Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Okay. So this past weekend a really good friend of mine lives in New York called and said How are you feeling about the 99 conference? And my answer was what do you think is the least invasive way To extract eyeball juice from a first-grader And his response was -- oh god! Are you in that place? And I think they’re really…this is here’s the idea. There’s a total pink eye epidemic in my son’s class. And if I could get some of the juice, I could give myself pink eye would you be a legitimate excuse not to go. And I can even like …you know… do a selfie with like a big eye and then it would be legit. And he said, I thought you were excited and I said I was excited. But as I was working on my keynote I realized that I kind of trick myself into believing that this was my tribe. And then I realized that my obsession with funds doesn’t really make me one of you. And he said…what is going one when you thought you were one of them? And I said I don’t know I have to think about it. And he said your researcher doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not …you know … a creative. I said no. these are the creative. These are the people that no one saw in the high school. And everybody wants to be when they grow up. I’m a researcher. No one’s sits with when I was in high school. No one still sits with us. So I thought about it. I thought..okay. some researcher study connection, study vulnerability, I study love. And then I realized why I thought you were my tribe. I think it’s because design is a function of connection. There’s nothing more vulnerable than creativity. And what is art? If it’s not love. So it make sense to me, to be here. And then I thought, okay. 99 percent perspiration said don’t talk about inspirational stuff. Talk about the how to. So you know my names. Sometimes I named my keynote presentations things that will make me feel better about being here. So this one called sweaty creatives. Because I know what its mean to be a sweaty creative. Because I create all the time when I write the way I translate my research when I talk. And I know what the perspiration feels like. And so what I wanna talk about today is the perspiration that no one talks about very often. And that’s not the perspirations from the hard work and the laborious part of creating. It’s the perspiration from fear. From the cold sweat. The stuff that pops up on our eyebrows when it’s not supposed to be there. Because we’re presenting idea are talking about something that we care about And then we’re begging our body not to sweat. Like when they said, we’re filming you against black. Can you wear something else? I’m like no. That 99 percent perspiration think I’m done with that. I got that. I won’t be wearing. I’ll be wear….oh yea my option will be navy. So I know about sweaty creative. So I wanna tell you about something that changed my life. As a creative person and it’s a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. And it is completely, I mean I know it sounds cheesy and cliché that quote can change your life. But sometimes when you hear something, when you need to hear it, you’re ready to hear it. Something swift inside of you. And so my story is that I’m a researcher and I never thought I would have a big public career. And so I did the TED talk and it went very viral. And in the wake of that I was kind of everywhere for a couple of months on every CNN.com NPR. It was everywhere and something I wasn’t use to. And the marching orders from my therapist and my husband were do not read the comments online. So I read all the comments online. It’s a one morning. I woke up and there were two or three new articles out. And I started reading the comments. And they were devastating. They weren’t about my work. They were about me and were super personal. And they were the thing that creative people play in their mind and then give up doing what they really wanna do. Like if I ask every single one of you, you would try…what would you try if you knew people would never say this about you. What would that, what would this be? It would those comments in that morning. Of course she embraces imperfection, what choice does she have, look how she looks I feel sorry for her kids. Last research marble tops. Just mean personal attacks the things that really up until that moment had inspired me to stay very small in my life and in my career. Just so that I can avoid these things. So that morning, even the kids leave, I stay home. I get on the couch. And I watch eight hours of ‘Downton Abbey’ And when it’s over, I don’t wanna turn off Downton Abbey. Cause the minute you turn off Downton Abbey, then it’s like soccer practice and dinner and back to the mean people. And maybe should I get botox? And maybe you know…if I can stand still when I talk So I get my laptop and I do a search for who was the president of United States during the Downton Abbey era. Have you ever done that like you’re numbing a TV or movie and when it’s over you just like Stay in that space by learning more about the actors and what’s going on. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that like you’re laughing with me. So I put it in and Theodore Roosevelt comes up and the quote comes up. And I read it. And this is what it says. It’s a quote from a speech that he gave. At the early 1900s,that the time he were born. And a lot of people called me in the arena speech and this is the passage that changed. Changes my life. It’s not the critics who counts, it’s not the man who points out, how the strong man stumbles, Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by blood sweat and blood. Who at the best, in the end knows the triumph of high achievement. And who at worst, if he fails, he fails daring greatly. So the moment that I read that, I close my laptop. And this is what shifted me. Three huge things. First, my spent the last 12 years studying vulnerability. And that quote was the everything I know about vulnerability. It is not about winning. It’s not about losing. It’s about showing up and being seen. The second thing -- this is who I want to be. I want to create. I want to make thing that didn’t exist before I touch them. I want to show up and be seen in my work and in my life. And if you’re going to show up and be seen. There’s only one guarantee. And that is you’ll get your ass kicked. That is the guarantee. That’s the only certainty you have. If you want to go in the arena, and spend anytime in there. Whatsoever, especially, if you commit to creating in your life. You’ll get your ass kick. So you have to decide, at that moment, I think for all of us, if the courage is the value we hold This is the consequence. You can’t avoid it. The third thing, which really set me free, and I think my husband me are still argued, this is some more dangerous. It’s kind of a new philosophy about criticism which is this If you’re not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback. That’s it. I …you know if you have constructive information, feedback to give me, I want it. I’m academic. I’m hard writer for wrestling the stuff like that. Hey! Forgot all this literature. Hey! You should have done this. Or terrible sentence structure over here. Like let’s go! Let’s do it. I love that. But if you’re in the cheap seats not putting yourself on the line and just talking about how I can do it better. I’m in no way interested in your feedback. So I know about this wedding creative. What I want to do today I wanna talk very specifically about the arena. This is where we sweat. How many of you know this feeling by just looking at the picture. Yea. Show in hands. How many of you know this feeling. So this is what we do down here. Like I don’t know what you do down here. But I set up camp down here. I like string up twinkle light. I order take out food. I live down here. Sometimes. Just dreaming about the day that I come up. And how awesome it’s gonna be. Like I stay down here a lot. And here’s what we do. What the arena right there, you can see it the light’s there. And the fear is this. I’m scared. Lots of self-doubt. Comparison. Anxiety. Uncertainty. And so what’s most people do when they walk into the arena. And those things are gonna to greed them up top. What do you do? Your armed out right? This is why I would imagine all days. They got all their stuff on. But god! That stuff is heavy. And that stuff is suffocating. And the problem is when your armed up. Against vulnerability. You shut yourself off. And I said this to audiences before but I have never said it to audiences this more true than today. The second, when you arm are up, you armed up in this hallway. You shut yourself off from everything. That you do and that you love. Because vulnerability is certainly a part of fear and self-doubt and grief and uncertainty and shame. But it’s also the birthplace of these. It’s the birthplace of love, of belonging, of joy, trust, empathy. Creativity and innovation. Without vulnerability, you cannot create. So what I think you’re asked to do as a creative on a daily basis is walk through this hall. Get to the top of the stairs, and get naked. Of course. Get naked. Get really real. Put yourself out there and walk out there. So people can see you and see what you’ve made, see what you’re doing. So when we walk out. This is what we see. Lots of seats. Lots of people. But we focus on this. The critics. I used to think the best way to put you work out to the world is to make sure the critics are not in the arena. But you have no control over who’s in the arena. And the best way I have found is to know that they’re there and to know exactly what they’re going to say to you. Cause each of you know. The tree seats that will always be taken when you walk into the arena, when you share your work with someone. The three seats will always be taken. Our shame, scarcity and comparison. Shame. Completely universal human emotion. We all have it. It’s that groom that whisper you’re not enough. Or if you’re feeling really confident. I guess this was … I went to this like in it…like the god’s talking. I went back and forth from like a ping pong table with groom ones. Back from. Oh my god! I’m not enough. I’m not enough. To I can do this. I can totally do…oh! Who do you think you are That’s the other groom one. That’s how it works. Like look at you too big for your britches. I clearly have texts for this groom ones. And now everyone says too big for the britches. But that’s my groom one says. So shame always has a seat. The other seat that’s always taken is scarcity. What am I doing, that everyone, what am I doing it’s original. Everyone else is doing this. 150 people