Life, as it’s known to do, has thrown a few curveballs as of late. 

When you have upheavals in life, its best to stop and take stock of what’s happening, how you’re feeling, and most importantly – what the fuck you’ll do about it.

As you reach a ‘certain age,’ you begin to think about legacy. 

This is especially vital for creative people: 

What did I leave behind? 

Will anyone appreciate my work when I’m gone? 

Hell, does anyone appreciate my work NOW?

I had trouble answering those questions.

The honest truth is that I have not challenged myself creatively far too long. 

I’ll give COVID partial credit for that: during lockdown, I worked at my day job and then basically sat around instead of hustling on a new business idea or creative projects. Prior to COVID, I would post an illustration almost every day on Instagram.

Since I wasn’t hustling, my design firm, Resolve Media, slowly withered away, and my last dependable client retired (she was with me since 1999!).

I sold the domain and walked away. 

Fast forward: My ‘day’ job involved a lot more writing and less design. I enjoy writing, but it doesn’t ‘scratch that itch’. Then I got hooked on AI – spending hours at night writing prompts. Made some cool stuff, but nothing I’d hang on a wall.

I can’t remember the last time I got sucked into an engaging project. And to make matters worse, my ADHD is off the charts.

It makes me sad (and angry).

It makes me feel like I’m wasting my God-given talent.

Ok, John, so what are you going to do about it?

I’m going to put in the work!

I’m going to make art for myself and hopefully some happy paying clients again.

Happiness is a choice. You can CHOOSE to be happy. I will refuse the negative thoughts that push me down and discourage me.

Art and design will once again become a priority in my life (next to my dog, Bella, of course).

This morning, in a moment of frustration, and then clarity, I put it all down on paper and am putting my mission statement out there for the world to see.

Here it goes:

  • I know my worth: I am not underselling myself, giving discounts, or lowballing my work.
  • I am working on establishing my personal brand as a designer and writer. I will post and engage with my audience daily to build my following.
  • I am choosing precisely who I work with. If you dislike or are uncomfortable with who you work with, what’s the point?
  • I reject imposter syndrome and trust in my abilities as a graphic designer. 
  • I am starting a new business idea as soon as my last idea fails. I will refuse to give up building my businesses and try everything until it works. Success is the only option.
  • I deal with creative block by getting away from the desk and going for a long walk or to the gym.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a complete waste of energy. 
  • If I’m delaying or don’t feel like working on something, I give myself 15 minutes to get started. Completing the task is more satisfying than procrastinating.
  • I work when my energy levels are at their peak to maximize my day and be able to do things I enjoy.
  • Health and fitness are top priorities. It requires absolute discipline when it comes to food and alcohol, with zero alcohol as the baseline.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. we’ll see what the next 6 months bring.

If you’re looking for a designer and illustrator with over 30 years of experience in print, web, and marketing communications, give me a shout.
Follow me on Instagram.
My portfolio is here.

Photo by Alex Mihai C on Unsplash

Managing people can be challenging. Some managers are not up to the task, making their subordinates’ work lives unbearable.

Toxic managers are part of life; how their traits affect you depends on the skills you develop to deal with them. A toxic manager destroys morale, diverts the workforce’s energy, impairs retention, and interferes with cooperation and information sharing.

Toxic managers can significantly impact their employees, leading to poor performance, low morale, and even staff turnover.

Here are ten types of bad/toxic managers that can negatively affect your career:

The Micromanager

This type of manager doesn’t trust their employees and tends to micromanage every aspect of their work, leading to frustration and decreased morale.

Also known as Jack of All Trades: knows everything about everything, or so they think.

The Bully

This manager uses intimidation tactics to push their employees around and get their way. They insult or belittle their staff and create a hostile work environment.

The Messiah

“Only I can fix this!” Similar to the micromanager, this manager tries to control every aspect of their team’s work. They may not trust their employees to do their job correctly, making it difficult to collaborate or be creative. (I once had a boss tell me to be ‘a little less creative.’ I left soon after.)

Also known as The Martyr: “Look how hard I work!”

