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How can you rediscover your creative free spirit if you're feeling burned out? How can you combine creativity, spirituality and money to experience more in your author life? Peleg Top talks about these things and more in today's interview.
In the intro, adding A+ content to your Amazon book pages; Audible launches Premium Plus in the UK [The Bookseller]; and Audiblegate goes on. Shopify introduces NFTs [TechCrunch], Jeanette Winterson's 12 Bytes; and A Mid-Life Journey through US National Parks.
Today's show is sponsored by Draft2Digital, where you can get free ebook formatting, free distribution to multiple stores, and a host of other benefits. Get your free Author Marketing Guide at www.draft2digital.com/penn
Peleg Top is an artist and a coach, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He serves the accomplished creative community with workshops and retreats, as well as his transformational course, 100 Days of Creative High Growth.
You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.
- Pivoting to a new type of creative work after burnout
- Searching for our creative free spirit
- The importance of expanding, moving forward, and taking risks
- Facing fear when making a big change
- Advice for those creatives who feel stagnant
- The importance of creating just for the joy of it
- Bringing creativity to the flow of money
You can find Peleg Top at PelegTop.com and on Twitter @pelegtop
Transcript of interview with Peleg Top
Joanna: Peleg Top is an artist and a coach, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He serves the accomplished creative community with workshops and retreats, as well as his transformational course, ‘100 Days of Creative High Growth.' Welcome to the show, Peleg.
Peleg: Thank you. Good to be here.
Joanna: I'm so excited to talk to you, and several of my close creative friends are your clients, and so I'm very excited about today.
Peleg: Me too. Thanks for having me.
Joanna: We're going back in time a bit. You had this incredibly successful career building one of LA's leading creative agencies, and you served clients in the music and entertainment industry; pretty sexy stuff, to be honest.
What made you pivot from what many would consider the height of creative business success?
Peleg: It's an interesting story because it wasn't anything that actually made me pivot, but it was really an organic process that came about. I was a creative professional from, gosh, right out of high school, and I became an in-house designer, and then a freelancer, and then opened my own agency, and did that for 20 years.
In the beginning, it was just amazing, because design was such a passion of mine, and I loved doing the work. I was one of those odd creatives that had a passion for the business side and the marketing side as well.
To me, that was a big part of the creative process as well, so it helped grow the business, to the point of becoming really successful.
But somewhere along the line, after about 15 or so years of working as a creative, I started getting burnt out. I started feeling like it's the same thing over and over again. And I didn't really feel as challenged anymore.
Over time, I started caring less about the work. And I found myself in this place that, now, looking back, it was a bit of a spiritual crisis, because my whole identity was so wrapped up around being a designer and running an agency that, when that all of a sudden didn't satisfy me, satisfy my soul, my reason for waking up in the morning, I felt lost.
The pivot really began when I started noticing that this isn't working for me anymore. I'm not really excited about this work anymore. And it became a process of shifting into something new. But it wasn't something that was so clear in the beginning as far as what I wanted to do.
So, to answer your question, the pivot was a process that started with a lot of fear and anxiety, and lack of clarity, but became more of a new path to walk on after I took the time to actually do the inner work that I needed to do to get back in touch with something inside of me that I'm excited about.
Joanna: That resonates with me a lot. And I think a lot of writers are burned out from doing the same thing over and over again. We see this in the writing community, with this need to create ever more product, books, and what might start out as the book of your heart or the thing you really want to write, and then once you've written that, or once, as you did, you've created that design, and then it becomes more like work.
And work is great. We love work. You mentioned the process of discovery and not really knowing where to go. How did you find where to go? I feel like a lot of people would love to pivot, but the process of doing that, does it take years? I know you enrolled in chef school. You did some practical things.
Does it take all this deeper, meaningful work in order to pivot?
Peleg: That was part of the journey. And in the beginning, I really honestly didn't know what I wanted to do next. What I didn't realize was that I was looking for answers outside of myself. And the answers were really inside of myself, but I didn't really have access to that part of myself at the time.
