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Optimize Yourself | The #1 Destination For Creative Professionals

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Dear Zack: "I'm having trouble finding work and want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to better my chances..."

Click to Download Audio On a weekly basis I receive emails, Facebook messages, and tweets from people all over the world who work in creative fields. Some people send me pages worth of their life stories, others are looking for quick tips to optimize something very specific in their lives, but most often the messages I receive are from people frustrated with where they are in their career who don’t know where to go next. It occurred to me recently that the advice I’m providing to an...


Ep46: Finding Strength On the Road to Disability | with Chris Anselmo

Click to Download Audio "Easy left a long time ago." - Chris Anselmo The subject matter of disabilities, especially muscular dystrophy, is a subject matter near and dear to my heart. I spent eight years of my life producing and directing the documentary film GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story about the first quadriplegic to become a licensed scuba diver who was also a former national poster child for the muscular dystrophy association. In addition to many additional accomplishments such as...


Tired of Life Kicking Your Ass? Learn to Fight Back Like a True 'Cobra Kai'

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last thirty years, you’re no doubt familiar with The Karate Kid - the inspiring underdog story of Daniel Larusso, an awkward teen from Newark who moves to ‘The Valley’ and is relentlessly bullied until he learns to defend himself and find balance in his life thanks to his neighbor, mentor, father figure, and sensei Mr. Miyagi. You’re also no doubt familiar with the iconic scene where Daniel Larusso wins the All Valley Karate Tournament, defeating...


Ep45: How to Build a Career You Can Be Proud Of | with Robert Hardy

Click to Download Audio If you work in a creative industry, you probably already know how difficult it can be to just making a living. But if you’re intention is to not only making a living but also feel proud of the work you do everyday...that’s a much taller order. It can seem hard enough to find extra time to perfect your specific craft, and it’s often even harder to find the extra time to meet the right people and build your professional network (especially if you’re a socially awkward...


The Beginner's Guide to Alleviating Chronic Pain In 5 Min a Day...Right at Your Desk [VIDEOS]

Click to Download Audio I've already written extensively about how being sedentary is awful for your health and how sitting can kill your creativity. But in addition to the long term detriments of not moving at your desk, the immediate effects of sitting in positions not meant for the human body include acute pains, chronic pains, numbness and tingling, and even headaches. There are few things that make it harder to "get in the zone" than constantly being in pain. There's no getting...


Ep44: How to Tell Good Stories | with Jeff Bartsch

Click to Download Audio If you do creative work for a living, you’re a storyteller. It doesn’t matter if you’re a film editor like me working in scripted television, maybe you work in online marketing, you are a director, writer, graphic designer, composer, or anything else creative: You tell stories. Whether it’s with a single image, a specific font choice on a poster, a music cue to increase emotional impact in a scene, or any other decision that impacts how someone perceives your work -...


Design Yourself Enrollment Opens Next Week! (Make Sure You're On the Waitlist)

Interested in joining my brand new Design Yourself program (with a 50% discount) when enrollment opens next week? Visit optimizeyourself.me/design to learn more. Let’s be honest... “A proven 5-step framework to help you overcome the procrastination, anxiety, and fear that keep you from following through with your goals” ...just doesn’t sound sexy. You know what DOES sound sexy? ✓ Losing 25 pounds. ✓ Landing your dream job. ✓ Finishing that screenplay. ✓ Paying off your student...


The Four Types of Creative Jobs (and The Secret To Knowing Which Is the Perfect Fit For You)

If you intend to climb the career ladder straight to the top, step #1 is understanding the four different types of creative jobs. Only once you understand where your job fits in can you then reframe your perspective to get the most out of every opportunity (or know if it’s time to bail out). Imagine for a moment you’ve wanted to be a doctor your whole life, and the first year of medical school is finally here. After getting a toy stethoscope for your fifth birthday, you spent the next...


Ep43: How to Optimize Your Finances As a Freelancer or Small Business Owner | with Sylvia Inks

Click to Download Audio If you work a demanding creative job and you love doing creative work like I do, then you can most likely identify with how much I hate dealing with money, finances, bills, and paperwork. While I understand all of them are “necessary evils” to running a business and being successful, on an emotional level I feel like when I’m reconciling transactions, creating invoices, or organizing paperwork to do my taxes, I’m simply wasting my time because I’m not creating. Any...


From 'Dad Bod' to...American Ninja Warrior?

Click to Download Audio [Dad•bod] (noun): Amale body type that is best described as "softly round."The type of physique a man "earns" when the increasing pressures of worklife, married life, and especially fatherhood no longer allow him the time or drive to maintain ahard, toned figure. As a result, what was once a sculpted, chiseled frame digresses into asoft, flabby heaping pile of “I Don't Give A Shit Anymore.”Amale who is usually over 30 years old that used to bejacked or in good...


