This week, we’re talking to cartoonist and creative mentor, Jessica Abel – founder of the Creative Focus Workshop. She works with ambitious mid-career creative pros and businesses to escape the hamster wheel of busyness and carve out the deep focus needed to finish—and launch—the game-changing work they want to be known for.

Jessica is the author of Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life, the graphic novel La Perdida, and two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics. Her book Out on the Wire is about how the best radio and podcast producers in the world use story to keep us listening. Jessica’s latest work of fiction is the Eisner-nominated Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars. She is chair of the illustration program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.



To download the transcript for this episode, click here.



Are you running your business or is your business running you?

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Some things we talk about in this episode:


  • Give yourself permission to never look back on outdated business information and files – use them or move on!
  • We often mix up ‘visioning’ with ‘goal setting’
  • Take the pressure off – see your 3 or 5 or even 1 year vision as the direction you want to head in and know that it will change as you move forward
  • Questions to ask yourself:  Where do you see the next iteration of yourself? What is that person like? What kind of habits do they keep?
  • Start creating regular practices around new habits – even if they are small


Key takeaways:


  • Making priorities a habit – you have the right to do that 
  • You are never going to finish your To-Do list
  • Reactivity – the silent killer of your goals + vision
  • Continuous self-knowledge is one of the keys to changing your susceptibility to reactiveness – Understanding your personal baggage and how it might stop you is a big key!
  • Idea Debit – carrying around the weight of the incomplete goals, dreams, or ideas that a ‘past you’ created, without taking into account what ‘current you’ needs or wants
  • Implementing a simple weekly check-in to document your progress and experiments
  • First step to accomplishing your goals: Time Tracking



Questions for Jessica:



Q: What are you reading?

      • Nothing!


Q: What’s your made-up superpower?

      • Future casting


Q: It’s the zombie apocalypse. You are running for your life. What are three things you bring with you?

      • Laptop
      • Large knife from kitchen & assorted tools
      • Settler’s survival guide


Q: What’s an exciting mission or project you’re working on in your business right now?



Helpful Links Mentioned 


Jessica Abel

One Goal Worksheet





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