Pacing yourself with Michelle Hickey

I spoke with creative, Michelle Hickey about how she balances productivity in an always-on work from home environment and why we shouldn’t feel guilty about our guilty pleasures.

You can find the audio on any podcast platform, or here on my Substack. Please consider subscribing.

IG: Michelle Hickey design
Podcast for Creatives

Adam Pierno 0:10
All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. We are going to have a spirited conversation now that the framing of the camera is correct. My guest today is the fantastic creative, Michelle Hickey. How are you doing?

Michelle Hickey 0:25
I’m doing well. Adam, how are you doing?

Adam Pierno 0:27
Good. We were going back and forth on Twitter. I think this may have been a week or two ago. And we’re in the midst right now if you’re listening to this at the same craziness, y’all are but we’re not talking about that today. But it took us a little time to pick that conversation up and move it to audio. So here we are. How are you doing again? I’m sorry.

Michelle Hickey 0:46
That’s all right. I’m doing well. Just like you were just trying to get through this like everyone else but making the best of it. And it’s really fun to be doing this. I always enjoy being behind the mic, whether it’s with my podcast or being on other people’s shows and just having great conversations with cool people and I, I say this to Steve, my, my cohosts of our podcasts all the time. I really enjoy the conversations that happen on Twitter, which is how we know each other. And I don’t get a ton of that in, in my line of work because most of my people are on Instagram. But that’s there’s a whole nother side of that where I get a lot of value there. And there are a lot of so many interesting people, but the differences between Instagram and Twitter are different.

Adam Pierno 1:36
Yeah, yes. Hey, tell people first of all, tell people about the creative pod. But then also tell people about you kind of what your career is and just what you’re what you’re doing and what your path is just so they have context for who’s speaking.

Michelle Hickey 1:48
Sure. So I’m one of those people who Adam asked me before we started recording, what do you want me to introduce you and I’m like, Oh, I have an annoying answer. I don’t I don’t have my my elevator pitch down, but In a nutshell, you said it best. I’m I’m a creative. My background is in graphic design. That’s my my college degree says it’s where I started my career. And I still do a lot of that in my work. But after I got laid off from my job back in the day as an editorial graphic designer, this was in 2008 ish. I went off on my own and since then I’ve done a combination of still freelance graphic design. I have an Etsy shop where I sell mugs, art prints, things. Thanks for the home.

Adam Pierno 2:37
I have a cool mug you sent me.

Michelle Hickey 2:40
Oh, I forgot that that we sent you that. From we don’t sell that. It’s what’s funny is we don’t sell that mug in the shop. But

Adam Pierno 2:47
oh, it’s it’s an exclusive.

Michelle Hickey 2:49
It’s an exclusive. Yeah, get one of those.

Adam Pierno 2:52
Thank you. It is I keep it in the office and every now and then I’ll I’ll be looking for it. And I’ll see it’s on one of the creative people’s desks and I’m like, ‘Hey, what Hey, that’s that’s my mug’. Okay. I like to share.

Michelle Hickey 3:05
Love that you enjoy it. Yeah. And then with the success, I guess you can say of my Etsy shop and a blog that went along with it. I began coaching and educating other creative people on how to start their own online businesses how to make money online, getting to be creative and have fun. And one of the more recent projects, although I guess it’s now been, we’re going on three years that I’ve been a part of, as we mentioned, is our podcast podcast, a podcast for creatives that I host with my friend, Steve, and that Adam has been one of our distinguished guests.

Adam Pierno 3:46
I was a guest. I don’t know if I was distinguished. I was definitely Well, I was welcomed warmly. But I don’t think I brought anything distinguishing with

Michelle Hickey 3:54
You definitely did; that still remains one of our our personal favorites.

Adam Pierno 3:59
Oh, You are a fantastic liar and I take it. So hey, I want to ask what you’ve been reading in all this new downtime that you’ve had.

Michelle Hickey 4:10
Sure. So, about a year ago, I was in a bookstore in Chatham, Massachusetts, which is out on Cape Cod, for those of you who aren’t familiar, and I saw this cover, and it had a picture of a very fancy lady holding a cocktail of some sort, in an exotic looking location, and I said, You know what, this feels like something I would enjoy. And I picked it up and I read the back and it you know, it all checked out and

Adam Pierno 4:42
You judged the book by its cover.

