We love rebels and people who challenge the status quo, conventional wisdom and mainstream narratives and so we asked some really bright folks to tell us about one piece of conventional advice they disagree with.

Chase Coleman | Actor/Musician/Director/Producer/Writer

I believe there’s a great balance between being patient and not rushing, and making sure you’re actively on top of what you are working for. This specifically applies to the entertainment industry, where it’s very difficult to have any amount of control over any aspect of your career aside from the aesthetics of you as a person and what you do to build yourself up as a human. Waiting around so not as to rock the boat is most of the time not the right answer. Being one of the first ones through the gate is what I think wins the most races. Read more>>

Kevin Norman | TikTok Book Influencer

Often we are told that we should be able to do everything solely on our own as if there is glory in the idea of being the sole hero, but I can’t entirely agree with this concept. I think it’s important to collaborate and ask others for help, which needs to be normalized. When starting a project, it’s okay if you need assistance in the execution. It’s important to surround yourself with a tribe who can help you bring your dreams to reality, and I think people must remember that. Read more>>

Tai Farnsworth | Writer & Community Organizer & Queer Person

This is something I heard often in both undergrad and grad school. The advice is commonplace enough that people who aren’t even in the writing or publishing field have said it to me. I find it to be a completely absurd piece of advice that does nothing more than gatekeep people who don’t have the time or desire to write every day. It makes people think they’re not writers, when they absolutely are. I don’t (and have never) write every day. I *think* about writing every day. Absolutely. I like to sit in public places (when that was a thing) and listen to the way people engage in dialogue. How they turn words into sentences into conversations. How they interrupt each other. How different personalities take up different spaces. I like to read outside of my style as a learning practice. Writing exists in my head while I listen to music, while I cook, while I drive. I think about writing every day. I do not (and don’t want to) write every day. Read more>>

April L. Diaz | Founder + CEO, Ezer + Co.

I was always told to keep my work life, personal life, and family life all separate from one another. It was like I was being told to live multiple lives but with my one life. It felt fragmented and crazy-making. It seemed disingenuous and exhausting to try and be different people in different environments. I believe that compartmentalization is a major reason why we’ve seen so many leaders blow out their life in one dimension or another. They may have had a profound and “successful” work life, but their family life was a wreck and it eventually destroyed their life. None of us are designed to live like this. It doesn’t work. Read more>>

Mark Wilkins | VRTIGO | Design Director

Some advice I always heard is that being a business owner and entrepreneur is easy all you gotta do is stick to the script. That’s a lie. Those are people that want you to fail. What script? You got to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Know what it’s like to be broke for a while. Know what it’s like to fail. Know what it’s like to lose some friends and family. You will have some sleepless nights. It’s ok long as you keep going. Read more>>

Catherine Chen | Writer-Director | Animation Filmmaker and TV writer

In the first 22 years of my life, I was taught that deadlines are non-negotiable. Pulling an all-nighter and making it through will make you stronger. And sometimes it’s what you need to do to finish. But that is something I disagree with. Over the years, my persistent hard work pulled me out of depression, anxiety, and fear. But in another way, it was fueled by fear. I still have nightmares from working in environments that were rigged. Traps. Be wary of any environment that brags about its crunch culture and how “hard” it is compared to other things. Nothing should be that hard. Likely, their system is not yet efficient, resources are deprecated, and it may instead stunt your growth. I learned that there were many things I didn’t have to do. There are better paths, and sometimes it is good to listen to the path of least resistance. In other words, listen to what you want to do. And not every challenge is beneficial. Read more>>

Chelsea Sutton | Writer & Director

“Write what you know.” This is one of the oldest pieces of writing or creative advice out there and it is both completely damaging and completely true. The damaging part: writing and creating is really centered on questions. A question leads you into creative exploration; if we expected scientists to know all the answers before they did their experiments and research, then we would never move forward. It’s a chicken or the egg thing. If you feel like you must know all the answers before you begin something, then you will never begin. How many ideas and innovations have we lost because someone felt like they didn’t know enough at the onset? Do your due diligence, get experience, absorb knowledge and lessons, of course – but you will create your most exciting things when you allow yourself to question and be open to your curiosity, be open to being surprised and finding solutions. Some of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on were ones when we legitimately had no idea how we were going to accomplish a thing. Read more>>

