Susan Cain is the leading voice on successfully navigating the world as an introvert. Through her speaking and her website, Quiet Revolution, she is on a mission to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all. Princeton and Harvard educated, Susan began her career as a lawyer before she became an author, most famously of 2012’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
It might look obvious now that this was what Susan was always meant to do, but her life took a detour first. Susan wanted to be a writer from the time she was 4 years old, but when she got older, she thought of it as a just a childhood dream, not really realistic. She understood she needed to go and make a living, and writing didn’t seem like a way she could do that, so she found herself applying to law school. And she forgot about writing. It wasn’t until she was in her early 30s and took a leave of absence from practicing law that she found the mental space to write again. She signed up for a nonfiction writing class, and the very first night, she knew she had found her home—this was where she was supposed to be, this is what she wanted to do.
Creativity flourishes when you’re mentally free. Listen to the full episode to hear Susan’s story and learn how she made her way to where she belonged.
A few lessons from Susan…
- In our business culture, there is a myth that if you have a dream, you should go after that dream, taking all the risks you need to take—in fact, it’s believed that the more risks you take, the more it demonstrates the strength of that dream and the strength of your destiny to follow that path. That belief is actually a disservice because creativity does not flourish when you’re stressed about those things; it flourishes when you’re mentally free.
- If you have a creative dream and you’re scared about it, ask yourself what is your backup plan? First figure that out, and once you do that, the world is free ahead of you. If you have a dream, it’s OK to be responsible with that dream; it doesn’t mean that you aren’t fully committed.
- Know who you are, and build your own version of a creative life.
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