A lot of that was a result of years and decades of doing creative work for other people. So, being a designer, being an agency. We create beautiful work. We create beautiful art, but the purpose of it is, it's commercial, ultimately. It's to satisfy a client. It's to solve somebody else's problem.
In the beginning of that journey, it was very exciting, because I get to make art and I get to design and I get to solve problems. But after a while, I realized that I really wasn't expressing myself as an artist.
I was only expressing part of me through the artistry that I've learned to master, but my inner artist, my soul artist, was not really active in my life.
Before I could really go into any other type of path in my life, I needed to really get in touch with my creative core, with my creativity. I always believe that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I was definitely ready.
The right teachers always showed up. I've learned to notice, to pay attention, when a teacher shows up on my path that is speaking directly to the thing that resonates inside of me, deep inside of me.
At the time, there was a teacher that showed up, that basically asked me a very simple question. And he said,
Where in your life do you experience your creative free spirit?
And I couldn't answer that question at the time. And he sent me home, he said, ‘Okay, go do some homework. Come back next time to our next session, and bring me a list of where in your life do you experience creative free spirit.'
I went home and I did my homework. And the first thing on that list was, well, I experience my creative free spirit in the kitchen. I love to cook. I love to play in the kitchen. That's always been fun for me.
So, he actually challenged me, and he said, ‘I want you to find a way for you to experience cooking in a kitchen on a more regular basis, that will start waking up that creative free spirit in you.' Now, being the overachiever that I am, that I used to be… I'm trying to work on that more and more. Rather than taking a weekend class, I decided to enroll in culinary school and go full-time for a whole year into this intense program, that was really transformational.
After a while, I realized cooking school was really not about cooking. It was more of a personal growth experience, because my intentions weren't really to become a chef. I've mastered more skills in the kitchen now, but it gave me the chance to play.
When I finished school and I came back, my agency was running at the time. I had an amazing staff that ran the show without me. All I did was come in and do client pitches or sign payroll checks.
But after I finished school and I came back to work again, I just knew that I need to stop. I need to end this. I need to really cut the cord. Which is not an easy thing to do, because I was an agency owner, I had a lot of responsibilities, and people were counting on their livelihood, was counting on the business. So it was a huge risk, and there was a huge unknown in front of me.
But the dark space that I experienced in not being creatively satisfied was too big at that point. And I realized that if I stay in that space, it's just going to kill me. It's just going to completely diminish my soul.
It was one of those moments, one of those lifetime moments where I had to sit my staff down one day and just say, ‘Guys, I think I'm done.' And they looked at me and they said, ‘Done? Done with what?' And I said, ‘Well, done with all of this, with this agency, with running this. I'm just done.'
And to my surprise, actually, my longest-term employee at the time, who was one of my senior designers, she looked at me and she said, ‘Good for you.' I didn't really expect that to come back from the staff, but they were so supportive and loving. And over course of the next four months, we've basically closed shop, and I ended up actually selling the shop to my employees, and moved on.
It wasn't an easy decision, but it was easier to get to that decision because I've experienced what it was like to be in that space of creative free spirit. I've began to experience that excitement of creativity in me, in my body, and I realized where I used to be, there's no room for that anymore.
I need to expand, I need to move forward, and I just need to take a risk and trust.
I think that's one of the things that we have the most trouble with, is trusting that everything is going to work out, that we'll be okay. That's the biggest thing that we deal with. And to me, that's a spiritual issue.
What do I trust in, in order for me to make a decision that can really change the course of my life? What do I have to hold on to? And before I started doing all that inner work, I didn't really have anything to hold onto at the time. I didn't really believe in myself as much.
I believed in myself as a designer, because I have the track record, and I had the success, and the notoriety, and the money that I made from that. But anything else, I had no idea. I had no experience.
Of course, all the fears come up, the fear of failure, and the fear of being judged, or the fear of being rejected.
They all play a role in all of that. So, I needed to overcome all of that and really hang on to something bigger, that can pull me forward. And that was really my creativity. My creative free spirit is what helped me move forward.
