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Productive Flourishing

Author: Charlie Gilkey

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A newsletter and community for driven possibilitarians who are seeking full-spectrum thriving, hosted by award-winning, best-selling author of Start Finishing, Charlie Gilkey.
253 Episodes
Key Takeaways:[3:24] Charlie’s background and why he decided to become an entrepreneur.[9:16] It typically takes 18 months to 36 months just to figure out what you're doing as an entrepreneur.[13:13] Mark talks about his career journey from going to film school to going to a corporate company at a franchise company making videos. There, he started to look at which projects he enjoyed the most and which ones had the highest profit margins that he could deliver.[14:01] The lowest point in Mark’s business and how it changed.[16:13] Mark’s story of using his high intelligence, talent, and energy in a way that served himself and others.[23:47] Asking for help is one of the greatest things we could do.[24:15] When you accept the gift of not knowing, it opens up all these possibilities.[24:20] It’s okay that you don’t know, and you don’t have to fight that.[31:42] What path will get your message in front of the people you want to speak to, and then once you are there, how do you build an experience better than your competitors?[33:16] The principles of marketing and sales haven’t really changed since 2000 years ago. We’ve just gotten better at implementing those principles.[45:28] Mark’s decision to stop running his business.[1:04:11] Doing our best work requires us to center ourselves on our dreams and our passions.[1:11:05] Ask yourself: what’s the smartest thing you can do next, and then, what’s the most courageous next step you can take on that project?[1:19:38] Mark’s Challenge: Let him help you. Mentioned:Mark Drager: Website | PodcastRichard BransonFast CompanyBreakthrough Advertising Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[2:57] Ruby and Eric discuss some of the unique delights and challenges of being part of a writing trio.[7:45] What is the bridge between this book and Morag’s book Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationship?[8:05] What are the intentional choices you can make to build ally relationships?[12:44] Ruby and Eric break down the five components of an ally mindset:abundance and generosityconnection and compassioncourage and vulnerabilitycandor and debateaction and accountability[13:23] In order to get more allies, you have to be one yourself.[25:43] How can we start with small ripples of joy in our own lives and have that branch out to help others?[28:12] Are two-hour staff meetings really necessary? And if so, how do we make them more efficient and profitable for everyone involved?[34:13] If you’ve invested in your relationship, it’s going to withstand weird moments. In the meantime, what should we do when a sideways moment occurs?[59:54] Challenge: lean into having the hard conversations. Keeping your head down isn’t going to change a damn thing. And, check out the Ally Mindset Profile to give you some insights into what comes naturally to you, as it relates to the five practices.Mentioned:You, Me, We: Why We All Need a Friend at WorkAlly Mindset ProfileJohn Gottman Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[6:20] We are in a media environment that is saturated with messages about how much more we could be doing.[7:27] Charlie, Jenny, and Tara define capacity and what that means to them.[10:51] What are some of the things that can make working in a team overwhelming?[14:17] When our world gets too big, we tend to get disengagement and boredom.[15:38] The difference between rigidity and rigor in goal setting.[17:09] Why is it important to bring in conversation about rigidity versus rigor as it relates to capacity and the ambitions that so many of us have, especially for creative pursuits?[21:55] How do you effectively and professionally communicate when you’re overcommitted?[29:07] Just be honest about what you can and can't do.[32:07] Yes, technically we all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce, but we have different 24 hours.[45:34] At the heart of hustle culture is a solution to a substantially larger problem that we have in the 21st-Century economy. Charlie, Jenny, and Tara discuss how hustle and bro culture is a larger sign of a patriarchy and white male privilege.Mentioned:Jenny BlakeTara McMullin Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[3:13] Jennifer discusses finding her voice in the workplace equality movement as a professional, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and someone who recognizes their privilege.[5:25] Jennifer talks about carrying the LGBTQ identity as a source of challenge, and using it as a vehicle to transform her own leadership.[12:22] When getting leaders and insiders to enact lasting change, we need to focus on DEI efforts on the moral case, just as much, if not more than, the business case.[15:43] If you are an insider, you can push on other insiders to lead differently.[17:40] Up to 75% of change management efforts fail, especially the top-down-led ones.[21:01] We can find core issues that we can focus on, which will then create ripples of change. One example of this can be toxic masculinity.[33:01] We should recognize that the differences between us are ones we should face and name, rather than sweep them under the rug.[38:11] The journey of understanding others is challenging and may reveal things about ourselves that we never expected. It’s important to be patient, humble, and transparent about our experience. Humans don’t learn by shaming one another.[1:01:28] Leaning on others within your community is super important, and Jennifer talks about the profoundness of an ally showing up to help speak for someone who can’t.[1:09:49] Jennifer’s challenge: get comfortable with being uncomfortable.