”, meaning that our bad habits often don’t seem that bad until they get to the point where we can no longer easily break them. So if habits are that important, understanding how they are formed, changed, and broken is crucial if we want to be prolific, brilliant, and healthy in life and in work. On today’s show we have a guest who can help us better understand the habits that form the foundation of our success or failure. His name is (James Clear), and he’s released a book called (Atomic Habits), which is about the small changes we can make in our daily life to create big change on the other side. It’s a guidebook to healthier habits in life and work, and our conversation with James is coming up in ju

  • The Elements Of Great Culture (with Daniel Coyle)

    03/05/2022 Duration: 25min

    What is a “culture”? We hear that word tossed around in organizations all the time, but it’s often difficult to know what people even mean when they say that word. Worse, managers often talk about building or growing a great culture without a full understanding of what a great culture might even look like. Today’s guest is Daniel Coyle. He’s spent many years studying culture and has written a few best-selling books on the topic, including The Culture Code. On this episode, he shares his definition of culture and offers practical tips for building a great one from his new book (The Culture Playbook).   Please support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium). You'll get ad-free episodes, access to the full archives, and more. This episode is sponsored by (Indeed).

  • The Earned Life (with Marshall Goldsmith)

    26/04/2022 Duration: 29min

    What does it mean to be successful? I wrote in my book Die Empty that how you define greatness defines you, meaning that what you aspire to - even if you haven’t clearly articulated what it is - will shape how you go about your days and determine your priorities for you. If you don’t have a clear understanding of what success actually means to you, it’s possible to spend your entire life chasing vapor. Today’s guest is one of the most respected coaches on the planet. (Dr. Marshall Goldsmith) is the author or editor of 41 books, which have sold over 2.5 million copies, been translated into 32 languages and become listed bestsellers in 12 countries. He is one of a select few executive advisors who has worked with over 200 major CEOs and their management teams. His new book is called (The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment), in which he discusses the patterns of people who grow a life of meaning and purpose. In this episode, we discuss the nature of

  • 5 Steps For Planning Your Day For Optimal Creativity

    19/04/2022 Duration: 30min

    You have four finite resources to spend on behalf of what matters: focus, assets, time, and energy. How you allocate these four resources will often determine your success or failure. How intentional are you about making plans to spend them in the right places? On this episode, I share a simply 5-step method for planning your day that I've been using for years: Plan your week Review your goals and "main things" Plan your day Review your day Reveiw your week Want to support the show and receive ad-free episodes? Subscribe to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Indeed). This episode is sponsored by (Shopify). Mentioned in this episode: Herding Tigers podcast Listen to the Herding Tigers podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Emotion By Design (with former Nike CMO Greg Hoffman)

    12/04/2022 Duration: 30min

    When you create, you likely aren’t doing it just for yourself. You are probably making things - whether a product, a message, a work of art, or even a strategy - for someone else. You create in order to get some kind of response from the person who experiences your work. An emotion. This is especially true in the world of brand strategy. Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s the impression - the emotion - it generates in the person experiencing it. On this episode, former Nike CMO Greg Hoffman shares how you can craft strong, compelling creative work that resonates deeply with your audience. His new book is called Emotion by Design.  Support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Novo). This episode is sponsored by (ZocDoc). Mentioned in this episode: Herding Tigers podcast Listen to the Herding Tigers podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Sustain Your Game (with Alan Stein Jr.)

    05/04/2022 Duration: 26min

    It's one thing to perform at your peak ability, but another thing altogeter to sustain that performance over time. How to peak performers continue to produce great work over long periods of time? Today's guest, (Alan Stein, Jr.), is the author of the new book Sustain Your Game. In this conversation we discuss how top performers think about time and opportunity, and how they develop mental toughness. Please support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Indeed). This episode is sponsored by (Shopify).

