[Best Of] Live Fiercely, Study Deeply . . . While Earning a Living — with Jonathan Fields

[Best Of] Live Fiercely, Study Deeply . . . While Earning a Living — with Jonathan Fields

"Uncertainty may bring unease, but it also brings a vital energy, the exhilaration of creation. Without uncertainty, there is no possibility." —Jonathan Fields

As I get up to speed in my first semester at Union, I’m re-launching a few of my favorite podcast episodes from four years of archives: I hope you enjoy some of these oldies but goodies, particularly if you missed them the first time around! Here’s a conversation I loved with dear friend and mentor Jonathan Fields, from October 2016.

Jonathan Fields' mission is to "live fiercely and study deeply." How does he do that while earning a living? That's what we unpack in this week's episode. According to Jonathan, "There are only two ways to earn a living: you're either solving a problem or delivering a delight. If you're lucky and creative, you do both simultaneously."

Jonathan—or "JF" as I like to call him—has been a longtime mentor whose pivots have inspired me and countless others at every turn: from lawyer to yoga studio founder to author of three books, Jonathan is now studying and embodying what it means to live a good life. We recorded this episode from his plush velvety couches at Good Life Project Headquarters (aka his apartment on the Upper West Side) — I hope you enjoy this off-the-cuff conversation as much as I did. Be sure to grab Jonathan's new book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom, out this week! And his free recently released Unbusy Manifesto

119: Off the Clock—Finding Time Freedom with Laura Vanderkam

119: Off the Clock—Finding Time Freedom with Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam is a productivity tour de force: she has written four books in the last several years, launched a podcast, and given talks all over the country—all while running a household with her husband and four children.

I’d tell you that I truly don’t know how she does it, except that she already wrote a book to answer that question called, what else, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. One of my other favorites was her runaway bestseller among the Fast Company crowd, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life.

The focus of this week’s podcast conversation is her newest book, Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. Laura reveals the counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted, and teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days.

118: Union Theological Seminary—Reflections on My First Month of Grad School

118: Union Theological Seminary—Reflections on My First Month of Grad School

“Welcome to Holy Hogwarts,” my fellow first-year Ariel said to me with a smile, as I walked through the Union campus entrance into the school’s small courtyard for my first day of orientation. I was grateful for his warmth and levity, a brief reprieve from my nerves about what to expect from my classes and fellow students.

After those three days of orientation I felt like I was on a rickety, upward-climbing rollercoaster, ticking up toward a crescendo before the rush of adrenaline and momentum to follow from the big drop. Am I making a huge mistake? I wondered. Will I fit in here? What if I can’t juggle school, work, speaking travel, and the new commute? Did I really think this through enough?

But alas, I’m just over a month in, and absolutely loving the program. I’m working on a two-year Masters degree with a focus (for now) in Interreligious Engagement. I love the material, and feel so lucky that I get to study, talk, and read about some of life’s deepest questions all week long! Getting used to the firehose of reading, classes and writing assignments was a shock—but not in a bad way. More like taking a cold-water plunge: surprising and breath-taking, but incredibly refreshing and the perfect shake-up for entering my seventh year of self-employment (and living in New York). I am still struggling a bit with when to schedule meetings, podcast interviews, and outings with friends, but I know I’m still early in the adjustment process.

Listen in to this weeks (semi-rambling, sorry!) episode on impressions from my first month at school—what I’m learning, how I’m adjusting, and where “inner game” resources like self-compassion come into play.

116: Caught in Internet Infinity Pools? Make Time By Setting a Daily Highlight and 5-Day Sprints

116: Caught in Internet Infinity Pools? Make Time By Setting a Daily Highlight and 5-Day Sprints

Are you getting sucked into endless scrolling in Infinity Pools like email, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook? It's okay, we all do. We all know these apps are designed to be addictive. After all, tech is the only industry other than drugs that calls its customers "users." 

It's so easy to look back on the day and wonder, "Where on earth did the time go?!" We've drained ourselves of all energy and yet often come up empty, feeling we have nothing to show for it. At least I'll speak for myself and say that's how I feel when inadvertently taking a ride on what John Zeratsky calls the "Busy Bandwagon."

But what do we do about it? How do we "make time" without the same tired productivity principles that have only led to more exhaustion? John is co-author of a new book called Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. We’re cut from the same corporate cloth—he worked at Google for 10 years at YouTube and Google Ventures, and has worked as a designer in the Bay Area for fifteen years before striking out on his own last year. I think you'll love this conversation for practical tips on finding more space and joy in work, and why the opposite of exhaustion isn’t necessarily rest.

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

One of the best parts of having this podcast is who I am fortunate to cross paths with, and the ongoing surprise of who reaches out to me. Some of you may remember when I was falling out of my chair (or rather, the closet that doubles as podcasting studio) to interview one of my favorite musicians, Trevor Hall. Well, one of the best side outcomes was getting to know his team better, Tim and Isabelle at N3W LEVEL Management. We met in-person for the first time earlier this summer, and the hours flew by! Instant kindred spirits and friends for life :)

So I was every bit as excited when they mentioned another one of their artists' ambitious projects: Amanda Giacomini's mission to paint 10,000 Buddhas around the world. Amanda has been teaching yoga for over 25 years, and she’s been an artist for almost the same amount of time. Ten Thousand Buddhas is her worldwide, highly sought after art project—including large scale murals and fine art paintings—that she completed last year after five years of steadily working toward her goal. In this conversation we dive into what she learned, how it inspired her to break out of her typical shell (and artist studio), and naturopathic practices that keep her sane while touring with her husband MC Yogi. 