[1:10:44] DEI is a laboratory for human evolution, and it challenges us at the deepest level in the not knowing.Mentioned:Jennifer BrownHow to Be an Inclusive LeaderDEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right, by Lily Zhengbell hooks Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Can magic strike twice? As we learn in this episode, it most certainly can. Charlie welcomes Jadah Sellner, best-selling author, business coach, and the host of the Lead with Love podcast. Jadah shares wisdom from her own experience of going from the “green smoothie girl” to an anti-hustle and pro-sustainable leadership business coach. Jadah talks more about her #shebuilds movement, which helps founders build sustainable businesses without burnout, some tips on moving forward when you feel like you’ve outgrown your current situation, and how we can apply anti-hustle productivity in our personal and professional lives. Jadah and Charlie talk about their creative process of book writing, moving from fear to love, and how we can define our “enough” to move through the world more intentionally.Key Takeaways:[3:41] Jadah talks about co-founding Simple Green Smoothies with her then-business partner Jen, and the interesting journey to have the conscious uncoupling not only with a business partner but with an identity of a body of work that she built.[5:20] Can magic strike twice? The answer is yes.[5:58] What should you do when you feel stuck in a pattern, yet your heart and soul call you in a new direction?[10:08] Sometimes we need separation to rebuild on our own and find our way.[10:52] Jadah shares a few people and situations that helped her create her own skill set and tools to pull from in her current life.[11:13] How is She Builds different from anything Jadah has done before?[12:17] Pay attention to where your natural curiosity and interest lie.[14:31] Jadah is an immersive creator, and she talks about giving herself the space to process and creatively cocoon while she is going through the process of creative writing and output.[17:41] Things flow much more easily when we embrace the fact that each project brings a new creative process.[23:15] The core message behind She Builds is that hustle culture isn’t working for women.[32:51] Sometimes advocating for yourself also means having to push back deadlines and be honest with yourself and others that things may not happen on the exact day you plan for them to happen.[38:55] How can we move from fear to love? Jadah breaks down her definition of “L.O.V.E.”: lead, optimize, visualize, and expand.[41:23] In a world where your to-do list can be a bottomless mimosa, it’s important to have an intentional and practical relationship with your to-do list.[48:47] Jadah’s growth edge now is being in a creative process with her book.[50:43] Jadah’s challenge: define your “enough” number. It is personal for everyone and can help move you out of hustle culture.Mentioned in this episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppJadah Sellner@jadahsellnerLead with Love PodcastShe Builds: The Anti-Hustle Guide to Grow Your Business and Nourish Your LifeElizabeth GilbertNeil GaimanToni Morrison Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[4:36] Tara talks about what led her to create the What Works book, a blend of her own personal quest to re-establish her relationship with work and goals, mixed with conversations with people who had all sorts of different relationships to productivity and goals.[6:08] In the process of Tara’s research for the book, it brought up a deeper conversation of how much culture, family, and upbringing have on our identity, which makes an impact on how we structure our work and the goals we set.[6:49] We are bombarded by marketing and societal messages that make us feel like we aren’t good enough, or aren’t doing enough.[7:22] Tara and Charlie discuss why we don’t do the things we really want to do, and why working on teams can be so hard, even though we are primed to work with others.[12:25] We unpack the validation spiral, and why it’s so common.[16:21] Externally, one of the ways that we play into the validation spiral is by saying yes to things, taking on projects, and spreading ourselves too thin to do anything impeccably.[20:23] So many of us are socialized to be the supporting actor when really we can be the lead actor in our own story.[24:01] Ask yourself: what resources do you need, and where might they come from?[33:15] When “shoulding” and “supposed to-ing” yourself, get clear and concrete about what exactly you are looking for. Try to get specific about numbers and benchmarks.[40:15] Why don’t we ask for help before we absolutely need it?[45:10] Get a support team together before you need the help.[52:12] As a community, we can learn to break down resistance to ask for help and more openly offer help to others without expecting much in return.Mentioned in this episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppBrokenDown GirlTara McMullinWhat Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal SettingWhat Works What Works Network Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[4:17] Mark talks about the experience of almost dying from a rare form of lymphoma when he was in his 30s, and how it was the introduction to facing the unavoidable work of the friction that comes with life.[5:32] We must face what is done to us, but we are more than what has been done to us.[5:41] Mark talks about how the pandemic showed our generation it’s time to learn to choose love over fear, and compassion over self-interest.[11:20] One of the first “faults” goes back to the Industrial Revolution, where this is the first time in history that where we live and work is separated.[17:16] Reality TV is our present-day virtual Colosseum.[27:23] Often spiritually, the safest place is in the center.[28:09] Every one of us has a daily and perennial choice between love and fear. But there’s a difference between letting fear move through you and obeying it.