Mahrukh Imtiaz

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Bringing Joy to Content Creation: Tips and Insights from a Mastermind 

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In this witty episode, Jen, Erin, and I talk about the importance of managing your emotional and physical well-being as a content creator. We explore the significance of finding fulfillment in your work and emphasize the importance of taking breaks to recharge when facing creative blocks and exhaustion. Erin shares valuable insights on how incorporating the word “joy” into our daily vocabulary can positively impact our overall well-being, while Jen provides practical tips on managing burnout and navigating through emotional and mental challenges. 

“Never process in your head, always process on paper.”

Highlights from this episode: 

2:20 Definition of Joy 

7:12 embracing joy

9:05 Joy Is a Full-Body Experience

13:49- My Style of Work 

 16:28 Process It on Paper 

18:14 Getting Burnt Out Is Human/ Final Thoughts

Connect with Erin Baker






A little bit about Erin:

Erin Baker is a Psychology Ph.D.-turned-self-leadership coach, business strategist, internal Family Systems practitioner, and the author of the best-selling book “Joy-Full AF”. known for their infectious energy, unapologetic authenticity, and incisive wit which is reflected in their book and highlights how we have been chasing after joy in our lives without even realizing it.

Check out Erin’s Book:
Joy-Full AF

Other Relevant Episodes:

Inside the Mind of a Best-Selling Author: The Highs and Lows of Writing a Book with Erin Baker 

The Realities of Being a Creator: Debunking Myths with Michael Barris  

Building Your Network as a Creator with Adam Marx 

LinkedIn 101, Content Strategy, and Marketing with Saarim Asady 

Journey from 0 to 50,000 YouTube subscribers within a Year with Indian Man in America


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Episode Transcript

Mahrukh Imtiaz 0:00
Content burnout is a very real thing. It’s one thing I keep hearing from you again and again. But for me, what’s helped me out the most is bringing joy in the process.

Welcome to the Spicy Chai Podcast. I’m Mahrukh Imtiaz. I host this podcast and still work a successful and fulfilling nine-to-five. My guests are content creators just a bit ahead of you, you will hear about their struggles and then learn from their mistakes so that you can avoid making them.

So, grab a cup of Spicy Chai. And let’s get started.

It’s the word that I’ve actually learned from Erin Baker. I used to hate saying the word joy. I used to say, oh, it’s fun. It brings me happiness. But joy Oh, no, can never do that. So today, we’re just going to talk about that. How can we bring more happiness more fun and more joy in the process of content? Welcome, Erin and Jen,

Jennifer Szad 0:46
Thanks for having us first.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 0:48
So to start off, what are your initial thoughts?

Well, I’m gonna start with I want to ask you, because I remember this conversation that you and I had several months ago, and I said, What are your thoughts on replacing your favorite quote was chase excellence and the successful chase you replacing that with Chase joy and successful chase you and I remember, you had this very initial reaction like okay, and then you’re like, wait, no, no, no, no. So I want to go back before we even talk about content creation and joy and be like, what was your immediate reaction to the concept of joy that had you so avoidant of it,

Mahrukh Imtiaz 1:22
I always thought of joy as something that would lead you to homelessness, or something that would you know, if you were having too much fun, you’re not doing things right. And I didn’t even think of it as fun because I liked doing things that are more fun, but it was like, Oh, if I’m done watching the practice of joy, that’s weird. That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re not as invested. You’re relaxing. That’s when you relax, and don’t do anything. That’s when you watch Netflix and you know, eat your favorite biryani. That’s joy, but that has nothing to do with business business is different content creation is different. It can be fun, but it can’t be joyful. So that was my reaction to it. Like, oh, no, no, I don’t know. Why would I choose joy? Why would I chase a place where I’m watching Netflix all day?

So watch joy for you. Now if we’re going to tell everybody out there, you know, hey Chase, fun Chase, Joy Chase happiness, what is joy for you?

