'Worry less about what people think': Exceptional Women of the World featuring author and artist Lisa Congdon

Author, illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon

Exceptional Women of the World is a podcast that highlights and celebrates the great achievements, lives and POV of amazing women throughout the world of advertising, marketing, digital, tech and creativity.

For author, illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon, an artistic career path was started a little later in life. Her 30s were formative as, by that time, she hadn’t picked up a paintbrush or even drawn.

Through her talent and passion, however, she has created a remarkable collection of work that spans the spectrum, including work with brands like REI and Airbnb and companies like Martha Stewart Living and the Museum of Modern Art. She's also the author of A Glorious Freedom, a collection of interviews, profiles of and essays by women over 40 who are thriving.

Congdon, a Northern California native now based in Portland, Oregon, looks for the good in situations, especially tough ones, and she's had plenty over the years. But she has overcome adversities by concentrating on the good. Congdon recently celebrated her 50th birthday and she believes that with age can come wisdom.

“We need to worry less about what other people think, and I think that's something that doesn't come until you're older,” says Congdon. She wasted a lot of time being self-conscious unnecessarily, and now she believes that the self-aware trait of being able to move through things quickly is beneficial for her life and work.

Self-awareness is an important thread in Congdon's life and perspective, especially as she, “came to terms with being gay.” She had the perspective to know that while one aspect of her life would experience discrimination, she also saw that being raised white and upper middle class gave her a view of the world from two angles.

“I've spent a lot of my life thinking about...what it might mean to walk in somebody else's shoes or experience the world differently because when we don't come to terms with our privilege, we're ignoring the experience of so many people around us.”

Creativity is at the heart of Congdon's work, and she fully understands that being creative is not always a joyous experience, that it takes hard work, but it can ultimately be a joyful pursuit. Her book of interviews is one of those pursuits and it helped her to see that she wasn't the only woman to find her career later in life. That gave rise to her mantra, “Begin anyhow.”

Listen to previous episodes of Exceptional Women of the World here. If you would like to nominate exceptional women to be part of the show, please complete this form: http://bit.ly/EWOWPitch.

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