When I tap in into that space, I know that I'm okay, that things will work out, because I have this creativity inside of me that can really figure anything out. And I think that this is what I find a lot with my students and clients that I coach is that oftentimes, all the answers, all the things that you want, are already inside of you.
If your creative free spirit, if your true creativity is really not activated, if your soul artist is not a part of your life in a way that is active, well, that opens up a space for the inner critic to come out and all the fears to come out and the self-judgment. And that keeps us stuck.
Joanna: I think the interesting thing about facing the fear… I used to be an IT consultant back in the day. And when I left that job, I went from a six-figure income to the bottom of another ladder. I was at the top of one ladder and I was down the bottom of a new one.
And yes, we downsized, and I saved some money, so I had some protection of the risk of financial issues. But I remember that first year, and it's on my blog still as lessons learned from year 1, the self-esteem drop was huge, from going from the top of one ladder to the bottom of another, and going, ‘I want to become an author, but I have to learn all this stuff. I don't know what the hell I'm doing, and I've got no money, really, and no one even knows who I am anymore. People used to know who I am and now they don't.'
I feel like that loss of self-esteem, like you mentioned, fear of judgment, I actually think that it's maybe part of that, because it's, like, ‘What will people think of me? They must think I'm a flake, or whatever.'
I guess these fears will happen. They will happen, and the loss of self-esteem will happen.
If people aren't confident in where they're going, how do they face the fear and make these changes?
Peleg: That's a great question. Fears will come up. They're are part of our makeup. The question is not so much ‘How do we face the fear?' The question is, ‘What tools do we have in our toolbox to be able to tame the fear?'
To dance with the fear, and not let the fear be the consultant that we're listening to. And because we live in a fear-based culture. You turn on the news, and there's fear coming at us every day. Especially these days, living in a pandemic world. Fear is a serious thing.
But there's another side to fear, and that side is love. And if we don't cultivate that side inside of us, and connect to that love inside of us, through different tools and different processes and techniques, when fear comes up, it could seem like this huge dragon that we have no idea how to face.
If we have the right tools and the right practices, when fear shows up, it's something that becomes part of the process. It doesn't stop us.
It's there. We know how to manage it. We know how to tame that dragon, but we keep moving forward.
Joanna: It's interesting because you mentioned love. I feel like you almost talked about that before with the creative free spirit.
This is a creative show, a lot of creatives listening. But many people feel that they love their creativity, but they don't know how to take that to the next level. And you coach a lot of who you call ‘accomplished creatives,' I guess ‘mature creatives,' people who've been doing this for a while. And so, I guess that I feel like maybe I'm one of those people. I have been doing this for a while!
Peleg: You probably are. Yeah.
Joanna: When we've been doing an established creative role for a while, how do we take that to the next level?
How do we tap into that creative free spirit, even when we're doing the thing that we love, but we want to make it even better?
Peleg: That's a great question. The way that I've found to tap into that is through art, traditional art. When clients knock on my door, accomplished creatives who have had amazing careers and achieved a lot, and they're also feeling a little stagnant and a little bored, and they're in that crossroad, looking for what's next, or even looking to take their current work to a new place, the thing that I always like to look at is, how are you expressing yourself creatively, from your soul?
Not from your head, but from your heart. Where do you get an opportunity in your life? How much do you give that voice, that authentic voice of yours, room to play?
And oftentimes, the answer is ‘nowhere.' That part of us as creatives oftentimes gets forgotten. It's that part of us that we met when we were kids, when we were given a box of crayons and said, ‘Hey, go draw something'.
We left that part of ourselves behind, and became professional creatives, and learned how to merge our creativity and our artistry with the commercial part of art. Whether we're writing or whether we're designing, or whatever it is that we're doing, when we get financial risk attached to that, it becomes a different way of expressing our artistry in the world.