Michelle Hickey 4:44
I have to I’m a graphic designer. That’s what I do. There’s no shame. And this book was I actually didn’t, I didn’t buy the book. I don’t know if it’s gonna say something about me. I feel like I don’t consider myself to be a cheap person because I know Don’t just you know, drop $500 a night on a hotel room and think nothing of it. But when it comes to like small purchases, I’ll be super cheap about it. So

Adam Pierno 5:08
We all have places where we where we make weird trade offs, or we’re like, Well, I’m not gonna do that. Oh, weird. Yeah, 39 cents for ramen. I’ll wait till it’s 34 cents you crazy? Yes,

Michelle Hickey 5:18
Exactly. So I saw this book, I made note of the author Beatrice Williams spoiler alert to the story. And I wrote it down in my little Notes app on my phone where I keep track of books that I come across that I want to read and reserved the first one I could find from my local library. I love the library and I love reading paper books. So basically, since then, since last summer, I have been going through Beatrice Williams’s books, which are historical fiction. It’s definitely more female driven. And I am in love with her I’m in love with with her writing and her character. And it’s definitely I don’t want to say it’s relatable because these are, you know, women who I aspire to be at their level of classiness, and I don’t feel like I’m quite there yet, but they’re, they’re really fun to read, and they’re not. You know, they’re I don’t know, if it’s considered to be high Brauer, what people really think of her but I really don’t care because I just enjoy them so much. And I’m trying to go through really slowly, so I don’t how many through all of them how many books is are that you have? Um, I think maybe around 20 don’t quote me on that. But in that ballpark, and I’ve probably read maybe six of them so far. Just started one yesterday.

Adam Pierno 6:44
Oh, well, now you got time to read. Theoretically, we should all have I have. I should have time to read too, but I’m not reading anything. I’m not. I’m strictly strictly taking things through glass screen viewports television news video. Do maybe some audio every now and then. But part of the part of the conversation we were having on Twitter was the judgment that gets cast on you when someone asks you what you’re reading or when they post with their arched eyebrow, the the name of the author that you’ve never heard about the academic journal that they’re currently reading on a Sunday night where you’re like scrolling through waiting for Better Call Saul to come on finally. And I just Yes, it’s crazy. Like, why do we do that?

Michelle Hickey 7:30
Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. And, well, I consider myself to be a reader. I enjoy reading. I don’t judge people who don’t because I feel like we have so many different ways of consuming media at this point. And there are valuable things to get out of out of all of them. So who cares if if you don’t enjoy reading, and you shouldn’t make yourself do it, like just to make you know, to make yourself look good,

Adam Pierno 7:59
Right? Like, why is it and not only then if I, let’s say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna read something,’ I do take up books in the library, I’m the same as you, I just enjoy using the library as a part of the community. And there’s one right around the corner here. But then the next thing is okay, so I am going to read something or I’m reading something, and I have people saying, ‘Well, what what is it? Who wrote it?’ You know what, ‘Tell me more about it.’ And you start to get into this thing where it’s like a competition. Oh, yeah, I read something like that. But it was it was other more intelligent version is higher brow version of this is more at this deeper look at it. And why are you doing this? Are you doing that fast food version of it? I’m like, I don’t I don’t know. It’s the book that I found. Maybe it was maybe the cover looked good or whatever reason that I just decided to dive into that one.

Michelle Hickey 8:47
Do you ever feel yourself while you said that? And I think we share kind of this mentality that like, it’s cool to do whatever you want to do and whatever makes you happy. But do you feel that pressure sometimes, if you see someone who you respect, reading something, to at least check it out, even if you don’t tell them that, that you’re checking it out.

Adam Pierno 9:10
Sometimes, sometimes I will if someone posts like, Oh, I’m reading this academic journal, or if they say I’m read, this is a book I’m into, I’m really reading it, I may go look it up to see if it’s something I want to read. And almost all the time, I don’t want to read it. Because I’m lazy. And reading is such a commitment that I don’t even I can’t even watch shows anymore. Like I love. I’m not a snob about television, and I will watch reruns of King of Queens. But I can’t if someone says you should start the show. It’s on Hulu, where there’s Netflix shows eight episodes. I am fucking terrified of eight episodes of a show. Like I do not want to be stuck with eight hours on my calendar that I have to figure out when I’m going to squeeze those in. So a book was like I have to mate I know consciously. Especially the library is a ticking clock for me. Do you think of that? Do you ever think of that, that the library is? Yeah, there’s a pressure on you to get this thing done. And I don’t want to renew it. That’s embarrassing. I want to read it in the window.

