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Be Creative With Purpose, featuring Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker of Creative On Purpose

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Today you get to meet Scott Perry, a “SUPER creative” and Chief Difference-Maker at Creative On Purpose. Corinna discusses navigating uncertainty, finding your purpose, and living with your passion as the discuss finding your true life path and making a bigger difference in so doing.

About Our Guest: Scott Perry is a head coach in Seth Godin’s Freelancer’s and Creative’s Workshops and he’s the Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose where he helps those who work in social impact embrace uncertainty and navigate adversity with greater equanimity. He’s someone whose obvious love of music, language and creativity come together in one thought-provoking package.

Guest Website:

Linkedin: Email:

Resources Mentioned

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Creative on Purpose Podcast:

Time Stamps:

00:00 Introduction

01:45 Navigating uncertainty, creating equanimity

04:30 Stepping into potential & finding purpose

07:40 The hero’s journey

09:30 The difference only you can make

11:45 The MOST important question in finding your purpose

13:39 Bringing purpose when it’s “just a job”

16:42 Giving up certain social media to FOCUS

22:00 Powerful communication is…

23:45 The burnout challenge

29:00 How to avoid burnout: Doing the wrong thing, or doing the thing wrong

31:03 Marcus Aurelius, and the power of the stoicism philosophy

39:20 The Real Work by Wendell Berry

42:46 Conquering unworthiness

44:42 Stepping into possibility and potential so you can be better each day

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[00:00:00] Corinna Bellizzi: hello fellow do-gooders and friends. I’m your host, Corinna Bellizzi, an activist and cause marketer who’s passionate about social impact and sustainability. If you haven’t already done so be sure to visit our website You can sign up for our newsletter to be the first to gain access to new episodes and easily browse past content.

You’ll find full transcripts suggestions for actions you can take to make a difference and even make a donation to support that. Today you get to meet someone. I would call a super creative he’s someone whose obvious love of music, language and creativity come together in one thought provoking package.

Scott Perry is a head coach in Seth Godin’s freelancers and creatives workshop. And he’s the chief difference maker at creative on purpose, where he helps those who work in social impact, embrace uncertainty and navigate adversity with greater equity. Scott welcome to the show. 

[00:00:56] Scott Perry: Corinna. It is a thrill and a privilege to.

Talking to today. Thank you so much.

[00:01:03] Corinna Bellizzi: Well, thank you for coming now. I must confess. It’s not often that I hear someone use the word like equanimity in business, and I think a lot of people actually misunderstand what the word means. As something related to equality. I’d love for you to tell us what this last sentence in your bio really means to you.

How do you help people embrace uncertainty and navigate adversity? And with greater equanimity.

[00:01:30] Scott Perry: Yeah. Well, thank you. That’s a great question. Uh, your show is about social impact about people that are making a difference. That work is, um, difficult, which makes it rewarding. And it’s also fraught. There are inevitable challenges, misfortunes failures, all these things are going to happen in order to be a healthy, happy functioning human being.

We have to cut. Some sort of devices or practices or principles that are going to enable us to embrace the uncertainty because the great work is happening at the edges of our understanding and ability, which is also where our growth is happening. And, um, I believe that we can navigate not only the uncertainties and the adversities, uh, with equanimity, but also joy.

And so what does that. When I say equanimity, I actually think of it as a manifestation of joyful living, which is different than happiness living. So happiness is, you know, something that is more temporary. It’s more oftentimes exuberant. It’s harder to sustain where joy can be a sustained. Feeling, uh, when you’re doing work, that’s worth it.

And when you embrace the path, the journey, the effort, and recognize that the integrity and intention of your effort is the reward and that the results are the results they will or will not happen. That’s not really entirely up to you. You can do things that might influence results, but the results, um, are not.

The end all and be all of your effort. The effort itself is worthwhile and you can name any historical difference maker that you want. Martin Luther king I’ll just pull out as an example. He knew that he was not going to achieve the vision that he was sharing with the world. Um, he famously said, I may not get there with you, um, that didn’t make it any less joyful for him.

Any less important, any less fulfilling. To just go ahead and lean in. So where equanimity might usually come across as meaning even tempered or, um, just having an even disposition. I think of it as a sustained feeling of joy as you continue to lean into the impossible work of trying to make meaningful change happen.

And it’s all about mindset and.

[00:03:53] Corinna Bellizzi: So the concept of impossible work is something I try to kind of keep at bay. Like in my mind, I look at it as the, I have a dream, which means as possible. And so I wonder what your perspective is on that. Especially given, I mean, heck you’re rubbing elbows with Seth Godin’s of the world.