My advice to anybody who's listening to this right now is that if you do feel a little stagnant, or if you do feel that you're a little stuck, or you do feel like you're in this space of in-between something, go back to art, go back to creativity at a very basic, raw level.
Create for the sake of creation, not for the sake of meeting a deadline or for publishing a book or earning money.
Maybe don't even write for that creativity part. Do something else. Go take a cooking class. Go take an art course. Do something else that wakes up that creative juju in you, that can begin to feed other areas in your life.
Joanna: I feel like we all have a default creative mode. And obviously, you're a visual artist, primarily, although you write as well. I'm on your email list and you write some great emails.
Peleg: Thank you.
Joanna: And obviously, you have books as well from that design life.
I really feel like I'm primarily a writer. But I guess, from my soul, when you were talking there, from my soul and what is not monetized, is my Books and Travel podcast. I was just telling you about it before we pressed record.
That podcast has been so hard with the pandemic, not being able to go anywhere, and I feel my creative well is empty for writing fiction, because I write from my travels.
I love doing that podcast. I love talking to people about different places in the world. And it's really just not monetized. And it's so funny because I'll talk to business friends and they'll be like, ‘Oh, you should really give that up. It's not doing anything for you. It's not part of the business, really.' And I'm like, ‘No, I really love it.' So I guess it is that part of it.
Peleg: It brings you joy.
Joanna: It does. It really brings me joy.
Peleg: Right. And at the same time, there's still commitments around it that you have. It is a business, in a way. You're channeling your creativity in this way, and it's beautiful, and it's blessed, and you're contributing to the world in a beautiful way.
I would challenge you to find a different avenue of creative expression that doesn't have anything attached to it, that you're really expressing between you and you. It's not something that is created for the sake of an audience, or that has some kind of a particular outcome that you have in mind, but just to experience the joy of creating for you.
I think it's a wonderful thing to try different artistic modalities, even though you think to yourself, ‘Well, I'm not a painter,' or ‘I'm not an artist, or ‘I'm not a photographer.' Well, says who?
Joanna: I do take photos. Does that count?
Peleg: It counts if you're taking a photo coming from a place of self-expression, rather than just capturing moments because they're pretty. It's the approach. It's how you show up inside of that work.
It could be a different modality of writing for you. Perhaps you're a novelist and you've never tried poetry before. Well, try that. Try different ways that can activate and wake up that part of you that can inform other areas in your life.
Joanna: I like the idea of creative free spirit. I guess we have to just acknowledge how we're feeling. There's definitely a feeling, an emotional feeling. And you mentioned excitement and play. I definitely struggle with play. I'm a very serious person!
Peleg: Oh, yeah.
Joanna: Even going for a walk, you know, I have to walk an ultramarathon. But hey, you mentioned being a overachiever. So yeah, I'm a bit like this. ‘I'm going for a walk. It has to be 56 kilometers.'
I like that feeling of excitement, creative free spirit. And so often, we do get obsessed with the business side, but we have to come back to that. We challenge the people listening, how much of that is in our writing life?
Peleg: Yes. And really, we want to tap into that part of ourselves, because deep down inside, before we became writers, before we became designers, novelists, whatever hat we're wearing that is our identity in the world, our profession, right, underneath all of that, we are artists. And we oftentimes forget that.
Artistry is not confined to one practice. We want to be able to tap into that part of ourselves through different avenues and different channels. And if we get stuck on just one avenue, whether it's writing, designing, photography, whatever it is, that we're familiar with, and comfortable with, and by now, having experience in, we limit ourselves. We limit what's possible for us as artists.
I'm hoping that whoever's listening to this right now, to remind you that you are an artist first. Before you became a writer, you're an artist first. And I would encourage you to meet that artist again.
Joanna: I think that's so right. It's interesting because you have this spiritual artistic way about you, which is so important, but equally, you coach creatives around business. And as you mentioned, you consider business and marketing and money part of the creative process.
That's what attracts me to your work, really, is that you also help people with money. A lot of authors have negative thoughts and blocks around money.
What are some of the common issues that come up around money, and how can we address those, while at the same time acknowledging our artist?
