Remember enjoying a cup of coffee or a mimosa, enthusiastic, and bright-eyed, dreaming about what this brand-new year and a decade has in store for you...
As clever and hard-working as you are, you probably set yourself some inspiring goals.
Maybe you planned your first half-marathon, started a novel, a graphic design course, planned to change your career or get your creative gig off the ground.
Little did you know that everything would burst like a soap bubble and that by March your inspirational goals would seem ridiculous and unreasonable.
This year, the whole world came to an abrupt halt. We were locked down, lost our certainty even though we didn't have it before.
But now it's a completely different game. Some industries digitized at the speed of light, others collapsed like sandcastles. Everything moved online. Some of us lost our income, health, loved ones, not to mention our sanity, vitality, and sleep.
The lockdown opened a Pandora's box for problems we conveniently ignored in the past: racial injustice, political turmoil and divisions, wildfires, hurricanes, our own worst fears. In short, 2020 was no picnic; we still have to process the madness of everything that's happen.
So back to your 2020… it all sounds like a joke now, doesn't it?
Who the hell could think of fitness ambitions, manuscripts and creative gigs in 2020 when the sky was falling?
Maybe you didn't have the bandwidth to do anything other than the bare minimum to put food on the table.
Perhaps you were lonely, feeling brain-dead and unable to pull yourself out of bed.
Maybe you had to look after family members or navigate online schooling with your kids.
Whatever it is, if you haven't performed your best in 2020 and focused on just getting by, you're not alone.
Most of us were longing for the end of it, so we could start fresh in January.
2020 was a total disaster on so many levels. We don't know what 2021 will bring, but chances are that we will all settle into some "new normal. But here's the catch
Because 2020 was so bad, we might think that when the pandemic is over, we will thrive, develop new ideas, and realize our dreams.
And while life will certainly get better and easier, if you struggled to bring your ideas to life before the pandemic, there is a chance that you'll struggle again, regardless of the circumstances. When the pandemic is finally over, a good old obstacle remains.
That obstacle is ourselves.
We are our biggest obstacle when it comes to creative work.
So let's talk about that for a moment.
After the first wave of the pandemic, the world of personal development drove this rosy idea that the pandemic was an opportunity rather than a disaster. We were convinced that NOW was the perfect time to cocoon ourselves and emerge like butterflies on the other side of lockdown, with freshly printed manuscripts, Shark Tank-ready business prototypes and online master's degrees in data science.
This was a legit idea; even the most skeptical know that it is better to roll up your sleeves and bake sourdough bread or repaint the porch than to despair, play video games and argue in conspiracy-theory Facebook groups.
This idea that crisis is an opportunity made sense intellectually and gave us much-needed hope. Yet, for very few of us it turned into reality.
Why couldn't we use this crisis to our advantage? There are several reasons, many of which are factual. You might have
Last year, it was easier than ever for us to give up. We all had a collection of perfectly valid excuses to throw in the towel and lie on the floor in a fetal position for weeks and listen to Lana Del Ray on repeat.
Giving up maybe felt good at the moment, but how did you feel at the end of 2020? Stuck? Unhappy? Empty? Depressed? Confused? Useless? Like a deflated balloon?
Yes, that makes perfect sense.
If you are reading this, I bet you would like to feel differently by the end of 2021.
For this to happen, we need to gain a deep understanding of the obstacles of 2020.
Obviously, Covid was a monumental piece of the puzzle in 2020, but another equally huge piece is YOU. Covid brought challenges that were hard to ignore, but it also gave us a magnifying glass on our own habits, fears, systems and support.
If you have not been able to motivate yourself and make progress this year, it does not mean that you are bad or stupid. It means that you are human AND that you should revise your beliefs, habits and systems to make your ideas a reality.
The good news: It's totally doable. But there's one caveat: you need to take responsibility for your own creative success.
Here's what needs to change.
In any crisis, we have two options:
We can either pull out our hair, panic, complain, post angry comments on YouTube, eat our own weight in Haagen-Dazs, and cry ourselves to sleep while re-watching Breaking Bad. Or we can accept the situation, adapt, try something new, and use the pain as a catalyst for change and creative action.
The second mindset is to be resilient, creative, curious, and that is what I want you to cultivate, because that is what we will need, individually and collectively, to get out of this crisis and thrive after the pandemic.