They have their mission that is very clear. Like how do you resonate with that?

[00:04:16] Scott Perry: Yeah. So I think one of the things that we, we talk about. With great frequency of creative on purposes, stepping into possibility of stepping into potential. And we do that by seeing and stepping in and staying in our power, our power to frame ourselves in our situation and our power to make decisions and to take the next bold step into possibility.

I think when I say impossible, what I, what I’m really thinking about. Any really, truly worthwhile journey does not ever end. If you picked a destination, that is that if you picked a venture where you’re going to get it done, um, you probably didn’t pick an adventure. That was really all that exciting, interesting or worthwhile.

I mean, the idea of cultivating potential, delivering, developing, and delivering your promise. That’s we have. A infinite amount of potential. And so whenever, you know, you may be developing it along the way, but there’s always more to get. And I feel this way about opportunity and abundance and all the things that we’re talking about around racial injustice or the pursuit of social justice is which.

Opportunity and privilege like it’s a scarce commodity and those that have it better, keep it, um, because there’s not enough to go around. That’s not true. What’s what I have found to be true is that when you extend privilege, when you extend opportunity, it becomes a, um, a renewable and renewing resource.

The. Of your own abundance that you share, the more privilege and opportunity that you have in excess that you share, the more it will be extended ripple out into the world. And, and there will be more for more, and we can all do more and do better. Well,

[00:06:21] Corinna Bellizzi: I love that idea. The abundance. Pardon me, the abundance mindset is something that I value and still struggle with from time to time, because I think it’s, especially when you, uh, have grown up at any period where there’s scarcity in your world, you tend to want to grab, hold.

Possessions or even just cash in your bank account and feel like, oh, well I need to save. I need to save as opposed to look at things from kind of this abundant perspective. It’s one of the biggest challenges. I think that entrepreneurs confront when they’re in that early stage too, because they’re looking at the bottom line in their bank account and going, what can I afford versus how can I get this?

So I’m curious just to get a little deeper on that. You mentioned something with regard to an adventure and ultimately that an adventure doesn’t necessarily have an end to it. So how do you, uh, kind of get into the fabric of the story of a business to help them see, you know, where that path may lead and how it could be open at the end?

[00:07:29] Scott Perry: Yeah, that’s a great question. One Steven Pressfield wrote a book on writing called no, nobody wants to read your shit and story where he talks a lot about the hero’s journey, which is familiar to a lot of us. I grew up as a huge Joseph Campbell fan and he, you know, a lot of his work is based on the hero’s journey, which has been the basis for movies like star wars and countless books and other entertainments.

And. Pressfield. Leverages the hero’s journey as well. You know, we begin in the normal world, we have a call to adventure, which would normally refuse it first. And then we accept, we go into this other world, this weird world, we fight a demon. We achieve, we acquire a gift and then we return to the community where we abundantly are sharing this insight, this wisdom, this gift.

Earned through the hero’s journey. He then wrote another book called the artist’s journey. And he goes on to say that, you know, when you’ve been through the hero’s journey, you’ve actually just initiated the artist’s journey. The artist’s journey is continuing to leverage this asset that you’ve earned in your hero’s journey and to amplify and, and continue to share it and to create ripples of influence so that this thing can, can.

Extend beyond your immediate circle and will be shared by mem your connections, who will share it with other connections and on and on and on. I love that framing. And so I think one of the processes that I use to help people identify the difference only they can. You can call it your vocation. You can call it your calling.

You can call it whatever you want, but, um, the difference you only, only you can make lies at the intersection of three things who you are, what you’re good at and where you belong, who you are is what are your values and core principles. That’s could find that out by taking a survey like the values and action character strengths survey, or any of a number of personality tests.

Um, I think it’s also something. Unveil by just having meaningful conversations with people who really know you and will speak truth to the stories that you may be telling yourself about what you wish people would see as your values, but once you’ve identified your values and core principles you need, and then you can.

Stock of your talents and skills talents, I think of is the human skills, the real skills, the soft skills that you’ve earned as just being a human, being your skills around creativity and connection and collaboration and communication. And then where you belong is with people who share your values and needs your talents to enhance their lives.

And if you think of those as three circles in a Venn diagram, the intersection of that is where you can start to dial in this thing that I call the difference only you can make one. Started to identify that. And just in full disclosure, it took me almost three years to just define it, nevermind, develop and deliver it in a way that was sustainable.

Then the real work actually begins because now it’s, you know, how do you, how you. See step into and execute on your power, your agency, your ability to make decisions, to influence results, to connect with and for the right people. Um, again, if you’ve, if you’ve got all that sewn up in a matter of a year or even a lifetime, you probably didn’t choose an endeavor that was really, um, deserving of your boundless potential and talents.

