Finding your path: Featuring Paul Millerd
Plan Your Next #97
👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #97 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
It’s difficult to think about anything other than what’s happening in Ukraine right now. It’s fucking heartbreaking. My friend Art Lapinsche wrote an essay on his memories as his family fled the Yugoslav war, which is an uncomfortable reminder of how quickly things can turn.
💡 What’s new?
🎨 Approachable Design 5 is opening its doors with a limited amount of spots available. This is a live 2-day weekend workshop on March, 19-20, and consists of (2) 4-hour sessions. If you have wanted to learn the fundamentals of design while building your own personal design kit, this is exactly for you. Learn more here.
"Good design communicates trust." This quote has anchored my personal approach to design. Yet as someone who has literally zero design experience, the craft has always felt daunting and overwhelming. Colors, fonts, Figma, gradients - where does one even begin? Thankfully I discovered Nate's course and in the span of a weekend was able to create RadReads assets that communicate our vibe and ethos.”—Khe Hy, founder of RadReads
Plan Your Next featured guest
Every now and then I aim to discover insights from entrepreneurs and creatives who are chasing their next thing. This week, I have the privilege to highlight the author, creator, and friend, Paul Millerd!
“One of the things that kept me going was the discovery of things I liked doing - things like writing, having conversations, and creating things online - that gave me energy. I found that if I created the space in my life for those things to happen they would and by doing so, I’d be able to sustain the momentum to keep the path going.”—Paul Millerd
Who is Paul Millerd?
I first met Paul on Twitter last year. He’s been an active influence in my own adventure into solopreneurship—or whatever you want to call waking up early without a regular routine. He gave me some lived perspective of my options, which always seem a little vague when sitting in your own mind.
Between then and now, Paul just happened to write an entire book, The Pathless Path. I’m envious of how Paul blends his own personal goals against consulting, seemingly succeeding at navigating the two. It’s not easy, and it’s why I asked him to answer a few questions on the topic of finding your way.
I hope you enjoy the short interview, and I highly recommend subscribing to his weekly newsletter.
Paul, tell us a bit about yourself and what keeps you busy most days?
For the past five years, I've been self-employed and have been slowly trying to lean into the freedom and flexibility that this sort of existence allows. My days vary widely but typically involve some creative work (typically writing), sometimes paid work (consulting or course-based coaching), conversations with people from around the world, and outdoor activity. I have tried to design my life around liking what I do and have tried to consciously lean against any “hustle path” where I need to make sacrifices for a payoff in the future. I don’t recommend trying this at home but it’s worked well for how I’m wired.
Tell me a story. When was the last time you made an unexpected turn in direction? And what's one takeaway you learned in sustaining that momentum to see it through?
To me, I felt like I was always making dramatic shifts - I changed jobs every 1-2 years for ten years. Yet it was not until I left my full-time job to become self-employed in 2017 that others seemed to notice. This was a shock for me. At the same time I was overwhelmed with both the uncertainty and possibilities of a new path, I had to deal with the understanding that others saw me doing something risky and even bad. In the first few months of that “leap,” however, I had a sense that I had stumbled into something that was a much better fit for my life. One of the things that kept me going was the discovery of things I liked doing - things like writing, having conversations, and creating things online - that gave me energy. I found that if I created the space in my life for those things to happen they would and by doing so, I’d be able to sustain the momentum to keep the path going.
What were you doing prior to making this change?
Prior to that leap, I was working as a strategy consultant in New York. I was actually helping advise companies on CEO success and interviews with people who would late become Fortune 500 CEOs enabled me to clearly see: I was not one of them.
A piece of advice you would offer someone who feels stuck in pursuing their next idea?
I think many people are stuck in an endless cycle of reaching for the next goal, the next thing, more stuff, or a better career path. I was stuck in that more for more than a decade. It turns out what I really wanted was space in my life to disconnect from "worker" mode, and to be able to think, ponder, and contemplate the important questions in life. So my advice would be: don't pursue the idea, go wander and the rest will take care of itself.
What are you most excited about in the world today?
I'm so excited about the reality that more people than ever are now able to pursue their own positive version of freedom in their lives by sharing their ideas with the world, finding the others, and building a life around work that brings them alive. And helping more people make that happen, of course!
What’s a favorite quote or piece of advice you live by?
"That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost." —Rebecca Solnit
Do you have an "ask" of my audience? Something you need help with?
First, everyone should read my book because it's a friendly invitation to other creative weirdos on unique paths. Second, everyone should share this newsletter and support you, Nate, because I think the way you are showing up in the world is genuine, caring, and powerful!
Where can someone find you online?
Follow Paul on Twitter
Paul’s Website: Think Boundless
Snag Paul’s book: The Pathless Path (not an affiliate link. It’s just that good.)
⚡️ Check out these creative hits next
Google Slides is actually hilarious
”Join me on this cathartic journey which aspires to be none of the following: constructive, systematic, exhaustive. I’m too tired for that, dear reader. Consider this a gag reel. A platter of amuse-bouches. A chocolate sampler box of nightmares.”
I find it fascinating that anyone can actually use Google Slides easily. This product is so old and frustrating, it’s why I created a course on using Figma for slide decks. (Sorry, I just had to plug Figma once again!)
Want to start an internet business?
Khe Hy (Supercharge Your Productivity) and Marie Poulin (Notion Mastery) will be sharing 2-decades worth of pragmatic advice on starting and scaling creator-focused online businesses. March 4 @10:30 AM PST Click here to sign up.
Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
Incredible Netflix documentary on Kanye West, filmed over two decades. I’m only a third of the way through it, but you can clearly see his talent at the age of 12. If you’re a creative person at all, I would recommend watching this. It’s non-stop determination to be great.
👋 See you next Sunday
Have a great week,
p.s. If you enjoyed this letter, would you please let me know by tapping on the heart below?