Michelle Hickey 10:10
Yeah, I almost do that myself on purpose sometimes. where I’ll I might take out like more more books than I think I might be able to read. But then if that’s a challenge, if I can get get it in under the deadline, yeah. And I know we’re not supposed to talk too much about the virus right now. But I kind of like you know, I saw things unfolding my my family is from the New York area. So things kind of like, gotten a lot crazier up there before it hit here where I am now in Florida. And one of the first things The first thing I did before I went to the supermarket was reserve a bunch of books at the library and go pick them up. So I now have this great stack and then when I got the notice that our library closed, yes, I’m set.

Adam Pierno 10:55
I don’t have to worry about

Michelle Hickey 10:57
Yes. And then all the ones that I had out God extends it to, you know, the arbitrary data.

Adam Pierno 11:05
So we all look at the book and I’ll say, Oh, I can, alright, it’s this many pages. And I can read pre reads and pages on the library site. And I’ll say, I, this one, I think would take me this much time. But there, there’s something in my brain that says, I know I’m driven to learn. I love learning. I want to engage that part of my brain. But there’s since since I wrote my last book, except for like, time off. I haven’t picked up a book. I haven’t wanted to write things. I don’t want more. I think my brain cannot process more especially right now. I think it’d be a good distraction, but my brain is full.

Michelle Hickey 11:42
Do you feel like because you know that your life is so full and that you’re generally you know, whether you consider it to be that you’re busy or just that you had too much going on up there. Do you feel like that makes you be more use more discretion when it comes to committing to a book or a TV show or even a movie?

Adam Pierno 12:02
Yeah, I do. I am much more picky in a weird way like I will you do I know you I can tell that you do the same thing. I go to stupid Netflix or whatever, whatever source it is. And I will scroll for 10 minutes passing new things that are perfect for me because I’m like not exactly the right thing that I haven’t done and then I’ll just go find some something from the 90s that I’ve seen 2 trillion like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is on there. I think I’ve watched it three times since I realized that how is that better? I’m still wasting the same amount of time I think my I’m resisting the idea of new information. I think that’s what what’s and this isn’t related to what’s going on in the world. This is a habit I’ve noticed over a year or two years that I’ve since I’ve started tracking it. My brain sometimes I just said Nope, nothing new, no more new things. I’m not going to remember it. I don’t want to deal with it. I just want to watch some junk that I remember from my childhood or from when I was you know, in a in a much more carefree time where I know I can zone out and look at Twitter at the same time and not worry about missing it.

Michelle Hickey 13:00
Yeah, I think that there’s there’s definitely a connection there. And it’s it’s good that you’re able to make it that I think we’re seeing a lot of this like this, this resurgence that even with all these new things that come out people are still reaching for her friends on the office those things that we know someone so well and that are so comforting because our you know, I think that there is I don’t know whether there’s a rise of anxiety or there’s a rise of people being able to talk openly about having anxiety, but we just don’t want one more thing that we might have to handle. And I think for myself, a lot of these new shows that come out you I almost returned to like a like a childlike state where I’m like, I don’t know if what I’m gonna watch might make me feel bad. I mean, I feel like I’m super positive generally like as a person and people say to me like Michelle like well How are you so happy all the time? How are you so positive and I say like, I have a really strong filter about what I like coming through and I’m not going to watch anything that I feel like is going to make me upset or make me feel bad. But I think across the board all human beings, we will have like enough stuff to deal with and in our life, like why would we use? Why would we want to be entertained? by something that’s just going to make us feel bad,

Adam Pierno 14:28
amen. I can burn myself out just by being in my own brain. I don’t need more inputs to do. But I, you know, the first part of of self isolation, which was probably I don’t know if it was two weeks ago or three, I don’t know what day it is. But it was early, early. It was during like the big burst of like, work from home tips and all the hustle porn that was like, hey, it looks like we’re going to be, you know, doing social distancing. So get yourself ready and you can outwork all your competitors right now while they’re watching Netflix and cowering in fear. And I was like, What are you even talking about? Like, can I just I’m actually no, I’m just gonna watch reruns of friends. And I’m not gonna hustle harder. And I’m like, Is it okay? If we just take a couple weeks with our families to figure out what the hell is going on.

Michelle Hickey 15:15
And I think that if you read between the lines, no matter what anyone is posting on social media, we’re all really saying the same thing, which is, we’re all spending too much time on our phones. We’re all you know, addicted to it. Because we’re all seeking comfort in each other and just wanting to know that, like, we’re gonna be okay. And be like, for me, I need to see that from from other people. So even though I’ll open my phone, and I’ll say something that makes me feel bad. I know that there’s something good in there too. And it’s, I keep going back for it.