So. I think, you know, it starts with, you know, what’s the thing that you would do, you know, the, the old coaching question that I hate is what would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail? I think that’s a dumb question because you’re going to fail. Why w why deludes yourself with this idea that, um, you know, that you’re not, I think instead what’s the thing that you would do, even if you knew you would fail.

’cause I think that is going to reveal the, the work that you’re meant to do the real work. And that will provide you with, um, uh, meaningful endeavor for the rest of your, you know, for the rest of your days. However long that is.

[00:11:53] Corinna Bellizzi: So I love these ideas. I would tend to agree with everything. I do think that that Venn diagram you could work to articulate, get there and realize 10 years down the road.

The Venn diagram has changed, right? You’ve continued to grow and adapt and change, but so many people are in the job. Because they have a sense of security there, and they may not feel the same sense of power that they might need to, to really do that work. So what would you say to that person?

[00:12:24] Scott Perry: Yeah, just a quick backup.

I totally agree. I am not in agreement with Simon Sinek, that your why is fully formed by the time you were 20. And it will never change. That’s I don’t know. It’s not been my experience and it’s not been the experience of anybody I’ve worked with your purpose, your passion, you know, these, these are things that will evolve and change.

I thought my purpose. You know, for 30 years was to be a performing musician and guitar teacher. I gave up all of that last year to go all in and my pursuits at creative on purpose, you know, which feels like an entirely different endeavor. I can definitely though see a through line and a theme. So, you know, I think of it, the difference only you can make.

Could also be framed as the work that you’re meant to do now. And the work that you meant to do now may be very different than the work you used to do before. And the work that you’re going to do in the future. And now I’ve rambled on that long enough to forget the second part of the actual question, which was,

[00:13:20] Corinna Bellizzi: well, if you have somebody who’s in just a job, how did they bring that purpose to the work?

[00:13:25] Scott Perry: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I would say I, the framing I use is we all have. You know, most of us, if we’re lucky have work that we have to do, we have the work that we do to make a living. We have, uh, uh, the work that we do to earn a living and take care of our obligations and responsibilities, hopefully that work, um, provides you with some pleasure, some sense of meaning and purpose.

Uh, you know, hopefully it’s not soul crushing, if it is, uh, you know, if the work you do to make a living diminishes you in any way, I would suggest trying to find yourself a new steady gig. At the same time, all of us have additional discretionary time, attention and effort that we can choose to invest and a passion project, a side hustle, um, a hobby, uh, or, you know, some sort of other thing that we’re building, maybe up along the side, I, I became a full-time music.

When being a part-time musician, um, was earning me more than I was earning at my steady job. I continue to perform and teach while I was building creative on purpose and turning it into a fully solicit sustaining enterprise. It’s a matter of choosing what to do with the discretionary time, attention and effort that you have.

You know, it’s as easy as deciding that you’re going to cancel your Netflix subscription and get rid of all your social media, that that should free up plenty of hours to build something meaningful on the side. Um, and even if the side thing never becomes the main thing, you know, sometimes that’s a good thing.

Like I, when people ask me, how do I become, do what you did and become a professional musician? I say, Because being a professional musician is not just about being on stage all day. It’s actually, that’s like 10% of what you get to do the other 90% really isn’t fun. You’re hustling gigs, managing cranky, bandmates, spending endless hours with smelly dudes in a van, going from place to place eating crappy food.

You know, there’s lots of it that. I would dissuade anybody from doing it. Uh, one of the ways that I think about my journey as a professional musician and any thing that I’ve done with my life is I couldn’t not do it. I did it because I couldn’t not do it. And I tried quitting music several times and every single time I was back on the phone, hustling gigs within a week, I couldn’t stop doing it until I could.

And then when I could, I did and I did something else. Use you had this incredible gift of time, attention, and effort, and you can choose, you get to choose. You, get to choose how you spend that, spend it wisely, spend it, you just judiciously and spend it on something that will be done within four people that you care about.

And you will find some sort of meaningful work that you can do alongside whatever else is that you have.

[00:16:30] Corinna Bellizzi: Now on a recent podcast, I’m on your show. I think it aired this week. Actually you interviewed somebody who helped you give up a considerable amount of your social media so that you could focus on the ones that counted.

And one of the things that got me thinking about was, um, Really the fact that somebody’s trying to get a start out today as an entrepreneur, as somebody who’s working to make social impact in their lives or wants to work on sustainability initiatives, you’re essentially told you have to be everywhere.

