Episode 136

Creative Pep Talk with Andy J. Pizza

August 8, 2017

Why do creatives need more pep talks to get in the right mindset of growth and possibility in order to fight that fixed mindset? Andy J Pizza, host of the Creative Pep Talk podcast, joins us to talk about believing in your infinite capability and moving forward with the “why” that drives everything you do and create.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"If you have a growth mindset, you're going to approach every challenge as an opportunity to learn."
- Andy J. Pizza

Discussed in this Episode

  • Why do creatives need more pep talks?
  • Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
  • Fighting perfectionism and extreme dualities of right & wrong
  • Finding the "why" that drives everything you do


More from Andy J. Pizza

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Braid Creative

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Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:08
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Andy J Pizza 0:09
I'm Andy j pizza and I'm being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 0:17
Today we are talking to Andy j pizza about being a creative creative pep talks, his book, quantum physics, the conversation was fun to have. And as always anything that we reference on the show you can find on our show notes at WWW dot being boss club. Hey guys, so I don't know about you. But in my business, I'm constantly going through cycles of promoting and marketing the work that I do with actually working on my client work within getting really organized with systems and processes behind the scenes. And one of my favorite ways to get organized is to get organized with my money and fresh books. Cloud accounting helps me do just that. freshbooks helps me see how much money is coming in, and what money is going out. I'm able to organize my finances in a way that is super clear. For quarterly taxes and end of year taxes and just the overall financial health of my business. You can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Andy j pizza is an illustrator podcaster and speaker living and working in Columbus, Ohio. Andy is the creator of the creative pep talk podcasts, the indie rock coloring book, and the collaborative Color Me blink exhibit with Andrew nyer. Andy's illustrated for the likes of Google Nickelodeon, Converse smart car, Oreo and Sony. You guys are not going to want to miss this episode. It was so fun to have this conversation with Andy and I think that you're gonna get a lot out of this one. So, Andy,

Unknown Speaker 1:59

Unknown Speaker 2:00
we're so excited to have you on being boss.

Andy J Pizza 2:02
I'm super pumped. I like to do podcasts as some people know. Sorry. Yeah. Yeah. So

Kathleen Shannon 2:10
tell us a little bit about your podcast, and you just wrote a book. So it tells what you're up to who you are what you do.

Andy J Pizza 2:16
Okay, that's a lot of stuff. Let me try to be succinct. I'm not saying that. I'm going to warn you right from the get go.

Emily Thompson 2:23
I'll wave my hands at you if you need to wrap it up, please.

Andy J Pizza 2:27
Yeah, come on. Now. I have a podcast called creative pep talk where I give pep talks to creative people. I really honestly started that podcast. First and foremost, because I'm a big believer in this idea that you should go try to give other people what you yourself need. And so I which is kind of a weird thing to be the guy who's always Pep talking everybody when I need more pep talks than anybody. So I, you know, I created this podcast as a resource that I wish existed in the world. And it's been really great. I've been doing that for almost three years now. Going back, I won't take you all the way back to the womb. But I'll start a little bit after that, if that's okay. And I grew up,

Kathleen Shannon 3:17
I would love to hear your Padlet

Emily Thompson 3:18
loves hearing about

Andy J Pizza 3:22
I don't know much about it. I don't

Emily Thompson 3:24
think I'm telling you, you don't have to so you start where you're comfortable. I don't

Andy J Pizza 3:27
remember that much about being born. So I'll skip that part. But I, I grew up in the Midwest. And I always say that I felt like I was a penguin surrounded by pigeons. Because everybody was like soaring and taking off with no problem. Like every, every metric that was that I was being tested in I was performing. Not well, like sports. I did sports when I was in like, I don't know, like second grade I did basketball and I would just like air ball all the time. It was just a complete embarrassment, math, you know, like the times time table tests, which is even difficult. I can barely say those made me cry.

Emily Thompson 4:15
Like I think I have pts especially around multiplication. I'm not kidding. So I'm right here with you with that.

Andy J Pizza 4:22
My problem was I would look at the test and for whatever reason at the time, numbers would like come to life with personalities to where like where they are mean to you. They all have like

Kathleen Shannon 4:34
you guys, whenever I did math as a kid numbers had personalities for me to like seven and eight. We're always in a fight over 15

Andy J Pizza 4:44
Yes, it's

Kathleen Shannon 4:46
kind of like that, like my numbers would have personality. Yeah. And how to distinct and like, I don't know, I felt like six was always kind of like a bummer like weighing in on everyone.

Andy J Pizza 4:56
This is exactly in my mind. Like there's all this drama going on because Cuz like, three years jelsa for, like, there's just all this kind of crazy stuff. So you can not do your math when this drama is going on. I'm distracted in that. And you know, like, by the time I was in high school, I had a part time job, and I'm not a thief. I just lost tons of money. I wouldn't be on cashier, and I just couldn't. It's not. The thing is like I did okay, in math, like in school, like if I had if it wasn't under like pressure. But like, once I'm like, they're trying to give people change and do all this stuff. Like every night, they would count down my drawer and be like, your mess messing 20 to 50. And I tried so hard, and I was what was like really discouraging, as I was trying super hard, because it was so shameful to lose all this money, right? Like, it was embarrassing, and it was painful. And so this whole time, I'm just like this awkward, chubby Penguin, everybody else is soaring. And then when I found creativity and design and illustration, it was like finding water for the first time. Because they say penguins can fly just not in the air, but underwater. And if you see like a penguin on on land, they're really chubby and bumbling and Goofy. But when they dive into the water, it looks like they're soaring like an eagle. And they have like grace. And I don't know if I have all those things. But I do feel much more comfortable now that I'm living and breathing and creativity. And so, you know, I went to college for illustration and design. And since then I've felt much more at home. And I think that's a big part of why I do the podcast too, is that I think so many creative people feel out of place in our modern world, especially in the west where everything is kind of built like a factory. And, and so yeah, that's kind of my story. I've been an illustrator, since about 2008. And, you know, worked my way up through the ranks and cut my teeth on the small jobs and then got some bigger brand collaborations along the way, made a full time living out of it. And that's when I started my podcast creative pep talk.