  • Love and Work (with Marcus Buckingham)

    29/03/2022 Duration: 31min

    The words “love” and “work” are rarely used in the same sentence. Work is comprised of those tasks we have to do in order to make a living, while love is used to describe those activities driven by passion. But what if love and work don’t have to be mutually exclusive? What if we can discover what we love through our work, not in spite of it? Today’s guest is international best-selling author (Marcus Buckingham). He believes that love and work are not mutually exclusive, and that you can - in fact - do your best work when you understand what you love. We discuss why work is not just about a job, how to discover your “wyrd”, and why George Clooney’s sister doesn’t act.  Marcus Buckingham’s new book is called (Love And Work). Please support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium).  This episode is sponsored by (Marpipe). This episode is sponsored by (OMS Photo).

  • Cues and Charisma (with Vanessa Van Edwards)

    22/03/2022 Duration: 30min

    Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly sending signals to everyone around you. These signals tell others whether or not you are interested, whether or not you are interesting, whether you truly believe what you’re saying or if you’re just faking it, whether you’re confident or insecure, and whether or not they should hire or do business with you. Today’s guest, (Vanessa Van Edwards), calls these signals “cues”, and she argues in her new (book )of the same name that we can actually learn to identify them in others and even shape our own cues to better connect with co-workers and friends. In this episode, we discuss the role of charisma in life and work, and how cues affect our communication and effectiveness.  Please support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Shopify). This episode is sponsored by (Indeed).

  • Steal Like An Artist (with Austin Kleon)

    15/03/2022 Duration: 49min

    Ten years ago, (Austin Kleon) released his book (Steal Like An Artist). Over the past decade, it's become a must-read classic for anyone wishing to produce great creative work. In celebration of the release of the 10-year Anniversatry edition of the book, we invited Austin back on the show to discuss what he's learned since the release of the book, how creative pros should respond to culture, why we all need editors, and the hidden dangers of success. Please support the show by subscribing to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (ZocDoc). This episode is sponsored by (Novo).

  • What To Do In The Space "In-Between"

    08/03/2022 Duration: 30min

    We are at this very moment in a season of transition. Philosophers call this "liminal space", from the Latin word "limen" which means "threshold". It's a season in which something is ending, but the next thing has not yet begun. Many creative pros feel like this describes the season we are all experiencing. The pandemic is ending, but the transition back to office has not yet occurred. Demand is creeping upward, but supply can't yet keep pace. The job market is shifting, but hasn't yet settled. What do you do when you're in this "liminal space"? On this episode, I share four key things that all of us can do right now to remain effective: Care for your rhythms Develop a skill Ignore the noise but mind the patterns Protect your optimism and sense of agency This episode is sponsored by (Bambee). This episode is sponsored by (Indeed).

  • 5 Reasons Creative People Leave Their Job

    01/03/2022 Duration: 28min

    "The Great Resignation". That's what they're calling the re-shuffling that's happening across many industries right now. Over the past few years, I've worked closely with a number of companies and have discovered that there are five key reasons why many creative people are choosing to leave their job right now, even when it's not in their own best interest to do so. On this episode, I share these five reasons, and offer some practical advice both for managers and creative pros about how to deal with them. Overly Controlling Manager No Clear Path of Advancement Organization Is Out Over Its Skis Toxic Culture They Are Not Seen/Known This episode is sponsored in part by (Skillshare). This episode is sponsored in part by (Storyblocks).

  • How To Plan A "Cave Day" To Get Work Done

    22/02/2022 Duration: 29min

    What do you do when you have a ton of important creative work to do, and are feeling stressed about your ability to get it done? My solution is to plan a "cave day", which is basically a block of time dedicated to doing deep work. On this episode, I share a few best practices for planning and executing a "cave day", then we interview Molly Sonteng, co-founder of (, about what she's learned from leading group work sessions. Why should you intentionally go "into the cave"? You have time dedicated to what matters most So much of our stress is not knowing when and how the work will get done You eliminate the possibility of the tyranny of the urgent You psychologically orient yourself toward your biggest priorities You perform better when your mind is able to connect dots Your creative intuition and your senses are honed when you are doing "deep work" You notice nuances that you overlook when you are distracted You channel your resources like a river How to go "