Like, oh, you need a Facebook handle. You need LinkedIn, you need this. Oh, you should get on clubhouse. Oh, what about green room? And there’s this one and that one and every week there seems to be another. So I would love for you. Share your personal experience when it comes to that, because ultimately that can seem super overwhelming to somebody who’s trying to get their start, even if they are just getting a side hustle started.

[00:17:23] Scott Perry: Yeah, it’s a great insight. So that was Lindsey Smith, who, along with her business partner, Alex, uh, Alexandra, France created a company called you can get it done. And, uh, their workshop on marketing without social media was very powerful for me.

The great lie. You know, the way that you build a business is build a humongous funnel, broadcast every social media platform that you can get thousands of strangers into the top of the funnel. Watch them all slowly, drip out as they work the way down the funnel. And you’ll get one or two at the bottom that will pay you top dollar for some sort of premium offering.

There was a time when I think that really worked. And so when you. Jokingly call people like Amy, Amy Porterfield, or Michael Hyatt, the people that were there, kind of at the beginning, um, the syndicate, like they, they got in at the ground floor. They did it when it was really hard to do. And they did. They, they crammed a lot of bodies, a lot of email addresses at the top of their funnel to have enough drip out to make a, you know, a good living and they can continue to do that.

At this point in time, we’re all much more cautious about where we share our email address and how long we’ll listen to somebody, you know, very pitchy, salesy, self promotional, email sequence. I would say that’s.

If you think that you need to spend all your time on social media, talking to strangers and convincing earning their awareness attention, permission to. Enrollment and investment. Is that, how is that a, a business model that you’re creating or is that a seductive way to hide? Because all of that, that causal chain that I just mentioned, like, I don’t know, you exist.

I I’ve heard of you. I’m going to give you a minute of my attention. I’m going to give you enough minutes to decide, to go opt in and give you permission to talk to me directly. Uh, I’m going to trust you enough to buy some sort of art, you know, to enroll in the journey, to, to invest. That’s so many places where that can break down.

What if instead, you decided that instead of going large and, and prostrating yourself at the temple of scale, what if you went to. What if you started with the smallest possible problem that you could solve for the people that you seek to serve, what if you shared an offer that, um, solved that one problem and you sold it before you built it?

What if you got enough people to purchase that offer and then you built the thing, did the thing and you, the people that you serve. Where people that were already in your circle of connection, your sphere of influence your sphere, your circles of connection, because then you just leaped all past four or five links in that chain.

The people that you already know, who already know, like, and trust you, you’ve got their awareness, you’ve got their attention, you’ve got their permission. You’ve got their trust. All you have to do is find a problem that they want solved and help them solve. And if you do that in a way that delights them, they will tell more of the right people.

And so instead of spending cycles, trying to get everybody to look at you and doing things that you would never do in real life, you know, in terms of showing up screaming and spamming and soliciting you, you you’re going to. Traction sooner, sustainability faster, and you’re going to actually be making a difference from the get-go as opposed to wasting all that time on social media screaming and trying to trick strangers into giving you an email.


[00:21:21] Corinna Bellizzi: brick strangers. And to giving you their email, you know how few I give out now? I mean, I even developed a, uh, Gmail shopping address specifically for shopping that I use to sign up for everything, because I don’t want to get that into my inbox. So I understand, I think you’re right. And, um, yeah, perhaps the way we’ve been doing it all along is broken.

[00:21:44] Scott Perry: I direct specifically. Clear respectful community communication. Um, you know, the, the, and just to, you know, to accent at the beginning, you’re not going to be focused and clear on what your offering is. You know, you may not be completely clear on what your skills and talents and values are. You may not be clear on who the people are that, you know, share your values of nature, talents to enhance their lives.

But if you show up, um, intentionally and with intention, Within for people who already know you, you will, you will find your way faster and, uh, you know, it’d be more efficient and more expedient, and you’ll be actually doing meaningful work from the very beginning, as opposed to what the, the priests of scale say, which is, you know, I’m going to teach you how to build, build a funnel.

I’m going to give you the swipe files for every social media platform. Spend all day screaming at strangers. And when you have enough, we’ll talk about how to create, uh, you know, multi, uh, you know, a six-figure offer that you can sell them. I mean, I just, you know, what are you here to do? Are you here to make a difference?

Cause if you lean into making a difference every day, the sustainability pieces will take care of themselves. Uh, if you are only chasing the outcome of, I want to make a living doing something online, you’re going to catch yourself doing a lot of things out of urgency that are really out of alignment with your real values and who you really are and the way that you really want to be perceived by others.