Ep42: How to Reverse Depression, Anxiety, and ADD at the Genetic Level | with Dr. Ben Lynch

It’s extremely common for people who are highly creative to also constantly battle with things like depression, anxiety, and attention issues. If you’ve listened to past episodes you know this is basically the story of my entire adult life, and I even delve into the link between depression and creativity in the very first episode of this show. For years I believed that I must just be a weak person, or maybe I was just doing the wrong things, or worst of all..maybe I was just “broken.” When...


There Is A Profound Life Lesson Hidden Behind This Jaw-Dropping Photobomb. Can You Find It?

Here are two things that rarely ever happen: But the perfect storm happened recently when I discovered this story while killing a few minutes on Twitter before a client session. Get This… Apparently a married couple in China was going through old photos of themselves as teenagers, and they stumbled upon similar photos where each of them was standing in front of the same monument twenty years before. Cool coincidence, right? Here’s where it gets interesting. The husband photobombed his...


Ep41: How to Master "Offline" Networking at Live Events | with Camille Virginia

Let’s face it...creative people like us are a bit weird. Being socially awkward is just part of the package. Sitting in a dark room for days at a time making cool stuff - piece of cake. But throw us into a large crowd and force us to speak to other human beings and it gets ugly fast. But networking is a necessary skill to master if you intend to thrive in your creative career because no matter how awesome your work, people can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist! I honestly can’t think...


The Socially Awkward Introvert's Guide to Networking with Industry "Experts"

I get it. You most likely chose a creative career because you love working on your own. As a Hollywood film & tv editor I spend the vast majority of my life in a small dark room...alone. I not only chose my profession because I love the craft of filmmaking, I also chose it because I’m not the most social person on the planet. I’m what you would call an “extreme introvert.” (Don’t believe me? Just ask my wife) Being introverted and socially awkward is not a valid excuse, however, for...


Ep40: Breaking Bad From Assistant to Editor | with Kelley Dixon, ACE (pt 2)

Kelley Dixon is the Emmy-winning editor of such iconic shows as Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Shameless. She has been nominated for an editing Emmy every single year since 2012 (winning in 2013 for an episode of Breaking Bad), she has been nominated for an Eddie Award seven out of the last eight years, and she has received numerous nother nominations as well. Needless to say, Kelley is a film editing badass. In part 2 of our conversation today (Click here for part 1...


Already Given Up On Your New Year's Resolutions? Don't Worry...So Has Everyone Else.

(This article is the introduction to my brand new Design Yourself series intended to help you properly set goals that you will achieve, get important sh*t done in your life, and design the optimized version of you) It’s officially the time of year when life has kicked back into full gear. The holidays are long gone yet summer vacations are months away, every day is “crazy busy!” and unfortunately the chances are roughly 91%1 that whatever New Year’s Resolutions you set for yourself have...


Ep39: Breaking "Bad" From Assistant to Editor | with Kelley Dixon, ACE (pt 1)

Kelley Dixon is the Emmy-winning editor of such iconic shows as Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Shameless. She has been nominated for an editing Emmy every single year since 2012 (winning in 2013 for an episode of Breaking Bad), she has been nominated for an Eddie Award seven out of the last eight years, and she has received numerous nother nominations as well. Needless to say, Kelley is a film editing badass. In our conversation today we dive as deep as I’ve ever...


7 Simple Hacks to Minimize Your Smartphone Addiction and Maximize Creativity

It’s time to be honest with yourself...when is the last time you and your smartphone were more than 5 feet away from each other? If you’re not staring at it right now, it’s probably in your pocket. When it’s not in your pocket, it’s charging within arm’s reach. If it’s not within arm’s reach (or God forbid you can’t find it), you most likely feel anxious and can’t focus until it’s in your grasp again. When you’re driving, it’s either in your lap or the cup holder next to you. When...


Ep34: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less | with Greg McKeown

Less...but better. Sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise adopting this mantra can change your life. Modern technology has changed everything about our lives, and while in some ways it has simplified things, in other ways technology has massively complicated every hour of the day for us. We are no longer human beings, we have simply become extensions of our technology. Clients expect quicker turnarounds, we are surrounded by endless distractions, we take on more projects than we can...


Ep38: Your "Smart" Phone Is Killing Your Creativity | with Kevin Holesh

Smartphone addiction has become an epidemic. A study in 2015 found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times...per day. That’s an average of 46 times per day for the average person (and this was over 2 years ago, it’s only getting worse). Want to be really shocked? Just one year later another research firm found that smartphone users engaged in 76 sessions per day (almost doubling in one year), and those same users touched their phones an average of...