Peleg: Money is an issue for almost every person I've ever worked with. Most creatives that I've known have a basic belief system around money, that there's not going to be enough, the money's going to run out.
If we go a little bit deeper than that, there's belief systems around money that directly relate to our own self-worth and value. And they go hand in hand.
Oftentimes, when I coach people, business owners, the business and the money issues that they're having with their business are oftentime spiritual issues in disguise, things that they're not looking at inside of themselves, as far as what their relationship to money is, and what their relationship to their own self-worth. Because again, they go hand in hand.
It is a process of healing something inside of us that helps us feel more worthy, that helps us see and sense our own value in the world, that money doesn't become oxygen. We learn how to make money become a tool for our growth.
There's a lot of fears around money that we walk around with. And a lot of the times, those fears are fears that we inherit from our family of origin, we inherit from our culture. And, in a way, to really overcome a lot of those fears, we have to learn how to detach from those old stories and old beliefs that are not generally ours, but we made those beliefs ours over the years because that's all we were exposed to.
A lot of the work that I do with people around money is starting to help them really shift their relationship with it, and detach themselves from the stories that they've inherited.
One of the first steps that I always ask people to do when we begin this conversation around money is I ask them to go away and write their money biography. ‘Go write your money story.' From the first moment that you remember money coming into your life, write that down. And begin to write that story of money as a character in your life.
That by itself is such a healing process, because by the end of that assignment, things become very clear that, oh, my gosh, the way that I am with money, this is so not who I am. This is such a relationship that I've developed, that has been completely influenced by external factors.
That is really a great place to start shifting and building a new set of beliefs and values around money that are healthy, that are actually attached to who I am and who I really believe, and not what I think I should believe in around money.
Joanna: Talking about the creative free spirit, obviously, you can make money from your art, but do you think the process of making primary income from art is a problem over time?
Is it inevitable that if your art becomes your income stream, that you will then want to change that and find different kinds of art?
Peleg: That's such a great question. There's always the danger of that. And if I could turn back time and go back to the time when I was thriving as a designer and doing all this great work for clients, if I could give that version of myself advice, I would say to him, ‘Keep your creative free spirit alive. Don't just put all your creative eggs in one basket.'
Keep that creative free spirit alive with other artistic experiences in your life, that have nothing to do with the art that you're doing for commerce. Because otherwise, you're going to lose that part of yourself, and that the art you do for commerce is going to start becoming a little stagnant, a little boring, a little of the same. And that is just the path to becoming burnt out, eventually.
In my opinion, it is crucial to keep that creative free spirit alive. And it's different for everybody, depending on who they are. I teach people how to connect to that creative free spirit, and how to wake it up and get it going. But from that place, well, there's so much that they can experience and so many modalities that they can bring into their lives to keep that creative free spirit alive.
I see it as a practice. I see it as an important spiritual practice for us as artists that are selling their art, that art becomes our source of income that we still have that connection to our soul artist in a way that keeps us alive, that keeps us excited, that keeps us in this space of wonder, so that the work that we're doing commercially, the art that we're creating commercially, is fed by a different type of energy in us.
Joanna: Definitely. And then I wanted to come back on the money stories, because one of my money stories, I was brought up by a single mom and very independent woman, and so I was brought up to be an independent financial woman, and I have always done that.
But the story that definitely affects me very much is you have to work very hard for every single pound that you earn, and your money is related to the hours you work and the time that you work.
You have recently taken a sabbatical, and what was funny is we were going to have this conversation months ago, and then I emailed you and you were like, ‘Yeah, I need more time on my sabbatical. I'm staying away for longer.' And I'm like, ‘Woah. How does he do that?'
I'm really interested about how you knew that you needed this extended time away, and what the sabbatical really meant for you.
Peleg: There's a lot of questions in that question.
Joanna: Yeah, sorry.
Peleg: Let me address the money part of it, because that's a question that I hear often, ‘How can you afford to take six months off?' A few years ago, I took two years off from work and traveled the world, on a travel sabbatical.
