In a world tailored to deliver instant gratification, how do we accept the idea that making anything worthwhile takes time?

I chat with Debbie Millman — host of the Design Matters podcast, author of six books, and all-around over-achiever — about why it’s so easy to metabolize and synthesize our accomplishments rather than recognizing them, the different ways to pace yourself to success, and what the arc of a fulfilling career really looks like.

Key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Why you don’t want to peak early in your career
  • How thinking about yourself as a personal brand constricts your self-expression
  • The difference between “marathoner” and “sprinter” approaches to creative projects
  • The problem with “moving the bar” and why we metabolize our achievements so quickly
  • How to make (and manifest) a 10-year plan for your creative career

Go Deeper

RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday. RESET is a new course from Hurry Slowly host Jocelyn K. Glei that shows relentless over-achievers how to slow down and take a heart-centered approach to productivity that’s intentional, energizing, and inspiring. Registration is open through May 17th at

Get Jocelyn’s brainwaves in your inbox. If you like Hurry Slowly, you’ll love this twice-monthly email highlighting new ideas about how to be more creative, productive, and resilient. Sign up at

Favorite Quotes

“Most of the things that I’ve done have taken me quite a long time to realize any sense of real visibility in doing them. That’s just always been the arc of my life in anything that I was doing. I didn’t really get any traction with my career for about the first decade. I now look back and call that first decade experiments in rejection and failure.”

“We were talking about the arc of a career and what he [David Lee Roth] said was, ‘You don’t really ever want to reach the peak because when you reach the peak you’re often alone, and it’s always cold. The only direction is down.’ I thought, ‘My, God, that’s got to be one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard.’”

“I am a master metabolizer. I metabolize any achievement or success almost instantly, almost as if it’s Gatorade. Then I keep looking for the next thing to metabolize, and I use these things to feel better about myself.”


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A shortlist of the ideas & resources that we touched on in our conversation:

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