[34:38] Through solitude, we restore our direct connection to the universe, and through relationships, we restore the wonder of being human and compassion and kindness.[37:11] The bad news is we’re always falling. The good news is there’s no bottom.[47:56] Mark’s challenge and invasion: inhabit life fully by being as open-hearted and as loving as possible. This will require courage, strength, and kindness.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppMark NepoSurviving Storms: Finding the Strength To Meet Adversity, by Mark NepoThe Social DilemmaThink Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, by Jay SetiNo Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, by Thich Nhat Hanh Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Key Takeaways:[4:54] Lisa would consider herself mentally ambidextrous. She likes structure and hard problems but also enjoys free thinking. Both these qualities help her as a storyteller and entrepreneur.[5:04] Lisa talks about deciding that she wanted more out of early retirement than sitting and eating pancakes all day![8:36] As a polymath, you can both be multidisciplinary and singularly focused.[12:44] Sometimes people put themselves in a prison of their own making. Lisa talks about how we can lean into creativity and fun rather than being stuck feeling like we have to do one thing.[13:21] When we start thinking about making decisions that affect our evolution, we tie in three factors that make them super hard and high-stakes: we make a decision, it is non-reversible, and it seems like it’s non-recoverable.[15:02] Sometimes we think that we are failing, when we're really in the middle of succeeding, but the only way you know that is to know that you are trying a new thing and experimenting.[27:00] Lisa discusses how her definition of success was flawed and how she was basing success on outcome rather than creating a process that really reflected where her money and time were going, and if this matched her values.[38:26] Lifestyle changes can take time.[1:04:29] It’s often what we are ashamed of and embarrassed about that can lead us to really get what we want.[1:08:03] Lisa’s challenge to you: make yourself a “to don’t” list.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppBehind the Brilliance PodcastLisa Nicole Bell@lisanicolebellA Whole New MindMr. Money Mustache Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
If you’ve ever wanted to do interesting projects with friends and family but traditional business ownership models didn’t feel quite right, this episode is for you. Kate Strathman is an artist, writer, and rebellious spirit. As a multidisciplinary business owner, Kate taps into each of these traits to help others build equitable team structures and dream up alternative business models that may have never previously existed. In this episode, Kate talks about the definition of a collective and how it differs from a cooperative, how to know what purpose, structure, and operating model to use, and what to do when you know it’s time to shift. Kate also discusses how we can better create value for people through our business. Key Takeaways:[3:56] Kate talks about how someone with an art degree and a love of wandering around India ended up in bookkeeping and a finance consultancy.[12:35] Kate defines a cooperative as a business that is owned by the people that benefit from it. There are different types of cooperatives. A worker co-op is a type of business where the employees directly own and control the business, generally on a democratic basis of one person/one vote.[15:20] In a worker co-op, ownership derives from working in the company, rather than investing in capital.[23:20] Pay and power are not the same things. Just because you have 50/50 ownership in the business, it might not necessarily mean you get paid the same.[28:07] Kate talks about some of the conditions that skew us towards a co-op versus more of a standard partnership: the number of people, owner obsolescence, and creating a multi-generational structure.[49:11] What is the line between resilience and interdependence?[51:27] Kate’s challenge: think about one way the structure of your business could shift to benefit all the humans and communities it touches. Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppWanderwell ConsultingKate StrathmannSimple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential, by Greg Crabtree, with Beverly Blair Harzog Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
This week, New York Times bestselling author and essayist Esmé Wang joins the show. Esmé first talks about growing up with immigrant parents, and how that shaped her ideas of accomplishments and what it meant to succeed as a creative. She details how she went on to go to Yale, became a scientist, and then veered onto the path of writing and how her illness taught her to just “be” instead of always trying to be productive. She shines a light on the lessons she learned from having her book rejected 41 times before being selected as a once-in-a-decade award winner. Esmé is also the founder of The Unexpected Shape Writing Academy.Key Takeaways:[2:51] When you’re a creator and dealing with disabilities and chronic illness, one of the things you have to accept is that your plans don’t always work out the way you want them to, because life happens.[3:19] Esmé talks about growing up as a professional writer with immigrant parents from Taiwan who put a very high emphasis on attending an Ivy League school and productivity.[12:02] One of the problems of living a creative life and unconventional path is that the normal markers people would use for success may not be there.[13:05] Esmé’s first book was rejected 41 times before it was picked up by a publisher. She talks about how luck plays a role in success.[17:53] We all have the same hours in a day as Beyonce, but definitely not the same level of support![21:01] Esmé discusses her own dealing with illness as a person that put high importance on output and productivity.