The Narcissist

This manager is obsessed with their own success and can put their needs above those of their team. They may take credit for their employees’ work or manipulate situations to benefit themselves.

The Perfectionist

This manager has very high standards and can be critical of their employees’ work, leading to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Also known as ‘Mr. Asses in the Seats’: Mistakenly thinks worker productivity is linked to being in your chair 9 to 9, working 100% of the time. Hates when you take vacations or days off.

The Avoider

This manager is not present when they’re needed, avoiding conflicts or difficult conversations. They may not provide feedback or support when their team needs it, leading to frustration and feelings of neglect.

Also known as The Overthinker: can’t make a decision to save their life and usually changes their mind once they do decide.

The Discriminator

Probably one of the worst on this list. This manager discriminates against certain employees based on race, gender, or other characteristics. They may give promotions to less qualified people or make work life harder for those who don’t fit their mold.

The Gossip Girl/Guy

The ‘Michael Scott’ type. This manager spreads rumors or shares confidential information about their employees, creating a toxic work environment and destroying trust.

The Passive Aggressive

This manager is not direct in communication and may make snide remarks or use sarcasm to criticize their employees. They may hold grudges and not forgive their team for mistakes.

The Emperor

This manager doesn’t provide support or resources to their team, making it difficult to do their job correctly. They do not advocate for their employees or stand up for them when needed.

Toxic managers can negatively affect their employees and the overall work environment. It’s essential to recognize the signs of toxic management and develop strategies to deal with it. This list of ten types of toxic managers is not exhaustive but provides an overview of the most common types of bad bosses.

If you work for a toxic manager, it’s crucial to seek support from your colleagues, HR, or a coach to help you navigate the situation. Remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence or tolerate abusive behavior. With the right tools and strategies, you can take control of your career and thrive in a healthy work environment.

Photo by George Milton

Each week, more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts.

According to Edison Research, 44% of the population in the United States has listened to a podcast at least once. Even more impressive is that 21% of the population listens to podcasts monthly.

There are 383.7 million podcast listeners globally. It is predicted that there will be around 424 million podcast listeners worldwide by the end of 2022. As of June 2022, there were over 2.4 million podcasts with over 66 million episodes between them.

Some stats via BuzzSprout:

  • In 2022, 62% of the population 12+ has listened to a podcast, and roughly 79% are familiar with the medium.
  • 73% of the U.S. population 12+ have listened to online audio in the last month.
  • Over one-third (104 million) of Americans listen to podcasts regularly.
  • 38% of those ages 12+ in the U.S. are monthly podcast listeners.
  • 43% of listeners ages 35–54 are monthly podcast listeners (the most popular age group for podcast consumption).
  • 26% (80 million) of Americans are weekly podcast listeners.
  • 88% of Americans own a smartphone.
  • Smart speaker ownership grew by over 22% during the first year of the pandemic as more people worked from home.
  • In 2022, 35% of Americans 18+ will own a smart speaker.
  • During Covid, podcasting experienced unprecedented growth, and podcast audiences diversified.

Name practically any topic, and there’s a podcast for it.

So, if you’re trying to build or bolster a brand, what are you waiting for?

The barriers to starting an online business have never been lower. Starting a podcast is more accessible than many people think. Anyone can create and launch their own podcast with the tools within reach. Plenty of resources are available to help you get started, and it can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively. You can have your podcast up and running in no time.

I won’t get into the minutia of how exactly to start a podcast — there are many resources better than me to inform you about that.

Some of the misconceptions around podcasting:

You need expensive equipment.
Your phone is good enough to record with. There are also plenty of free tools to help you get started.

You need a large following.
This is 100 percent untrue. You’re not going to be Joe Rogan, not this month or ever. But that’s not the initial goal. 

Podcasts need to be long — at least an hour!
More misinformation. At SUMO Heavy, we put out the eCommerce Minute podcast; each episode was less than 30 minutes (mostly around 15 minutes). We had over 700 episodes, and listeners are still checking out old episodes.