Unknown Speaker 7:14
Nice. So where are you living now?

Andy J Pizza 7:16
Are you still in the Midwest? Columbus, Ohio, actually. So I went to school in the UK for five years. I went to school for three years, actually, it's a bachelor's program is three years. And my my shame was showing there. I was like, I didn't take five years. All right. Anybody that did without I must have like, like I had to defend myself. I don't know why. Anyway, I met my wife over there. She's British. We've had like, so many babies. I don't even know how many.

Kathleen Shannon 7:49
How many babies do you have? I

Andy J Pizza 7:50
don't know. I think there's three. I think we have three? We do i do have three. We have an eight year old, four year old and a two year old. So it's a mad mad house.

Emily Thompson 8:05
I feel you need more than just creative pep talks at this.

Andy J Pizza 8:07
I need a lot of support. Yeah, what I always say at the front of my book, I dedicated it to my wife, Sophie. And I said that she's the pep talk or that pep talks, the pep talk or I don't know. I said something like that, but she's the one that keeps me papped mostly with tough love. I need a lot of tough love. I don't need like, like I you know, I get enough of like, Andy, thanks for doing what you do. And I and that's nice, but she's like, stop being out of your ass. Exactly. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 8:39
So the drawing get to work.

Andy J Pizza 8:41
Like it's not that hard. You draw pictures for a living. Like, you're

Kathleen Shannon 8:47
right. I feel like anytime I'm complaining about my job, it's usually like, let's say, Emily and I are New Orleans having an awesome drink. Yeah, courtyard somewhere beautiful. And I'm like, you know, it's just so hot on like, a Thursday and Thursday, or like, I'm laying out in the backyard with my sister, who's also my business partner. And I'm like, Oh, it's just so hard right now.

Andy J Pizza 9:10
Yeah, I understand that, too. I wish I didn't understand that. But I totally do. So

Kathleen Shannon 9:15
Alright, I went to rewind a little bit. How did you find creativity? When did you feel like a penguin and waters so

Andy J Pizza 9:21
I grew up in a household that didn't really value art or culture, whatever. My dad's like a math finance guy. And I always say that, like, the most culture I'd experienced up to the age like 16 was like, my dad has won. Phil Collins Greatest Hits CD. That was like, most of the culture that I knew about, I think I'd seen the movie Greece. That was my other culture that I've experienced, and I test that side. I don't know, I didn't have a lot of access to that kind of stuff. And I remember I came in from lunch one, one day into Spanish class and my friend well Johnston was playing Modest Mouse. It's the will Johnston. No, I'm sure.

Unknown Speaker 10:17
I don't think well Josh and I just like

Andy J Pizza 10:22
I feel bad for my friend now though. Well, Jonathan,

Kathleen Shannon 10:26
sorry. Well, Johnston,

Andy J Pizza 10:28
I always just call him well, Johnson. Anyway, he, he was playing Modest Mouse on the speaker. And it like, smashed me right in the face Raj, like, I've never heard anything like this. And I didn't initially like it. It was just like, something. It was like an alien music to me, you know, because I'd only really listen to the radio. I grew up listening to Boys to Men really was like my main jam. Actually, I'll show you this real quick. I know you

Kathleen Shannon 10:56
go from like, I'll make love to you to like run by me. On would you have a signed signed, autographed photo of Boys to Men? You're not joking.

Andy J Pizza 11:07
I'm not kidding around. Anyway, yeah, I'm nice. So anyway, I, I walked in, I heard this music was totally peculiar. It was the call to adventure. It was like this bizarre step into the other worldly world, I went out and bought the CD. And I just listened to it over and over and over until it finally clicked. And the thing about them at the time was they had so many band posters and their brand as a band was just so well articulated. And I was just fascinated by the music, but and then also the culture and then the visual culture around all of this, like artsy rock. And that was when, when I, you know, I'd always drawn pictures and stuff my whole life. But I never thought I knew, you know, in my high school, I wasn't even the best at drawing. Like, you know, there was plenty of people better than me. And I just knew that I wasn't into like realism. I wasn't good at that kind of work. I didn't, I knew that I wouldn't be an animator. None of that stuff interested me. I could never see myself doing that stuff. But when I saw these posters, I was like, a, these are the best thing I've ever seen and be, I think I could maybe one day make stuff like that. And I could collaborate with these bands that I'm just obsessed with. And so that's when everything started to kind of shift for me. That was my moment.

Kathleen Shannon 12:30
And so did you like stumble on gig posters?

Andy J Pizza 12:32
Yeah. And I was just obsessed. Yeah. And I just like, would look at all the JPEGs online and just drool over them until I had enough money to buy one and, and actually, that year, I went to a Modest Mouse gig and my friend, a friend of a friend was friends with the lead singer. And so I got to meet him at the coffee house. And it was weird. I fan Boyd really bad. I didn't even know you're supposed to do that at the time. So but I yeah, sorry, did

Kathleen Shannon 13:02
I feel like I can't not fan girl whenever I meet people. Deal. It's just like, they love it. Yeah. They love it. I mean, if they didn't love having people fan girl and fanboy over that. That's true. Yeah,

Andy J Pizza 13:17
that is true. But they always Yeah, they don't know. I think it's an odd thing to navigate. It must be an odd thing to navigate not but I would know. But just this idea of like, trying to remain humble. But you don't want to connect too deeply. Because the freaking you out a little bit. And I just think yeah, I

Emily Thompson 13:36
mean, I'm just imagining what my face would do if someone squealed that me like, I can't imagine it would be attractive or very welcoming in any way.

