Episode #13: How to See Pain Points As Growth Opportunities with Lisa Congdon

Do you get stuck when you hear negative feedback? Are you dealing with Imposter Syndrome? Today’s guest, Lisa Congdon shares helpful advice for how to see pain points in your creative journey as opportunities to push yourself and grow.

Lisa Congdon is an Illustrator and author who is best known for her colorful, graphic drawings and hand lettering.  

She works for clients around the world including Comme des Garçons, Crate and Barrel, Facebook, MoMA, REI, and Harvard University among many others. 

She is the author of eight books, including the starving-artist-myth-smashing “Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist” and her latest book “Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic” which recently hit shelves in August 2019. 

Lisa was also named one of 40 Women Over 40 in 2015 and she is featured in the 2017 book, 200 Women Who Will Change the Way you See the World. 

Lisa lives and works in Portland, Oregon.



  • Conquer Imposter Syndrome

  • Accept and Learn From Struggle

  • See Feedback as Information

  • Work Through The Pain Points of the Creative Process

  • Embrace Your Audience

  1. If you are dealing with imposter syndrome, stand in it, calling it what it is, have compassion for yourself for feeling it, and then, in that moment, try to have the opposite feeling.

  2. There are very few things in life that don’t eventually come with some sort of struggle. Accept that struggle is part of life and it’s not something to be fought, but to be embraced and used as a way to grow.

  3. Look at fear with love and give it a bear hug.

  4. When you put your work into the world, and it doesn’t seem like anybody else is responding to it, realize that it is just information. Maybe you need to go back and work on your technique more, or maybe you need to push it a little bit further, or maybe you need to sit with your work longer before you put it out into the world. We would never become better artists if we weren’t constantly pushing ourselves to work through the stuff that’s messy or hard.

  5. The creative process is painful, but once you work through the pain of practice, criticism, vulnerability or boredom – you’re building a muscle that you can use again and again and again. And once you build that muscle, you’ll feel much better off. So stick with it!

  6. When you are starting out, progress is going to be slower, you are going to have more struggles, you’re going to feel less fluent in your medium or your technique, but eventually you will have less messiness and more ease the more you work at it. It’s no different than training for a marathon  – it doesn’t mean that there’s no pain, it just means you are in better shape.

  7. Protect yourself and set boundaries. Work on getting comfortable with saying “no”, disappointing people who want to work with you, let go of perfection, ask for extensions when you need them, getting enough sleep and set healthy work hours.

  8. If you are experiencing burnout and all the things that come from it, such as depression and anxiety – you have to intentionally unravel all of what you have been raveling for a while – and it may have to be done in stages.

  9. You always have an audience, it’s not always necessarily the audience that the world deems cool. So embrace that. Just do you. Do what you love and pay attention to what resonates with people and do more of that. You’re relevant to someone. You just have to figure out the someones that you are relevant to. And once you find them – embrace them.

  10. You can’t find your creative voice without showing up and making art every day. Show up and do the work. 

Highlight REAL Podcast Episode #13 "How To See Pain Points As Growth Opportunities" with Lisa Congdon and Host Josephine Kimberling
Highlight REAL Podcast Episode #13 "How To See Pain Points As Growth Opportunities" with Lisa Congdon and Host Josephine Kimberling
Highlight REAL Podcast Episode #13 "How To See Pain Points As Growth Opportunities" with Lisa Congdon and Host Josephine Kimberling

Have you found your true audience? Take a moment and describe them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *