199: 3 Tips on Creating Under Pressure


“We are the midwives of creativity.” – Nick Onken

Hey, guys! Welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio). In this podcast, we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!

There are many times that I’m on a schedule and my podcast producers need the content by a specific day to get it done and published for the following week, so finding time to do my own show or come up with ideas is something I often have trouble with. There are days when an idea comes into mind like an inspiration, or creativity just starts flowing from who knows where, and all seems possible! However, there are days that I feel like it’s just not in me to create something.

So, when you’re being asked to create with a deadline like I am with this podcast, it can be very challenging to do your best work. But with a little guidance, a little practice, and a little help from your friends, it is totally possible to find your inspiration — even under pressure.

In this episode, we are going to talk about some practical tips to help you create under pressure.  I will also share why I started this podcast, how my childhood affects my creativity today, and what process of identity alchemy I am undergoing right now.

If you want to master my recipe for creating under pressure so you can do the same, then let’s jump in!

Tip#1: Phone a Friend For Perspectives

Do you ever find yourself lost and confused? Do you sometimes feel like you’re always hitting creative blocks? One way to get around this is by talking with someone who has experienced the same thing you’re going through. What better person could that be than a friend, right?

I remember talking to my friend Jeff Holt when I had a creative block. He reminded me that everything is some type of medicine, good or bad and that we can learn and create something from every situation, including the exact moment or predicament that we’re in.

Talking to him, I was also reminded that this podcast is a labor of love. It is a creative passion of mine, especially interviewing people. But more importantly, speaking into a microphone has been a way to push me out of my comfort zone. I had a very conservative Christian upbringing where speaking and expressing your own truth, or any beliefs that were counter to Christian beliefs, were not accepted.

This brought me to another realization: my podcast is in some ways a process that helps me deconstruct. I’m developing a process called identity alchemy, which involves the deconstruction of belief systems and traumas from childhood, as well as the deconstruction of our surroundings, environment, and anything else that impacts how we operate in life.

That’s because I believe we don’t have to allow what’s been constructed for us (such as family experiences, relationships, and philosophies that no longer work for us) to determine our course in life or who we are. We can change that. Life is a journey of self-discovery, and we get to choose who we will be in the world. 

These are things I’m reminded of when I call and connect with friends like Jeff, and I think you’d benefit from great conversations with your own friends, too. When we connect with people who know us and who we admire, we can get new perspectives and new ideas. We might even learn brand new things from a friend who has more experience with whatever it is we’re trying to learn or practice! They might also have some advice that could help us look at ourselves and our situation in a different way.

Because just like what Jeff said, the things that happen in our life — even creative blocks —can be used as fuel to create something beautiful. We should ask ourselves: What am I learning through this process or challenge? Is there something good here? It helps when we choose to view things as a part of the “alchemy” or transformation.

Next time you’re feeling stuck, reach out to someone you trust. By doing so, you might find a way out of your rut!

Tip#2: Go For A Walk for Clarity

Another tip to help you create under pressure is to take a walk. I find that when we’re under pressure to create something, our mind can’t really think straight because of all the thoughts going on in there.

So, instead of creating anything at all, go for a short walk and aim to come back to your art with an empty head. Though some might think that it’s counterproductive, I think it worked for me because I was deep in my head about performing and creating this podcast on a deadline. As I walked to buy groceries, my mind cleared up from all the accumulated noise. It really seemed as though this podcast just materialized while walking — as if the pieces were just falling into place, one by one!

Aside from this, walking and allowing myself to move enabled me to arrive at tip number three: opening up channels.

Tip#3: Open Channels For Creative Energy

Once you’ve allowed your mind to clear up, you’re now ready to open channels.

To do this, I tap into what I call source divine intelligence. I just say, “I am open, speak through me and let me create from that space.” This has always been my practice while doing photoshoots and other creative activities.

If you have seen the movie, Soul, you know that tapping into Divine Intelligence — God or the Source, whatever you want to call it — allows for creative flow. That flow is when time slips away out of sight — as if it’s not there — because we are so deeply engrossed in our work or practice. We’re living fully invested in each moment here on earth, and we are in the “eternal now.”

Sometimes, we come out of this “eternal now” and start thinking of our past or our future instead, and start filling up with worries or regrets. However, these things can keep us from creating an open channel for creativity. Thus, by getting back to an open space of creation — a channel — we are opening up a vessel of creative energy.

I genuinely believe that we are the midwives of creativity. We are birthing ideas into this physical world through divine intelligence, and the more that we tap into our creativity, the better things will be in our lives. For me, allowing myself to go with my creative flow made me feel like myself. I am creating again, and life has just felt so much more fulfilling.

When you focus on your true self and the “eternal now”, the more whole and creative person you can be. Remember that life is about embracing who we truly want to be. So, I challenge you to take a walk, open up your channels, and be reminded that you are the creator of your own life.

We are All Alchemists

Alchemy is defined as taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be to create who you want to become. 

Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows and shed them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of life and your inner world is such a massive part of understanding who you are, so you can curate everything you need to become the person you want to become. In general, I noticed that the more inner work that I do — the more profound shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes, and the closer I feel to wholeness.

No matter what our creative juice may be — natural artistic talent, business skills, or relationships with others — we’re still all valuable creators. As long as your work gets you into a flow state of the eternal now and inspires you to create from an open-source perspective, you’ll make magic!

Today, I want to invite you to look at what’s going on with me and learn more about how you can alchemize your own life. Check out my website for more wisdom and creative tips for turning your life inside out! You can also find some of the hat commissions I’ve made by following @onkenhat or visiting onkenhat.com. Maybe one of my hats will be the perfect color or design for you or someone you know! You can also book photoshoots with me from my site. We’ll have fun making memories together!

I hope this episode has been helpful for you! I’m interested in hearing similar stories from anyone who’s had success in any creative pursuit. Make sure to screenshot it, share it on social media, and tag me @nickonken! Don’t forget to listen to me on Apple Podcasts, give it a five-star rating, leave great reviews, and don’t miss a single show!

Thanks, everyone! I’ll catch you next time —

Nick Onken


You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


“I get to create content from the exact predicament that I am in.” – Nick Onken

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • How to create under pressure [2:00]
  • Why make a podcast [2:30]
  • How childhood affects adulthood [3:00]
  • What is the process of identity alchemy [3:55]
  • How to get inspired [6:30]
  • How to maximize your creativity [8:00]
  • How to stay present [10:00]

3 Tips on Creating Under Pressure

  1. Phone a friend
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Open the channel

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