Being creative means that when life gives you lemons, you not only create lemonade, but also open a lemonade stand, become an affiliate for Lemonade Home Insurance, and sell Beyoncé's Lemonade 'with every jug.
You get the idea. It means developing ideas, testing them, learning from your attempts, going back to the drawing board and trying something different.
The question is not whether you have the ability to do it - I know you do. The question is whether you have the right attitude, systems and support to help you tap that ability regularly.
"I have so much on my plate that I cannot possibly add anything creative."
Creativity is not a burden, but a source of fulfillment and meaning. It will energize you, not deplete you.
"If I don't have time to write for two hours, I better not start at all."
Nope. You can write a lot in 10 concentrated minutes and repeat it tomorrow. You'd be shocked to learn how quickly the effects of these small bursts add up.
"I don't know how to paint a Sistine Chapel, so I better not start at all."
Total BS. Tim Urban, founder of the wildly popular blog Wait but Why has built his entire brand on stickman doodles.
"I feel terrible, I'm such a mess."
Welcome to the club! Why don't you turn this into a piece of writing or music and share it with the world? I bet many people can relate. The band Chicago built a multi-decade recording career fueled by nothing but heartbreak.
Probably you read and nod - these mind shifts are not quantum physics. However, the difficult part is how to implement them regularly, and for that, you'll need the right community and mentors .
In the lockdown, we were all isolated, which hit many of us like a ton of bricks. Creatively, we have become entangled in the idea that we have to do the work alone, fight our way through it alone, and push ourselves by the sheer willpower even when we don't feel like it, which was the case almost every day during a pandemic.
This idea of doing it alone may seem noble and seductive, but for most creative and sensitive people it is scary and overwhelming. You may already be in terrible pain when you see how chaotic the world is, and when you build up pressure to figure it all out for yourself, it can crumble you like a stale biscuit.
We do not need you all broken and crumbled. We need you alive, happy and healthy, bringing your best contribution to the world. And you cannot do that by pushing, kicking and fighting alone.
Instead of trying to be a lone superhero, why not make your life a little easier?
For example, create your environment to support your good habits, block time on your calendar to create, leave your notebook and pen on your desk before you go to bed every night, create a repository of your ideas so you don't have to start from a blank slate, create a meal plan so you don't have to spend too much time worrying about what to eat for dinner.
Outsource your willpower to your environment and technology so that you can relax and stop beating yourself up because you don't have enough willpower.
When people hold you accountable, it's much easier to show up than when you hold yourself accountable in your own bubble. And, when you're surrounded by other creatives and listen to them about their projects and progress, you create something as well. It's a group effect. Best of all, you build your identity as a creative and that will drive your progress.
Over the years, I've met people with enormous creative potential who struggle to make their ideas happen. They just haven't learned how to turn their vision into reality. And in 2020 there was no shortage of obstacles, so many, many got stuck and felt lethargic.
On the other hand, there are others who manage to write books, make music and produce TV shows that we're obsessed with. They created before 2020 and during 2020. Not much has changed for these amazingly annoying people. They consistently make their ideas happen, despite setbacks and disadvantages. You love them, hate them and secretly want to be like them.
I've spent over a decade trying to understand what separates these two groups.
What I've discovered are 4 key elements that separate amateurs and professionals which I'll share with you in a moment.
These are universal skills that you can use, regardless of your level of experience or circumstances, to make progress, make good use of your time and achieve great things quickly.
You may be wondering if these skills work even in a crisis. And I am happy to say a resounding "yes" in response. In fact, these skills work even better in a crisis. Here's why.
In crisis, you have less time and energy than when life is normal. Hence, it's critical to focus your efforts strategically. The 4 pillars of creativity show you where your efforts are most effective. Master these skills, rinse, wash, and happily ignore the other endless possibilities. Then you can have a drink and watch the sunset.
The secret of every perennial creator is the systems that support them when they feel like they don't have enough time, can't see the path laid out in front of them or lack the confidence to pursue their ideas. Successful creators don't rely on their willpower or good intentions.
Thanks to this material, I developed a consistent habit of adding to my body of work every day.
In the past, I had some small wins in building content that got noticed, but I could never sustain the effort long enough to really build a following. I had done a 30-day microblogging challenge, a 30-day LinkedIn video challenge and produced a pilot season of a podcast. Nothing stuck.
Thanks to this material, I developed a consistent habit of adding to my body of work every day.
