Lisa Sanchez is a coach, writer, and co-founder of Should We Studios. Her work is dedicated to designing conversations that move people. In her interview, Lisa dares us to take active steps to tell our individual stories and participate in reclaiming creative conversations and practices that underpin the change we want to see. Her learnings can help us uncover our own special voice and from there find our creative channels.
I love how you’ve created your podcast, Should We, with your friend Diana Kimball Berlin. It’s a treasure trove of insights for novices and experts alike. What inspired you to share this part of the creative journey?
When I moved to San Francisco and Diana was still living in Berlin, we used to FaceTime on the weekends. We would often talk about podcasts we both loved, like Call Your Girlfriend. Eavesdropping on conversations between friends made us feel like we could make something from our conversations too.
Eventually, we broached the question, Should we make a podcast? The possibility gave us both a jolt of excitement and a sprinkle of nerves. Diana was getting ready to visit me, so we decided to use the in-person time for our own little creative retreat at my kitchen table.
We generated tons of Post-Its about why we wanted to make a podcast, what it might focus on, and what we were afraid of. Once we were clear on our shared purpose and parameters, we decided to record our first episode on an iPhone that day.
What are the challenges you currently face?
For the podcast, a big challenge is just coordinating our schedules. We’ve upgraded from the iPhone-on-the-couch recording setup to recording at a wonderful studio called Women’s Audio Mission. It’s been such a gift to find them. But it does mean our recording sessions need to be responsibly scheduled in advance—no more impromptu voice memos recorded in our living rooms.
Beyond the podcast, I’m working on cultivating a consistent personal writing practice, which is something I’ve been working on my whole life. I’ve always tended to write in random spurts, but the more frequent I make them, the better I feel.
There are many creatives around the world who do not have the luxury of time to have creative conversations. It’s often quick brainstorming and execution and before they know it, they have to deal with the next project. How can they find pockets of time to have creative dialogue? What media can they use to share it with the world?
I can certainly empathize with time constraints, especially in a work context. And when we started our podcast, I was working long hours at a stressful job. Still, we just made use of whatever time we could snag from weekends or evenings to pull it together.
At work, I think it’s important to ask for more time if you really need it. You never know what might be possible until you ask. Just be sure to prepare clear reasoning, a plan for how you’d use the extra time if you had it, and an explanation of the impact that extra time would have on the creative or business outcomes.
With personal time, it helps to bring awareness to the way you spend your time now. If you’re on screens a lot, RescueTime is an easy way to find out where your time is going. Once you know how you’re currently spending time, you can make decisions about whether there’s some time you’re willing and able to reclaim for creative conversations and practices.
And of course, I’d encourage experimentation with any media that interests you. We didn’t know anything about podcasting when we started. Honestly, we were procrastinating from writing—a practice we’ve both honed over years. Writing often felt rewarding, but sometimes burdensome too. With podcasting, we felt like beginners again, experimenting with something new just for fun.
Podcasting can be an intimidating feat for some creatives. But we believe that the world needs to hear their stories. What would you say to someone who doubts they’d be good at it?
The world does need to hear your story, and in particular, the sound of your unique voice. My best advice is to record yourself talking with someone you love. The warmth will shine right through.
How do you dismiss conflicting thoughts and focus on the singular process of creation?
Focusing and refocusing is a constant process. Working with a coach definitely helps me keep my inner critic in line, clarify my purpose, and focus on what’s most important to me.
When I have lots of different ideas jumbling around in my head (which happens a lot), I try to get them out of my head as quickly as possible and onto Post-Its or paper. That frees my brain up to organize them and decide what to do next.
What do you feel when you stare at a blank page before your words takes shape? (Especially from the point of view of a UX writer)
It’s usually only blank for an instant, so it’s hard to remember what I feel. For me, getting myself to the page is the hard part. Once I’m there, there’s usually a lot in my head that’s ready to come out.
When it comes to UX writing, I’m usually starting a new document by putting notes at the top about the requirements, goals, and constraints for the project. That helps me get started quickly and stay on track.
What are the main themes in your work?
We say that Should We is about the everyday choices that make us, and I think that thread runs through a lot of my work. As a coach, I’m committed to empowering underrepresented leaders to create the fuller lives, fulfilling work, and better world they imagine.
Do not forget to check out her profile here: lisasanchez.me Find your reserviour of inspiration here: Should We podcast: shouldwe.co