Adam Pierno 15:50
What’s the ratio? What’s the ratio of good or bad that you say? Oh,

Michelle Hickey 15:53
well, I’ve been like I said, I’ve been I’ve been trying my best to control this. And every time I see something that’s bad, I go out of my way to seek something that’s positive to things that are positive to try to tip the scales a little bit.

Adam Pierno 16:07
Yeah. Oh, how do you Where do you go cute overload, like, where are you going to find positive stuff?

Michelle Hickey 16:14
I mean, I spent most of my social time on Instagram. And I guess if I’m seeing any anyone who I follow who’s just posting a lot of things about, you know, the news, and I don’t want to like put my head in the sand but I think I’m getting here about it and about from someone I’m not I’m not worried about like, not hearing something that I’m supposed to hear. I’ll just unmute them. And, you know, eventually they’ll hopefully only be good stuff flowing through my feed.

Adam Pierno 16:44
You know, even before all this there was so much negative stuff anyway, it’s like, I don’t know, I can’t even blame what’s going on right now for all the bad news. So it’s hard to know. It’s hard to know when it will when the simulation will reset and will be until like happy smart. And I’ll be grateful when we get back there. Same. I want to

Michelle Hickey 17:07
I want to go back to something that you said earlier. Because it made me think of an, I guess an argument or like my co host, Steven, I, I guess I get into this discussion a lot, because I’m always one who’s going to recommend something if I have a positive experience with it, and this is like media or anything else. And he’s the type of person who’s like, I am not accepting recommendations for anything unless I asked for it. So I’m curious to hear if, before all of this, you know, where we are today have like happens back to like regular life, where maybe you had the capacity to take in more content, or do you follow more of that camp or are you open to suggestions from people?

Adam Pierno 17:55
Oh, that’s a good that’s a good question. I think I think I am I’m more open than I am.

Michelle Hickey 18:02
Like, I think I think that you’re more open than you if you say that that you are but you’re actually not.

Adam Pierno 18:07
Yeah, I project the idea that I’m taking requests all the time. But then I’m like, No, I don’t I’m not gonna watch that. It’s like stop stuff. I just thought of this today because I was going to post something about, hey, what what music should I be listening to? And I’m like, and then I’m gonna have to listen to it. No, I don’t want to listen to it. I just, you know, if I don’t, if I’ll know in 13 seconds, whether I like it or not, and I’ll skip it and go back to my usual playlist or whatever. So, like, I want to be open minded to it. But again, there’s something about comfort and I can only Veer, I can only handle so much new stuff. And there’s it’s infinite infinite video, there’s infinite music, there’s infinite text. There’s infinite people to meet. And I love all the the conceptually I love that it’s opened a lot of doors I’ve met so many great people like you because of that. connectivity. But dude enough. Sometimes, like one of the very strong positives of what’s going on is I’ve been able to be with my family for a lot more. And we’re really figuring out ways to enjoy it. It’s been it’s been really positive for us for our family. So trying to make that work. I don’t I don’t know how much more inputs I wanted that time or how many new things I want to go get distracted by.

Michelle Hickey 19:27
Do you guys have a shared TV show or movie or anything that you’ve been watching together in the last? I guess it’s only really been a week, but it

Adam Pierno 19:37
feels like it’s been a month. well for us. Our kids were on spring break the week before. And so then they close schools here in Arizona, this past week. So we’ve been together for two weeks. And I guess that’s I guess we got I don’t know, who knows how much longer to be quarantined here to get. But no, I mean, we’ll do family movie nights, and when games and things like that. And that’s, that’s good. It works. I don’t know what I don’t know what more you need. We should we should be reading more I know that I want to but we’ll usually we our tastes are also different if kids are little so we will we will read things we don’t always read together which I guess is not the best role model to the best role to set for your kids but it is what it is

Michelle Hickey 20:26
no judgments,

Adam Pierno 20:27
no judgment. And this is something that you teach as part of your education that like be who you are and do what you want. If it’s not hurting someone else. It’s okay.

Michelle Hickey 20:36
Yes, I mean, I don’t I don’t have a course on how to how to be yourself but I feel like that is I hope is an underlying message in everything that I say on social media and everything that I you know, I do teach in my courses even though they may be specifically about generating income or email marketing or you know how to how to create principles, which is A big part of what I do. Ultimately, underneath all of that is, you know, there’s so much advice out there. But if it doesn’t apply to you and your goals and your the things that make you happy in life, then what is the point? You know what I mean?

Adam Pierno 21:17
Like follow it wholeheartedly.