I cultivated a system for bringing those bits and pieces together to seed work I could publish regularly and walked away with a wealth of insights I could tap into when I felt stuck in a rut.
What I really appreciate is that Srini wasn't in it for flash and dazzle. It's not about quick hits that are unsustainable; he intentionally spent time helping me build a strong foundation that would carry me forward.
Not only have I developed an understanding of what systems one puts in place to create consistently, but what my creative process is specific to my field and my life
I didn't even know where to begin with deciphering all the random creative thoughts that float around in my head. In this material, Srini outlined so clearly and meticulously what the process was to go from 'lots of creative ideas' to actual execution.
From tackling the inner critic to using your brain as a creative space and not an inventory of lists to visual representations of your successes, each one of these became tools for me to have and use as I developed a creative practice that worked for me. Now, twelve weeks later, not only have I developed an understanding of what systems one puts in place to create consistently, but the creative process specific to my field and my life.
What If You Had a System for Making Ideas Happen?
You'll learn the methods that writers, artists, entrepreneurs and other people with ambitious goals use to make their ideas happen. Whether it's figuring out an innovative marketing plan, writing your first book or building your first app, you'll unlock a powerful strategy to start, take consistent action and FINISH any creative project.
This is my secret weapon that enabled me to make the transition from writing blog posts to taking on much bigger projects like writing books and planning conferences.
You'll learn to build your creative confidence and develop the mindset and habits that successful creators use to overcome self doubt, deal with impostor syndrome and work on projects regardless of their current level of experience.
You'll have access to the strategies and tools I've used to publish a blog post and 3 podcasts each week, as well as write multiple books despite having ADHD.
What this taught me was to build a system that allows you to create work that an audience will feel passionate about.
Unmistakable Mastermind Student
I'm Srini, author of The Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author of The Art of Being Unmistakable and host of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast.
Over the last 10 years, I've seen 100's of aspiring creators give up on their dreams. And I don't want that to happen to you. There are a lot of reasons people give up. But one in particular is what separates people who stick with it from those who quit. Once you understand it, you'll become an unstoppable creative force.
The Monthly Subscription for Creatives Who Want to Make Their Ideas Happen
Unmistakable Prime is a monthly subscription that distills effective, research-backed techniques from 1000's of books and hundreds of interviews into specific, actionable steps that you can apply today to make progress on your projects. Whether you decide to :
By following these methods, you can and will cut years off your learning curve, learn skills you can apply in multiple creative domains and build up your confidence and momentum organically. You might be thinking: "How can one subscription help me work on so many different ideas?"
People who struggle to make ideas happen are always searching for a mythical silver bullet. They worry about what plugins to install on their website, what mic to record their podcast with or what brand of pen is the best to write with. By obsessing over the minutiae, they lose the energy to focus on what matters.
It doesn't matter what your creative project is. The foundational skills and processes needed to make it happen are exactly the same. After working on dozens of creative projects and helping many others bring their ideas to life, I've realized that there are 4 key elements to living a productive and rewarding creative life.
These 4 elements are force multipliers and the foundation of making any idea happen. Once you master them, you'll stop wasting time and energy. And you'll start making progress.
Most people think they lack time, when, in fact, they lack focus. Your attention is your key resource. Once you learn to manage it, you'll work less and get more done. With as little as one focused hour a day, you'll learn to spend time on your highest value activities, make consistent progress and finish what you start. It's not about having more time, it's about using the time you have wisely and intentionally.
Many aspiring creators hope for a magical moment of inspiration that changes everything. They dream about the destination: a place where they'll achieve creative success and everything will be rainbows and unicorns. They daydream about walking red carpets, seeing their name in shining lights or their book appearing on a best-seller list.
But experienced creators know that making ideas happen is all about creative habits, doing the work on a regular basis and making slow and consistent progress. There's not a single prolific creator who doesn't abide by routines, rituals and some sort of creative practice.
Creative habits are the compound interest of a successful creative life. The effort you put in each day pays off a year from now, 10 years from now and for the rest of your life. When you set up your creative practice, you become less dependent on inspiration, you deliver consistently and your confidence increases exponentially.
Most creatives cringe at the idea of structure and systems. But systems are what separate amateurs from pros. They help you to stop wasting time trying to figure out what to do each day and give you a repeatable process that moves you forward.
