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Creativity is a life amplifier. It’s as fundamental to our well-being as physical fitness, proper nutrition, and mindfulness.
Chase Jarvis is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, a best-selling author, a podcast host of The Chase Jarvis live show, and one of the most influential photographers of the past 20 years, shooting ads for companies like Apple, Nike, and Red Bull to name a small few. But what brought Chase to my attention was his national best selling book, Creative Calling (an absolute must-read), which is as inspiring as it is informative on how you can both identify your own creative calling and take action on it.
In our conversation, Chase and I take a deep dive into the fundamentals of creativity and how it is innate to us as human beings, despite the fact that it isn’t well nurtured and supported in our education system. Chase shares the ways in which you can learn to push beyond the noise of society (and yourself) saying what you “should” do, and learn to hear your very own deeper creative calling. We discuss key strategies you can use to intentionally use your creative calling, as well as how to surround yourself with the right people that will support your creativity and goals along with it.
Whether you define yourself as a creative and are seeking to expand your career, are curious about how you can get in touch with your creative side in order to expand yourself personally, or even if you don’t think of yourself as having an ounce of creativity (we all do, as you’ll learn), I cannot recommend listening to my conversation with Chase enough. He is an absolute gold mine of information and I know you will love his inspiring, intelligent and creative insights as much as I did.
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Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- Chase Jarvis’ take on what creativity really is (it’s refreshingly different than the standard definition)
- How you can use your own “creative calling” to design your ideal life
- Creativity as a muscle (and how you can exercise it)
- How to take all of your seemingly unrelated skills and build a career
- Why Chase says no choice or experience was ever a waste (even if you think they were wrong)
- How our education system is built to prepare us for factories, not creativity
- How you can take control of your own education and build the skills you need
- What you can do specifically to find your own “creative calling”
- Why surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to your creativity (and success)
- The networking strategy that Chase recommends to get you in the community of ‘A-players’
Useful Resources Mentioned:
Creative Calling: Establish a daily practice, infuse your world with meaning, and succeed in work + life – Chase Jarvis
The Laws of Creativity – Joey Cofone
RANGE: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – David Epstein
Continue to Listen & Learn
Ep215: How to Build Your Community, Intuition & Resilience in Order to Succeed as an Artist | with Kristina Snyder
Ep214: What Creativity Is, How It Works, and the Laws to Learning It | with Joey Cofone
Ep213: How to Break Into Any Industry (Without Having Experience) | with Niceole Levy
Ep212: The Science of Storytelling, Why We Need Stories, and How to Rewrite Our Own | with Will Storr
Ep211: Severance Creator Dan Erickson On Staying True to Your Creative Vision, Becoming An “Overnight Success,” and the Blurred Lines Between Work & Life
Ep206: Career & Life Advice from The Office Director & Producer | with Jen Celotta
Ep143: Mastering the “Chess Mindset” to Achieve Any Difficult Goal (and Get Really Good at Failing Along the Way) | with Misha Tenenbaum
Ep141: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Career (Pt1)
[BONUS] Mastermind Q&A: How to Successfully Be a “Specialized Generalist” | with Michael Addis
Ep184: Networking (the Right Way), Mentorship, and Connecting with ‘Experts’ | with Troy Takaki, ACE
Ep172: [CASE STUDY] Landing Your Dream Job Isn’t About “Luck,” It’s About Strategy | with Fabian Corrado & Nick Towle
Ep164: How to ‘Get In the Room’ and Work with Producers Who Will Value & Respect You | with Matt Nix
I'm here today with Chase Jarvis, who is an award winning artist and entrepreneur, a best selling author, a podcast host of the Chase Jarvis live show. And you, sir, are one of the most influential photographers of the past 20 years, you've worked for companies like Apple, Nike and Red Bull, you earned an Emmy nomination for your documentary portrait of a city. You're the founder of the online learning platform Creative Live, which has over 10 million students. And it was recently acquired by Fiverr. And ultimately, the reason you're here today is to talk about your national best selling book, Creative Calling. Chase. Holy crap, am I excited to have today's conversation. You have no idea.
Awesome. Thanks for having me on the show Zack excited to connect through a mutual friend and happy to be here.