[25:07] How can people with chronic illness and disability reframe the way they look at productivity and time management in a way that doesn’t lead to frustration and disappointment?[28:01] Culture and our capitalistic society are obsessed with productivity.[35:08] Able-bodied people often don’t realize how much it takes for someone with a disability or chronic illness to do the things they view as “normal” or easy.[38:41] How the Momentum App can help.[42:22] How we can better communicate with the people in our lives when we need a break or are running out of energy.[53:24] Challenge: write down EVERYTHING you do in a day. Everything. You are doing way more than you think you are.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppEsmé WangThe Unexpected Shape AcademyAdam GrantBrené Brown Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Tara Newman is the Founder and CEO of the Bold Profit Academy and host of the Bold Money Revolution. She joins the show today for a conversation about the importance of remembering why most of us start businesses and seek out entrepreneurship, how common growth strategies can lead to a lack of resiliency, and how service providers can avoid the mindset of selling themselves. This is a great episode for those wanting to make their business work for them and their life, rather than having their life be working for their business. Key Takeaways:[3:58] Many of us come to entrepreneurship out of necessity. Tara talks about her diagnosis of Lyme Disease, and how getting COVID-19 also flared up her EB Virus. To heal, she needed proper time and space to focus on her health journey, which having your own business can allow. [8:00] The pandemic cycle introduced new layers that we hadn’t had to consider before. This resulted in many of us having to re-engineer our businesses. [15:26] Why it’s detrimental to condition your reward system to seek likes, followers, and comments rather than true value. [19:32] Tara explains how the online business model is the most costly thing she has ever seen. [23:03] Tara is a big believer that you can be a millionaire without having a million-dollar business. [24:49] There is no regulation for digital advertising and research shows that up to 88% of ad clicks are fraudulent. [27:45] Publicly held companies are cutting their ad revenue and marketing because they know they can make sales without them. [38:07] The biggest benefits to having a profit-first framework as a method. [48:05] What has Tara learned as a wartime leader? Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe Productive Flourishing AcademyMomentum AppTara Newman: Bold Profit Academy Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and founder and executive director of the Flow Research Collective. He joins the show to talk about how we can access flow and empathy during times of crisis, and how we can learn from the innovation over the pandemic and keep it as we move forward. Steven also talks about the inspiration behind his best-selling thriller, The Devil’s Dictionary.Key Takeaways:[3:47] Steven talks about starting his career in journalism and expanding his interest in disruptive technology and how people get and stay in their flow.[6:50] Steven talks about his thoughts on being a rational optimist, and what we mean when we say radical humanism.[11:12] How did COVID-19 disrupt the way we work and live when it comes to both AI and material revolution and how can we embrace these changes moving forward?[26:30] The four best tools to manicure our nervous systems are gratitude, mindfulness, exercise, and regular access to flow. It is imperative that we take advantage of these during a crisis.[28:44] How do we cooperate at scale at speed without a war driving us forward?[30:01] Steven talks about his book, The Devil’s Dictionary.[43:25] Are we going to use these technologies to fix the globally broken supply chain? That’s an open question.[46:53] Steve explains how we need different models for sharing value at scale than what we currently have.[51:02] In order to solve world problems, we need empathy for all beings, plants, animals, and ecosystems.[52:00] If you’re interested in creativity and innovation, and entrepreneurship, you need to tamp down the brain’s negativity bias and make room for new information. The easiest way to do that is through empathy.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppSteven KotlerThomas PoggeDevil’s Dictionary Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
In this episode, Angela is back as we discuss why it’s important for founders, business owners, and entrepreneurs of all kinds to consider a sabbatical or a “slowbatical.” Just as it sounds, a slowbatical is a time to slow down, recover, and recharge from career stresses. As a society, we have reached a critical point where we are no longer just working hard but working towards imminent burnout; burnout that will cost you, your clients, your employees, and your bottom line. If you’re reading this and thinking, “I can’t do that,” then this episode is especially for you.Key Takeaways:[2:56] When reflecting on this episode, Angela realized she and Charlie continued to have the “burnout” discussion without ever taking a break to recharge.[7:41] What is a slowbatical? And why it’s more attainable than a true sabbatical.[9:59] So many of us have reached a tipping point where today’s pace is driving us to burnout on a detrimental scale.[10:42] One positive of the pandemic is we have begun talking more about burnout and the need for slowing down; even though it was at a tipping point before COVID-19.[12:48] When we talk about burnout, most people think about being incapacitated but there are levels of burnout. Oftentimes, it’s more gradual than a dramatic implosion.[14:53] Rather than waiting for a falling out, it’s best to plan for what to do if there is burnout.[16:06] The OEN April panel discussion spared an important issue which is why there is so much pressure and threat of burnout on founders and small business owners, especially.