  • Designing Worlds For Film (with Lisa Soper)

    15/02/2022 Duration: 32min

    She calls herself a "creator and destroyer of worlds". Lisa Soper is a production designer and animator, whose most recent work is with James Gunn on the new HBO Max series Peacemaker. In this conversation we discuss her career path, why her process always begins with pencil and paper, and how she manages to bring spaces to life while managing the ideas and expectations of other creative pros on the set. Want to support the show? Please subscribe to (AC Premium). You'll receive ad-free and bonus episodes, daily episodes from The Daily Creative, and much more. This episode is sponsored by Shopify. This episode is sponsored by (ZocDoc).

  • Tracking Wonder (with Jeffrey Davis)

    10/02/2022 Duration: 30min

    What does the word "wonder" mean to you? If you want to experience more creative breakthroughs in life and work, cultivating a sense of awe and possibility is an absolute necessity. But where does wonder come from, and how can we experience more of it each day? Today's guest is Jeffrey Davis. His new book Tracking Wonder is about how to pursue wonder each day. Support the show! Want ad-free and bonus episodes? Please subscribe to (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Indeed). This episode is sponsored by (Bambee).

  • Creative Elements (with Jay Clouse)

    03/02/2022 Duration: 26min

    In the past decade, I've been a guest on hundreds of radio shows and podcasts, and occasionally I have such a good time I want to invite the host onto The Accidental Creative for a chat about creativity. Jay Clouse is the host of the (Creative Elements podcast) where he interviews creative pros about how they do what they do. In this episode, we discuss the nature of creating under pressure and how to carve a unique career path that is gratifying and valuable to others. Get ad-free and bonus episodes and more with (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Skillshare). This episode is sponsored by (Truebill).

  • Chatter (with Dr. Ethan Kross)

    31/01/2022 Duration: 28min

    Have you ever noticed the little voice inside your head? What does it say to you, especially when you are doing your work? Sometimes that internal voice can turn against us and stand in the way of effectiveness. On this episode, Dr. Ethan Kross teaches about the nature of chatter and what we can do about it. His new book is called Chatter. Get ad-free and bonus episodes with (AC Premium).  This episode is sponsored by (Wix). This episode is sponsored by (Shopify).

  • The Confident Mind (with Dr. Nate Zinsser)

    25/01/2022 Duration: 31min

    Why do some people seem to have a deep well of confidence when entering challenging moments, and others seem to shrink away from opportunity? More importantly, how can you develop the mindset habits that lead to improved clarity and confidence in moments that matter most? Today's guest is Dr. Nate Zinsser. He is a professor at West Point an the author of the new book The Confident Mind. In this episode, we discuss how confidence affects everything from creativity to collaboration and career choices. Get ad-free and bonus episodes with (AC Premium). This episode is sponsored by (Wix). This episode is sponsored by (Shopify).

  • Questions To Ask When You're Stuck

    21/01/2022 Duration: 14min

    It’s bound to happen sooner or later. No matter how skilled you are and no matter how well you’ve prepared, you’re inevitably going to find yourself stuck on a tough problem without a clear path forward. It’s tempting in these circumstances to keep your nose down and continue cranking on the problem. The problem with this method is that you may be digging yourself deeper into an existing rut. Sometimes it’s valuable to have a set of questions at the ready to help you reframe, shift, or view the problem through a different window. Below is a set of questions that have been used in various situations to jog new creative thoughts about stubborn problems. The questions can be used on your own but are especially valuable in the context of a team. We have to be willing to immerse ourselves in the process to get to the deeply valuable ideas that reside just on the other side of stasis. Choose a project you’re stuck on, and ask these questions: Is an assumption in the way? What is the worst-case scenario? Could I do

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