artists are leading the revolution: exclusive interview with Alexis Neely

On Thursday, I had the privilege of interviewing one of my personal rock stars, Alexis Neely. Alexis is a truth-telling lawyer, evolutionary strategist, and a shepherd for all types of creative entrepreneurs seeking a different kind of business model.

I first discovered her through Dave Navarro, the Launch Coach, and I’ve been following her closely ever since. Her style of combining very practical business savvy (she’s built multiple million dollar businesses!) with deep inner awakening is a combination that many creatives can identify with.

Our conversation is about 30 minutes long and I can tell you that you’re going to have many “a ha” moments. Below, you’ll find some of my personal notes and questions for reflection.

Listen to or download my interview with Alexis Neely

Download the interview (good iPod listening!).
(right click then “save as…” or crtl+click on a Mac then “save target as…”)

The American Dream is changing…

  • Reaching the 6-figure salary, big house, and resort vacation isn’t all that anymore.
  • Instead, the American Dream of an older generation can be down right depressing to those with one foot in “the New Paradigm.”
  • What’s your American Dream? What do you really want out of life and how can you craft your work to be part of that?

Artists are leading the revolution…

  • We naturally have an “inner rip” between our two sides: creative & analytical.
  • Artists have a natural ability to create harmony & union between these two sides.
  • How will you claim your power (personal, societal, organizational) power by embracing creativity & structure and/or finding the freedom in a container?

The triple win is the ultimate win…

  • The New Paradigm is all about creating opportunities for win-win-win scenarios, third alternatives.
  • Successful artists understand they’re never competing directly with others, embrace incentives for attracting collaborators, and experiment wildly to expand their practice.
  • There aren’t any models or archetypes for this: do the opposite of what’s been done before.
  • How will you reinvent your goals on your own terms?

You can have it all – you don’t have to choose. But your “all” may not look like what you think it will.

Please let me know what parts of the interview struck you most. What questions would you ask Alexis?

Find Alexis on Twitter, on Facebook, at her blog, and at the Eyes Wide Open evolution.

35 thoughts on “artists are leading the revolution: exclusive interview with Alexis Neely

  1. I can’t wait to listen to this but I must. Still I got a few affirmations from the text. In particular:

    “There aren’t any models or archetypes for this: do the opposite of what’s been done before.”

    I have been struggling with this one and have learned to see it as an asset rather than an excuse not o start. I f there isn’t a model, I can make one up. If it fails, make another. It is called a new paradigm for a reason. it’s new!

  2. I agree with the idea of experimentation… I am not cynical but I do believe that the artistic mind is still the highest level of thinking. These are the people who have highest quality synapse development between the right and left brain and who willingly choose the relational side of their brain hone their choice and decisions. Brain research — yes science!! — is showing us clear, determinative proof that the right brain is the dominant side of our brain and those who are better at using the right brain have more power in the universe and over it.

    However, I do see that there remains a large gap between the few greats who succeed in this field, the people who are able to combine their creative and analytical minds — and the vast tsunami of people who still think: I need to feed my family. I need to satisfy basic needs.

    We can’t forget HOW privilege allows us to be free to almost disregard basic need thought structure. And how so many people are trapped in that cycle of strife.

    1. Elizabeth, I do completely agree that there priviledge gives us more opportunities to exercise these ideas. However, even in horrendously poor & unprivileged societies, this notion of creative + analytical still allows great people to rise above the fray to help themselves and those around them satisfy their basic needs.

      And, I think, it’s important for us to realize that, as the leaders of this new paradigm, it’s up to us to harness our responsibility as privileged people & fulfill the opportunities we’re presented with.

      Thanks, as always, for your insightful comment!

  3. Thank you Tara for the gift of your creative leadership and for bringing Alexis’ interview to all of us who are connected through your blog. I am a 50 year old in the midst of transformation from mothering three (now almost grown) children and searching for a way to birth the artist in me as well as pursue right livelihood. Alexis’ revolutionary modeling and inspiration to form a new paradigm to live the dream of creativity and sustainability is brilliant. I am deeply grateful for the beacons of light who are leading us towards a new world where through collaborating together with our creative minds and hearts we can bloom individually and collectively.

  4. YES! I love the flowers analogy, and the no competing way. It almost brought me to tears. I too have a lot of doubt and questions about the way of life I want to lead, the non-conformist American dream if you will, the “wanting to have my own chicken farm” way of life. 😀
    Love, just love, thank you!!!!

    1. Well, there are many who share your chicken farm dream! That desire for nurturing & sustainability are so indicative of everything missing from the old paradigm.

      Thanks for your comment, Lucie!

  5. wonderful interview…love the no competing as well. It may sound silly but it was a relief to think I don’t have to compete, it’s not a race. I’m doing what I love because I love it. I can rejoice in your success and be happy for you and not think “it should have been me”. We don’t have the same goals so how can we have the same success?
    Phew…I feel better now!!/paperflora

    1. Not silly at all! It’s one thing that keeps people out of business or from really expressing themselves. And I think that’s so sad. We are so much better off when there are lots of us doing our own thing.

      There is no way your thing could look like my thing, no way my thing can look like the next girl’s, if we’re all being real about using our skills & sharing our vision.

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. I love, love, love Alexis and the work she’s doing.

    I was listening to this and nodding my head enthusiastically the whole time. :)

    Tara – $20K? Wow! Congratulations. That’s amazing.