Kathleen Shannon 13:47
My face would have a big smile on it. If someone squealed. Come on. squealing Yeah. Like oh, my gosh. Okay, let's get back on track here. So your book is called creative pep talk and your podcasts. And man, I feel like all of our listeners need creative pep talks. We need creative pep talks. So I want to understand why is it that creatives need pep talks more than let's say doctors or lawyers? Or? I mean, is that what you're saying that our society just seems to appreciate math and science more than illustration and art? Yeah. What do you think that is?

Andy J Pizza 14:28
I think, I think that's part of it, that it's just not something that's especially in America, I would say it's it's really not appreciated in the mainstream. And I think that that's part of it. I think another part of it is all the metrics are fuzzy like, if you're going to be a doctor, you go take the test. And if you get into the school, then you work on it, and it's just there's a trajectory there. Whereas art is so subjective. You'd never know where you're at. You never know where you're going you there's, it's such a fuzzy path, that I think it's easy to second guess yourself, even if you're already on top of the mountain, you're you get the imposter syndrome, you know, you get this idea of like, Am I really worth anything? I think the subjective nature of it makes it really tricky. And I think that the other side of all that is, the only way that you're going to put in the 10,000 hours to be great at what you're doing is if you have some sense of hope, have some sense of like, this has taken me somewhere I have, you know, I think there's a lot of people struggling with the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset, are you you know, do you have what it takes? Do you have talent, it's all the subjective, elusive stuff that is so hard to hold on to that I think we need encouragement and reminders all the time. And Pat's on the back. And, you know, and the other thing about the pep talk is that I never, I never think of that as like empty affirmation words of, you know, I never, I'm never going on there to be like, you do have what it takes. I'm not just saying that in this empty way. I'm always trying to enable people with real strategy, and that strategy that's proven, that's what you should put your hope in, not so much that you are gifted and chosen and talented. But more like, here are things that have been proven to work for lots of people. And if you give yourself over to those things, and spend the time, it will pay off. And so I always try to, I'm always trying to inspire hope. But I'm trying to do it from kind of a pragmatic approach so that it's not just empty Pat's on the back.

Emily Thompson 16:46
For sure, I could definitely see how some things that and I like, I even feel like we feel this sometimes, like telling people or showing people or saying things like these glorious things about you know, you are creative, you can do these things. But you have to pair those things with actionable steps or just with action period. And otherwise, they are just empty affirmations, you got to pair it with doing the work.

Andy J Pizza 17:08
And I think you can say, like, you know, that you are completely capable of doing whatever it is, is in your heart on your path, excites you, whatever, if you're willing to do X, Y, and Z. So I don't think you know, I, I'm a sucker for anybody just saying, Andy, you are special. Like I I love maps. Yeah, tell me Really? Me in a good way.

Emily Thompson 17:37
No, not in a good way. A bad way. The bad kind of killing me for sure. We're like, you know,

Unknown Speaker 17:41
I don't know not, by the way. I don't know anything about y'all. So I

Emily Thompson 17:45
don't do affirmations, guys. For sure. We're like, you know, you wake up and you open up your app, and you have a new affirmation for the day and just tell us anything glorious about yourself. But

Kathleen Shannon 17:53
that guy from sorry, live? Is it? Oh, yeah. It's like I am special. I can't remember

Andy J Pizza 17:59
his name. But I know who you're talking about. Yeah. Like, I'm important. I'm a good.

Kathleen Shannon 18:07
Well, and I feel like that's kind of what we're getting so much of on Instagram, and Pinterest are all these quotes telling you that like, yeah, you can do it. Yeah. But I think that what you're talking about with this path, and the 10,000 hours, and all of that is that whenever it comes to more traditional jobs, you kind of understand what's ahead of you. And whenever you're an artist, and you're making your own way, and you're a creative entrepreneur who can work in any kind of way. You can have a podcast tomorrow, you could be writing a book, you can create a launch a new package that helps people in different ways overnight. Yeah. And there's no forge path ahead of you that saying, Okay, if you just do this, this and this, you're good to go. And so because we're creating our own paths, it's like, Okay, what works here? What works there? And maybe sometimes a little bit of a Pinterest quote, yeah, you along the way.

Andy J Pizza 18:58
Totally. And I'm not, again, a lot of that. A lot of the whole pragmatic, practical approach to all this is just to even out the other side that I'm naturally someone who does love to be affirmed. You know, I see my love language as someone who like it's words of affirmation, like I need, I love that it feels gray, and I'm not and I need it to I need that kind of encouragement in my life. So I'm not, I'm not trying to just set that all on fire. I'm just saying that I think it needs to be paired with practical things that really will get results. And for me, the funny thing is the whole practical thing that gets results, it really is all about connecting it back to feeling affirmed and and hopeful. So it really is just about the feeling of it and getting it moving forward. Um, but yeah, yeah. So there was another thing I wanted to go back to, but I'm just gonna leave it because I can't remember What it is,

Kathleen Shannon 20:00
might be the fact that we're all gonna die. So you're

Andy J Pizza 20:05
thinking we're gonna die.

Kathleen Shannon 20:07
So why not? That's kind of my work. My biggest words of advice. Yeah, no, I

Andy J Pizza 20:12
love that. I think about that all the time. Actually, that's something that I've, advice I've given on my podcast is like, if you're worried, like, should I shouldn't I just remember, they kill you in the end. So do it. That's a Ray Romano thing. And I it works. It's like, you know, might as well give it a shot, you know?

