Creative thinking is the MOST sought-after skill in the world! After all, AI is able to do all programmable work. BUT creativity is NOT artistry. It’s alternative thinking to solving problems.

I am joined by Nina Pearse, founder of Creativity Wake Up. Nina’s vision is to invest in leaders’ creative thinking and evolve business culture.

Creative muscles can be exercised. Nina and her team stretch your fluidity, speed of thought and originality! And we need so much more of THIS!

Show notes

  • Nina’s journey started in finance and banking.
  • She moved into teaching and adult learning.
  • Designing and facilitating courses for leaders and managers.
  • But Nina wanted to do more!
  • Exploring ways to better secure her future and be in touch with her true purpose.
  • It is not always evident when you start on your journey, so keep exploring!
  • Get over your fear of failure.
  • The most powerful force in this journey is TIME.
  • It is either working for you or against you. You NEED to focus on your habits.
  • It’s tiny little decisions you make every day that accumulates over time and makes the BIGGEST difference.
  • Every day you have new brain cells – YOU decide how you think!
  • The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time to start is today!
  • What is a your “WHY”?
  • Nina’s vision is to invest in leaders’ creative thinking and evolve business culture.
  • Exercise creative thinking to maximise their business output.
  • Creativity is not artistry. Creativity is alternative thinking and problem solving.
  • Stretching your fluidity, speed of thought and originality.
  • Deep solo thinking is lost in today’s mad rush.
  • Move human capital to agile design-thinking.
  • Use YOUR creative thinking to solve the problems of today.

Learn more about Creativity Wake Up

Check out Creative Wake Up’s website and Facebook page.

Sign up for the FREE Master Class on ‘How to start a business without wasting time and money’

Click here to sign up for one of our four free webinar’s on starting a side Hustle

Related Content

If you enjoyed this podcast, you will enjoy the power of quick brave targets, imposter to influencer and how to find your passion.

Other people i’ve interviewed who have done the side hustle course are Monika Malan (From IT project manager to Meal Planning side hustle) and Shotgun Tori (Changing the financial future of creatives)

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Lisa Linfield:                       00:09                     Hello everybody, and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. I’m joined by Nina Pearse who recently did my side hustle course, but has a fantastic story about finding your passion and purpose and stepping into a future with so much potential. Nina, thanks for joining us.

Nina Pearse:                      00:42                     Thank you, Lisa. I’m very excited to be here.

Lisa Linfield:                       00:45                     So tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got to actually decide that you wanted to start a side hustle.

Nina Pearse:                      00:52                     So Lisa I started out in finance and accounting. I worked in banking for a while and then quickly realized that I didn’t want any of those jobs for myself. So I moved into what actually I’d loved as a child that often looked up at a teacher and thought I want to be a teacher. But I decided not to go into school teaching, but into adult learning and development. I’ve actually now worked in that field for about 20 years. I started out in SAP training and then I’ve moved to Deloitte Consulting and people in change. I worked in Dimension Data for many years in human resources looking after the leadership forum and employee engagement and other things like that.

                                                                                And for the last six years I have been designing and facilitating learning for leaders and managers as an associate with Connemara and with Seed who are a digital learning company and learnt a lot there and loved what I’ve been doing. And worked with awesome people, but just been having this feeling growing within me that I want more, I have more to give and I have more of a specific purpose. And that’s what led me to start thinking about side hustle.

Lisa Linfield:                       02:02                     So you have this sense of wanting more and I could so relate to it because when I was working in corporate, whilst I loved what I did and I really enjoyed my work and found it stimulating and all of those good things, I had this sense that there was more to life than what I was doing? And it started a journey for me in terms of finding my passion and purpose, but it was never a lightning and thunderbolt moment. It was never something that came in one time. It was a number of false starts, a number of wrong turns and night’s been researching. I remember the one was a printing franchise, like being the printer for small businesses. And I like stationary and I think I had this thing that maybe this would be it, but it was just in the end waste of time. But just part of it is the journey to find your passion and purpose.

Nina Pearse:                      02:56                     Yes. Yeah.

Lisa Linfield:                       02:57                     So you decided to start side hustle and find something where you looking for your passionate purpose or were you just exploring for something different?

Nina Pearse:                      03:06                     I was exploring how to secure a better future for myself and our family. I was also exploring how to do something on my own. So I didn’t know exactly where it was going to lead me, but I did have a sense that it was more connected to what I was supposed to be doing. And I think the same was happening with my sister Celia Falkenberg who I’ve started the business with. She has been an architect and a fine artist for many years and she has previously also wanted to move away from architecture and I’m laughing when you were saying about the printing business. She started a party hiring business for party games. All these beautiful old fashioned games she made herself and constructed this pat pat field and all of this stuff and started working in it and the design and the creation of it was so beautiful and fun and exciting for her and then actually running it I think it killed her.