When something unpredictable happens (and it will), you can rely on your system. When you hit a rough patch (and you will), your system will carry you through and make your life easier. Newbies often hope for the best, so when life gets in the way, they fall off the wagon and struggle to get back on. Pros on the other hand hope for the best and plan for the worst, so they rely on systems, not wishful thinking.
Many of us do not have many other creatives in our lives. We do our creative work on our own, in secret - and it feels lonesome. One of the greatest obstacles to achieving goals is the misguided belief that we can do it alone.
Nothing of great significance is achieved without the help of other people.
Look at any successful creative endeavor like a movie, book, or record album. It takes more than the artist in the spotlight to bring those ideas to life. Therefore, a key element of Unmistakable Prime is the community of like-minded people.
We connect with each other thorough live events, courses, thoughtful questions. We go through obstacles together, hold each other accountable, brainstorm and uplift each other. Our community is hosted on Mighty Networks, with a clean design, no ads, no aunts and uncles sharing 'inspiring' memes, only creative material and amazing creatives, just like you, supporting each other.
Master Your Focus
Our signature course Distraction Mastery 2.0 will help you master your focus and manage your attention. You'll learn a proven, powerful framework for killing distractions and developing unshakable focus, based on scientific research and personal experience. You'll reclaim your precious time, make your environments work for you, and end self-sabotage. Plus, with our Deep Work Mini Course, you'll learn the ins and outs of Deep Work so you can use your improved attention to create something truly epic and unmistakable.
Build Creative Habits Like a Pro
Our two courses: The Fearless Writers Workshop and 100-day project teach the ins and outs of starting, sustaining, and upgrading your creative habits from a newbie to a pro. You'll learn how to start your minimum viable actions, track your progress, create momentum, and become unstoppable. You'll learn how to outsource your willpower to your environments, technology, and external accountability so you can push less and create more.
Create Systems that Work as Hard as You Do
Our courses, The Fearless Writers Workshop and The Loyal Audience Mastermind (coming soon), also provide a deep-dive into systems that support creative work. You'll learn about checklists, standard operating procedures, automation, and other useful strategies that will free up your mental bandwidth and make you dangerously effective. We have an extensive library of resources on how to use tools that our team can't live without: Notion, AirTable, Bullet Journaling. Progressive Summarization, mind mapping.
We'll teach you how to create a system for taking better notes and organizing your ideas, because that's what will feed your creativity for years to come.
A Creative Community Where You feel at Home
If you're reading this, maybe you've signed up for other courses and are wondering what makes Prime different. Unlike other courses, we don't just put content on some sort of automated funnel and leave you to fend for yourself.
We continually update the content based on your feedback and challenges. You get access to interactive workshops where I'll personally address whatever you're struggling with. And an opportunity to interact directly with our guests.
Unmistakable Prime is hosted on Mighty Networks, a clean, distraction and ad-freed platform that helps us connect and master interesting things together. We are building this community to be highly user-centric. That means that you and your interests are our key drivers. As a Prime member, once a quarter you'll get to vote on what course you'd like us to create next. We create space for our members to showcase their projects, write articles, teach webinars, and stretch themselves creatively.
Monthly Office Hours and Webinars
All webinars are recorded and included with the subscription. Previous topics include:
Additionally, every month, we are hosting live office hours in AMA format. Our community finds these events immensely helpful to meet other members, gain accountability and obtain various perspectives on issues they may be facing.
What you'll get as a member of prime is my curated insights from 10 years of making ideas happen, reading more than 1000 books, and interviewing more than 1000 people. You'll also have an opportunity to learn from the experts in my network (some of them charge over $1000 an hour if you're even able to hire them).
After a year of testing Unmistakable Prime, we now have a better idea on what worked for our members and what we want to double down on:
We have a lot of juicy plans for 2021, but we also plan to go with a flow. (Don't you hate being bombarded with automated content that's completely divorced from the current reality? Yep, we feel the same.) Although we love automation, being unmistakable means being imperfect human and keeping it real. That's what we promise you in 2021. By joining Prime, not only will you get mentors and peers, but TRUE FRIENDS that see you and get you and cheer for you every step of the way.
We know Unmistakable Prime is full of talented, diverse, smart, and generous folks who will become your creative BFFs – but you haven't met them yet.
We know that our former guests who've taught workshops and webinars to our community are providing priceless wisdom and insight - but you don't.
We know that what we teach will help you make progress fast and sustain it because it worked like a charm for our members - but you don't.