[23:55] It’s okay to recognize what role privilege plays in the need for sabbaticals and slowbaticals without discounting the importance.[27:07] While this episode has an emphasis on founders, it is just as important for those with side hustles or traditional jobs to allow themselves the mindset to slow down.[30:24] There may be a cost to taking a break, but there will likely be a bigger cost to not taking one.[34:48] What and when founders and business owners can plan for sabbaticals and slowbatticals.[44:48] It’s time to stop saying, “I can’t” when it comes to sabbaticals and slowbaticals. And start asking, “Why?”[46:15] The two questions you need to ask when thinking about a slowbatical are 1) What are you making space to do more of? 2) What are you making space from?[49:00] Time and time again, people that take slowbaticals find that results remain relatively the same.[54:15] Angela has not only helped clients and seen their growth with slowbaticals but she’s also had to examine and struggle with this in her own life.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyThe AcademyMomentum AppOEN April PubTalkWanderwell“Under Pressure” — The Portland Business JournalYNABHell Yeah or No, by Derek Sivers“Relax for the Same Result,” by Derek Sivers Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
In this episode, Jenny Blake joins Charlie on the show to talk about free time and how systems can help us create more of it in our busy lives. The real goal of effective systems is to help us do our best work, free up our energy, and pursue what matters to us. Jenny and Charlie discuss what keeps people from building the right systems, why our ideas of hard work play into the systems we build, and how to start creating more free time in our businesses and personal lives. If you want more free time, this episode is going to be an eye-opener.Key Takeaways:[3:13] How did Jenny end up with the book Free Time? She explains how she was inspired to write her first two books, Life After College and Pivot, and Free Time is about optimizing what's now.[6:54] A lot of books on systems tend to be quite dense and complex. Jenny's aim was to bring some levity to the conversation with her book.[9:23] For business owners, Charlie highlights some important things to keep in mind about people sharing their numbers.[12:57] What is Free Time about? At its core, it's a book that helps you make your business work for you without so much work to make it work.[19:25] We need to start thinking about systems differently. A system is essentially a set of interrelated, interconnected parts that produce a consistent result. Oftentimes, in organizations, it can feel like people are at fault, but the underlying issues may be the work systems that have been created.[21:52] Jenny shares some examples of the importance of having systems on the personal and household front.[34:45] When we look at the things we don’t like to do or are not good at doing from another perspective, we can actually see that there are people out there who are good at it, and who want to do it, and will benefit economically from doing it.[37:29] One of the things we have to take seriously in all teams is the energy and emotions that we inject into them.[40:32] The bottleneck and chief constraint in a business is often not time, but energy and attention.[43:51] Jenny and Charlie discuss infinite games and how happiness and free time tie into that.[52:20] Creating systems can start by thinking of what you would like an ideal world to look like. The point is not to get caught in the minute details of how that is possible but merely visualize and dream what is possible.[57:29] Strategic laziness can be a helpful concept to tap into to create systems and processes in your business to make things easier for your future self.[62:25] Jenny invites listeners to do less. So much of free time is permission, and that permission is to be a little bit radical with your free time.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyFree Time: Lose the Busywork, Love Your Business, by Jenny BlakePivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. by Jenny BlakeLife After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want. by Jenny Blake Productive Flourishing Podcast “Episode 72: How to Embrace Uncertainty Through a Career Change with Jenny Blake”Pivot PodcastFree Time PodcastOne Stone CreativeThe Infinite Game, by Simon SinekDeep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal NewportTim Ferris, Strategic LazinessAndrew Wilkinson — Lazy Leadership Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
In this episode, Productive Flourishing team members Cory Huff, Steve Arensberg, and Maghan Haggerty join Charlie on the show to talk about the Start Finishing Field Guide, the workbook version of Charlie's best selling book, Start Finishing. In this behind-the-scenes chat with some team members who helped bring the field guide into existence, hear more about some lessons the team learned along the way, the challenges they faced, and why this is the perfect time to launch this workbook. It's going to be an episode with takeaways for everyone, regardless of whether you're a writer, creator, or team leader.Key Takeaways:[4:07] Charlie explains his process of writing Start Finishing, and how it turned out to be the kind of book that it is.[6:08] Steve was the champion for the Start Finishing Field Guide from the beginning. He shares more about why he felt the worksheets and guides that accompanied Start Finishing were so important.[8:00] When writing a non-fiction book, it is always important to be open to other bits of collateral that you might need to support it.[9:05] It took a lot of effort to bring the Start Finishing Field Guide into existence. Steve talks about why important tasks that aren’t urgent can sometimes get pushed to the back, especially if there isn’t someone in the organization to champion them.