Kathleen Shannon 20:30
Alright, so one of my questions for you that I was thinking about, and you told us that your wife is kind of your Pep talker. True? Is there anything that she or maybe someone else in your life has said to you, or even on your podcast that has just or even from your book that has really stood out, like the thing that you come back to over and over and over again, whenever you're really feeling like you're in a place where you need that pep talk?

Andy J Pizza 20:57
So I think the number one thing that I think a lot about is something my dad said to me, which is actually in the book, which is your what it's you're more infinitely capable than you could ever imagine. And, you know, there's that book mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck, where she talks about the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. And this goes back to, you know, not the whole idea of these affirmations of saying, I'm smart, I'm talented, I'm whatever, actually, all of that is counterproductive. Because you're talking about your innate fixed qualities, you're saying I like and this, she talks about how when you when your kid gets home from school, and they've got an A on the test, if you say, Oh, you're so smart, you're, you're growing that fixed mindset in their mind that their IQ, their talent, their capabilities, they're all fixed, they're set in stone. And so when a test comes, instead of thinking, I'm going to give it my all and really try to grow and do something new, and do as good as I can you see it as a test of your innate worth, pass or fail. So whenever you have a new challenge, if you have a fixed mindset, you're going to run away from challenges. Because you don't nobody wants to say nobody wants to be tested on whether they're a failure, or a winner, right. But if you have a growth mindset, you can approach every challenge as an as an opportunity to grow and learn and grow your IQ and grow your ability. And I think for me, personally, I definitely struggle a lot with the fixed mindset. I think I have this thing. Growing up thinking either it goes, it flips back and forth, where either I'm talented, I'm the chosen one, and there's something special about me, or I'm garbage, I'm a failure. Nothing's gonna work for me ever. I'm doomed. And you when you have a fixed mindset, you go back and forth between those two things.

Kathleen Shannon 23:08
I feel like you and I may have been separated up I mean, going from I'm special. No, I'm shit to our numbers having dramas. Yeah, I know what

Unknown Speaker 23:23
that's like. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 23:25
So going back to your dad's pep talk of you are more infinitely capable than you think you are? How and you're talking about fixed mindset and growth mindset? How do you can you bridge the gap between those two things a little bit? I mean, how do you believe that you are infinitely capable? Or how do you? Do you ever just want to be like, No, I'm not Dad?

Andy J Pizza 23:46
Well, whenever I think when I first heard that, I heard it through the fixed mindset of just like, you're not trying hard enough for like, just this weird negative way. Whereas what he's saying is you have the capacity and potential to go far beyond what you can even comprehend. So for me personally, how this looks, I think the way this plays out most of my career is when I'm pitching a book, you know, I went through a long period of trying to pitch kids books, I went through a season of that. And I found that fixed mindset thing happening of I came up with an idea, and I'm going to bring it to my editor. And if she loves it, then I'm a winner. And this is my thing. And if she hates it, then I'm never going to try this ever again. And so instead of thinking, that's the fixed mindset, either I've got it or I don't. And she's going to tell me, I'm going to dip my toes in the water. And if it's not warm, I'm going to run the other way. And the growth mindset says, I'm going to work super hard on making the book that I think I want to make. I'm going to do everything I can to put all the effort into it, bring it to her, and then when she gives me feedback, I'm going to learn what I need to learn to go back To the text and try it all over again. That's the growth mindset. And so whenever I get into this pitching books thing, I can feel the fixed mindset of, I just want the shiny award that says, I got a book deal. And I'm special. And I did it in my and I want everything to be cosmic in that way, instead of, I'm going to put in the time to make the kind of book that I want to make. And if it's not good enough, I'm going to go back to the drawing board, and I'm going to learn and take the second take at it and just keep learning until I can do it. Does that make sense? Like so. So that infinitely capable thing says, it's not that I'm either a kid's book, Illustrator, or I'm not, it's saying that if I want to be I can be, I will figure it out, I'll learn and I'll grow at it. And I'll do whatever it takes, and I have the capability to do it. It's just a matter of effort. I love it. It's a massive mindset shift for me.

Emily Thompson 25:55
And I think that laser, that this is the conversation because this is something I've thought of tons lately. And it's completely just like a dualistic mindset where things are either one or the other. Like, there is no spectrum in between. And like, I homeschool my kid, and one of the reasons is because I think the education system is a little fucked up in the way they are tested, right? And the way that you are tested and graded and done all those things, that's just one reason of many. And I find myself I found myself a lot over the past couple of years habitually breaking the habit of things either being one or the other, good or bad, right or wrong, whatever it may be. And so I think I love that this is the conversation because I feel like it's such a conversation and one that lends so much further than just creativity and like absolutely your thing and into so many other issues that we're all facing consistently these days.

Kathleen Shannon 26:52
Yeah, for me, it's applied a lot to business model, like coming from school into having a day job to then owning my business braid creative is kind of like I always had my role. And now we're kind of breaking roles. And it's like, Okay, today I'm doing this, and tomorrow, I'm doing this. And it's a lot of different things like I can be, you know, branding, agency owner, and I can be a podcaster and an author, it's all these ads, right, and kind of breaking those barriers. But I think that that is were kind of thinking about being infinitely capable, I got a visual of like a rocket ship, right. And there's the universe, and there's all these different planets, and you can go wherever you want. It's just kind of like what's fueling you like what is propelling your rocket ship into that direction. But when I think of that infinitely capable, I think of the universe being infinitely expansive. And really, the question is, where do you want to go? And how are you going to fuel up your rocket ship.

Andy J Pizza 27:51
And I get into that dualistic thinking all the time. And one of the ways that it plays out in my everyday life is, for me, personally, I feel like I have an intuitive sense of, you know, when I get up in the morning, if I get up in the morning, and I do my routine, and I get into this zone, and everything just is flowing the exact right way. I feel like oh man, I'm like, right in the zone. And I'm loving it. And I'm and that's great. And when that happens, right? But I have this black and white thing where, let's say five things come at me unexpectedly. And I'm three hours into the day. And I can just sense I am not spending the time that I'm supposed to be spending on the right things. I'm totally off, I made the wrong choice. I shouldn't have gone to breakfast, I should all this stuff. And I get that black and white. I've either I'm in the perfect zone, or I am like totally missing my calling for the day. And instead of that, I think this what I've been thinking about a lot late recently is this idea of like mercy for yourself, or, or a grace of like, okay, acknowledge that this, you're not in the zone right now. But just do your best within it. It's about because as soon as you get into that dualistic thinking of I'm in the wrong place you wrote off your day, you wrote off instead of, Okay, I'm gonna have grace for myself. I'm gonna just I'm recognizing that I've, I need to course correct. And maybe I won't get completely back on course today, but let's see how well I can do with not being in the right situation. And I think that that yeah, that kind of grace and mercy for yourself. Think about it, just as being the black and white dualist deck. Like there's a right there's a wrong there's this and that and then Mercy is like, gray, like there's just it's hard to know, yeah, which is right and which is wrong. And, you know, it's not so much about right and wrong as it is just, you know, I don't know, having having grace for yourself and all that good stuff.

Emily Thompson 29:50
This also brings up the topic of how creatives tend to be a bunch of control freaks.

Kathleen Shannon 29:55
perfectionist, like I was definitely thinking about perfectionism, and even having this conversation I definitely am a perfectionist. And I feel like having a kid is really what threw me out of that. Because I've said this before on the podcast like my best. If I'm doing my best every single day, I would burn myself into the ground. And so having a kid has helped me reframe like, this is my best for today. This is the this is all I've got right now, either because I'm sleep deprived, or because you know, he's sick, or they're just so many things out of my control that it's taught me how to do my best within. Not so ideal, not that he's not an ideal situation. But whenever it comes, like work in life, for example, but um, I can't remember where I was going to go with that, as far as perfectionism, would you consider yourself a perfectionist?

Andy J Pizza 30:46
Yeah, I mean, I think ideal I do in certain weird ways. I am, I think, because I'm, I've actually realized, as I've gotten a little bit older that I'm extremely competitive. And but I'll if you really are extremely competitive, you will only compete in the sports that you can win. So I am a perfectionist only in the ways where I think I could actually be perfect. All the other ones, I don't even play the game. And I can just be a mess in those areas. But I'm okay, I'm not even trying in those areas. So it's all good, I can lose those races, in hell, whatever. But I, I think the thing I struggle with more in terms of this conversation is drive. And, you know, what is it I think I'm obsessed with this idea of leaving a mark really like doing my life to the fullest possibilities and really driving it to the ends of, you know, my calling, or my journey or whatever. And then, you know, recently, as I'm in this situation where I feel like I could scale my business in a lot of different ways. I could, I could and I like I'm in a place where I'm like, I'm not sure I need to make more money. But I could make more money if I play these cards, right? And then until now I'm asking myself, like, what are the metrics that I'm trying to, you know, grade myself on on leaving my mark, what does it look like? And I think, from my side of the family versus my wife side of the family, they do life really differently. My dad versus my father in law, and I and I really respect and honor both sides. But their worldview of what leaving their mark looks like is so dramatically different. And I find myself somewhere in between, like, is believing your mark, having been an excellent father? Or is it building a billion dollar business? Like, what is it a little bit of both? Like, which of those things is that and I think my drive ends up taking over all of my headspace. And so I have to figure out, what am I driving to? And that's where I get messed up. Because I think, you know, if I just go on autopilot, I go to the easy route, which business is all about? strategy. And I find it easy to expend my energy that drive in business, because it's so much more, one plus one equals two. Whereas with your kid, there are just times you're like beating your head against the wall, because you're like, I don't know how to fix this problem. And so yeah, I don't know.

Kathleen Shannon 33:22
But do you think that this is some of the dualistic thinking that gets us in trouble? Like, I think that you're one of the first guys I've talked to that has expressed it in the way that I hear a lot of moms talking about it, which is, I can either be a stay at home mom, or I can be a working mom, and for Emily, and I like the life that we've created. It's a little bit of both. I mean, we're definitely working moms, but there is it's it's not so it's much more gray. And so I wonder if that's coming up for you a little bit here too, with with this drive, like how am I going to leave my mark? What if it's what if it is both? And this is why I had a problem with the book essentialism. Right, cuz it's like pick one thing. Yeah. And I'm like, all the things. And this is my problem with the love languages. I'm like, I want all the love languages. I can I just pick all of them? Yeah, I

Andy J Pizza 34:12
get that. I totally, I totally get that. And I, you know, I like possibility. So I'm drawn to like, lots of different things. I think I you know, I definitely have a worldview that says, there's a win win in everything. Like I'm always driving for a win win. I just naturally think that way. For instance, I think like, if I'm living my dream and work, then that makes me a good father in that. I always think about how, if I have a life that looks attractive to my kids, they're going to ask me for directions. And if I don't, then they're not. And so I always

Kathleen Shannon 34:51
like my number one philosophy and having a kid was I just want him to grow up thinking that being an adult is the coolest. Yes, yes. Yes. I have to lead by example. Yeah. Which means I have to make my mark, I have to go on adventures, I have to do things without him that are super fun. And he can

