Ep. 10: Denise Jacobs – Banish Your Inner Critic, Do Your Best work

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Denise Jacobs

This Episode is about doing your best work, the role of creativity and how creativity can be trained.

My guest today is Denise Jacobs. Denise has her roots in Project Management and Software Development. Denise’ first book was a bestseller on CSS and she made a speaking career out that profession.







But then, something happened, she got bored and was looking for a new challenge. Denise decided to become a public speaker and a „real“ book author on the topic of creativity. And again, a great piece of work went through a non linear journey of experience, practice, learning and relentless work, rather than being an overnight success.

Until then, Denise spent years in teaching creativity techniques and exercises as well as giving keynotes on the topic. She discovered that there is an enemy to creativity in all of us: The inner critic.

Following that insight, she focused on that topic and now, in June 2017, after years of research and practise, her new book will be published: „Banish your inner critic – Silence the Voice of Self-Doubt to unleash Creativity and do your best Work“

What I found extraordinary in this book is that it is not about some tree hugging might work fantasies, but that it is grounded in brain research and psychology.

A book full of stories, exercises (creative doses and insights that will help you do your best work.

Show Notes

9:09: „The matter of the fact is that nobody is going to be able to say what you have to say. … Nobody in the world has your experience, … your knowledge, your combination of experience and knowledge. … You are a unique confluence and expression of life. Past, present and future: Say it. Say what you gotta say!“

13:15 „It’s better for something to be done and exist and to be something that you can put in front of people and take on a life of its own than to have something that is always in the state of you trying to make it perfect.“

14:00 On the value of early feedback on imperfect work

„I got to a point where I would share drafts that were like 55% with my editor, which was something I was extremely uncomfortable with. I didn’t even know you could do that“.

„In many ways it was like a validation of my ideas. … It also helped me to see which parts were irrelevant and which parts were relevant.“

22:56 Turning fear into curiosity to be more creative

„Maybe there is a way that you can reframe it (feeling unprotected, feeling exposed) so that it’s more like curiosity.“

„I still think that if you can take it to a place where you’re doing something and you’re not attached to the outcome, you’re more curious about how you can make it better … and it’s more like a discovery process than a testimony of who you are or your skills and capabilities.“

25:30 Creativity as a vehicle to being empowered

„Creativity is really just the vehicle, but the outcome is getting to that place where you really feel empowered in you work and other areas.“

„It’s about how to become a better contributor, a better collaborator and a better leader.“

31:00 Researched foundations of the book

„I don’t say you should practice mindfulness because mindfulness is a good idea. Mindfulness is a good idea, because all these studies have shown that mindfulness treats conditions like depression, it treats conditions like compulsive obsessive disorder and it actually helps people rewire their brains …“

38:20 „I need more. I needed to know why this works. I knew this works. But I needed to go deeper. I needed to know why.“

43:00 Good ideas reveale themselves & Creative Doses

„Good ideas fade into view“ -Stephen Johnson, author of „Where good ideas come from“

On the importance of repetition of creative doses (creativity exercises):

„Those thought patterns that for the inner critic, you have though them over and over and over again. And to change them, you have to practice.“

„The point of this book is for people to work better“

„And the porter interesting thing is that (in business) people try to act like business relationships and personal relationships are completely different“.

„And I’m like: You are talking about people and you are talking about thoughts and you are talking about emotions and you are talking about people interacting. I don’t care what the context is. This is about people and relationships. Period.“

1:04:50 Becoming Denise Jacobs

„Actually, it wasn’t ok!“

„And then I read „The Artists Way“ and that lead me to making soap. and then a coworker came and bought a bar of soap from me and I though „I guess I’m selling soap“. And then people started asking me „how do you make soap?“ … and so I had a group of five people over at may house to show them how to make soap. and I did that a couple of times and I thought „What about when I teach 2o people how to make soap?“

„And after that (first soap workshop) I felt like 3 feet off the ground. It was THE BEST THREE HOURS!“

Getting there:

Going through the experience of self doubt for years … and then a night of flow!

„It was the first time I didn’t think this isn’t good enough. … It was the first time I just did it. …. and this was when I was thinking: it was because I didn’t have these thoughts that I was in this flow! And that was when I had the realisation that I want to help other people feeling like this.“


Denise Jacobs' book

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