Michelle Hickey 21:20
Exactly, exactly. So it just to me, it feels like a waste.

Adam Pierno 21:24
It’s like a workout plan. If you sign up, and there’s like, okay, you could do the workouts that are on this video series. And then you also have to do this diet. And I’m very good. I see those things and I go, Oh, I could do those workouts. That’s good. And then it’s like, but you have to do the diet and the diet consists of making fresh salmon four times a day at exactly, and I’m like, Nah, then I throw the whole thing out. I know the whole thing is gonna fail because I’m only going to do these parts of it. Because otherwise it’s changed my entire lifestyle. Really, all I want to do is have bigger shoulders. I don’t want to do the whole thing. You know.

Michelle Hickey 21:58
I feel like that really needs to be foundation of everything that we do. And yes, I teach this, you know, supposed to be on a professional level, but I feel like this is just a life hack is get really clear about what is important to you specifically, because it just becomes so much easier to make decisions once not only like you recognize that in yourself, but that you’re willing to kind of move over publicly and say, hey, these are the things that are important to me. These are the things that I like and everything else doesn’t really matter.

Adam Pierno 22:34
Tell me about you said the establishing principles is that is that what that means is setting up principles for yourself or is it setting up principles around your mind view your work?

Michelle Hickey 22:46
You may have have misheard my, my pronunciation and it’s funny when I when I record videos about this, this is how the transcription picks it up. I said the word principal as an a parent, a designer You can print out from

Adam Pierno 23:01
Oh, a printable Yes, God. Yes, I heard some symbols that I was like, well, that’s interesting. I’ve never heard of that.

Michelle Hickey 23:07
Yeah, but yes, I mean, I I hope that there are that there is this underlying principle of, of being clear about what’s important to you, and and everything that I teach and all the content that I put out there.

Adam Pierno 23:20
So when you’re in the series, are you working with people one on one directly? Or is it video content that people consume and kind of go through your course on their own and then paying you or?

Michelle Hickey 23:31
Yeah, a little bit of everything. So I do I have a program that is specifically for creative people who wants to learn how to generate income, creating principle designs and either selling them like I do in in an Etsy shop, or sharing them because I’ve also been able to generate money through my blog through sponsorships and partnerships and just getting ad revenue and affiliate relationships. So, yeah, that’s that’s kind of what I teach. And I have a course. And it’s it is it’s self study, but we also do a lot of support through a Facebook group. And then I also do I hop in and do. This isn’t really something I advertise. But we do little calls every once in a while just to have a check in with everyone. Oh, that’s cool. That’s really important.

Adam Pierno 24:23
Do people have trouble setting up those ground rules for themselves or that clear understanding of what they, what they what’s in and what’s out of bounds? what they want to do, what they wouldn’t do? What works for them?

Michelle Hickey 24:35
I think so. Because I think there are a lot of opinions in our world, especially now with social media. There’s so much coming at us every day, and I’ve never noticed this. Yeah, I know. It can become muddy sometimes because we see people. I mean, I feel like I see this more on Instagram than anywhere else. You’re seeing people In these really idealistic situations where everything looks really pretty, and sounds really nice, and you think any smart person would think, okay, I want to be happy, I’ll just do what that person’s doing like they they solve the riddle. But when it comes down to it, we each have our own individual needs, and wants and desires and dreams. So I could follow that blueprint to the letter. And I’m not going to have the same result as that person on Instagram. And I think that that’s something that we, even though I understand that, and I feel like I try to teach that to my students, I still need to remind myself of that every day because it it goes against common sense and the way that our brain works.

Adam Pierno 25:45
Yeah, I get I absolutely get that. And so the way your courses are set up or your program, I don’t know if it’s, I wouldn’t say courses are part of it, but people can take the parts that work for them and skip the other. It’s not like this 10 step program or if they don’t do step three, the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards.

Michelle Hickey 26:02
Yeah. So the way I have it separated actually is I have like three mini schools and you can get the three of them together or you can do them one at a time. So yeah, I don’t want people to feel like, they’re kind of like going back to that information overload just pick and choose what you need. And don’t if I try to make this clear, I hope I probably can improve on this. But I feel like if something is working for you, just because someone says that they have this great way of doing it doesn’t mean that you need to change what you’re doing and start doing that. So the way I have my programs set up is separated by by blogging and marketing in one design in one school and selling in another school. And if you feel like you have one of those things down, then keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working and then just focus on what you want to learn. Yeah, and

Adam Pierno 26:56
that goes back to the whole thing about hustle harder and in a outwork your competitors. I think the people that have that drive, go do that. I don’t know why it has to be a religion that people are pushing. That’s like, if you’re watching Netflix, you are losing to your competitor while they are hustling. And it’s like, dude, just like, I don’t have to do the way if that works for you, that’s great. Obviously, at you know, 10pm on Sunday, you are posting that. So this must really mean something to you. Well, that was probably scheduled during business hours, from, you know, four hour workweek Manifesto. But if that works for you, great, but I don’t know why we have to convince people that there’s only one way and it’s the Gary Vee method or it’s the XYZ method. Take the bits you want and let the other bits go.

Michelle Hickey 27:50
I really had to work through that because I grew up in a family that that did slash does still value business. And I found that I’m in kind of a unique situation because not only do I work for myself, but I also don’t have kids. So I feel like I have so much more time that I get to choose what I’m going to do with it than the average person. And I felt like it would be wrong if I wasn’t using that time to do exactly what you said to to constantly be hustling and, and growing my business and I had to take a step back and say okay, but like, doing more work is not making me happier. It’s not it’s not making me more more money. It’s not getting me better results. I just feel like garbage. I feel completely completely burnt out. So it took me really I feel like a few years and I and I am still again, having to keep myself in check with this. Getting rid of that stigma that being busy makes you important or being busy will give you better results. Just because in my experience that I’ve been able to see the positive benefits in and taking breaks and even going as far as to if you scroll through my Instagram feed, you’ll see pictures of me like laying on the couch and saying like, you know, I just like I didn’t work today or one of the new habits that I try to stick to is I don’t I keep my laptop. This is this week aside because things have been

Adam Pierno 29:27
all the time.

Michelle Hickey 29:28
Yeah, but keeping keeping my laptop on my desk in my office and not letting myself like breaking into bed or bring it down to the couch. Oh, yeah.

Adam Pierno 29:37
No, no computer in the back. That’s it. That’s a rule for sure.

Michelle Hickey 29:41
Yeah. So just having that that parameter in place helped me like you finish your work during the work day and then go out and do something enjoyable.

Adam Pierno 29:51
Yeah, I mean, but what is what is busy even mean for thought workers for people that use their brains and use the internet to communicate with people for Pay there. It just means I’m checking email. I’m looking at this I’m looking at that, oh, I could read this Google Doc, I could add notes to this. I could give this person comments today so that tomorrow will be maybe a little easier. Like it won’t be. It won’t. It’s not the work I do tonight at 10pm is not going to make tomorrow at 9am. any better, the work will not move forward. That person still will not see it until they get to it the next day. But in my brain I think I’m like you I’m like recovering from the idea that non stop plugging in it Nish. That’s not a word. But why not? That non stop checking in and, and adding notes is like what it feels like I’m getting things done. It’s kind of a waste.

Michelle Hickey 30:43
Yeah, because it’s the stream doesn’t stop. I think that there’s I’ll say this from my own perspective, because I feel like I’ve had to stop before like, what if I run out of things to do? And then what is my purpose after that point, like, what good am I doing? Going into society what, you know what self importance will I have? And the reality is, you’re never gonna have things to do. There There will always be this constant stream. So it’s really it’s a it’s a silly thing to be nervous about. If that’s something like subconsciously you might be thinking, but it’s also I’ve also tried to become okay with the idea of, like, my work is not me. And the work I produce is not me. Like, I can still feel special just just reading my my historical fiction books. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 31:37
are watching an episode of Seinfeld. It’s okay. Yes, it’s okay. But it is nice that the work you do is about helping people figure out a direction or how to maximize a direction without hitting them over the head with facts and figures and hashtags that are driving them to never stop. Working. Never stop letting their guard down does just doesn’t have to be that way. And some for some people, they will operate very well on that. But it doesn’t have to be that way for everybody. I

Michelle Hickey 32:07
completely agree. All right, well, I want to go, right. Can I bring up something that? Uh, yes. Thinking about Ever Ever since you brought up this conversation? And it’s it’s sparked from something that that you did on our podcasts? Oh, no. So maybe I’ll tee it up with this question. Do you feel like if I said, Adam, what is your favorite movie that you would have a an answer for me?

Adam Pierno 32:34
No, no, I could give you a list of two or three movies that I have right now. I’d say like, Oh, yeah, it could be done with audio design. So

Michelle Hickey 32:43
when someone asks me what my favorite movie is, I have my my real answer and then I have the answer that I tell people my favorite movie.

Adam Pierno 32:53
teleprompter car. Do you have cards like ready to go of what you’re gonna say?