Andy J Pizza 35:08
aspire to one day, absolutely like you. And they talk about like the studies of French parents, like French parents don't make their entire lives about kids. Kids are kind of like, they get to watch what life is like from the sidelines to a degree. And, you know, I think for me, personally, my my, you know, I think they were living their their thing, but my I was raised by my dad and my stepmom, and both of their lives. It wasn't even that I didn't want them, I knew there was no path to get there. There's no, there's no possibility of me being like them. And so I just, by the time I was a teenager, I didn't take any of their advice, because I'm like, whatever you're doing, it doesn't matter. If I take that advice, I can't get there, I've got to go find a totally different path. And so for me, you know, there is a balance there of, you know, thinking that my work is tied to my family, and my family is tied to my work, you know, and it's all integrated, and it can be healthy and be, you know, a great thing. But I think my bigger problem is just, I'm so vision oriented, driven in that way, that if I don't sort out where I'm trying to go and be intentional about that, when it's weekend time, I can't stop thinking about business, I can't when it's time to do family, unless I have a vision that says, weekends are important to family for this reason, because you're trying to get to this place. And I think that's what's hard about family as it's hard to understand what the vision is for your family. And it takes just as much energy. Thinking about that, as it does, you know, your art and your business and all that. Yeah, especially

Unknown Speaker 36:43
if you have three. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 36:46
Well, and I even want to wrap what I want to rap, like one more layer into that, because you were talking earlier about this idea of like creating the things or building a billion dollar business or how it is that you scale. I'm

Andy J Pizza 36:57
not even close to that, by the way, I'm not even sure when I said that I was more like refer him to my dad working at like a corporate environment. So I just wanted to clarify that it sounded very awesome.

Emily Thompson 37:09
I still love it. For all the big dreamers in the world. I think because this is a conversation I've been having with a lot of people recently to who you know, create the thing and build a business out of it, and then have all these other like creative drives to create things. But if it does, it is not fitting in their current business model. Or if they're done with the business they've built and want to move forward, where and then they're also parents, or whatever it is, or they're also having to to layer that other level of responsibility, where I just feel like no creatives, we're such creative entrepreneurs. We're such a needy bunch.

Kathleen Shannon 37:49
Are you talking about passion projects, Emily, like we've got the creativity that we've monetized, and now it's not fun anymore. And then we've got our families. And then how about I go take a macro class? Yeah.

Andy J Pizza 38:00
Right. I do think yeah, I mean, my nature is to add as many things in the pot as possible. And I've definitely had to learn to not do that so much. I think a few years ago, I got pretty honest and real with what I think there's a really good clarifying question, I think I really don't know where this came from. So I'd love to, I didn't come up with it, I can tell you that, but it can't. But this idea of it's not so much of like, what do you want to do? As much as it is? What can you do that nobody else can do? And I've tried to limit myself more to those activities. That's been a more, you know, I still am doing what I want to do. But it's like, well, that's one of the reasons I'm not saying I would never do kids books. But that's one of the reasons I quit pursuing that so hard was that and I've done some but is that there are so many people out there doing so much better in that world. I know that luck. Try it, try a train of thought can get you into trouble where you're like, No, they don't need me, you know, whatever. But but for me personally, I one thing that's been really helpful as what's the thing that you're uniquely suited? What what need is out there that you're uniquely suited to serve, and kind of give yourself over to that thing in a in a specific way. And again, I'm going to like backtrack a ton on this because I think it's a massive journey. It's there's a bunch of points in the road early on, you have to step out into the unknown, you have no idea what you can do. You have to try a bunch of different things. You don't have any answers, but at some point, I think not so much that I only do one thing like the essential ism thing as much as it is I do think I am resonating in this particular frequency. It's more of like a y thing than a white thing. I'm doing the same kind of thing. Whether I'm drawing Whether I'm doing a talk whether I'm doing a podcast, it's coming from the exact same energy. And I think that is the goal for a lot of us are what can we find? That's like, just us spilling out into whatever it is the what we're doing. I don't know if that makes any sense. But it No,

Kathleen Shannon 40:19
it totally does. You know, I've gotten myself in trouble with doing a lot of different things. And it was through doing a lot of different things. I say, I got myself in trouble, like I've spread myself thin. Yeah. And once I understood what that kind of core energy was like, What is the lens through which I make decisions? That really helped me clarify what I say yes. to what I say no to and what, you know that that one thing, right. And so for me, it's being who you are 100% of the time or helping other people be who they are 100% of the time. And so whenever Emily approach me do a podcast like yes, like this is absolutely a place where we can express ourselves and talk shop and just put it out there in a really candid way. But I've also signed on for projects that did not fill that need, and they kind of crashed and burned. So I do get that. So I'm curious to hear then kind of what that core energy is for you. Like, how would you define it?

Andy J Pizza 41:15
So, okay, the way that I usually define it as I feel like, really, really purely an illustrator, but not necessarily in a visual sense only. And what I mean by that is, and illustrators job is to take the abstract things in life and give them form. So like, if that's a article in a magazine, here's an article of words, which by nature, words are an abstraction of a thing, right? So here it is, and make it more form than this formless thing. So draw a picture that helps people latch on to it, right. And I think as a person, I'm most interested in the broad, abstract things in life. And I think about when some, the way I always explain what I feel like I'm drawn to doing as an illustrator, his life is like the vast solar system, if you look up, and you see the stars, and it's just so vast, so massive, so overwhelming, you can't really make any sense of it, you can stand back and all and just back man, life is crazy. But I feel like my job to do is is, is to like, find the patterns and the static of that and start connecting the dots, and creating constellations that give this vast expanse this form to help people navigate through it. And so whether that's an illustration for an article that helps you latch on to the ideas and navigate through it, or whether it's an analogy, when I'm doing a talk or doing my podcast, it's always about I will I'm always concerned with big picture, big ideas, what are the higher dimensions of life, like what's going on over there, that's the stuff that determines everything else we're doing down here. So we better like connect the dots and figure it out. And I always just feel like the kind of the wayfinder through those scars. And it doesn't matter whether it like, As another example, the kids book that I wanted to do, was turning the idea of a dream into a character. And so that was like just this little idea of a dream this big, this really hard thing for kids to understand, like, what's a dream, what's happening? It's this abstract notion, and then personifying it into a character. That's a dream. And this is what a dream does. And so like, I just know that I'm always trying to figure out how do I take the stuff that I owe? And this is another thing, I'm just going to go on a massive tangent, sorry. But, you know, when I first started, as an illustrator, this was really confusing, because so many creative people that are giving you advice or saying, you know, focus on the areas that you love, you know, draw what you love. And I had friends that were like, I love cats. I'm gonna draw cats. I like pugs. I'm gonna draw pugs. And I'm like, I like quantum mechanics. And they're like, okay, I'll draw that just like no, and but that was the key. I just took me forever to figure out that what I want to do is to draw and visible things, draw things that you couldn't see any other way. And so that energy, and it's and then even behind that, another layer, it's about helping people navigate. It's and even myself, it's always connected to like, the things I'm working out. It's almost philosophy as a way of like, how do you do life and anytime I find a nugget in that expands anytime I see a pattern that really makes a difference to my own life, then I'm desperate to communicate it and that's where the illustration comes in is like, I don't want to leave it in my head. I don't want this aha moment to be stuck in my own experience. How do I not just say, Hey, I had an aha moment? Did you know one of the things that drives me nuts, I'm sorry, I'm going into it.