Suzanne Wallach | Psy.D, LMFT / Psychotherapist and Business Owner

I feel like the conventional advice when it comes to the psychotherapy world is to be risk averse when taking on clients and also when it comes to building your business. I disagree with this wholeheartedly. I have chosen throughout my whole career to work with acute clientele because they need it more than the average person, and also I feel like I would get bored sitting with the “worried well” week after week. When it comes to business, too, therapists usually stay small and aren’t the best at marketing. My plan was always to own a group practice and to expand slowly and strategically. I don’t feel like being a therapist and being a business woman have to be mutually exclusive; one can be both and be successful in both arenas. Read more>>

Dean Cocozza | Writer & Composer

I left high school one year early because I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford university. So I guess I have to disagree with two pieces of conventional advice: That you need the right financial background to get where you want to go, as well as that you need the backing of traditional education to get anywhere in life. Both can help you, I am sure. But both can also take a lot of freedom, by attaching you to the expectations of those who provide it. Read more>>

Daniel Sonabend | Composer and Music Producer

Stick to one thing and go with it. Read more>>

Emily Krusche-Bruck | Actor, Writer, Director.

“If you’d be happy doing anything else other than acting – don’t act.” I’m pretty sure every actor has heard this ad nauseam in their lives. From directors and acting coaches growing up, to college professors, to successful actors on podcasts I’ve been hearing this for the last 14 years and it’s always rubbed me the wrong way. It’s made me question my place in the business. It’s made me question my love for acting. It’s, for whatever reason, really gotten to me over the years. I think it took two years out here fully pursuing acting and the last year in “quarantine” focusing more on writing and creating for me to fully come to terms with the fact that I don’t agree with it at all. I’d be happy doing a lot of things – continuing my education in psychology and becoming a psychologist, working in the food industry, being a teacher, etc. – and that doesn’t make me any less worthy or motivated to be an actor and be in LA pursuing this career. Read more>>

Gabrielle & Pallavi Ruiz & Sastry | TV & Broadway Actresses, Producers, Activists, CEOs, and Best Friends

We disagree with the mentality that we should struggle for our art. We hate that. We are artists yes, but assuming that artists can’t have things like comfort, money, and abundance is actually limiting our artistry. It’s counterproductive to us doing our work while being happy and fulfilled both financially and artistically. Because of that, we have a great business together that is thriving, productive, mentorship, and heart centered business, which is our multimedia podcast, What Are Friends For. Read more>>

Jasmine Anderson | Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor & Founder of Boss Babes love Brunch

The idea that entrepreneurship is a nonstop grind and that you must hustle 24/7. I think it is very important to work smarter, not harder and find a balance in working towards my goals but still making time for myself and what I like/love. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Working nonstop will ultimately deplete my energy and I will not be able to show up as my best self. That is why I prioritize self care in the midst of the daily grind. Read more>>

Max Singer | Actor & Comedian

Being in the comedy world you consistently hear about the importance of “the grind” and “the hustle,” the notion that one’s artistic merit is rooted in constant endeavors and projects. There’s obviously a great deal of importance in making a name for yourself and getting your face out there, but all too often I find “the grind” rewards quantity of work over quality. As a result, show runners from the biggest clubs to the smallest indie venues too often use this quantity for making booking decisions and in part shrinking the community by cycling thru the same performers. Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to this, and for some people the grind suits them just fine. But as the comedy community reemerges and venue restrictions ease, I hope we learn to respect performers working at the pace that is best suited for them. Read more>>

Mathieu Cailler | Award-Winning Author of Poetry, Fiction, and Children’s Books

“Write what you know” is an old writing cliche that I hate. It probably caught on because it’s zippy and fun to say, and it sounds wise, but it’s actually awful advice. I would say that authors should write to better understand the world. That is the beauty of fiction and poetry and other genres–we are allowed to be different people, voices… to come at life from a different angle. Fran Lebowitz has a great line on this topic. She says, “Books should be a door, not a mirror.” And I agree. Sure, it happens to be a mirror–great. But it can be an escape, a portal to another place and time–a do-over in some instances, a what-could-have-been. Read more>>