Michelle Hickey 32:58
Yeah, because I think to kind of go back to what sparked this this entire episode was was this tweet that that you put out about like you know shaming what people like and when people watch and I tell people that my favorite movie is Back to the Future which is I love it

Adam Pierno 33:17
if you choose not back to futures are pretty great movie.

Michelle Hickey 33:21
It is it is. But

I have another one that I like just a little bit more. But that I feel like is not as well respected. At least in certain circles.

Adam Pierno 33:33
Honestly though, if you say it’s Back to the Future three word This is over. I’m not really judging you I would judge you extremely hard for that. I I take back everything I said shaming is correct. Now, what is your I’m just joking, but a actual group. So

Michelle Hickey 33:52
the actual movie is you’ve got mail. And I don’t like saying that because someone will be like, Oh, of course your favorite movies. You’ve got Got Mail like, you know, you’re a girl and you like sappy romantic comedies. And what cracked me up was that when you’re on our podcasts you were trying to make a point

Adam Pierno 34:08
about how did I make fun of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks?

Michelle Hickey 34:12
Well, you did not by name but Yes, you did. Oh ROM coms.

Adam Pierno 34:15
Yeah, I have a whole Yes. People like that in my book. Yeah, I talked about ROM coms and how they’re a formula.

Michelle Hickey 34:21
Yes. So instead of me trying to explain this, you kind of just said it, you were trying to you actually gave us the premise of a ROM common and as you were describing it, and saying that most Would you say that brands sticks to this formula, or like every, every story sticks to the same formula, they keep making

Adam Pierno 34:42
the same product because people keep showing up with money for tickets. And so they want so I have a generic rom com, right? They meet each other, they something they don’t get along, but then something happens and they figure out it’s something they have in common. And everybody’s surprised. And then Oh, one Have them is already planning the runaway has to move the move out of the country, but at the last minute it come together. And those ingredients, every person is not in the same way. You’re nodding the same way you nodded when I talk to you even even Steve was like, Oh, yeah, I know that movie. That is all romantic comedies except the breakup with Jen. And what’s his name is Vince Vaughn. It’s fun, right? Yeah. That is the premise of all of them. So what’s beautiful about it is I don’t, I’m not the audience for romantic comedies. But I get why people like them, because it’s a formula that totally works that people totally get. And so everybody that says, that hears that and goes, Oh, yeah, I know that movie. They either name a movie and they go I really like that which clearly you like, you’ve got mail. Or they say, Oh, I don’t like those movies. But I know I know a movie anyway. But I don’t like what’s so great about it is I think you got nails a fine movie. It’s not a movie, I would go turn on that. But that’s not a move. I wouldn’t judge you on that. I would judge you definitely harder on that. But why do you think you hold back on that? Did I shame you? Do you think when I did the tone that I use or do you just is it just something about romantic comedies that you’re, you don’t like people to know about? Which now by the way now,

Michelle Hickey 36:18
it won’t be at the secret’s out it’s um Well, first of all, I just thought it was really funny. So you just gave that that example of of the premise of a romantic comedy and when you when you did it on our podcast, it was slightly the variation was slightly different. But it was the exact plot to you, man, including you mentioned and at the ends you know, they finally get together and they kiss and a dog shows up which is that’s like the last frame of You’ve Got Mail he describes it to a tee so I just I was cracking up as he told that

Adam Pierno 36:48
Yeah, I don’t even remember You’ve Got Mail which is so which is so funny that I got that one so perfect.

Michelle Hickey 36:54
Yeah, you nailed it. But why do you think I

Adam Pierno 36:56
don’t tell people that why would why would hold back

Michelle Hickey 37:00
Don’t think that I’m afraid to say that I like it. But I think it makes me sound like, like, I’m basic like, oh, you’re just another girl who likes romantic comedies. And you might not know that there’s more to me than that. Which is why I say Back to the Future, which is a very close runner up.

Adam Pierno 37:19
Yeah. So do you think that’s a lot of what people are doing in general is, is we’re all projecting. We’re all trying to let people so we want to be seen one way and not another way.

Michelle Hickey 37:30
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think that we all have the things that we like, but we, I mean, as for when it comes to social media, we’re picking and choosing what we’re putting out there. There’s really, you know, we try to make it seem like it’s organic content. But ultimately, if we’re saying, I’m reading this, I’m watching this, we want people to know that that’s what we’re doing.