Alright, one of the things that drives me crazy, which I always think is a good clue to where you should be going, What drives you mad? One of the things driving that is when a speaker will get up in front of somebody and say, you know, do what you love into him or her. It is this groundbreaking, profound fact. Right? But for them, but you didn't communicate, you just talked, and communicating is the transference of thoughts and feelings, transferring that thing that happened to you into them, and the only way you can do that is why analogies are so powerful are parables or whatever is related to their own experience. You know, like, Hey, you know, apples, this thing is kind of like apples and like, yeah, so my, my obsession is, that's why I love doing an illustration. I probably like doing it in a talk more face to face because I can I get the high of what I'm obsessed with, which is watching an aha moment happen. Nothing, nothing gets me like standing in front of a room, articulating something in such a way that with a story or a parable, or whatever it is, and watching someone go, oh, and I'm like, yeah, that is the thing. That's what that's what I'm trying to do is articulate my experience in that transference kind of way. So man, guys,

Emily Thompson 46:39
that's what we call passion.

Unknown Speaker 46:41
I'm all right there.

Andy J Pizza 46:45
Oh, my gosh, you're asking the wrong question. I yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 46:49
I'm what am I doing the right question.

I love it. Okay. Let's talk about the book before we have to hang up. So the book is so visual and digestible, set it up, tell our listeners what they're going to see whenever they read the book.

Andy J Pizza 47:07
Okay, so this is called creative pep talk inspiration from 50 artists. And it's essentially 50 pieces of art that that's illustrated words of wisdom from 50 different artists. Most of the people on the list, the way that I chose them were was that they were people that had a big impact on me creatively. So either with their talks or their work or something about them, spoke to me in a way that it gave me a breakthrough. And that's how I made that list of, for most of the people in the book, that's how I chose them. And the whole idea for me was like, Yeah, it's great. If you can look through it and and get a little bit of that path that you need to get you through the day. You know, that's fantastic. I wanted it to be maybe even more mystical than that, like a hardback mentor of sorts, that hopefully, there are these times where you turn to just the right page, and you get the thing that maybe it was a page that you skipped plenty of times, but you just get it at the right moment. That's kind of what I wanted it to be. And so every spread is a different artist, you have the artist name on the left, they wrote a little bit about what this phrase means to them. And then on the right, you have our work, which is like lettering, or typography. And it's some kind of word of wisdom that they've turned into art. And so it's actually an anthology, but it's like a double whammy as like a creative self help book to

Kathleen Shannon 48:42
so and so they did the art. Yeah, they contribute. Okay, yep. So I love it so much. It's almost like, for our listeners who are a little more, we will like an Oracle deck of sword, right? Like, if you were to just flip the page and open it. I also think of it as one of my favorite books, details, the routines of artists, like through centuries, what is it? So it's like I woke up? Oh, I say it's one of my favorite books. I have it on my Kindle. So I don't know what the title is. I think it's probably called creative habits. That's actually probably not edge. But it's like I woke up at 9am, I had a cup of coffee with three cubes of sugar. Like it gets really detailed. And it's from, you know, the 19th century to like more modern times. It's really cool and fun to read. And I almost think of this book in the same vein where it's kind of the more esoteric side or the more philosophical side of those. You know, if that's about habits and routines, this is kind of about driving philosophy. Yes. Or these pep talk. Yeah. And I just thought it was super creative. And as I was reading it, like we're so curious about the creative process. Emily and I are writing a book right now and going through the design process. And so, every time I pick up a book now it's different. It's like different. I think about books different now that I'm writing