[10:47] There was a gap between the information presented in Start Finishing and readers actually translating that into a final finished project.[13:50] How did Maghan get roped into the field guide of Start Finishing? She talks about how she started as part of a street team to promote Start Finishing and found herself needing companion worksheets to better process the concepts it covered.[15:44] Charlie outlines the timeline for the field guide and how it ended up being launched now.[17:50] Steve talks about some of the calculations and approximations the team had to do around the cost of producing the field guide, as well as how the team decided which other projects were going to be put on the backburner for this.[20:35] What are some of the differences between publishing a workbook and a traditionally published book?[24:48] What's the thought process behind creating worksheets to help people grasp concepts or ideas better?[29:39] For Maghan, working out how to translate each chapter of the book into worksheets essentially became a lesson for her on what to do next and how to implement the principle of that chapter in her life.[34:11] The team shares their reflections on what they have learned from working on the field guide and being a part of the PF team.[42:02] Why is the book called a field guide rather than a workbook? It’s a great resource to have along the journey![44:16] Sign up to get the details about the field guide when it gets released.[45:32] Steve, Maghan, and Cory share their final thoughts to wrap up the interview.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyMomentum PlannersSounds True Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
 In this episode, Angela joins Charlie on the show after a long hiatus to talk about her concussion rehabilitation process and what she has been going through since July when she experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Angela has been going through an intensive rehabilitation program, and it has been an exhausting experience for her. Her history with TBIs has impacted her in more than one way, and she and Charlie share how her neural deficits have inspired them both to change and adapt, as well as to ask and receive help when they need it.Key Takeaways:[2:16] Angela experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) in July and has been going through concussion rehabilitation since then. It has been a journey of learning to navigate the changes Angela has experienced in her thinking and thought patterns, both for herself and Charlie.[5:37] Team discussions have also taken on a different dynamic within PF with more neurodiversity. This has encouraged the team to become more reflective and introspective about how they share their material.[7:28] Angela’s recent concussion is likely her eighth serious TBI. She talks a little about her experience with previous TBIs and how they have impacted her.[13:24] It is possible to have a TBI without blacking out, or any of the other common symptoms doctors screen for. Additionally, having TBI makes you more susceptible to additional TBIs.[17:11] Concussions and TBIs are a lot more common than people think they are. Oftentimes, changes that people, especially women, experience because of TBIs are misattributed to hormonal changes.[20:56] Angela has been on an intensive concussion rehabilitation program working with multiple specialists. It has been an exhausting experience for her, and she explains why.[27:30] When dealing with TBIs, it is important for the medical team to have a baseline of what the person's original level of functioning was. It makes all the difference in how they’re evaluating the person’s progress. Having someone else to advocate for you can help in this situation.[36:02] What are some things Angela and Charlie have learned from this journey? The first thing they realized was how much Angela was in charge of care work in the home, and how that had to change after her injury.[44:30] The second thing they learned was that Angela’s schedule had been lying to her. Charlie and Angela talk more about how they helped her get into momentum planning to schedule her time.[49:54] Angela is still deep in the throes of her rehab, but there are already things she is grateful for.[51:05] Something that has helped Angela in this process is “sense naps.”[55:23] Knowing how to ask for help and how to accept it is one of the hardest things to do.[59:58] While most of this conversation has been focused on Angela’s journey, Charlie has also experienced some catalytic changes.[64:14] Angela invites listeners to be honest with themselves about where they are and where their capacity is. It starts from there to let the people around you know where you are, so they can engage and interact with you as you are.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyMomentum Planners Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Ashley Zuberi, yoga teacher, author, and former teammate of Team Productive Flourishing, joins Charlie on the show to discuss how we can reframe yoga, spiritual practices, and mindfulness so that we can integrate them into our days and make them work for us. Spiritual practices and philosophy are best suited to help us live our actual lives more fully rather than trying to create an ideal version of ourselves. Charlie and Ashley discuss how spirituality shows up in our day-to-day life and why it will always be a work in progress.Key Takeaways:[2:40] For many people, doing yoga, and cultivating a meditation or mindfulness practice are on their to-do list. Yet, people struggle with actually starting and maintaining these practices. Ashley addresses why people can get stuck before beginning.[5:29] Creating a meditation or yoga or spiritual practice is hard, and it's because it requires experimentation where people are looking for someone to tell them what to do.[7:03] One way to approach these practices is by integrating these practices into our lives in a more practical way. Ashley outlines how this plays out in her own life.