This article explains how your podcast can become a pillar in your content strategy. Let me explain:

Let’s say you have a podcast about interviewing artists and their daily routines. We’ll assume you’ve already set up your social media channels.

You’ll post a link to your followers and potential followers when you publish.

But it shouldn’t end there.

1. Make a transcript and publish it to your blog.
Make sure you post your latest episode transcripts along with embedded audio. You never know who might accidentally discover your podcast via search.

2. Get those emails!
Set up a mailing list capture and build your list. Direct listeners there to capture emails for your list and to serve as a directory for episodes and show notes. This also helps your SEO. Your casual listeners could become your top fans if you keep them in the loop!

3. Make YouTube Videos.
Record your guests on Zoom or Skype, then publish to your YouTube channel. YouTube is an excellent content search, and recommendation engine, so accidental discovery is possible.

If you can’t get a video recording, design an engaging title card and post just the audio file.

4. Don’t sleep on TikTok and Instagram
Instagram has gone video-heavy. TikTok is also becoming a search engine. Post clips of your video or audio with engaging graphics — research your keywords.

5. Quote Graphics
Take quotes from your guest and republish them on your social channels. Use a free design tool like Canva to create attention-grabbing graphics.

These are just five easy pieces of additional content that can be part of your brand strategy. If you have other ‘guerilla marketing’ tactics to share, leave them in the comments!

Mirror World by @JohnSuder [Midjourney v4]

Few had ever traveled, and even fewer had returned from the realm beyond our own curtain. This place was referred to as the Mirror World and was thought to possess enormous power and mystery.

According to legend, the Mirror World was a reflection of our own, a parallel dimension where everything was the same, yet somehow different. It was where the impossible became possible, where the laws of physics could be bent and twisted to the will of those who knew how to harness its power.

Many people believed that the Mirror World was the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe and that those brave enough to venture into its depths would be rewarded with unimaginable knowledge and riches. But some warned of its dangers, claiming that the Mirror World was a place of great darkness and evil, where even the bravest of souls could be lost forever.

Despite the risks, there were always those drawn to the Mirror World, driven by a desire for power or knowledge. Some entered its realm searching for enlightenment, hoping to find the answers to life’s greatest mysteries. Others were driven by greed, seeking to exploit the Mirror World’s resources for their gain.

Those who entered the Mirror World were said to be changed by the experience, their perceptions of reality altered in ways they could never fully understand. Some returned with newfound abilities and insights, while others were forever haunted by the horrors they had witnessed within the Mirror World’s dark corners.

But despite its dangers, the Mirror World remained a place of great fascination, and many people continued to seek out its hidden pathways and secrets. Some even claimed to have found a way to enter the Mirror World at will, using ancient rituals and incantations to open portals to its mysterious realm.

The mirror world became shrouded in mystery over time, with scholars and mystics debating its existence. Some claimed that it was nothing more than a myth, a fable created to explain the inexplicable. Others insisted that it was real and that the experience forever changed those who entered its realm.

Regardless of the truth, the Mirror World continued to exert a powerful pull on the imaginations of those who heard its call. It remained a place of mystery and wonder, where anything was possible, and the impossible became a reality. And for those brave enough to venture into its depths, it held the promise of unimaginable knowledge and power, waiting to be discovered by those willing to take the risk.

Awesome Things is a weekly newsletter featuring ~10 of the best things on the internet – no hard news, gruesome stats, or politics – curated by John Suder and delivered fresh each Friday morning.

Read past issues or subscribe here

Here’s what you missed last week:

The Andy Warhol Museum discovers rare master tapes of The Velvet Underground’s debut album

Is It Gross to Stick My Fingers in the Salt Cellar While I’m Cooking?

Jony Ive on Life After Apple

Hey, Knockaround is my go-to sunglasses brand. Use my link to get $10 off!

We Asked 15 Brewers: What’s the Most Underrated Beer?

National Park Service Asks Visitors to Please Stop Licking Toads

World’s Last Blockbuster Is the Ultimate 90s Immersive Experience

20 Years of Top Trending Google Searches

A Toast to the Tiny Steps (Every big change is the result of 100 tiny steps)

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