Amelia O’Loughlin | Actor, Writer & Founder of Freida Films

Sometimes things just click into place, they fall right into your lap. This hasn’t always been the case for me – sometimes they really don’t. Of course you’ve gotta fight for a career you love; one that’s uniquely yours and lifelong if you want it to be; that pushes you and demands that you show up as the best creative you can be. Sure it can take time, research, hard graft, hard truths, late nights, early mornings, blood, sweat, tears, heart & soul – the lot of it. The bags under my eyes and the racing heart in my chest when I’m running around at 5am on a film set would agree with that. But, what I have learned – I think – is that if we believe that it needs to hurt, that it needs to break us or pain us – instead of empower and teach – before we can reach the summit and celebrate then we’re sort of destined to struggle; we’re definitely restricted to thinking that’s what we deserve. Read more>>

Bridget Case | Sports Journalist, Podcast Host & Former NFL Cheerleader

When it comes to taking risks and launching a business/brand, people always say “you’ll never feel ready, you just have to do it. You just have to start!” I 100% disagree. I think if I didn’t face so much adversity throughout my career and the many transitions that I’ve made within it, I wouldn’t be thriving today. Of course I still am figuring everything out as I go, but 2016 Bridget was SO not ready to go out on her own. She was NOT ready to be an entrepreneur. Fast forward to 2019 Bridget…now she was ready. It’s all about the mindset and skills we’ve developed along the way. I’ve been able to apply random skills from my days as a professional cheerleader in the NFL and as a Sports Anchor on TV…all stuff that’s helped me develop a very unique brand! So basically – if you don’t feel ready, wait. Give yourself the time to breathe and prepare. Set yourself up for success and don’t rush it! Read more>>

Grace Hong | Floral Artist

One piece of conventional advice that I disagree with is that you need to have all your “i’s” dotted and your “t’s” crossed before you start a business. I went into my business like I do with a lot of things in my life — it was something I felt I needed to do deep in my gut for a few years, and one day, I just leapt into the fire. You just have to make the decision to do it. That’s all it takes. Once you decide to do it, it’s just a matter of holding yourself accountable with the follow-through. Of course you need to have certain logistical things in place to make it happen — product, a way to reach people, etc — but that all means nothing if you don’t make the initial decision to make that leap in the first place. I guess what I’m saying is that I think it’s okay to stumble into doing business. We’re all making things up as we go anyway. I have definitely made my fair share of mistakes since I first started moon jar, but I’m still having fun and trying new things everyday. Read more>>

Addie Doyle | Filmmaker & Actor

That being a filmmaker requires formal, expensive training. You just have to take that first imperfect leap, make sure you are organized and willing to build your own community. Invest in learning by doing to create your own stories than putting yourself in debt with student loans. Read more>>

Taylor John Williams | Songwriter & Recording Artist

When it comes to writing and releasing music (especially when you’re starting out), I think it’s a bit of a trap to prioritize quality over quantity. Of course you want to always be doing your best work possible, but unless you’re a born genius where everything you touch turns to gold, getting to your best work will likely require you to be prolific as opposed to overly precious. More work leads to better work. I know people who are unbelievably talented, yet their concern with everything being “perfect” causes them to never release any music, and thus they don’t experience the growth that comes from doing so. Read more>>

Lisa Zimmermann | Owner & Chief Candlemaker

Not all small businesses aspire to get bigger. When I started my hobby candle company – everyone would ask what my big goal was. Did I want employees? Did I want a bustling warehouse? Did I want to take big candle brands on? Where did I see my biz in five years? The thing is – I didn’t want to get bigger, and I’ve since learned that’s ok. Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes, being small is exactly where you need to be. So, why do I prefer to keep my business small? 1. Flexibility: I started making candles in my kitchen as a hobby, and it serendipitously grew into a small business. I love the art of candlemaking – and how it allows me to be creative, playful, and a little bit messy. Keeping my business small allows me the flexibility to adapt, change directions, and move as quickly or as slowly as I’m able. Read more>>

DeVante Deschwanden | Extreme Sports Athlete & Cinematographer

That you need to go to college to be successful. I gave up a full ride scholarship for mechancial engineering to go into the military, worked in the space industry, learned rocket science, was offered positions with NASA, the NRO, and multiple space agencies. I found a passion for photo/video and have been traveling the world, getting well known clients and good pay, and making a living and a name for myself. I did all of that without college.
I want people to know that there are always other options, and other avenues to “SUCCESS”. Read more>>

