Be Playful — Reconnecting with my childlike sense of wonder, approaching tasks as experiments, and not taking myself too seriously help me get out of my own way.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.
Scott is the head coach in Seth Godin’s Freelancer’s and Creative’s Workshops and the Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose. He’s a husband and a father, goes for a cemetery run everyday, and quotes Marcus Aurelius more often than he should. Scott’s mission is to help people live their legacy and make a better living while making a bigger difference.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
What most people find interesting about my background is that I was a professional musician for 30 years and that I apply lessons from Stoic philosophy to everything I do. My current pursuits are the result of colliding with Seth Godin’s work and enrolling in his altMBA program in August 2016.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
In 2018 I came close to being hit by a car while on my daily run. It wasn’t my first near-death experience, but it woke me up more than any other had. That event helped me become much more focused, bold and disciplined in building Creative on Purpose into a thriving and impactful brand.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think it’s the difference others see in our clients. After working with us, they see, stand, and speak with greater clarity and confidence and lean into their work with more rigor and greater joy. People who know them notice their change in posture and mindset.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My wife has supported me through all my career adventures and misadventures. She encouraged me to enroll in the altMBA, which connected me with Seth Godin. Working with him as a head coach in his Akimbo workshops has changed how I approach my life’s work.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
When I hear the word resilience, I always think of the Confucious quote, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Some people complain that life happens to them. Resilient people know that life is happening through them.
Resilient people build identity and forge meaning in embracing the uncertainties and navigating the adversities that come with leaning into meaningful endeavors done with and for others. Patience, humility, and acceptance, along with intention and integrity, are the hallmarks of every resilient person I know.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is one of the 4 cardinal virtues of Stoicism. It’s the will to do what needs to be done. Courage often requires personal sacrifice and consideration for others. It takes courage to face the hardships and take the necessary risks involved in a life worth living and work worth doing.
Because you will experience misfortune and failure, we must cultivate both courage and resilience.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
As a musician, I studied and played blues and jazz. The history of this music reflects the resilience of black people. Creating this beautiful music and sharing it so generously with a dominant culture that has yet to recognize the dignity and full humanity of the community that crafted it into being is a profound act of resilience.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
We’re all wired with different temperaments and tolerances. Earlier in my life, telling me, I couldn’t do something was a guarantee I’d dedicate myself fully to prove you wrong. Having learned some hard lessons from that approach, I’ve become less reactive and more reflective in how I respond to someone else’s judgment of my abilities.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
As a long-time freelancer, I’ve experienced plenty of setbacks. The biggest lesson from these experiences is that outcomes are always beyond your absolute control. Measuring your worth to results is a recipe for suffering. What you control is how you frame yourself and your situation and what you choose to do next. The intention and integrity of your thinking and actions are their own reward.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I recall many incidents of being teased, bullied, and ignored as a child. Somehow, I never let that inform my own self-worth. I feel that I’ve enjoyed the great fortune of being inherently resilient. I know that is not everyone’s experience which is why, in part, I work resilience training into my work with others.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Practice Gratitude and Generosity — Psychology and neuroscience reveal that thankfulness and service are immediate mood boosters. I begin every day by writing down three gratitudes and making sure I see and express my appreciation for the goodness in others whenever I witness it.
- Trust Yourself — I try every day to live the Goethe quote, “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
- Practice Worthiness From the Inside Out — Our experience with imposter syndrome, fear, resistance, and anxiety are all manifestations of our struggles around our own value. I remind myself every day that I am sufficient as I am even as I strive to be and do more and better.
- Choose Your Story, Choose Your Future — Human beings make sense of themselves, their situation, and each other through narrative. I take responsibility for the stories I tell myself and constantly revise them to promote my health and happiness.
- Be Playful — Reconnecting with my childlike sense of wonder, approaching tasks as experiments, and not taking myself too seriously help me get out of my own way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
At Creative on Purpose, our mission is to help others live their legacy. That is the movement we are cultivating and leading. You enhance your life most through endeavors that serve others.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I’ve had the great fortune to speak with many of the people I most admire through my weekly broadcast, Creative on Purpose Live. Someone who is currently informing and inspiring my work is Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism and Effortless. I’d also love to meet my favorite author of fiction, Toni Morrison.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
CreativeOnPurpose.com provides insight and inspiration for flying higher in the difference only you can make weekly through our blog and broadcast. We offer coaching, community, and other programs for those who are ready to take a bolder step into their potential.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!