Andy J Pizza 50:00
I, you know, I think the way that I created the book pitch for this and the way I approached, it goes back to this thing that I go back to all the time, which was something that Tim Ferriss said that I'm just obsessed with this idea of like, you have this idea, you want to do this thing, you think of like, the most brilliant version of that thing. And then you get completely overwhelmed. Because you know, you're never going to be able to do that. And I've done that I did that with the podcast, I did that with lots of books. I've done that with my, you know, events that I've put on, and you dream so big, that you're like, well, can't do that. That's impossible. And, and he said, do that that's a great activity, right? And then ask yourself, what would it be like, if it was easy. And so you take the core thing, what and so like, when I put on an event recently, I came up with this idea, it was called creative pep rally. And it was a great time was one of my favorite memories. But um, anyway, so I came up with this idea. It was like a three day thing. And it was blah, blah, blah, all this all this stuff flying like 15 people in and all these things. And I'm just like, well, there's no way I'm ever going to do that. And so what I thought was, what is the core essence? How can I deliver the exact same level of value with 5% of the effort? And usually you can, you know, when it was my podcast, it looked like I wanted to do a podcast since 2010. I didn't get around to doing it till 2014. Because I kept doing that thing where I was like, the perfect podcast. And instead I was like, I'm, what do I want to do? I want to give little pep talks to creative people. But I don't want to buy the microphones, I don't want to learn the software, I do all these things, all these hurdles. And I thought it would probably be almost as good if I just recorded these little pep talks on my phone, and uploaded and maybe the even if they're just 10 minutes long. And then the first 10 episodes were like that is just getting into it. How do you what would it look like if it's easy? And from the book, I approach the book in the same way of like, okay, I want to do an anthology of creative wisdom, I want to gather all this amazing artwork that has this, these nuggets of wisdom embedded into them. And I thought, what is the How can I create a form that allows me to just make it happen. So I just came up with these constraints that were like, every spare spread is one artist. There's this stuff on this side, this stuff on that side, and just creating this thing where it's like, by the time I was executing it, it was just the easiest thing in the world. The really hard work was determining how to make it easy. Which is that sounds really philosophical. Did you hear that?

Kathleen Shannon 52:49
I don't think that's

Emily Thompson 52:51
the most real thing I've ever heard.

Kathleen Shannon 52:58
And it applies to so many things. And I think that, you know, whenever I was younger, I only knew easy, so I was more likely to jump off the bridge and just do the thing, start the blog, because I almost didn't even know how I did the same thing. Yeah,

Andy J Pizza 53:11
I know exactly.

Kathleen Shannon 53:12
And now that I'm older, I know how grand things can be. And I have better taste. And it's almost kind of like that Ira Glass gap quote. And if you guys haven't seen that, we'll put it in the show notes. But you know, is seeing what you want and feeling so far away from it. I feel like whenever I was younger, I was just a little bit closer to my goals in a way, because I didn't have a big vision. And as my vision gets bigger, I get more overwhelmed by executing it. So I love the idea of just let's make this easy. It's

Andy J Pizza 53:41
Yeah, how can you do the same thing, but just make it easy for me? That and I actually I think it's really important. I'm really obsessed with processes. You know, I think again, getting away from the dualistic thing a lot of a lot of people could take away the advice of only do easy things only think small. When really I'm saying Actually, it's a process of dreaming super big, and then extracting the value down to something that's doable. It's not one or the other. It's actually a process of things.

Kathleen Shannon 54:11
And then doing it and probably growing into that huge that's the other plan is like a chart topping podcast and a book and all the things but it started with just plugging in your headphones and hitting record. That's right. Yeah,

Andy J Pizza 54:23
exactly. Knowing like that's and that goes back to that the startup thing of like the MVP, the minimum viable product. I was like, how can you get the essence of the thing out there. And then as you're gathering, I'm obsessed with that idea of like, everything I do is like an experiment, gathering information. pivoting, do it all over again. Just do it over and over like and that's what the thing is like, right now. A big portion of my income is now coming from the podcast and you know, that's fantastic. But it took me three years of doing it every week to get there and along the way. There was tons of bumps and Goofy, you know, side roads and all kinds of stuff. So, but it was just that system of going through that process, pivoting learning info, doing it all over again.

Emily Thompson 55:13
For sure. And that is the path that is all the biggest dreams you could ever have.

Andy J Pizza 55:18
Yeah, I'm actually writing a, I don't know, if I would, I don't know if it's gonna be a book or what. But one of the things that I've been doing obsessed with finding that pattern, and trying to like articulate it in such a way that you could kind of repeat it or work through it, learn everything you need to do and then do it again. And that's something especially for creatives, I'm really interested in kind of figuring that out. So yeah, I'm obsessed with that. Love it.

Emily Thompson 55:45
Best of luck. Yeah.

Andy J Pizza 55:48
It's when I'm in that stage right now where I've blown it up to this giant thing. And I just like cannot, I can't get through as I need to take my own advice.

Emily Thompson 55:59
distill down. True.

Kathleen Shannon 56:02
All right, Andy, what makes you feel most boss?

Andy J Pizza 56:05
I have an answer to that. But at the same time, then I thought, I better ask what that means. Before it's okay, what I'll tell you what makes me feel I often get into a state of euphoria, right? Like where I, I feel like I've, you can call it flow or the zone or whatever. But I feel like I'm getting better and better at knowing what puts me into that place. And the two things that make me feel on top of the world more than anything, are one, I like to be one on one with a creative person, and help them come up with a really strategic plan. And I've put a lot of it's kind of like marketing, you could look at it a lot of different ways. But I feel I've spent so much time and energy in that zone, that someone will be telling me their story. And I'm just seeing all these pieces, and I just the feeling of being like, oh, that goes there. They're there. They're there. And then just delivering it in like 30 seconds. I just feel like yeah, so this is like what I do. So that's one thing. And then the other thing is, you know if I can nail a concept on stage and get that audible response of like, yeah, like, oh, like I get where he was going with this thing. Nothing makes me feel better. Or more boss than that, as you might say.

Kathleen Shannon 57:40
Thank you so much for hanging out with us on the show. where can our listeners find more of you Andy

Andy J Pizza 57:44
j pizza, pretty much all over the internet. If you go to Andy j dot pizza, you will get my website. I'm Andy j pizza on Instagram and Twitter. And you can find my podcast creative pep talk at creative pep talk calm or wherever you get your podcasts.

Emily Thompson 58:02
Thank you so much for joining us.

Andy J Pizza 58:04
Thanks for having me. I had an awesome time.

Kathleen Shannon 58:10
This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey. And are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography.

Emily Thompson 58:40
Do the work. Be boss, and we'll see you next week.