Adam Pierno 37:52
Yeah. Oh, yeah. You may not. I wonder what percentage of people are not reading those things or viewing those things? Yeah, just posting Because that’s what they say they’re supposed to do to make people to fit into a certain image. Mm hmm. That’s a bummer. Yeah, that also

Michelle Hickey 38:13
because I watched so much TV and so many movies, which is, which is a whole nother thing that I have only recently become really comfortable talking about, probably to an extreme of like, watch more TV like it’s it’s cool like there’s nothing wrong with that. So I’ve had to start doing a new thing when talking about TV and movies and that is putting a qualifier on it as to this is a movie like if someone says, Is this a good movie? Is this a good TV show? I don’t feel like the answer should be yes or no. I feel like the answer should be yes. I Michelle really enjoyed this experience of watching this or Yes, I thought that this was a quality piece of content because I feel like for the most part those are two different things. There are very few few things that I’ve consumed in the last, you know, few years that would fall in that the center of the Venn diagram, where checks both those boxes.

Adam Pierno 39:11
Yeah. And there’s also the very how many people would you realistically if they said you would really like this, a lot of people lead with that that’s their way to recommend to recommend something you would you show you would really like this. And I go, you have no idea. Like, especially on the internet, I have a lot of internet friends that know me a little bit the part that my I’m not very vulnerable, so they only know what I’ve shared. And they say, Hey, I think you would like this. And it’s like, I don’t know, I’ll go, I’ll go look at the link and see, but I don’t believe that you really know if I would like it or not. So I like that approach to saying I liked it. And even that seems today like it takes some courage to say, was this any good? I liked it. I thought it was good for me at the time that I saw it in that minute. And if I saw it, maybe again, in two years, maybe I wouldn’t like it as much but when I saw it Good.

Michelle Hickey 40:01
Yeah, cuz I think that all of us like things that aren’t critically acclaimed, but there’s something in that story because maybe it’s something that we relate to or something that was nostalgic, or whatever it is that we just really connect to and that’s going to be a different thing for for every person so I almost even hate the the rating systems on on Goodreads and IMDb and like, it drives me crazy. This mice my sisters are so obsessed with Oh, this got a good rating, so we should watch it and I think, okay, but like who was that person who rated it and their life is completely different than mine. I’m not gonna go by their opinion,

Adam Pierno 40:36
right? And then my, my wife loves looking at ratings and then all of a sudden she’s in a rabbit hole to find like, Oh, this person gave me five stars. Let me go see what they like. Well, I’m not gonna do individual research on 100 reviewers to figure out That’s insane. I mean, there’s a reason why there’s only 10 movies that are good enough to be nominated for Best Picture. And the other 1200 movies that are made are like popcorn features. Because we like those I like those yeah I like Nicolas Cage get on screen and act crazy and I won’t I will pay i wanna i love it we that’s what we like and I will watch the art films I will watch those those nominees but then about at that ratio one out of every thousand maybe more that but still

Michelle Hickey 41:26
I hope that this episode can be a permission slip for people to just like what you like and don’t be afraid to talk about it because I found that the more I’ve kind of let out my I mean we’re recording this you won’t be able to see this for the listeners but I’ve got a Mary Poppins poster sitting behind me no shame I love now Mary Poppins is awesome. I’m so Jim. I’m not ashamed of that one. But you know, I love musicals. I love some of these like really obscure movies that are old movies that You know, with actors that a lot of people have never even heard of. And you know, a lot of times I’ll post them on Instagram and I’ll get and when you get a response when that one person says, oh my god you’d like this to, to me, that’s such a great moment. I love that that’s better than than 10 people telling me they liked something that like the whole world likes, right or here’s something

Adam Pierno 42:20
better. Oh, you wasted time watching that. You should have watched the earlier one. Right? Yes. That’s me nuts. All right. Well, there’s, this was a great conversation. I’m glad. Thank you for allowing me to open up and tell you some of the dumb stuff I watch and like it’s mostly trash, and I’m okay with that.

Michelle Hickey 42:37
Thank you.

Adam Pierno 42:38
Where can people find you online? Where can they find your courses? Michelle?

Michelle Hickey 42:42
Sure. So I mostly hang out on Instagram. That’s where you’ll see me in day to day life. At Michelle Hickey design. I would love it if you checked out our podcasts. You can search a Podcast for Creatives for @podforcreatives is our handle for that and all of my courses and education can be found at Awesome.

Adam Pierno 43:06
Well, Michelle, thank you. I will link to all that stuff so people will be able to click through it and make it easier, even easier to find you. Hey, thank you very much. This is fantastic talk.

Michelle Hickey 43:16
That’s that’s really fun.

Adam Pierno 43:18

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