Mahrukh Imtiaz 2:08
It says place of inner calm and peace. And sometimes they do get it from watching Netflix. And sometimes they do get it from eating biryani not all the time. But you know, sometimes they do. And it’s this place that I’m actually really enjoying being in it makes me like want to continue living life one day at a time not wanting to worry about the future not worrying about the past. It’s just you’re living in a state of joy now, am I able to achieve that every day? No. But the days that I do, I’m like, oh, today was a really good day. I was really feeling good. And those are the days when I feel like oh, yeah, because I was really embracing the joy in my life. That’s how I think of it now. It’s still a work in progress. So I’m not going to say oh, I’ve perfected it. But that’s how I see it. On that note. You wrote a full book on joy. You weren’t even thinking about it. I remember you talking about that. It wasn’t even on your radar. So why don’t you talk about that a little bit? What got it on your Yeah,

I mean, I think this is an important thing, because I think joy is such an important part of any endeavor, content, creation, business, all of that. And the word was not in my vocabulary, like UMR didn’t have any relevance to business. I have a friend, his name’s Miyama Shang. And he was telling me a couple of years ago, he had this world Joy movement. And I was like, Oh, that’s nice for me on my he’s good for a really, really, really cool guy. He’s got a smile that like his whole face lights up. And I went, Oh, that’s cool for you. But then I started actually looking into what is joy mean? And when am I like successful in my business? When am I happiest in my business. And I started to realize, when I started put the language together was all joy. And for me, I love how you say, you know, it’s inner peace for you. But what I’ve learned is joy is different for everybody. We all have a slightly different definition of it. We all kind of don’t know how to put our fingers on it. But we all know what we don’t have it. For me joy, I think it’s really relevant to the content creation thing is joy is about when I’m really deeply connected to me. And that means I’m being myself and that sort of really cliche authentic expression way, but I’m really being myself and I really liked myself and I’m expressing I’m kind of in a place of curiosity about the world, I feel creative. I even have the courage to take risks and do things that I normally wouldn’t. And so there’s like a space of being sort of in flow. And I find, yeah, with content creation, I see that as such a key to being able to put yourself out in the world every day and to really keep yourself from burning out.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 4:27
Yeah. And that’s for sure. But how do you get there? Like, you know, for me, it was a lot of healing work conversations with you about joy and Jen, like, you know, and it’s just still working on like, this is okay, this is normal. This should be part of the process. And I think part of me always thought that joy was ridiculous because I always thought like hippies being really like joyful, right? I’m like, oh, to be joyful means to be hippyish. Right? Like you kind of are enjoying your life, but you know, you might not have any money. So it’s just like, that’s how I correlated it. Um, And I think that’s where I was like, Oh, if I’m joyful, I won’t have any money. If I’m joyful, I’m homeless, you know, but it’s hard to get to the point where you’re like, No, none of that is true. Yeah, I’m kind of interested to hear what you guys have to say about that.

I’ll tell you briefly. For me, it’s experimenting. And it’s like one tiny shift at a time, I didn’t just all of a sudden look at everything I do, as a business owner and content creator and go, I’m just all in and enjoy. Now, that was just way too much for my nervous system. Right? So and there was a lot of healing I did there was like, Where can I choose joy in one area and see what happens? And then where can I choose joy again, and see what happens. And we’re gonna choose joy again, and see what happens. And I slowly started seeing, Oh, things are better. And whatever better means whatever metrics for success when I choose joy, and so I just at some point was like, alright, well, I give in, I’m going the joy route.

Jennifer Szad 5:52
That’s the irony, isn’t it, you chase Joy thinking that the risk is that you’re not going to have these like external results. And the irony is that oftentimes, those results really only come when you embody that joy, you know, so it’s like the getting there through that joy. Yeah, and I think you both are touching on something really important, which is something that resonates with me a lot. And it’s this idea that joy, it’s not like a head thing, you can’t like think yourself into it. Joy, at least for me, it’s something that comes from listening to your body, like listening to my body, what I need mark, you had mentioned like Netflix can bring you joy, sometimes other times, it doesn’t bring any joy. So what that points to is like the Netflix was not where the joy resides, where the joy resides in you, like, what do you need? What’s your body asking you for? You know, is your body asking you for rest? Is it asking you to go out and dance or to take a risk or go connect with somebody or you know, a million other things? And I think that probably beyond the scope of this conversation, but I know that we we’ve had these conversations many times about what could be at the root of this. But suffice to say, in our world today, it seems to me that we’re so many of the messages we’re getting is to ignore our body and to really follow our kind of our mental or intellectual headspace, like, what is that telling us to do? And unfortunately, I think it’s kind of like divorcing us from the joy that’s like, in us or accessible to us when we do that. So why did they kind of have to circle back to that?

