Staying creative in a busy world. Annik Rau about spiritual haircuts

This is the first post in my new initiative to share ideas about creativity in a busy world. Annik Rau portrait

I love to listen to people about what they do to stay creative and sane when living an active life. Lately my personal injection of creativity was to go to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, beautiful for both your eyes and soul. We all have our own tricks and first out to tell us about her secrets is Annik Rau.

Annik Rau, Founder of PONY Express – a spicy public speaking club based in London, UK.

“One creativity secret is something I just discovered (just in time before going insane). I hired a systemisation consultant and started outsourcing and systemising the business. It simply frees up your mind. Once you stop DOING DOING DOING you start seeing what really is important. Your head is free to create and not worry about missing seven deadlines in a row. It’s so obvious but how many people do you hear saying ‘I am sooooo busy!’? It’s total BS once you start stepping out and seeing what really is key in your business. Then you really can start chilling out more and stop to smell the roses, as they say.”

“Another thing is scent. I always burn scented candles when I work. WoodWick are my favourites (they even crackle when burning). They remind me of Christmas, family and fun, which has a calming effect. I am more creative when I am calm.”

“A third thing is spiritual haircuts. I personally just love anything to do with magic and unicorns.”

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“Right now I am totally inspired by the weather here in London. A little bit of sunshine makes a massive difference in the city. It’s the simple things.”

Staying brave

“At PONY Express we have something called ‘Impact Principles’ (see below). I have them printed on a little card that I keep in my wallet. Every time I am faced with a tough situation I get the card out and remind myself that we learn much more from failure than success and I should be more afraid of NOT giving it a go!”

What scares the h*ll out of you? 

“Bungee jumping. Part of my thinks I should do it BUT it’s just so scary. Then again, if someone were to hand me a massive spider I’d rather jump.”

About relaxing your mind and staying sane

“Outsource, systemise and ensure you have time to recharge yourself. I used to book myself in for massages and would then lie there and think ‘it must have been an hour by now…I have so much on…’ BUT you must break this cycle by reminding yourself that if you don’t have your health and a calm mind you have nothing. Smile to yourself when you catch yourself saying to people ‘I am so busy’.”

Impact Principles & Speaking Philosophy of Pony Express. 

1. STAGE TIME – Of course!

Someone invites you to speak, offers you their stage or looks for a volunteer in the audience. Your answer is always ‘OF COURSE’. Take every chance – drop every fear.

2. It’s NOT about ME

It’s about ‘falling from your head into your heart’. Once you realise you are on stage to be of service and not to let your crazy voices make get into the way, your nerves will vanish.

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3. There is NO failure – only feedback

We learn from failure NOT success. Be afraid of not giving it a GO. Feedback is never personal anyway – performance, feedback, revision.

4. With Vulnerability comes Power

Vulnerability is the most accurate measurement of courage. Our imperfections are marks of authenticity and that’s the beauty of humanity. Let yourself be seen. Be you.

5. The 3 most dangerous words: ‘I KNOW THAT.’

This phrase means your mind is blocked. Have you let ‘knowing’ something stop you from hearing it again – knowing versus owning. Step back, bite your tongue and be open.

6. Always PLAY at 111%

Dare to go too far! Playing small means you’re comfortable, but not memorable. Greatness doesn’t come from playing small.

7. Repetition creates MASTERY

Practise and train. Be on top of your market. Watch other speakers. Be hungry for coaching. Practise and train some more.


There are only two options: make progress or make excuses. If the opportunity doesn’t exist: create it! Your success depends on what you put in.

Ensure to look back and see how far you have come! Use your special notebook and remember:

NO matter how slow you think you progress – you are still overtaking EVERYBODY on the couch.