Getting out of your own way

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 021


- Hey and welcome back to the conjurer's coffee break podcast.

- This one is a bit of an unusual episode because I'm going to talk more philosophically about the creative process and running a business and life in general. And I'm not sure whether this is more useful to the beginner magician or someone a bit further into performing magic. Either way, I hope it is useful to you.

- Before I start, the thing that sparked off my thinking around today's topic was actually another podcast that I was listening to. I recently wrote about some top podcasts for magicians, and I'll link to that blogpost in the show notes. In that post I also mention a stand up comedy podcast and it's there that I heard a comedian talking about how they don't really write down any ideas they have.

- Now, the host seemed a little taken aback by that as most comedians are constantly scribbling ideas into their notebooks, or the notes app of their phone. However, this person said they trusted that if it was a good idea, it would resurface. They wouldn't be able to stop themselves from having the same thought.

- When pushed further, we found out that this comedian does spend some of their time writing, but that most of their time is spent living life, allowing the creativity to emerge (rather than trying to force it) and quote, "getting out of their own way."

- I thought that was amazing, and what I've connected that to is the idea that often in life we see other people who are successful and we ask ourselves - How did they do that? Can I copy what they did? Some magicians, performers and others even sell their business model on the basis that you can just copy them. But you know what? Just because something worked for someone else, doesn't mean it will work for you.

- Maybe they were already really well connected or had better resources, or less commitments, or maybe they just have a completely different upbringing, different brain chemistry and different outlook on life.

- Some performers are able to sit down at a computer and write from nothing. Others subscribe to that wonderful quote that, "when I'm looking out of the window, that's when I'm working!" I love that. For me, I tend to get my best ideas on a long walk, rambling to myself.

- One thing I often think with regards to all of this is the magicians who give themselves office hours. They get up at 9am and start with 20 outreach calls. And hey, if that works for them, that's great but if that were the only way to be successful in magic, I would have to settle for being without because I can't think of anything I would want to do less. I got into magic to not work office hours!

- I guess what I'm saying is that instead of trying to copy someone else, what I really need to do is find the way of work that naturally suits me.

- That's what I think about when I hear the saying, "get out of your own way." Sometimes I need to remind myself that while I might feel swayed by the noise and chaos from facebook updates and marketing, I'll achieve a life I want quicker if I listen to my true inner self.

- Instead of trying to dam the river, I need to go with the flow.

- And you might think, this is all starting to sound quite philosophical, which is why this is more of an unusual episode. I know that for some of you, this will connect with you, for others this is not your favourite kind of podcast shall we say. That's fine, but I am going to leave you with a quote from Taoism.

"Few in the world can comprehend teachings without words, or understand the value of non-action."

- That's sort of what I'm looking for. The "non-action" of not straining to run my business, or put on a certain type of performance, but rather simply being. Being in flow. By the way, the Tao of Taoism literally means, way or path or flow.

- I've mentioned that one of the mottos for this podcast is, "we build a better business when we become a better performer. " But isn't it also true that we become better performers when we become better people. When we feel more at ease, when we find our own natural rhythms and work in an unrestrained way, then that must translate to our performances and our business interactions.

- The hard part is figuring out who you are. In the first episode of this podcast, I said "what do you really want?" is the first question to ask yourself, but now I would add that, "who are you?" or "what's your nature?" is perhaps an equally difficult precursor to that.

- Well there's something for you to think about this week.

- As ever there will be some further notes and links in an accompanying blog post. Visit to find that plus every other episode. And if you think any of your magician or performer friends would like to hear this then please share it with them, and subscribe wherever you found this podcast from.

- Until next time, thanks for listening.

Additional Show Notes

- I totally get that the whole philosophy things doesn't vibe with some people, and that's cool, but I do think there is something to be said about finding a sense of harmony in our performances, life and work. And I think, you can disagree if you want, that it starts with knowing who you are. If you don't like the Taoist approach then why not go for MJ, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror."

- or go stare in a puddle!


- Anyway here's a link to more about Taoism

- Here's a link to my blog post on the best podcast for magicians

- And finally here's a link to the specific podcast where the comedian talks about getting out of their own way. There's a lot more in this episode about being open during performance and just letting things happen, which also sort of reminds me about what I said about being present for a performance in epsiode 3.

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