[00:23:34] Corinna Bellizzi: I want to step to the concept of burnout because I’ve seen this, um, numerous times and fellow entrepreneurs, I’ve struggled with it myself and my time as an executive. And even as a podcaster, I’ve had some weeks where I had to kind of pump the brakes, so to speak. Right. And, um, I think part of that came from the reality of feeling like I had to be everywhere.

I was starting to gain some traction. And in that I was getting invited to a lot of different spaces and ultimately started to invest far too much time. I think, in each of the platforms. And so struggling with burnout can be something. I think that, uh, we all can relate to. We all are conducting. And especially in this time of COVID where many people are also working from home, where they may have had an office or a work site to go into in the past, there they’ve blended their workspace between home and, um, really not much else.

So they’re within the four walls of their house all day long, almost every day without what really seems like a break. So. You actually have built some pretty incredible tools to help people with this. And I would just love for you to speak to

[00:24:51] Scott Perry: them. Yeah, absolutely. I have been thinking about burnout a lot.

Um, as someone that’s experienced it frequently, um, and here’s where I’ve arrived. Especially during the last year and a half, we heard burnout referred to frequently as a disease. Something that, you know, we had to treat, uh, and there’s all sorts of people sharing their 12 step program to cure this disease of burnout.

As I thought more and more deeply about my own experience with it, I decided that burnout isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom. And. It’s actually a like many symptoms, you know, the symptom arises as a generous gift, a reminder that there’s something wrong here that needs to be addressed burnout. We all have different temperaments and tolerances.

We all have a finite finite amount of time, attention. And. Some of us. I tend to be a person with a lot of vitality. I can, I can put out a lot of energy. I can produce a lot of stuff. Um, it doesn’t mean I’m always producing the right stuff and it doesn’t mean I’m always making progress, but I can do a lot of things and I can go, go, go for a long, long time.

At some point though, even someone like me is going to, um, find themselves. In a position where they are giving something they no longer possess. And so burnout is exactly that burnout is when you are continuing to give time, attention and effort that you no longer have. And for people that are in the social impact space, this is a huge problem because we are naturally outward facing people.

We are naturally generous giving people. Get a lot of our identity and meaning from being of service to others. What I have found is that you can, you can cure burnout by making. Number one by first understanding that it’s a symptom and not a disease, and that it’s a gift for you to see and recognize because then you can start to work, do what’s necessary to solve that problem.

And the way that you solve that problem is by making better decisions. And so the process that I have created is based on. Ancient philosophy and spiritual traditions, but also completely vetted by modern psychology and neuroscience. And it really just boils down to, um, taking whatever you’re you’re currently experiencing and holding it at arms length and naming it objectively without all the value judgements without all the strong emotional language.

Looking at it as a problem that you can solve instead of letting it be a problem that continues to work on you. And once you’ve shit, once you’ve held it at arms length and named it objectively, you can then be more thoughtful and deliberate about the decisions that have to be made in terms of solving that problem and be mindful that it’s actually at any given moment.

The only thing that that is yours and the only place where meaningful. And identity really reside is in the intention and integrity of your decisions, the thoughtfulness of your process. It’s always about the journey and not about the outcomes. The outcomes will take care of themselves, and you can learn as much if not more from your failures than you can, from your successes in terms of the, um, your endeavor and the people that you’re working with.

What happens is you can avoid burnout by doing. Burnout is often a manifestation of doing the wrong thing or doing the thing wrong. And when we start doing more of the right things with more of the right people in more of the right way, then abundance and service and generosity becomes. Uh, renewable resources and it becomes a virtuous cycle.

I fill my tank first. I take care of my most precious asset, which is my, my inner narrative. My, the story that I’m telling myself, you know, which needs to be one of gratitude, generosity, and abundance. I make sure that I’m filling my tank in terms of, you know, being mindful about my time, attention and effort.

And I extend the overflow, the abundance. To more of the right people and the right people. And I’m sure you’ve experienced this when you’re working with more of the right people. It’s not exhausting. It’s actually energizing because they are giving back. And when you are able to get this cycle, this virtuous cycle working.

You know, a way that’s encourages reciprocity, then you’re always filling your tank and, and serving out the, uh, the, the overflow. And you can leverage connections to maximize the reach, create more ripples of influence. Uh, and you will, you know, to your earlier point. You will lead a life that is, has much more equanimity in it because you’re doing meaningful work within for the right people work that actually energizes you because it’s based on, uh, the important parts of our nature, you know, being social creatures, being compassionate, creatures, being, uh, creatures that defined themselves and forge meaning in their lives, from the work that.