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

I love serendipitous podcast guest recruiting. This one starts over coffee with my longtime blog-turned-IRL friend Rachael King, who recently founded a company called PodPeople to connect new shows with creative teams.

When I told her about themes I had been exploring on the Pivot Podcast she said, "You HAVE to talk to Jonathan Parks-Ramage." She had just helped produce a new podcast for Medium where he read his article aloud, Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas: A Journey Into LA's Hippest Evangelical Church. I was captivated by his story, and by his intention to research and write about topics at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ advocacy and the entertainment industry. A man after my own unique pivot intersection heart! 

I hope you enjoy this week's conversation on what it was like to come out with two parents who are ministers, the colliding life crises that sparked his decision to pivot from Sundance as a television executive to freelance writing, and his unique perspective studying the quirks of the entertainment industry and the religious institutions that crop up around it. 

109: Personal Pivot Update—My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

I'm sharing some big personal pivot news in this week's solo episode . . . I am starting a two year Masters program at Union Theological Seminary this fall! It's a partner school to Columbia here in New York City, and if it seems to come out of the blue for you, don't worry—it did for me too! I got the idea, applied and accepted in a matter of weeks earlier this Spring. It seems fitting to share now, given that my 7-year solopreneurship anniversary was just yesterday — I'm looking forward to seeing where these next two years take me :)

This week I take you behind-the-scenes into my own pivot process around how I arrived at this decision—unpacking tools like intuition, following hits of curiosity, weighing pros and cons, taking just the one next step, and accepting remaining unknowns. As I shared in Episode 100, I have no idea where this will end up, but I'm putting myself in the path of pivot—immersing myself in a new environment and seeing where it takes me :) 

Want to follow this back-to-school journey even more closely? I encourage you to join us in Momentum, where I'll be sharing more details along the way in my twice monthly Q&A calls, and possibly even creating a spinoff book club from my reading lists from class :) 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/union. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 an episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

Topics I Cover

  • Following curiosity rabbit holes

  • Taking the one next step before making a major decision; no need to decide before it’s time

  • Connecting with friendtors like Dorie, Dev, Kamara; looking toward mentors-from-afar (Krista Tippett's On Being podcast, Oprah's Super Soul Conversations)

  • The “what would I be proud to share?” test

  • Intuition, putting yourself in the environment to get a body reading

  • Risk/reward - is it worth pursuing, even with remaining unknowns? 

  • Developing expertise based on strengths and interests (spirituality, reading) 

  • Overlap between my personal interests and area for development, greater expertise

Personal Pivot Update: My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

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Resources Mentioned

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

This week marks a big milestone for the Pivot Podcast, as we celebrate the 100th episode! This has been more than three years in the making, from the show's early, scrappy beginnings in late 2014, when I got the book deal for Pivot, to when I started publishing weekly in earnest in 2015.

Podcasting is a labor of love, but the biggest surprises for me have come from the priceless benefits: connecting more deeply with my author heroes, with all of you who are here listening, and learning every day along the way. 

In addition to the countless content nuggets of wisdom I’ve taken away from these 100 interviews—on everything from cyber security to finding one's home frequency (check out the full show archive here)—in this week's episode I'm sharing 10 behind-the-scenes lessons from three years of podcasting. As I’ve always said with blogging, which I did for nearly ten years before switching to this format, what you see (and hear) today is the result of 1,000 tiny iterations over time. 

Grab Bag! Upcoming NYC Workshop, BookRx on Interviewing Tips, and the Upside of Awkwardness

Grab Bag! Upcoming NYC Workshop, BookRx on Interviewing Tips, and the Upside of Awkwardness

If you're based in NYC or know someone who is, come to my workshop for reluctant writers on Saturday, February 24! Register at http://caveat.nyc/events and use promo code WRITENOW for $5 off. 

Introducing BookRx! Submit Your Question for the Pivot Podcast

I read anywhere from 5-10 books a month, and probably to a fault, I'm the friend that is always throwing out book recs or "cures" for issues that friends are experiencing. In this week's Grab Bag episode I pilot a brand new feature that I've had in mind for a while, called BookRx. It's a listener-submission format where I suggest non-fiction book "prescriptions" for what ails you or what you're most curious about—and riff on the benefits of awkwardness.

Have a question in need of a BookRx? Email me (Jenny@PivotMethod.com) with a short question or send me a voice memo from your phone—just let me know if you prefer to be anonymous or not :)

Build a Referral Engine with John Jantsch

Build a Referral Engine with John Jantsch

"It's not enough to have a good solution. Buzzed-about businesses have a good solution draped in a total experience that excites, delights and surprises the customer." —John Jantsch

There a few classic books—and business concepts—that I declare must-reads for every solopreneur and side-hustler I work with, and The Referral Engine is one of them. Especially if you're someone who bristles at so much of the online marketing tactics out there like I do, referrals are one of the best ways to get new clients. There is already a foundation of trust established with the incoming client, and it means that you exceeded expectations enough for the referring client to authentically spread the word about your services. In this week's show, business master-thinker John Jantsch and I dive into exactly how to create delightful experiences and systems that will make referrals a key part of your business, not just a happy accident.