[8:34] Charlie reflects on how his relationship with yoga has changed since 2020. Yoga is much more than just practicing poses. In its original form, yoga was a meditation practice![12:58] It can be just as, if not more, helpful to do shorter periods of yoga more frequently rather than longer sessions at larger intervals. What has happened is the assimilation and co-opting of other traditions into a Western paradigm.[15:40] A lot of what drives our actions is being more efficient and doing things more as efficiently as possible. However, that's not the goal in a spiritual practice.[17:54] Even hugs can be a part of your yoga practice if you are tuning into the present moment and practicing presence.[21:46] Spirituality is what happens in the moment and not just what happens in the special containers we create for them.[23:12] Charlie and Ashley discuss what it means to truly be able to show up as your full self at work, particularly now with COVID-19 and working from home.[25:29] COVID-19 has had some negative impacts on this generation of children, but looking beyond the arbitrary constructs and structures, we can see some other benefits like children seeing their parents at work, and parents being able to spend more time with their kids.[26:28] Charlie explains more about different types of reality, the objective, subjective, and interest objective, and how this ties into spiritual practices.[30:01] Our understanding of what yoga is evolves and changes with time. Charlie and Ashley share what it means for each of them and how it influences how they show up in the world.[34:33] What are some steps we can take to move forward from this conversation and start our spiritual practice?[43:55] Each of us has our own challenges and struggles with our spiritual practice. What is Ashley feeling most challenged by now?[48:50] Ashley invites you to try something today that helps you find more peace.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyAshley ZuberiEight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, by John M. Gottman, Doug Abrams, Julie Gottman, Rachel Carlton AbramsThe Mom ProjectSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Jeffrey Davis, branding consultant, repeat guest, and author of the new book, Tracking Wonder, joins Charlie on the show to discuss how we can reconcile productivity and wonder. Our culture’s obsession with productivity has a bias against wonder and yet wonder is essential for our creativity, satisfaction, and belonging. They discuss how these seemingly opposing forces balance each other and allow us to thrive and flourish, not merely be more productive.Key Takeaways:[2:10] Jeffrey shares the journey of how he wrote his latest book, Tracking Wonder. It was a process of discovery and learning through extreme adversity and crisis.[8:42] When we go on these journeys as thinkers and writers, there is often an intense pressure for it to be quick. Often, this is not the case and it can take months or years for ideas to come to fruition.[12:18] Fifteen to 20 years ago, positive psychology was still in its infancy, and the only option then was to turn to philosophy to talk about thriving, wonder, happiness, belonging, etc. Now, there is science to back it up.[15:49] The past 18 months, both culturally and socially, have raised a lot of questions about meaning and relationships.[17:03] Charlie and Jeffrey discuss measuring productivity; it has always been difficult to measure and has become even more difficult recently. Why are we tracking only certain metrics for productivity and efficiency and not others?[22:06] There is a lot of work to be done, and it does have an impact on the company’s bottom line. On the flip side, as leaders, we need to have the integrity to recognize that people need to go out and do something different than just being stuck to their screens all day.[25:06] Charlie reflects on an interestingly productive time of his day — when he goes on his coffee walks in the morning.[29:05] There are a lot of things that look like not working, that make the working actually happen.[32:11] Getting off a structured routine can be a very bewildering experience of deinstitutionalization. When we get off the path fixed for us, we have to create boundaries, rhythms, and structures for ourselves.[37:02] How can we navigate that sense of bewilderment and disorientation when our rhythms are disrupted? Bewilderment fatigue can be a challenge, and sometimes we may disengage or bypass as a way of escaping reality.[40:41] Wonder has six facets. Jeffrey explains each one briefly. 1: Openness, 2: Curiosity, 3: Bewilderment, 4: Hope, 5: Connection, 6: Admiration.[44:16] How can productivity and wonder coexist? They seem to be at odds with each other, yet a balance is necessary.[48:10] We are more than our work. Charlie shares some ways to detach ourselves from our work in the language we use.[49:57] You are what you pay attention to. What are you paying attention to, and what are you focusing on?[53:31] How can we shape our time together better so that we develop more connection?[56:04] Jeffery used the design of his book to invoke wonder and bewilderment.[60:05] Jeffrey invites and challenges listeners to conduct an experiment at the beginning, middle, and end of your day to bring more openness, surprise, elevation, or connection.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyJeffrey DavisTracking Wonder: Reclaiming a Life of Meaning and Possibility in a World Obsessed with Productivity, by Jeffrey DavisThe Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing, by Jeff DavisShiva Sutras“Why You Need to Protect Your Sense of Wonder — Especially Now,” by David P. Fessell and Karen Reivich for Harvard Business ReviewBewilderment, by Richard PowersSounds True Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