                                                                                And she was like “No, this is not what I want to do. Spending my weekends going around, dropping things off.” And so yeah, so it’s not always evident straight away, but you’re not going to know unless you try that out and say, “What does this feel like when I’m actually doing it?”

Lisa Linfield:                       04:12                     Absolutely. It’s one of the things that I always say to someone is take the first step because the reality of this is that if you keep pushing and keep exploring, you will find what it is that you were born on this earth to do. But having said that, it just doesn’t come to you lying in bed one day. You have to keep exploring and you have to have all those almost wrong turns are part of finding the place where your right turn is.

Nina Pearse:                      04:38                     Absolutely. Absolutely. They’re so necessary and that’s something that I’ve been learning so much as this fear of failure I guess that I have, which so many people have. And this imposter syndrome, which I’ve read probably 70% of people studied in the US have this imposter syndrome where you think everyone else knows what’s going on, but I don’t know how to do this or I don’t know how to run this business or this won’t ever be me. So what I’ve learned so much through your course Lisa is the mindset is absolutely key. The thinking behind what you’re doing and the belief in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, that is what’s going to give you the grit and the perseverance to stick through and do what you want to do.

Lisa Linfield:                       05:18                     And I think that’s such a huge important thing. I always say the biggest journey I’ve been on in setting up my own business had to do with my own personal development. Building that confidence that comes from deep within me, not from external people telling you that your stuff is good and that gap in terms of what you’re needing to produce and where your personal self confidence is, is what these two imposter syndrome. And I still find that there’s not a day I don’t feel like I’m an imposter somewhere-

Nina Pearse:                      05:50                     Still.

Lisa Linfield:                       05:53                     You’re shocked. That’s hysterical. No, every single day I feel like an imposter and it’s just the degree of it that is better or worse. In fact, I’m actually doing a course I started it last night called from imposter to influencer.

Speaker 1:                           06:06                     No ways.

Nina Pearse:                      06:06                     And that’s so funny how it’s different perception that could be a perception in your head and my perception of you as someone who’s got everything together, everything’s working. She knows exactly what she’s doing. So professional.

Lisa Linfield:                       06:17                     But do you know that’s a reality of life? I actually was sitting on a panel the other day at a networking thing, and one of the other speakers said something that struck me hugely and that was that she’s not confident, she’s just brave. She will take on steps that other people haven’t. And the challenge with brave is you can only be brave in the presence of fear. So I mean that warrior chick isn’t brave when she’s sitting on the couch smashing popcorn watching Netflix. That’s not brave. The warrior is brave when she’s out there facing things that frighten her. And for all of us, I think we all have a certain level of fears that just come from the journeys that we’ve passed. But what you see is the upper of stepping through that fear. But it doesn’t mean that the fears don’t direct every single day, which is what makes one feel like an imposter.

                                                                                So what has been your biggest journey? You stepped into doing the side hustle as kind of taking one of those first steps in defining what it’s supposed to be and you have now molded and shaped an idea called creativity wake up. And these are courses that you’d lead leaders, executives, business owners, anybody through in terms of working up their creativity. Before we get onto what it is that that is, what has been your biggest thing that you have needed to learn to get from a stage of I think I need to do something to actually having implemented two of these?

Nina Pearse:                      07:52                     So Lisa I think it has been a big shift in mindset and that’s come through probably a few influences on that. One of them being a book that my husband gave me called the Slight Edge. He highly recommended it and it took me so long, as slow as I am I think sometimes in my thinking to start reading it and it completely shifted how I think about things. So the Slight Edge is about how we are all on a journey and the most powerful force behind that journey is time and time is always working for you or against you according to the author Jeff Olson. And he said, this applies in every area of your life, whether it be fitness, health, wealth, personal development. And unless you are focusing on your habits and aware that what you do every day matters, the negative things or the bad habits can compound over time and he says, “No one gets broke overnight. No one becomes unfit overnight. It is those tiny little decisions you make every single day.”

                                                                                Example being at lunch time do you buy Energade at lunch spending 20 rand or five dollars or whatever it’s going to cost you? Or do you have the free water that is offered? So the impact as you make that choice, will it matter today if I have the cool drink or the soft drink? No, it’s not really going to matter today, but over time, every time you’re making that decision, you are first of all spending that money that you could have been using elsewhere and then you’re filling your body with sugar, which is going to make you a bit hungry in the afternoon, which is going to make you eat a bit more each day. It’s going to get your brain more addicted to that sugar and so on and so on. So it’s the tiny things that are so mundane and so small, but they make a big difference.

