Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Martha Alderson: The Universal Story (Episode 222)

Martha Alderson: The Universal Story (Episode 222)

Martha Alderson joins Charlie on the show today to talk about her new book, Boundless Creativity. They talk about the key insights of the book, the Universal story, and the importance of making space for creative pursuits during COVID times. There is an overlap between Martha’s ideas and Charlie’s ideas from Start Finishing, so some of these core conversations may resonate in new and different ways. 

Key Takeaways:

[1:50] - Martha’s new book takes a mythic and spiritual approach to productivity and getting things done. The opportunity to own her story was a transformative experience she didn’t expect from this venture. 

[4:50] - Martha talks about her experiences with her past books and having to silence her creative expression. Boundless Creativity was the first book that she really allowed herself to freely write her true beliefs, with a heavier focus on spirituality. 

[8:05] - The climate of today’s culture has opened the doors for more inward reflection, and our purpose here. More and more people are turning to some type of spirituality, and the status quo seems to be shifting. 

[12:00] - Martha describes the four parts of the Universal story. The beginning (things are comfortable but fragile, you are enthusiastic about your ideas), the middle (you start to meet the internal and external antagonists, testing ground), the dark night (usually the hardest part of a creative journey, things are stripped away and we lose ourselves), and finally the mastery / triumph (use the skills you learned throughout to overcome final obstacles). 

[17:15] - Each time you go through the Universal story, you get stronger and stronger until you are willing to try anything because you know you can. Many of the elements of the Universal story parallel the ideas Charlie explores in Start Finishing

[24:15] - Each part of the Universal story poses its own challenges. Some people struggle with getting started, and some people get started and want to give up when they get stuck. The middle, or the dark night, is often when past sufferings or traumas come up. 

[27:30] - Martha talks about her idea of a “threshold guardian”.  When you move into a new phase of the Universal story, don’t make that transition lightly. Value that you’re ready for the next step and the journey you will take moving forward. 

[31:00] - Whatever you come up against is just a different part of who you are. A commitment to move forward is a commitment to yourself. These tests and challenges are there to allow us to see just how powerful we really are.

[33:15] - Speaking to or talking about a challenge doesn’t make it any harder than it already is. Talking about it makes it such that you can overcome it. Shine the light on those monsters, and embrace them. What comes out of this journey is the freedom to be yourself. 

[38:30] - Many people are having trouble giving themselves the space to dream and be creative during these pandemic times. If you’re feeling this way, take time to look at why you’re feeling this way. Embrace the discomfort.

[43:55] - Allow yourself to accept that it’s okay to take time for yourself. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it. Your needs and desires count just as much as someone else’s. 

[47:00] - Martha talks about her own journey confronting her monsters during her writing process. For Boundless Creativity, it was more of an opportunity to put her truth out there for people who will most benefit. Because she had worked through dark nights in the past, she could write this book from a space of freedom.

[52:30] - Martha’s invitation for listeners is to do what you’re most afraid of; whatever it is you’ve held yourself back from, walk into your fear and do it. When you do it, you will see just how strong you really are.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Start Finishing, by Charlie Gilkey

Boundless Creativity, by Martha Alderson

Martha Alderson

Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.