[00:30:51] Corinna Bellizzi: So it’s obvious to me and listening to you today, and also in reviewing some of your earlier podcasts that you kind of come from a philosophical perspective first, when it comes to the workspace. And you mentioned in one of these. Getting your first philosophy book meditations by Marcus Aurelius when you were only 13 years old.

So I love for you to just talk about this influence the influence of stoicism as a philosophy and your work life and your daily life and how you think that might be of benefit to other people as well.

[00:31:26] Scott Perry: Yeah. So stoicism is, is in another period of kind of resurgence, um, It has always been, it is often, um, not, not shared in the, the entire spirit in which it was first practiced.

So there’s a lot of kinda there’s. There are a lot of folks in the modern stenosis movement that are cherry picking parts of it, um, to, uh, justify, um, you know, their practices and principles that really may or may not have a lot to do with. The actual ancient practice of stoicism. So meditations by Marcus Aurelius is his journal.

It was notes written to himself reminders about the stoic principles and practices that he learned from reading Epictetus and from his own, um, teacher, uh, uh, genius re restless, um, The thing that struck me and, and having my Latin teacher in the seventh grade, shared that book with me. This guy was talking to himself and exactly the same tone and Tom, bruh, that I was speaking to myself.

So it was like blew my mind. Like here’s the most powerful man on the planet in his time speaking to himself and reminding him that he’s not as great as he thinks he is. And that he is just as broken and fragile and fallible as everyone else around him. And that through it all. His primary directive is to treat others with dignity and respect to do, to put forth his best effort and to work on cultivating his character, developing virtue, because ultimately that’s the only reward.

So I’ve been reading that book since I was 13 years old, since 1976. And. I glean a reminder or a lesson from it every day. And I don’t wave my stoic flag as vigorously or openly as I used to because stoicism is so vastly misunderstood. I mean, number one, If you think it’s stoicism, the philosophy has anything to do with stoicism, smallest, common usage.

It’s like actually the exact opposite has nothing to do with keeping a stiff upper lip and grinding your way, um, you know, to success. It’s actually a beautiful philosophy of life, a lived philosophy of life that encourages practitioners to pay attention. Too and do good work for its own sake to cultivate character and virtue to do work with and for other people to think of themselves as part of, um, one entity that, that we are, you know, this idea of integration of interconnectedness is baked into the philosophy that we’re all just one thing.

We’re just one minute more, one reflection of, or facet of, um, And it really talks about the importance of cultivating character by using your reasoning facility or your mind not to justify and rationalize, but to move it lower into your heart and your gut and to exercise judgment from a more heart-centered ethical.

Compassionate place and to seek, to serve and elevate others. Um, yeah, so it’s, it’s, it is, it sounds very heady in some ways, but it’s, it’s the most practical and pragmatic philosophy I’ve ever collided with. You don’t need a teacher, you don’t, you know, you can read any of the primary ancient texts and you’ll get the whole, like the, the joke is very easy.

I understand the punchlines are very easy to remember, and it’s a way that you can, um, you know, use these maxims and aphorisms that come from the stock text to remind yourself in every moment of every day. Like, what am I really here for? What’s really important right now. And how can I continue to develop my potential and deliver on my promise as a thoughtful, caring, human being who earns identity and meaning through doing work that.

[00:35:56] Corinna Bellizzi: Well, I think that you have found your purpose and in this text in a way, because everything that you just shared about stoicism and Marcus Aurelius almost seems like it could be within your own businesses manifesto. And so I really think. Just pulling from something as ancient as that text and really getting to the core of what’s important to you.

What’s at your heart. How are you going to make the best decisions? How can you step into your purpose? That’s all kind of coming together really beautifully in this piece so much so that I think you might want to consider it required reading for your clients.

[00:36:34] Scott Perry: I am known to have shared, uh, meditations.

Almost everyone I collide with. I mean, whether it’s directly by sending them a copy or encouraging them to get one. And, and I, there’s a translation by Gregory Hayes, um, that the academic say is not as correct as it needs to be, but he purposely tried to make the language very accessible and reflect the beauty with.

Marcus actually was intending as he wrote things down. So if you’re interested in exploring, um, stoic philosophy, Marcus meditations, the Gregory Hayes, um, translation is a great place to start. The introduction has a very succinct, uh, history of stork philosophy.

[00:37:19] Corinna Bellizzi: So one of the things I wanted to chat about, um, as we connect on this really has to do with the low hanging fruit.

And the reason I bring this concept up is I think when you start to read any texts, like whether it be Marcus early, Or whether it be the manifesto that you’ve written on your site, or even just, if you’re looking at developing a new framework to help you better understand what your purpose is, you know, you tend to look first at what you can change to see measurable results.