We also know that you've probably enrolled in online courses, where your passively consumed content, but never actively engaged with other students.
We've worked really hard to make this community an invaluable resource to our members. But, given how many times you read something like this online, we understand if you might be skeptical.
Give us 60 days to wow you with unprecedented access to exclusive content, live conversations with our former podcast guests, personalized advice to help you get unstuck, and an easy to use social platform.
If you're not convinced we can help you overcome the obstacles in your way or help you make massive progress on your creative projects in the next 60 days, we'll refund your membership, no questions asked.
I'm getting more done with less drama. At the end of the day I'm able to call it a day and spend more time with my family.
Unmistakable Mastermind Student
These calls every month are a really, really big help because I feel more connected.
The big problem I have here is that I feel lonely as a creative. I work in the arts and should have a lot of people with whom I can exchange ideas.
But what I realized is that my position in the art community here is as an organizer and an adviser to artists. I tried to share my experience, my doubts and my issues with a lot of people. But people do not understand that I am more than what they see of me. What I love about this community is that every time I see what you guys write and the comments etc., I feel like you guys get me. And that's invaluable.
What I've found in the listener tribe is a group of people from around the world who have self selected to come together to make their creative ideas happen.
I find something valuable or worth trying in nearly every episode, but having hundreds of episodes to choose from makes for a lot of information to digest. Fortunately now there's The Listener tribe. It's hosted on mighty networks which does a good job of encouraging people to gather and communicate without the distraction that comes with other social networks.
My content is resonating in far greater ways than it ever has.
Prior to these courses I was writing a lot, but hardly publishing at all. And when it came to publishing, I would just get paralyzed. In the writer's workshop, I changed my beliefs around writing. One of the most significant shifts came from understanding that volume trumps perfection.
I committed to writing 500 words a day and publishing consistently, and I'm excited and happy to say that I've been able to stick to it. My content is resonating in far greater ways than it ever has, and I'm absolutely writing more fearlessly. Stop thinking about it and do it!
The tools I got from this material got me writing on a daily basis for the first time in decades.
They showed me how to take all the daily writing and craft it into focused articles and stories. It helped me lay a solid foundation as a writer for my long term goal of getting published and become a money-earning writer.
If you have a passion for the written word, if you really want to express yourself and develop a voice to be heard in today's noisy world, the Fearless Writer's Masterclass is a great place to start.
If you're expecting a magic bullet that requires no work and solves all your problems, save your money.
But if you're willing to take small consistent daily actions, then you'll have everything you need to make your ideas happen. All the material is backed by research and has been tested on hundreds of creative projects.
This is what one of our mastermind participants had to say about the time commitment:
"I am a working mom of a toddler and a baby. I already had a lot on my plate. And then a freaking global pandemic hit and my son's preschool closed. And yet, what Srini taught me made me truly realize just how much progress can be made through tiny actions, executed consistently and systematically."
Unless you're a rocket scientist with a 100 million dollars to spare for rocket parts, we can't help you build the next SpaceX. And we probably can't help you become president of a country. But that leaves a lot in between. If you're on the fence, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. You're Searching for a Silver Bullet or Shortcut
If you're expecting to be famous and successful overnight, you'll be disappointed. Developing these foundational skills takes time, energy, effort and engagement. You have to be willing to take consistent action.
2. You're unwilling to focus on the process instead of the outcome
If you want fame, fortune, status and accolades without a commitment to the process, you'll not only find it difficult to make your ideas happen, but also, any level of success you achieve will be temporary.
3. You're unwilling to take a baby step outside your comfort zone
Making your ideas happen is uncomfortable. It means changing behaviors you're comfortable with. It means exposing yourself to the possibility of failure and criticism.
Ten years ago, I found myself in a situation similar to the one you might find yourself in now. I had graduated from business school without a job and was financially and emotionally bankrupt. After drowning my sorrows in vodka and wallowing in my misery, my dad talked some sense into me. Indian parents have little tolerance for unemployed alcoholic adult children living in their house.
He agreed to give me the $97 a month I needed to sign up for a blogging course. If I hadn't enrolled in that course and the next 9 months, I wouldn't have become an author, speaker, or podcast host. You wouldn't be reading this.
I didn't start that blog so it would lead to a book deal or anything else it has. I just needed a way to pass the time, and the simple little creative project that I started to keep myself from going crazy changed my life.
Starting one could change yours as well.