Pam Slim, business coach, speaker, and author of the new book The Widest Net, joins Charlie on the show to discuss how building your business from an ecosystem paradigm instead of an empire paradigm changes everything — from how you do marketing to your approach to partnerships. They discuss the importance of having a focused beacon in your work, getting into the flow of building partnerships, and how to successfully start and grow your business in collaboration with others.Key Takeaways:[2:07] An arc connects all three of Pam's books — Escape from Cubicle Nation, Body of Work, and Widest Net. She explains the trajectory of the reader going through all three books.[4:51] Pam has experienced several different configurations of working since her first book. She shares more about her journey with work, and how she has built up her network of relationships.[8:18] In her book, The Widest Net, Pam talks about some of the other elements of marketing that are more relatable and inclusive. At its foundation, The Widest Net is focused on shifting the paradigm from “building an empire” to “building an ecosystem.”[13:51] A lot of marketing already happens within an ecosystem model.[16:33] Whether you’re going deep in cultivating relationships or broad in reaching out to a large audience, you still have to do marketing, and you still have to do the work.[18:22] There is a distinction between relational connections and transactional connections.[21:21] As an expert within your field, you need to have a beacon. It is your responsibility to be really clear about what you do, your perspective, and your unique approach.[23:32] Many of us want to showcase all of our talents and interests, and illustrate that we have range. However, this can be problematic from a business perspective. Pam and Charlie discuss how to build a better beacon for our work.[28:33] You don’t have to let go of all your passions, interests, and different revenue streams in your business. It’s all about what you're shining the light on.[30:26] When our beacons are too diffuse, it makes it hard for people to refer us to others.[31:00] Partnerships are an essential part of building success in the ecosystem model. Pam explains how having “peanut butter and jelly” partners and brand partnerships can be useful.[36:31] How can we start positioning ourselves to get into the flow of building partnerships? It can be difficult, especially for underestimated or overlooked founders.[41:51] Pam shares some of the things she has learned about her own business and journey in writing The Widest Net.[49:34] Pam invites listeners to identify partners to help them market their business. The first place to start is with your favorite clients, customers, and people you work with.Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done, by Charlie GilkeyPam SlimThe Widest Net: Unlock Untapped Markets and Discover New Customers Right in Front of You, by Pamela SlimBooks by Pam SlimMain Street Learning LabBackstage CapitalRareBreed VenturesOverlooked VenturesThe Plug Newsletter Get full access to Productive Flourishing at
KC Carter, meditation teacher, executive coach, and author, joins Charlie on the show to discuss the four permissions that will help us live a fuller life and be great leaders. They touch on how some of these permissions are sneakily radical, and KC’s process of setting aside the time to make his new book Permission to Glow  a reality.  Key Takeaways:[3:07] - In his work, KC shows up in many different communities throughout the world. Those with a brand around nonfiction are often under pressure to show up one way all the time, but we are human beings that contain multitudes. [7:23] - The law of accumulation says that we are more than all that we’ve ever lived, and we’re lucky if we can integrate some of that into our work. There can be a perpetual discomfort knowing which part to display in a given setting to get people to believe what you have to share.[10:15] - KC shares his process in overcoming the enormity of his book project to stay focused and on task, as well as to carve out the time to make it happen. He was able to draw on his experience putting a song together and recognizing the joy that comes at the end of a project. [16:20] - Glow vs shine: the reason glow resonated more than shine is because of the longevity of its potential, and it allows a wider spectrum of what it means to glow. Glow comes from within rather than reflecting light when we shine.[20:00] - KC talks through the four permissions: 1. Permission to chill 2. Permission to feel all the feels 3. Permission to glow in the dark 4. Permission to transcend competition for collaboration and uplift our human family[25:40] - The radicalness of the four permissions comes from looking at them in reverse order. Permissions 3 and 4 focus more on what we can do together, but Permissions 1 and 2 are radical in their own right because as a society, we don’t often prioritize these things.[32:20] - KC talks about his struggle with the second of the previous permissions. Because his intelligence centers around his mind (rather than the heart), it can be difficult to let people into his process of struggle and victory.  [36:25] - KC also included a 5th permission, 5. Permission to suck. This allows people to keep compassion as they create change in their lives. [42:30] - The permissions are like a vine that continues to propagate throughout your life, and they change you as they change on external and internal levels. [45:40] - If you want to get started on these concepts, the default place to get started would be to create a daily meditation habit. That’s the foundation of conscious leadership. [52:03] - KC’s challenge to listeners is based on Permission 3 - look around at the fear in today’s world, and ask yourself “What would it take for me to defiantly glow in this darkness, no matter what?”Mentioned in This Episode:Productive FlourishingStart Finishing, by Charlie GilkeyPermission to Glow, Kristoffer (KC) CarterKC Carter Get full access to Productive Flourishing at