And so I would just love to know from your perspective, when you come in to working with someone, you know, what are those, those little bits, those gems that they can pull out quickly to feel the reward and stay motivated? Because I think that that is always critical to keeping engaged.

[00:38:05] Scott Perry: Yeah. That’s a great question.

I, so I have, you know, been doing this work for a long time. I’ve written several handbooks. Um, I write a blog three times a week. And so I’m always thinking about these principles of practices and refining them. I have a lot of, um, you know, wisdom. That’s not my own that I can, and maybe a tiny bit. That is my own that I can draw from when.

With a client for the first time or the 400th time. One of the things that I really try to do is to just show up, to be present, to be, you know, in accompaniment and with the person and to let them. Reflect what’s going on for them right now. And, you know, often we’ll just ask how, how can I best serve you right now?

You know, what’s the, what’s the challenge that you’d like to work on, or what’s the idea that you need to unpack, or, um, that said

there’s a wonderful poem by Wendell Berry called the, the real. And the real work is, is the human work. It’s, it’s, you know, getting down to the nitty gritty of, you know, what, what is at the heart of what it means to be human, what it means to be happy and how you can become more, both. And I would say that almost at some point in almost every conversation I have, we’re going all the way down to the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid of his hierarchy of needs.

You know, we all want transcendence at some point. Um, and, but in order to get there, you know, once we’ve solved the existential needs of food, clothing, and shelter, which if you’re watching this broadcast, you obviously have enough discretionary income to have that taken care of people are often saying, well, we, you know, It’s about security and safety or it’s about belonging, um, about status and all these other things.

I think after we’ve taken care of our basic existential needs at every conversation always comes down to a conversation about worthiness. Do you value yourself enough to invest while I’m sorry? Do you, do you value yourself self and trust yourself? Enough to invest your time, your attention, your effort, your finances into, uh, and to developing your potential and delivering on your promise as a human being engaged in endeavors that seek to make a difference work done with, and for other people who.

Um, you know, lives will be elevated by colliding with you and your, your, your work, which will be the source of enhancement for your own life. And I don’t know about Ukraine, but, you know, worthiness is something I struggle with every single day. And most of the people I talked to, um, you know, at some point, I mean, oftentimes that’s the point where our conversation, you know, brings either one or both of us to tears because.

You know, again, your audience is all about social impact. These are caring, kind, considerate, talented, generous people. And you know, their capacity for empathy is boundless. They can, they can see and feel, and understand and move from the effort of empathy, into the action of compassion, uh, and you know, do amazing things to help other people.

Realize, you know, their potential and, and, and achieve their, you know, whatever goal they set for themselves. And if I was able to get into the head of any one of your audience members and listen to their internal dialogue, I probably wouldn’t recognize that as the empathetic, compassionate, caring, nurturing, devoted person, that I just witnessed, you know, them presenting out to the world and.

This is, and this is no, this is not your fault. This is, this is programming. This is hardwired by biology and evolution, and it is been indoctrinated into you by institutional learning and institutional work. You know, we want to, you know, we’re taught to remain overly humble and hiding. Hm, fit in. Don’t rock the boat, go along, you know, all these things.

And so, you know, the thing is once we see that we’re actually complicit in our own suffering around. Developing our potential and our sense of worthiness. We can’t un-see it. And for some people it’s incredibly hard to overcome all that programming. Um, so what’s the solution. Well, it’s routines and relationships that got you on the rut that you’re in and it will be a daily discipline of new routines and relationships sustained over time.

That will help you see what you can and see and see, and take small daily steps into your potential impossibility every day. Okay. You know, there will come a point when you’ve realized that you have, you know, Crested the mountain, um, and you are seeing, you know, consistently seeing yourself your situation and others differently and able to lean even more vigorously and to making the difference that only you can.

[00:43:59] Corinna Bellizzi: Well, Scott, um, I feel seen in a way, but part of that is the negative self speak. You, you spoke earlier about Marcus Aurelius, you know, essentially telling himself at the same time, you’re not as great as you think you are. And you’re just part, you’re a cog in this giant wheel, this giant machine that is all existence, essentially.

And yet that kind of flies in contrast with what I think you’re recommending was, is just that we try to see value in ourselves more. I personally find when I get complimented, I get really uncomfortable. Like I almost want to hide, I think when somebody shares something where they say, wow, that was just so fantastic.

And I love this about you or that. And I just, you know, I want to run out of the room. So what would be that key step or that first step to get someone to really think a little differently about their own sense of self-worth.