At the time, when I did that, those two years cost me about $150,000 in travel costs. And I did not have $150,000 in travel costs to expend when I started my journey. I had about 50, and I thought, ‘Okay, let's see how long it lasts. I'll finish this experience when the money runs out.'
Well, the money ran out after about eight months, and I wasn't done. I wasn't done traveling. I just felt like there's still more that I need to experience out there in the world. And I was going through a whole other personal issues that were being looked at and healed at the same time.
I'm telling you this because what I've learned about money is that money and creativity go hand in hand. And it wasn't until I was 43 years old…I became financially free at 43. And it was a goal that I had set to myself since I started working. I want to become financially free by 43. In rhymed. It sounded good. It was sexy.
I thought, ‘I'm gonna put that out there as something I want to achieve.' I turned 42, and I did not at all feel like I was financially free. And right about at that same time, another teacher showed up, that clearly had some insights around money that I wasn't really exposed to.
What I learned from this teacher, in particular, was that money and creativity go hand in hand together, that money is not oxygen. If I want money, I can go and create money, but I never actually connected the dots, that if I want to create money, really, what I need to tap into is my creativity. And if I take my creativity, and add a way of serving people to that, money happens.
That's really how I started experiencing my life from that point is this flow, this ease, this sense of abundance, that there's always money there.
All I just need to do is just turn on my creativity, and channel it in a way that creates money.
So, when it was time to continue my sabbatical and continue traveling, and I realized, okay, I'm going to live on my credit card for about a year now, and I'm going to rack up a debt, and that's okay, because I know that I have a well of creativity, so that when I'm back on the other side of my time off, all I have to do is just tap into that creativity, and create money again. That's exactly kind of what happened.
Money has stopped becoming oxygen for me, and I stopped attaching money to my own worth and time. In other words, I don't work for money. In other words, I don't sell my time for money, or I don't feel like I'm ‘earning money.'
‘I'm earning money' is a concept that I've really deleted out of my vocabulary, because as soon as I say ‘earn,' my own self-worth gets attached to that as well. My own value gets attached to that. So if I'm not ‘earning money,' well, that opens up a space for self-judgment, for fear, for all of that.
I would encourage you to stop thinking about earning money, and begin to think about creating money. And as artists, as creators, if we really get in touch with that part of ourselves, and if that muscle is really strong and active, not only in what we do for a living, not only, let's say, in the writing that I do for my work, or the designing that I do for my work.
If I'm truly creative in my life, I bring that creativity to every aspect of my life, including money. I bring that creativity to my relationships. I bring that creativity to the way I communicate. It's endless applications of my creativity.
We have to tap into it first. We have to keep it alive. To me, that's the most important spiritual practice that I engage in, is keeping my creativity alive.
Joanna: That sabbatical was a decision to take a step back from the serving other people part, and go back to serving just your creativity for a period?
Peleg: That was part of it. This recent one that I just took, it was an intention that was to take three months off, and then go back into work, and we going back to that overachiever part of who we are, right?
I finished my client commitments for the year, and all of a sudden, I had this three months. So, guess what I did in those three months? I filled them up with projects. I'm going to remodel this part of the house, and I'm going to take this marketing course that I've been meaning to take.
I really didn't put too much time into my own creativity, because I wanted to accomplish these things while I'm having this time off. Two months into the sabbatical, I hit a wall and realized, wait a minute, this is not rest. I'm not really feeling like I'm getting back into my artistry again, so I need to extend this time.
I basically just said, ‘Okay, I'm giving myself permission to extend my sabbatical from three months to six months, and go into a more quiet space, a space where there's really no commitments on the calendar.‘ Nothing.
I wanted to see what would it be like to actually live without a calendar, without appointments. I remember just thinking it in the beginning, give me anxiety, because I'm so dependent on my calendar and my schedule, and for so many different parts of my life.
But you walk into that space of plan nothing, and just live my days, and listen to my creative free spirit as far as what it is that I want to create every day. I really missed that spot, that space.