                                                                                So that really started shifting my mind because I looked at people around me who had successfully started businesses and had always seemed so far out of reach and I couldn’t see how the small things that I do each day would make a difference. And so what I’ve been learning is how not to score in the small things and small beginnings and actually have more perseverance with starting arts more and taking a longer view. So, that was one of the big influences. And another was a book recommended to me by a friend, Kirsten [Bywise 00:10:04]. And we did a little WhatsApp book study group, which was actually quite fun. And it was called Think Learn Succeed by Doctor Caroline Leaf. Really focusing on the brain and how our brain is neuro plastic and we have neurogenesis or new cells in our brain every single day. And it’s up to us how we think, decide and choose.

                                                                                So this kind of victim mentality of, oh, I can’t do this or I’ve got a bad memory or whatever, it’s all rubbish. You decide how you will think. And that really started changing how I think and how I approach things. And I could see as I started implementing the things she was talking about, how I started thinking differently. And then finally your course, it just had such a huge impact on me. I had been listening to your podcast. Listening to how you had been talking about the side hustle and I was really keen. I signed up and it amazed me that this quite technical financial business strategic course started with such a strong psychological beginning. And you start off by saying, “What is your why? Why do you want to do this? What do you want to get out of it? Why are you going to spend time and effort on a side hustle?”

                                                                                And that was so huge for me because I realized that I just give up too easily and it really helped me. And you brought it through the whole course reminding us all along of our why and why we’re doing this and it just gave me the strength and the mental perseverance to actually start something new and to step into something brave.

Lisa Linfield:                       11:33                     I find it such a difficult thing because by nature I am an analytical person and I want a plus B equals C and I want the what to be so much more important than any of those free free mindset stuff. I’m quite a straight down the line straight through the end. I find that one of my most difficult challenges in my financial planning business has been understanding that only 10% of whether my clients are successful in meeting their long term financial goals has to do with me and about 90% has to do with the behavior. Do they choose that energade and waste that 20 rand or five dollars or do they actually choose to invest more? And it’s been such a difficult thing and in starting my business and coaching and mentoring other people to start side hustles. One of the challenges always comes is that it is so dependent on your mindset.

                                                                                This whole thing of being brave and steeping up. If I hadn’t being brave and crossed a major threshold of fear of failure or any of that stuff, an imposter syndrome when I started my podcast, there’s so much of my life that would be different. And for you that whole journey in terms of understanding that it’s not a get rich quick. It’s not a something that’s going to overnight make you a whole different human being with a whole different financial position at a whole different set of clients and things like that. That it is little small steps that you’ve got to take every single day. Those little things that cumulate over time that you wake up and thank goodness, look where I am. I have developed two courses and landed them. In terms of the course, which portion of the course creation or the implementation or finding the customers, which portion of the whole life cycle has been the hardest part for you?

Nina Pearse:                      13:23                     So I absolutely love the design of the course. I think Celia and I thrived on that. We loved bringing together our knowledge and experience and ideas and we were learning a lot and it was great fun putting it together. I suppose what might’ve been quite hard is there is so much about creativity and to try and distill it down to say what are we trying to get across in this one day workshop, which is really just a booster for a creative journey. It started out as a public course for people who are interested in coming to further their creative thinking to invest in their creativity. And we want to move it more looking at how to help leaders understand the stuff in order to nurture, develop and protect a creative culture within their businesses. But from the outs, if there’s so much that one can do, we really need kind of 12 weeks with people and hopefully we’ll get there where we can get a longer course and it does almost seem how much can we do with people in one day.

                                                                                But what we distilled it down to is to help people understand what creativity is about. What creative thinking is, how it differs from artistry, how it differs from creative expression and how it can be used to solve problems and in all aspects of our lives. What they think about it themselves, and then how to really exercise these creative muscles in your brain and how to plug into things that will nurture it. So we want people to be really inspired, to be excited to feel a sense of freedom and a sense of relief. Because a lot of it isn’t really what you teach about creativity. It’s reminding people that they are creative already and how they can take off all the stuff that’s been dragging them down for the years. So the creativity word in itself is a hard one already. It’s already connected very much to artists and artistry.

                                                                                We currently have a big splash of paint on our logo and it’s about throwing paint against a wall kind of thing. It’s that freedom of that, but it’s not really about just painting and artistry and that. It’s about how to unlock creative thinking. So how we will present that to corporates and move with that along the way is a different step, but the idea of people being almost, I see them almost like mummies that we have this bright creative light inside of us, which was there from when we were born and has such a powerful force. And it’s been wrapped in cloth and mud and caked with hurt and dirt and wrong thinking over our lives for many of us. It’s how to get that off and let people come out and shine. So that part has been so exciting working on that because I feel so passionate about that. So many people we talk to really get excited when we talk about that because I think people know inherently they have this inside of them.

Lisa Linfield:                       16:11                     That’s okay. And it’s a real time assignment if I take for myself, I have 10 left hands. I am not what I would call creative. I remember in grade six when we were both at Rodin together, my art teacher, his dog managed to eat my art a lot. And in fact we were tasked to draw something from a circus. And I drew the fire being thrown by fire and the wood had these like pink drips that dripped on. You know, because obviously it was too with the paint or whatever it was. And his dog loved their painting because it never made it to the display of everybody. So I have long lived with the mantra that I have the creativity of a peanut and it’s been something I’ve told myself the whole time. But in actual fact, what I’ve worked at is whilst I can’t draw or paint.

                                                                                And these really are two very highly challenging things. Is that A, I was never taught recipes because I believe that everyone can be good at something. Whether you’re great is whether you are uniquely passionate and talented at it. I could have at least learned how not to mix the paint so that it all dripped all over the place. And the second thing I’ve learned is that one of my superpowers is problem solving and in order to do problem solving, you have to be able to be both creative and connect the dots. And in terms of those creative solutions, that in itself is creativity. So what I’ve had to change in my brain is not that I have the creativity of a peanut, I potentially I’m not equipped to draw well. But having said that, I have problem solving creativity in a different way.

Nina Pearse:                      17:49                     Absolutely. And that’s the creativity we really want to unlock. It is sad if we just put creativity in the box of a visual expression or artistic expression and they are so many expressions and so many people. I was doing some work with bankers up in Zambia and when we had a small session designed by a colleague of mine on creativity, we talked about creativity for innovation and then what creative pursuits do you have outside of your work? And I was amazed at how many of them were secret photographers. One of them walked around the circle taking pictures of people. Some of them had always wanted to play the guitar, but it’s sat they’re in their room and a lot of them had these creative pursuits that I really believe can stimulate our brains to help solve problems in the office as well because it’s all connected and how our brain starts to look at problems.

                                                                                But it doesn’t mean if you can’t paint or do ballet or build a remote controlled car that you don’t have the ability to look at problems in a different way and stretch your fluency, your speed of thought, your originality. There are so many things that we can work on in our brains to bring about and to actually practice. And this is the thing with creativity and creative thinking that it is also a practice. We can develop it in our mind. That’s what’s so exciting for me that it is working these creative muscles is one thing, and then also taking in more. Nikki Bush once put it so succinctly, she said “Children need to connect the dots, but they need to have the dots in their brain to start off with.”

                                                                                So she was talking about getting children to read. So certainly the more expertise we have in a field, the more dots we have in there that we can be doing the connecting with, but that’s also why creative collaboration is so important. Yes, there’s solo thinking that’s important and deep thinking which has lost a bit in our society I think these days where everything is a tweet or a headline and we don’t spend time doing deep thinking. But being able to think creatively with a group in a setting where we have created a culture, an environment that is safe, where there is trust and where there is this bravery to put forward ideas and to think creatively together.

Lisa Linfield:                       20:03                     So you have taken amazing steps. It’s been not even six months of little bits and pieces, but nothing formed in your mind to taking an unbelievable state of putting yourself and creating a course and delivering that course twice through this whole process. If you look back at the journey, what would you have done differently?

Nina Pearse:                      20:25                     I think I would have started earlier. I love that saying, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today. So I kicked myself because I think if only I had been reading more earlier, one of the things where the Slight Edge, they talk about reading 10 pages of a good book a day as a practice and how you can learn in one year. So I would have started earlier and at least been building up my brain and starting with these practices earlier. But as you said, I think I’ve had to learn what I’ve had to learn to get to where I am. And I don’t want to spend too much time looking back because I’ve learned so much already and I just want to look forward and not be too scared of making mistakes. I read a quote by Elon Musk saying something about if you’re not failing enough, you’re not trying enough. So I need to be brave about that and just get up there and try things.

Lisa Linfield:                       21:20                     If you look forward in la la land where the world is wonderful and everything works out perfectly, how would you like this journey to unfold in this year and in the long term?

