Director Francis Ford Coppola examines a bunch of images. This photo looks like it's from the 1970s.

How many risks are you taking? How personal can you get? How much of YOU does your output contain?

I’ve been thinking lots about these questions lately.

During the course creation process at Growth Tribe I started putting more and more of myself into the course. It’s not like it happened gradually either. I realized at the outset that to fill this course I had to not try and just reach for concepts and ideas I thought people should know. I had to pull from within.

So I talked about many of the jobs I’ve had (the highs and the lows). I talked about the books I’ve written (and am writing), rap songs I’ve made, people who have influenced me, and my own philosophies on writing.

I also talk about Ryan Gosling, Jaws, and the punk rock band Rat Havoc (who I made up just for the course). I invented handy acronyms and schema.

The process and outcomes of authenticity

The process was stressful, especially pulling out every single personal component that I thought was relevant. It was exhilarating too. And I’m pretty sure the end result is stronger because part of what I was doing was not just teaching what I thought the students should know. I was speaking from my experience. And listening to my thoughts.

I was putting my personal value and values out there. Out into my work.

Francis Ford Coppola once said “You have to be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise, you’ll just knuckle under and things that might have been memorable will be lost.”

He was probably talking about the process of directing The Godfather, or any one of the other incredible multi-award-winning films he’s created.

But the essential truth holds, no matter how big or small the project you’re working on: put yourself into your work.