Yeah, I’m so glad you said that. Because that’s a big part of what I talked about in my book is, Joy is a full body experience. And Joy is about listening, and tuning in to our bodies. And that’s what makes whatever we’re doing. If we’re talking about content creation, or running a business or being a leader in a company, if you want to be in something for the long term, you’ve got to tune in and listen to your body, and follow the joy. And a lot of what burns people out is when they say I have to do I have to consistently show up every day, or you know, I have to show up this many times a day, and I have to write if it’s content creation, I have to write about these certain things. I can never break free of them. And none of that is tuning in to what am I feel like today? What am I inspired by today? Do I want to share today? Do I need a break? Do I need Netflix? Right? It’s true.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 8:16
And you know what I love about what you both are saying is listening to your body. Right? And that is such an underrated skill, like being able to listen to your body. But how do people even start that process? I know for me ways to do that.

Here’s one of the things I want to say that’s really, really important. So many people have good reason to be disconnected from their body. There are people who have physical trauma in their past, there are people who have had things like eating disorders. So any sort of reconnecting to your body should be from a space of what feels safe for me. And if it’s something that doesn’t feel safe, it’s okay to do practices with a professional like a therapist or a personal trainer or something else or to ignore practices that trigger those parts of your body that are are upset, right? So for some people, meditation is a really bad thing because it makes them really anxious. Don’t go meditate. For some people doing any sort of body scan, where you feel all your sensations brings back past trauma, don’t go do that. But there’s lots of different things you can do. Dance we talked about already, right? Meditation going out and being in nature, any sort of mindful sensory stuff, I often give clients homework to go do one new thing with their senses every day. So that could be putting your feet on the ground or smelling the roses on a walk or getting a piece of candy and just focusing on the taste of the candy as you suck on it and feel all the textures. So there’s lots of little ways just thinking about engaging different senses in a safe way. Oh, I love that.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 9:53
I know I love those examples. You said something earlier that I was thinking about and you said you know so many people don’t I tune into their joy, like do they want to show up today? Do they want to share today? What would you say to people that would say, Well, if I were to listen to myself, I wouldn’t create any content.

So then I would say, why are you doing it? Are you really tuned in deeply to something you want to do? If the answer is there’s still a deeper desire for content creation, then there’s a fear on the way that’s not tuning into your joy, that’s falling fear, right? So go back to why it’s very Simon Sinek concept, and then go back to why you’re doing it in the first place. And if if it’s all about shoulds, in suppose tos, or something that you think is the smart thing to do, or, you know, a lot of people in my space in an entrepreneurship think it’s something they have to do, of course, they don’t want to create content. But if there’s something you like, deeply down desire to share with the world, and then you don’t want to show up, then, okay, let’s look at what’s in the way. Is it fear? Is it Oh, you need rest. I mean, some people go through seasons, I know people who go through seasons of they post every day for a while, and then you don’t see him for two months, because that’s how their inspiration works. They just know that about themselves.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 11:08
That’s so true. That’s something I’m learning about my style for sure. Where I’m just like, I want to go all out for two months. And then I want to take a three week break. And I’m trying it Oh, it’s working really well, you know, and I’m feeling inspired to just continue going versus before it was like, keep going just plan in advance schedule batch, blah, blah, blah. But mean, you know, when I started this podcast, it was a weekly podcast. And then I decided, no, I want to do seasons, seasons work for me. So yeah, that’s very true. I think I even I heard Simone speak about how she goes through periods of depression. And she built that into her business like this is going to happen to her, knows it. And she builds it in. That’s what kind of inspired me I was like, Oh, wow, if seven figure business owner builds in depression periods into her whole strategy, that that says something, right,

Jennifer Szad 11:59
yeah. And a couple of things I’ll say on this, as well is, so first of all, I don’t know if any of your listeners are gonna relate to this. But I know myself, what will often happen is, I will hear something like this type of conversation, like we’re having right now about having to get into your body to men, you know, all of these things are talking about. And I will almost use that as a reason to beat myself up a bit when I’m not able to follow through perfectly. So if like tomorrow, I’m not self aware, the whole day about what my body is doing the past me would definitely feel a bit of shame, or a bit of guilt, at least around that. So one thing that I will say is that this whole thing that we’re talking about is a process. And in a lot of ways, it really is like everyone’s life’s to get to know who you are know, like what’s happening in your body and really honor that. It sounds really easy. It’s a lot of pretty words, but the actual work is hard. And some of the things that Aaron was talking about some of the ways that you might be resistant to it, those are very real. So we’re not giving you permission to beat up yourself. Do you do not do this?