Nina Pearse:                      21:33                     Well, in the short term Celia and are really keen to start engaging with corporates and working with leaders and leadership teams to help them understand their own creativity and nurture these cultures of creativity. So we’d love to be doing that. We’d love to be having some longer term engagements where it’s not just the one day. I think what we have now serves as a wonderful one day team build, one day kickstart, getting teams going and we can follow that up with somebody who calls on things, but we’d also love to have a bit more of a longer engagement.

                                                                                I’m also an Agile people consultant and I have some great business connections who work in that area as well. That really excites me is helping human resources move to a more Agile model. So I’d love to work hand in hand with some of those colleagues of mine to help consult with companies to get there. Because the Agile environment really supports creativity more than many of our environments here in South Africa. I’d love to be doing some keynote speaking and also be working with schools. We already have some teachers interested in working with us and I’m so passionate about schools and education and doing whatever we can to support teachers to do the best job they can do. I strongly believe the teaching profession should be one of the most highly paid in the country and education is the best thing we can do for this country is educate our people.

                                                                                So if there ways we can help release the creativity and passion and inspiration for our teachers and how they think about schooling and also how we as South Africans think about our problems. I think we all could be applying our creative brains so much more instead of sitting in front of the couch or just throwing our hands up in despair. We could be putting our heads together and doing a lot more thinking and a lot more creative thinking about how we can solve problems in South Africa. I’d love to be helping using creative thinking to get businesses and NGOs together and think about problems together differently.

Lisa Linfield:                       23:34                     I love that. I think that is a fantastic vision and not if but when you achieve this, I think that you will have changed the path of so much. Because I think that it is hugely important that we tap into, as you said, that light of creativity inside us to solve these big problems that we all face. And for each of us personally, those problems are our owner and if we could find a different creative solution to them that would be fantastic. But then collectively as countries, as nations, as a globe, we face huge problems that I have to believe that in amongst the seven billion of us hanging out here on this tiny little patch, we should be able to solve the problems that we have. Because there is so much of that in a lot of creative and problem solving skills that we were designed or created with the answer to the problems. It’s just getting us all to leverage each other and come up. And as you say, an environment of trust to solve these problems.

Nina Pearse:                      24:35                     Absolutely. And I think also what I love so much about creativity is that that light brings so much light to the rest of our lives as well. So part of having truly creative thinking is being able to not take yourself so seriously. Being able to laugh more, being able to help inspire more creativity in your kids and bring more enjoyment into life and less of the heaviness that sometimes hangs around us. So that’s what really excites me.

Lisa Linfield:                       25:04                     What I love about your program is the fact that you have found a tangible way to bring creativity into corporate problem solving. I really struggled with this intangible [ru ru 00:25:16] stuff. And I laugh at myself because it’s so much of what I teach that in order to be successful in life, you actually have to get your mindset right. But I’ve often found that creativity has been put to the side because the people who are trying to teach it are trying to make us or boom smoking artists and crazy thing, which is absolutely not the approach that you’ve taken.

                                                                                You’ve taken approach which is based in science, which is based in practical problem solving in corporates. And you’ve put it together with fantastic ways to help us learn the tools of problem solving, not from an analytical A+B equals C manner. But from the whole other rights side of our brain that we have available to us to solve these problems. And the fact that you’ve packaged it in a way that businesses can engage with. And I think that that is extremely powerful. So if people want to get hold of you. How would they get to do any of these courses and do a creativity workshop?

Nina Pearse:                      26:18                     So Lisa, they can go to our website, which is We’re also on Facebook at Creativity Wake Up. So we’d love to hear from people and engage and see how we can help release scratch up thinking.

Lisa Linfield:                       26:32                     Well thank you so much. I really appreciate your time Nina and good luck on your journey.

Nina Pearse:                      26:36                     Thank you so much Lisa.

Lisa Linfield:                       26:38                     That was Nina Pierce. And what I love about her story is the fact that she found her passion in a field that was right next door to the one that she was doing as her day job. That teaching corporates was what she was paid to do. But what she found is what she wanted to teach them was to teach them how to wake up their creativity and not just for them, but to problem solve for the greater problems that face South Africa. So for those of you who want to learn step by step, how you both find and then implement your side hustle, there’s a button on our page where you can go and preregister for the next side hustle, which will be on the 15th of May.

                                                                                And in the meantime we’ll be starting a series of master classes. So watch the Facebook page working women’s wealth, where I’ll be opening up registration for my master classes that you can start to see whether a side hustle is for you. They’re free, they’ll be informative, they’ll be fun. So I really suggest that all of you come along if you want to just see if this is your way forward. I’m passionate about people finding their passion, but mostly about people having enough money so that retirement is allowing them to live the life they want to live. Take care. Have a great week, and we’ll see you in the Facebook page.