In a way, I got so involved in the work that I did the year before that I've neglected that part of myself and it got a little stagnant. So, I really took the time to dive back in into that space and wake that part up. And in that process of waking that part up, new ideas come, new excitements come that I couldn't wait to bring back into my life on the other side of the break.
Joanna: You've really encouraged me, and I'm planning on two months, but I wonder if I'll have the strength like you did to extend it.
Peleg: Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I don't want you to think that this was easy. It was a really challenging time at the beginning, because I didn't realize how addicted I was to doing, and to planning my days, and having this structure that I was so used to.
It was a bit of a detox period in the beginning. And I needed support, I'm going to be honest with you. I had to call my coach and a couple of good friends to help me process the what was going on, because I wasn't doing so much.
Joanna: It's so interesting, isn't it, as you say, looking at your worth as a human being, when you take away all the stuff you do, that is a challenge.
I want us to talk about your transformational coaching program for creatives, called ‘100 Days of Creative High Growth,' which is not a sabbatical. It's a hundred days.
Tell us a bit about what 100 Days of Creative High Growth is, and who it's for.
Peleg: I wanted to create an experience where I could really teach everything that I've learned over the past 15 or 20 years of coaching people, and all the tools that I've gained along the way of healing myself and supporting myself, inside of a process that a person can go through and really shift and transform their life, transform the inner map of who they are as an artist, and heal some of the things that are standing in their way.
I've done the work with people. And sometimes it can take years, especially if I'm meeting a client every two weeks, or even on a weekly basis. It's a slow process.
That idea came to me really coming out of my two-year sabbatical, of what if there was a process that was really, really intense, we really shake the person up in a way that completely rewires who they are and how they see themselves, and teach them how to become this extraordinary artist, extraordinary creative, who creates their life.
So, I created this course. It was a completely crazy idea. But the course is a hundred days long. And what it actually entails is 100 sessions with me in 100 days. It's run as a cohort. We go on a journey together for 100 days.
It takes a big part of my life during that time, the commitment to be with people at that time. And during that course, you spend time in self-inquiry, deep self-inquiry, that I guide you through, in addition to activating your creative free spirit through art.
We make art every day. We go back to taking you back to when you were a kid making art, and we help you get in touch with that innocent part of making art.
What happens along the way is that your inner critic is going to come up, and it's going to really try to run the show. And the process becomes a process of learning to tame that inner critic while you're inside of this work.
It's been a really amazing process to watch people transform through the simple act of self-inquiry and radical, creative self-expression. And when we do something to that intensity, a hundred days in a row, you can't help but shift, but change.
Something opens up in us that, I'm just amazed, watching and witnessing creatives completely emerging something new out of them that they've never seen before. It's intense. And it's become my life's work now, leading this process for people.
Joanna: It sounds fascinating. And obviously, it's not for everyone, but tell people where they can find the course, and where they can find you, in case they are interested in finding out more.
Peleg: The easiest way to find me is on my website, pelegtop.com. There's information about my courses and this course, and the retreats that I lead. I'm also on Instagram, @pelegtop. Not that much active on it, but I do have a small community that I love to connect with over there. Signing up to my newsletter will be the best way to begin to get a sense of what it is I'm trying to teach people around creativity and around living from a place of creative free spirit.
Joanna: And then, because you do a cohort, is there a particular timeframe for this particular run of the course that people need to sign up by?
Peleg: The program runs twice a year. I run it in the fall and in the spring. The next one, the fall ones, will start September 3rd, 2021. The enrollment for the course will open in August. There is an application process.
Like I said, it's not for everyone. It's probably one of the biggest commitments that you will make for yourself. One student at the end of the last cohort said to me, ‘I dreamt about walking the Camino,' which I know you did.
Joanna: I'm doing next year.
Peleg: Oh, you're doing? Okay. I wasn't sure if you did it or not. They said, ‘My whole life, I wanted to walk the Camino, and I know that's probably not going to happen. But I feel like this is the equivalent of that, as far as the inner work that I'm gonna be doing.' And it's kind of like that.