    1. Thanks, Heather! And yes, $20k. I was really nervous about leaving that in there… but heck, I’m damn proud of that and it’s indicative of all the work I’ve been doing to plan my own financial success WHILE fully expressing what I want to put out into the world.

      And, of course, Alexis (and Amanda!) have been instrumental in helping me to make that transition.

      Thanks again!

  7. I am teaching college biology labs this week and last about the evolution of flowering plants, by crazy coincidence. As much as I appreciate the spirit of collaboration and exploration in the analogy with the great radiation, I have to disagree with it. Still, I think there are lessons to learn from the evolution of flowering plants that are relevant for us here. Flowers were a way to collaborate, but only in order to reduce wasted resources. How can we collaborate with others to better target our markets and delegate the parts of work we can’t or don’t want to do? In addition to an increase in flower abundance, diversity also increased. In biology, diversity results from resoursce heterogeneity of resources and environments. Again, there’s a lesson here about niche specialization. I hadn’t applied my day job in this way before, and it’s a nice reminder for the days I’m tempted to spin my creativity into everything for everyone. That never works in nature, so why would it in business?

    Thanks for the stimulating interview,
    Lorna at Knits for Life

    Flash your colors.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lorna!

      Can you maybe elaborate on the part of the analogy you disagree with? I’m very curious! Because I think Alexis is saying exactly what you said in the second half of your comment.

      As creatives, we are collaborating to serve our marketplaces better (in real terms, affiliate marketing is a great example of this). And as far as diversification goes, we each are learning that the better we serve our own unique & specific skills, the better we can serve our customers/clients.

      I’ve tried being everything to everyone. It sucks! And it’s not very profitable, either. Learning to blossom in my own unique way has allowed me to plug into a whole field of other artists while increasing the profitability/sustainability of my business.

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment!

  8. @Elizabeth: Yes, while listening I kept thinking what a luxury it is to choose what we are choosing. I feel a responsibility to remember that and not take it for granted, but not to let it stop me.

    Lorna at Knits for Life.

    Flash your colors.

  9. I wish I could hear it but I have only a cell phone that doesn’t work with Flash. I so wish those who have something to say or show would not leave out a large amount of people who ARE still starving, at least electronically, by not providing the still living written word.

    I am disabled and can’t afford Ipods, Cable, etc and it’s tough trying to live on so little and still try to open a shop. You could help a lot if the interview was written as well as offered via real voice, which I’m sure carries great potency, but better to read it than miss it entirely.

    Never-the-less (I don’t think that’s a real word LoL), I will be successful, open my shop, find my brand! I read 3 great Etsy Success stories today that did lift my belief.

    Just wish I could get a bit more of these great methods via writing. What I got from the comments reminded me of the bizes that African women start with small non-interest loans and then end up lifting an entire village of women via these generous loaners. Quite amazing! And as others stated, there was no competition as it lifted their entire world as they worked separately and yet together.

    If you don’t publish this, I will understandd.

  10. Thank you so much for this interview Tara & Alexis! I am loving seeing this movement toward cooperation over competition & have been inspired to share more of my philosophy around this on Oh My! Handmade. I was really hesitant to share my more “political” views on my site that is so focused on handmade & business but the reaction was so powerful to our ethics post & my thoughts on how artists are building a new economy (

    My disconnect has been having these deep ethical and philosophical ideas about community & sustainability & also needing to make money & being an artist. This has probably been my biggest personal battle. I have always believed in this paradigm of community/cooperation/diversity which is why I only worked for non-profits and thought of my art as something rather self-indulgent that I did when I wasn’t making the world a better place. Bridging these two worlds and bringing them together is the most transformational & powerful thing I have ever had in my life. So thank you for the affirmation!

    It is so funny also that I just built my own website & my whole perspective is about blossoming & diversity & planting a creative garden where we all have room & what we need to thrive.

    Thank you again for all the food for thought!

  11. Amen! I love the idea of artists using both sides of their brains; something that I was able to prove to myself by self-publishing. As a poet, I’m always looking for opportunities of collaboration to generate new products from my intellectual materials. Thanks for yet another encouraging blog and discussion! No more compromising!!

    –Joe Breunig
    Author/poet, Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory

  12. Fantastic!

    “your “all” may not look like what you think it will”

    I love this quote. Once a person takes the first step to claiming their power and embracing their talents, they will always be surprised by what they can accomplish and what directions they can take! I find this very exciting and freeing!

    artistic expression vs. financial success

    I felt a sense of sorrow for many years because I didn’t know how to express myself creatively and make a living for myself at the same time. I think this caused me to compromise the true nature of who I am. I loved to listen to Alexis talk about that compromise. I’m presently developing the vision for what the possibilities are. This interview was very inspiring for that. I’m looking forward to learning about the Money Map.

    And collaboration and allowing oneself to go with the flow really enables flexibility and openness to flourish in an artist!

    I agree with the relief that PaperFlora talks about that comes when one realizes that there is no need for competition!

    I’ve never been a really competitive person but I think my willingness to share and be open has scared people away at times because competition is very entrenched in our old paradigms.

    Another great interview Tara! You’re amazing!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration Alexis!

    Andrea Deal

  13. Thank you Tara & Alexis. This was a phenomenal interview, and you covered some things most people in the business world aren’t talking about right now.

    Serious high-fives on your success, and tonnnnes of hugs to you both. You’re definitely leading artists impacting the world for the better. :)

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