[00:44:58] Scott Perry: The first is. One of the defining characteristics about human beings, other than our consciousness and capacity for reason and rationality and our social nature and creative instinct is we are capable of holding opposing ideas in our head at the same time that are true without our heads exploding. You are sufficient just as you are.

You’re fine. Just as you are in. You can be and do more sufficiency and striving exist within you at every moment of every day. What happens if you accept that you’re sufficient just as you are, and that you see and seek to strive to be a little bit better tomorrow. And if you step into that possibility and potential, what will happen is your sense of sufficiency will come up alongside it.

And then you can say, Sites on the next aspiration, the next striving and your sufficiency will come up alongside it and you just keep doing this. You’re just fine the way you are and you can be and do more. So do do both. And the other is C taking control of your inner narrative, like understanding what is, and what is not within your control to quote my friend Epictetus what’s in your control is your, uh, framing your, your perception.

Of yourself and your situation and other people. And what’s in your control is your reasoned choices in alignment with who you are and you know what it means to be human and happy. Uh, and you’re the actions that you take in this moment to influence what the outcome that you seek without being attacked.

Having your identity and, or your happiness attached to getting a specific result cause that’s not yours. And so, you know, this, these are just simple tools for, um, creating healthier narratives that fuel our, you know, sense of, um, that, that fuel joy and equanimity and help us find identity and derive meaning from doing work that’s worth it.

With the full knowledge that, that, that the integrity and intention of our effort is all we’re entitled to. Thankfully that’s enough. That is that defines who you are. And that’s how you develop yourself. It’s not about the things you acquire. It’s not about your attachments. It’s about accepting and acknowledging things as they really are.

And the last thing I’ll say is, you know, when you are zoomed in and you are finding yourself complicit in your own suffering, that’s the time that you zoom out. So this what you were just mentioning this context, right? It’s like, You, you know, there are moments when you have to hit the pause button, zoom out and look at the bigger picture.

And then, you know, when you have defined, um, uh, a way forward that is worth your time, talent, and effort, you can start to zoom back in and focus in on the, the discipline that’s necessary to do that. So I always say it’s simple. Um, but suppose it’s never easy. Cause we got a lot of things conspiring against us, but you’ve been doing this for a long time.

When you, everything, the hardest things you’ve ever done were when you were a baby, you did the impossible you were born without actually even real control of your lens or your, your mouth. You taught yourself to walk and to talk with. Referring to a manual without having someone take you through a 12 step process without watching YouTube videos or taking an online course or any of that stuff, you figured it out by doing it badly until you did it well.

And yes, of course, you had people modeling what you wanted to do. And of course you were getting support, love and encouragement along the way. Um, but you know, that childlike sense of wonder and. Is always still available to you. It’s just a decision that you can make. Am I going to continue to think this way that impedes my own happiness or am I going to recapture my childlike sense of wonder and my willingness to do things that are hard and willingness to do things at which I will fail long before I start to achieve?

[00:49:19] Corinna Bellizzi: Well, well, Scott, thank you so much for this. And my mind, incredible conversation. I could keep talking for a lot longer. Um, so I just want to thank you for your time today. All you’re doing to help people really get clear with what their passion and purpose are, so they can live a better life and create more impact.

So I’m encouraged by everything that you’ve shared, even if I’m gaining a couple of tools that I may feel a little uncomfortable with in the beginning. So.

[00:49:49] Scott Perry: It’s been really a delight I want to, um, just before we leave, thank you and acknowledge the difference that you’re making the work that you’re doing with, not this, just this broadcast, but your work in general, the way that you’re showing up in the world, it makes a difference.

It matters. And we appreciate it. Well, thank

[00:50:07] Corinna Bellizzi: you, Scott. Now, listeners, I’d like to invite you to act. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be as simple as sharing this podcast with someone that you think needs to hear it today, you could even add Scott Perry’s podcast, creative on purpose, live to your roster and get some new great ideas.

Things that you can do in your daily life to just have more impact and to get more clear with what your purpose is after all. You never know where your great inspiration after all, you never know where your next great inspiration will come from. As always show notes are available on your favorite listening platform.

I’ll include links even to Marcus Aurelius’ book. So please feel free to check that and you can always visit. You’ll find links and resources there as. Now thank you listeners. Now in all ways for being a part of this pod and this community, because together we really can do so much more.

We can care more and be better. Thank you.


  • Scott Perry

    CEO / Chief Difference Maker, Creative On Purpose Scott Perry is a head coach in Seth Godin's Freelancer's and Creative's Workshops and he’s the Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose where he helps those who work in social impact embrace uncertainty and navigate adversity with greater equanimity. He’s someone whose obvious love of music, language and creativity come together in one thought-provoking package.

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