are doing it who are better trained then I am. What am I contributing? Did this really matter. The third seat always comparison. How many of you have ever struggle with comparison? Oh my god! Comparison is a nightmare. I made a pact not to talk to anyone in the green room cause that’s what I was afraid. And that I would end up doing. So what are you talking about? That’s interesting cause I’m going first. And so if it sounds super good and I think I suck comparatively, I may say that. And I’m catching a flight to Dallas. Comparison is always there. The fourth seat I left open for you. You got it in the fourth seat. Is it a teacher, is the the parents, is it a shitty coworker? Maybe one of you had one of those. The thing is I don’t care what people think. I don’t worry about the critics in the arena. Since a huge red flag up for me. we’re hard-wired for connection when we stop caring what people think We lose our capacity for connection. We would become defined by what people think. We lose our capacity to be vulnerable. Not caring what people think is its own kind of hostile. Trust me. So rather than locking these spokes out in the arena, what I’m gonna invite you to do. This way maybe. Is reserved seats for them. Which doesn’t seem like a good thing to do. But I’ve 13,000 pieces of data and I’ve been in this work for 12 years. And what I’ve found, what I‘ve learned from these folks and try to apply it in my own life that has changed my life. Is to reserve a seat to take the critics to watch and simply say what I’m trying to do something new. And hard and original. I’m trying to be creative and I’m trying to innovate to say I see you. I hear you. But I’m gonna show up and do this anyway. And I’ve got a seat for you and you’re welcome to come. But I’m not interested in your feedback. The other piece is tough is to me, if you’re going to spend your life in the arena. If you’re gonna spend your life showing up, really showing up. There’s a couple things that you need. The first is the clarity of values. You have it. Like I know…when I came out here I knew I could screw this completely up. I can get boo off stage. Bad things could happen but I don’t have a choice. Because courage is my value. I have to do this. Whether it’s successful or not is irrelevant. So a real clarity of values is important. The other thing is you gotta have at least one person in your life Who’s willing to pick you up and dust you off and look at you when you fail which hopefully you will. Cause if you’re not failing, you’re not really showing up. But who’s willing to look at you when you fail and say…man! That sucked! Yeah! It was totally as bad as you thought. But you’re brave. And let’s get you cleaned up and because you’re gonna go back in. And this is someone who loves you not despite your imperfection and vulnerability because of them. And they should have great seats in arena. Like I forgot for decade. I forgot to invite these people into my arena. Because you know…it’s hold up I was going to say Carl Marx but it’s Groucho Marx. Difference. I’m a social worker. Weary a lot more Carl than Groucho. I don’t wanna belong to a club that won’t let me in. I forgot to invite people cause I thought if you’re my fan, if you’re here supporting me how important could you be? Like I’m trying to win over the people who hate me. You simply love me. you simply hold my hair up when I’m puking. You pay bills with me and raise kids with me. how important could you be? I’m looking for the stranger in the mall. That’s whom I’m trying to win over. Yes or no? okay. The last part is so I guess the real specific how to are this. The world keeps going whether you know it or not. The critics are in the arena whether you identify them and think of the message that keep us small. They’re there whether you do that or not. What I have found in my life and what I’ve found in my research which fueled what I did in my life. Is that the people who have the most courage, who are willing to show and to be the most vulnerable are the ones who very clear about who the critics are. The ones who reserve seats for them and said I hear you, I get it. I know where messaging is coming from. I’m not buying it anymore. So to get very clear. The last thing which I think is the hardest is this. One of these seats needs to be reserved for you. One of these seats needs to be reserved for me. I need when we look up. And we’re putting an idea, our piece of art, our design forward. Who do you think is the biggest critic in the arena normally is? yourself. And so definitely me. like I have never watched either of those TED talks. Cause it’s not in service of the work for me, and I try to do things are only in service at my work. Because what would it serve me to watch it? I was sitting there and go oh my god! It’s stuck in your stomach. Oh my god! That not what you’re gonna say. You know. We are so self-critical. And one of the things that I think happens and I think this happens a lot. It happens in different professions. I think I see it a lot with creative is there is an ideal of what you’re supposed to be. And what a lot of us end up doing is we orphaned the parts of ourselves that do fit that ideal I suppose to be. And what it would leaves when we orphaned all those parts of us. It’s just leaves the critics. And so reserving the seat is this.