Sienna Thomson | Author

When pursuing creative writing, one of the most common phrases you’ll encounter is “write what you know.” Although I don’t disagree with this sentiment entirely, I think that the usual interpretation of that phrase is not helpful for aspiring writers. The fact is that everyone who writes fiction, poetry, or any kind of creative prose will inevitably write from their own experiences, outward or emotional, whether they set out with that intention or not. I think a more helpful piece of advice to give writers would be to say that you can only write what you know, so when you set out to depict experiences and identities that are not your own, make sure you examine your own perspective and biases. Do the necessary research and thoughtful consideration to write the unfamiliar in an authentic, personal, and most importantly non-damaging manner. Read more>>

Heather Backstrom | Executive Coach, Workshop Facilitator and Speaker

People often say “fake it till you make it” but I think that’s counterproductive and can only stir up underlying thoughts that tell you you’re a fraud. And when you feel like you’re faking it then you can get caught up in the trap of second guessing yourself. Worse yet, the fear of being found out can surface, which only exacerbates the cycle and puts you in protection mode. Instead, look for the 10% that is true about you. So, maybe you haven’t given a presentation to the Board before, but you have spoken at staff meetings. Or perhaps you haven’t pitched an idea to a corporate client but you have to non-profits and community groups. Or maybe you haven’t managed a whole department but you have been a team leader. Focus on the great talents, experience and skills that you do have. Take that 10% and use it to your advantage. You don’t have to fake it because its true about you. Remind yourself that you indeed have experience to draw on. When you focus what’s true about you then you feel self-assured, authentic and confident. Read more>>

Tess Bellomo | Producer, Director & Photographer

I used to believe the phrase “The way you do anything is the way you do everything” throughout my entire twenties. As I think about it, our culture tends to perpetuate a toxic dialogue about success equating to staying busy. If your schedule is packed, that means “you’ve made it”. The pandemic taught me that just because my home may be an absolute mess, this doesn’t mean I am not organized in my business endeavors. Just because I didn’t give it my all in a workout and needed to stop early, this doesn’t mean I am a lazy person who does not take care of my body. When we look at everything in such black and white terms, it negatively affects our self-worth. While I do believe in being passionate and driven, and those are two qualities I am very proud of, it is okay to step back and not have to be a superhero in every aspect of your life depending on how you’re feeling in any given moment. Read more>>

Jenni Porter | Athletic Development Specialist & Private Trainer

Get a good job. What is a good job? Is it an idea that making a good amount of money is more beneficial? This statement is too broad and really does not help anyone. If we have learned anything from the past year it is that factors of our personal life are constantly changing and landing a “good job” can be taken from you and gone tomorrow, so there has to be more to it.
Instead try looking at these factors of first finding something that you love to do, or something that constantly keeps you excited to be apart of (team). Then finding an avenue where you can continue to learn and evolve within your path (growth). The biggest blessing I have found in my career along with these first two factors is working with people that become life long friends (family), which creates not only a “good job”, but a great life you are excited to get up everyday for. Read more>>

Swim. Soul | Artist, Songwriter, Co-Creative Director and Writer

Anything is possible. I think there are a lot of impossible things, and that much of life happens within the realm of extraordinary possibilities and relatively unknowable but still constraining impossibilities. Read more>>

Agnieszka Pilat | Artist

To look for inspiration. In the creative fields, people are often told to look for inspiration, to go outside, to travel, to be in nature. I think that’s terrible advice and it’s a distraction. I found in my career, that inspiration comes from work, not the other way around: when I work consistently, inspiration always follows. The hardest thing is to start – and that is why creatives need strong habits, routines that get them into the studio, get them working – and the magic will follow. Read more>>

Coach Cat | Certified Strength Coach

The customer is always right. Read more>>

Deondrei Dior | Artist

One thing that I believe most people loved to champion as the blueprint for success is the idea of hard work gets you where you want to be. This is disrespectful to the many people who put tireless days, weeks and even years into whatever they’re trying to achieve and it doesn’t necessarily come to fruition. At least not in the way they thought it might. It’s all relative. It’s a case by case thing. Some people work really hard and get there, some people barely even try and they get there. It’s all about timing. To me, it’s about measuring where you currently are, appreciating it and sticking to the passion and the reason that got you started. I think that’s what makes someone successful, and with that, success itself is more common than most think. Read more>>

Cristin Dent

“ If you build it they will come!” Although this may sound like encouragement for people to have an idea and start a business, this is a statement that can bamboozle several entrepreneurs and business owners. Throughout my journey of entrepreneurship, I have Now come into the beauty of disagreeing with this Notion. Read more>>