It takes a lot to prepare. But it is a journey. It's a pilgrimage. And it's an extraordinary experience, if you're willing to really surrender to what will come up for you.
Joanna: Fantastic. Well, I really enjoyed talking to you, Peleg, so, thanks so much for your time.
Peleg: Thank you. Been great being here.
Dale Rogers says
Great podcast. I love the concept of Creating money as opposed to earning money. I’ll have to experiment with that mindset.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Dale. It’s definitely something I am thinking about.
Milissa L Story says
Absolutely the best episode! So many answers in just a short amount of time.
Joanna Penn says
Glad you enjoyed it!
Rebecca Cantrell says
I love that way your podcast is pivoting toward creativity, burnout, and how to find your way forward in your creative life as that’s where I am on the journey. Thanks for everything you do!
Joanna Penn says
Thanks Becky, I think it’s inevitable after a certain amount of time in any career, and writing is no different. We have to find ways to bring it alive again, after all, what else would we do!!?
Lisa M. Lilly says
Thank you for highlighting the pitfalls of the hourly work mindset! This February I filled out the template that came with Your Author Business Plan. I was shocked how many things I was doing “for my author career” that I didn’t love that didn’t increase my bottom line. Despite all the contrary evidence on my income statements, I still believed working more = earning more. (Leftover from my years working as a bill-by-the-hour lawyer.) I reevaluated each task. Now I’m working less, feeling less stressed, yet earning a little more profit each month. So grateful! Wish I’d grasped this 5 years ago.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Lisa, and that is such a good exercise to do! I also have a Not To Do list that keeps growing over time as I focus only on the things I love.
This is by far the episode that has most resonated with me to date. His reframing around creating money Vs earning it has really shifted something for me and I’m off to join his newsletter and look through his website to find out more about the coaching he offers!!
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Celine! I loved talking to Peleg!
Richard Williams says
Excellent insights from Peleg. Fun to hear from someone else with a “checkerboard past” of combining business impact with sabbaticals. I’ve taken 3 writing sabbaticals in past 20 yrs (2yrs-2yrs-1yr) since I had trouble making progress on book projects (nonfiction) while running around USA/world doing biotech business. It’s a risky strategy of focusing on life fulfillment vs climbing someone else’s next business mountain…and there are opportunity costs of walking away from your network (i.e., missed earnings) beyond the costs that Peleg discussed to fund his travel. Now I’m on a 4th Qtr legacy track of bringing new projects—such as writing with grandkids—to readers. The good news is that I am in a higher state of relational and physical wellness than if I had continued charging ahead w/o any breaks. (Some of my exec friends who did that died young.) Like Peleg, I expect “needed money” to show up based on creative passion output.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Richard, good to hear that sabbaticals have been useful for you, too!
Gail Hulnick says
I subscribe and enjoy your podcast every week. Peleg’s attitude on risk-taking resonated with me. Thank you!
A question — I’m considering adding a transcript of each of my episodes (The Brainwave Podcast, Gail Hulnick) to my website (windwordgroup.com).
Is this something that’s important? Do you use a particular company to do yours? (I really like the layout).
Thanks again, Joanna!
Joanna Penn says
I think transcripts are important for SEO and also for accessibility. I have a lot of people who read the podcast rather than listen! You can use AI services like Trint, Otter or Descript, but I find they need a lot of editing unless it is two American voices together, which is clearly not my show! So I use Speechpad for transcription at the moment. My VA formats the show and then I edit it again, but the layout is also related to the theme of my site, Authority Pro from WPEngine/Studiopress.
Oona Cava says
Whenever I hear about coaches who have their own coaches, it reminds me that we all need that external perspective no matter how skilled or successful we are so I appreciated Peleg sharing about turning towards trusted people when he wasn’t sure what he needed to do. As a freelancer, I tend to forget I can always reach out and don’t have to come up with solutions in a vacuum.