Mahrukh Imtiaz 13:05
I love that. You mentioned that. I love that you mentioned that. Yeah,

Jennifer Szad 13:08
the other thing I’ll say is kind of more I guess more on like the tactical level, but something that’s helped me a lot in this process, and I have a feeling it’s gonna help some of you guys out there too, is that somebody very wise once told me and I don’t even remember who it was. But they said never worry in your head. Always worry on paper. You can also expand that to be like never processing your head process on paper. There’s something about the process of actually like going through some of these thoughts that you might have about content creation, for example, like why don’t I feel like doing it? When was the last time I did feel motivated? What is my body telling me right now, it’s really easy to wrap yourself in, in knots. If you just go around and around in your head. If you don’t have like a journaling practice or if you don’t regularly, like pull out your computer and write down your thoughts. Whatever it is for you. Maybe this is kind of your sign to try to incorporate that a little bit more consciously into your day-to-day doesn’t have to be perfect again, but I’ve at least found a lot of clarity and doing that. And realizing, for example, some things that I think I’m just ready to just quit, because I don’t like it anymore. That’s what my head’s telling me. When I really worked through that stuff on paper. I realized that’s really not going on necessarily. Maybe what’s going on is that I just haven’t I don’t know see the sun in three days. Dramatic but that kind of stuff. Or maybe I haven’t connected with like a couple of people that really used to like to light me up whatever the case might be or lack of water that’s gonna be different. That can Yes, dehydration. Yeah, well, how

Mahrukh Imtiaz 14:33
much water have I had?

Jennifer Szad 14:35
And so processing that and getting out of your head and into something else can be enough to give you a little bit of clarity and it makes it kind of takes it down a few notches. You know, for those of us that might be prone to dramatics, I’ll say and I’m in that camp for sure.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 14:49
I love that we can totally and this there unless you guys have any final thoughts.

No, I will say this is a big topic area and we’re just scratching the surface. Absolute burnout is a bit everything, not just in content creation, it’s it’s just a really big thing. And I will say on top of following your joy as a content creator, you’re putting yourself out there every day. And that’s a lot on your nervous system, your brain might be telling you that everything should be fine. But your nervous system may be in freakout mode. So be gentle with yourself, and don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself tired. Or if you find yourself wanting to run away and hide from posting or if you’re sitting there one day, and you just can’t for the life of you come up with content, it’s probably because your nervous nervous system is just having a little bit of a moment and just be gentle and compassionate. And remember, you’re a human, not a machine.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 15:41
You know me, I’m pretty perfect. And I know what you’re talking about. Speak about yourself. Any final thoughts from Yujin?

Jennifer Szad 15:48
I don’t think I can talk with Erin just said, I kind of wrapped it up so perfectly. I think, again, there are so many offshoot conversations to have with this. But I think the bottom line, that is the one thing that always comes back to is like this is a very human experience. There is no one on the earth right now that hasn’t experienced burnout in some capacity, you know, for some reason, so you’re in good company, and it tends to be something that I think a lot of times people will kind of keep it hidden because there is a lot wrapped up in it. And there’s kind of this sense of like, I shouldn’t be feeling that way. You know, whatever those thoughts are that you have. And I guess just take this as that message like it’s a very human thing. And just because a lot of people may not be talking about it doesn’t mean they’re not experiencing exactly what you’re experiencing too. So keep that in mind. Be kind to yourself.

Mahrukh Imtiaz 16:32
I love that. I want to say the thing. Glennon Doyle always says we can do hard things. That’s my go-to, and we’re on a journey. But that’s another segment. Another podcast episode. Yeah.

Listen, you are on the other side of this, just letting you know that if you are facing any kind of burnout, or you know what, just don’t feel inspired today, it’s totally human-like Erin and Jen and I just talked about, it’s normal. We go through that. And just know that you are awesome, and you’re perfect.

So until next time, you got this beautiful!

Well, beautiful it is my hope that this podcast inspired you to create your own podcast. Remember, you don’t have to quit your nine-to-five to do it. And if you found value in this podcast, you’re gonna love my free training video on how you can get started today. DM me the word Spicy Chai on LinkedIn and I’ll send it over to you. Until then lots of love, from your favorite. You got this beautiful!