What do you smell like at the office? BOOK REVIEW: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

I enjoyed this book. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a pick me up while working on a project or anyone contemplating leaving their job for a more “creative” one. Hugh takes his blog postings and card cartoons and expands them into what I took as mini-lessons about what it means to live and make a living as a creative.

I didn’t agree with all his assessments. He says not to quit your day job. Too late for me. But Hugh makes some excellent points about how to own, asses and manage your creativity, your process and your ideas in the marketplace. My favorite chapter, was #29.

Power is never given. Power is taken. People who are “ready” give off a different vibe from people who aren’t.”

Wow. That hit me in the face. I had to close the book and let that settle in me for a few days. I started to think about what vibe I give off. When I started working a new job in New York (I’ve had three. A blessing.) I gave off the intelligent and eager vibe. By the time I left each one, I gave off a “I could care less vibe.” Ha! I can laugh now, because I was fortunate to have employers that could still remember me when I smelled of talent and promise.

What vibe do you give off? Is it obvious that you only come in for the free bagels and the good dental plan? Does your body language and vocal intonation express timidity in meetings? This is what you have to know. When you are a ball of energy in the building, everyone will tell you. They’ll compliment you on it and anticipate your presence in the hallway. But when you reek of complacency and have “checked out after breakfast!” on your forehead—guess what–very few people will tell you. They’ll just talk about you behind your back.

If you have a good boss, they’ll sit you down and ask about you. If you have a great boss, they’ll tell you they know you are better than this corporate zombie they see everyday and challenge you to pick up the pace.

But if you have a boss who knows her job, but doesn’t know how to manage, they’ll wait till review time and drop a bomb on you. They’ll slowly and systematically shift good projects away from you so that when layoffs come around, the work will already be re-allotted. Trust me. Very few people like confrontation and fewer are courageous enough to still do it.

So instead of sitting at your desk playing Angry Birds or daydreaming about the lottery (which I used to do a lot) pick up this book. It will help you transition from being a one-dimensional slave to Outlook by giving you permission and principles to own your creative energy. From there, he gives many tips and warnings about the road to creative living and livelihood.

For someone of you, it means getting back on track. Maybe you like your position but you’ve lost the romance between pseudo brainstorms and the ever evolving power point deck deadlines. Others of you will need to start that side hustle or pick a creative passion back up. It will revitalize your office hours and provide a creative, and possibly financial, reward.

Hugh talks about the difference between dreaming and really being ready to step into your creative calling. (My term, not his.) He explains the challenges and prepares you for temptations, like what he calls “pillars.” “Pillars” are things we claim to need to work, but are really self-made excuses nurtured by fear to keep us from moving forward. “I need a better computer before I can write.” “Once I upgrade my camera, I’ll go back to shooting.” Hogwash!!!

Another quote that I am dying to share and proves my point about Hugh pysching you up is

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Whooo! If we were at church, I’d have to jump on that one. I’m not waiting on anyone to tell me I’m gifted or smart or unique anymore, baby. I know it and for your sake, I hope you get on board. The same goes for you my friend, change your office sent to confidence and competence TODAY! You know your skills set, mentally bathe in it every morning. Your mind, body, soul and everyone around you will be forced to inhale the whiff of your creative force.

Hugh calls ’em like he sees ’em. So don’t expect too much sugar-coating. But do expect your confidence to build. If you like it, let me know. If you don’t, share that too. Here is a visual of Hugh discussing his second book, Evil Plans. Enjoy!

Up next on my reading list? The Accidental Creative.

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