Yeah, and I can easily spend the next 45 to 60 minutes, just continuing your bio. shortlisted some of the other things being you designed to shoot for K Swiss, you created the first social sharing app for photographers called best camera before Instagram with millions of users, you are former athlete. And I say all of this because it factors very much into this conversation of what it means to be a polymath and the value. And being somebody who's creative with varied interests and not necessarily a specialist. And what where I want to start and this is this, I'm going to do my best to not get emotional. But discovering you fairly recently has been a very emotional journey for me. Because what you've done is you've allowed me to give myself permission to be who I am, I have spent so many years of my career being told, this is what you need to do you do this one thing. And as you talk about a lot, I have essentially and I don't like to say I've mastered a craft, I've developed an extremely high level of expertise in the craft of Film and Television editing. But then I realized that was my entire identity. And there's so many other things that I want to do. And you know, since I had that discovery, it was well, I want to become an American Ninja Warrior. And I want to start a business and I want to teach and I want to be a coach and I want to write a book and like, but I can't find an avatar because everybody says find somebody that's doing now what you want to be doing next. And like there's nobody, and then boom, one day and Facebook, a friend of mine, and my network says you guys should check out this book creative calling. And I look at it, I'm like, How did I not know that this existed and I've become absolutely obsessed with your work your journey, your accomplishments. And if I found one person where I said, I want to be them when I grow up, I think it's now Chase Jarvis.
Well, thank you very much. And one of the things that I would focus on out of what you just shared is the idea that we are told to do X, we are programming that, you know, I want to be clear, there's not some Dark Overlord that is, you know, driving the entire simulation here and forcing us to do things we don't want to do. But the reality is that we have so many inputs in our, you know, our journey, our human journey here, that and they all tend to coalesce around common denominators, like, you know, safety and simplicity and things that already exists and status quo. And, and that is generally for a good reason. And you get that information from people who love you and care about you, your parents or career counselor, your friends, your peers, because they are constructing their vision of the world around what they see in the world. And yet, if you identify as a creator, or creative or even creative, curious, there's something Nying at you that says, you have, we could do something a little more here, we could do something a little different. And that reconciliation or the struggle to reconcile those two, you know, sometimes there's a very yawning gulf between those two ideas, what the world says you can do and be and become and what you aspire to do, you know, take your own case in point, you wanted to do all these things. And yet, you know, from all those people, parents, friends, career counselors, etc, you know, they are prescribing this. And that sort of dichotomy, the tension between those creates a lot of difficult experiences for people. And if we can do one thing in this world, and if I, if I say I have been able to pull something off, that's been the ability to turn, I can't say turn them off, but turn those voices way down. Listen to my own intuition, write my own script, if you will, and and it's made for a magical magical journey. And I have to say that that despite being white and male and growing up in you know, the 70s 80s 90s like I have virtually every advantage. And yet those that process that I just articulated, however poorly was among the most difficult journeys of my life so it doesn't surprise me to hear that you You know, felt emotionally like oh my god, here's someone who's speaking my language. And that's what resonates with me. And when I talk, you know, on stages or, you know, on the internet or whatever, all over the world, there's a community that has come out of the woodwork over the past, you know, 10 to 20 years of my career, that's like, yes. And those are the people that I want to connect with, and help them achieve their dreams. And, you know, it's, it's a long and winding journey. But I know, I'm guessing that that's why I'm on the show here. And it's a reasonably valuable place for us to spend some time talking.
Yeah, and the idea of community is so vital to today's conversation, and I see is kind of our part two, because one of the discoveries that I've had myself being extremely introverted is I spent most of my career small, dark room, I'm going to get great at my craft, and I'm going to just completely develop this the sense of myopic, this is all that I do. And then I sit around realizing, oh, people kind of need to know that I'm awesome at my craft. So I've spent years honing and developing a community and similar to you without knowing you first have been building my own global online community, just as much for my own needs and my own purposes as to also help them develop community. What I've discovered, and this is where I want to start, like I said, that's the part two of this, it's really hard to find your community and your people, if you don't really know what your creative calling is, and work that's really meaningful to you. Otherwise, you surround yourself with the wrong people. And you've talked about essentially, what I like to often do is extract one sentence from an entire book of 1000s and 1000s of sentences, and the one that popped off the page for me where I'm like, Oh, my God, I have to get to know Chase, it was the following. Creativity is a life amplifier. It's as fundamental to our well being as physical fitness, proper nutrition, mindfulness, you've called it the new literacy. And you even go as far to say, the creativity is a critical human function. So it's not well, you know, I'd like to be creative. On my side time when I'm not working on my job. You really believe that creativity? And obviously I do, too, is absolutely vital to being authentic to who we are. Yeah. So how do we number one, just accept and embrace that? But number two, how do we actually figure out what our creative calling is?
Yeah, I wrote a book that was 80,000 words about that. So I would direct you there. But you know, to try and put a tiny little bow on it. It's really easy. Well, first of all, I believe that based on your listenership that, you know, we're preaching to the crowd, as they say, You're preaching to the choir choir. And yet, you know, so most people who are listening or watching will identify as creators or creative or at least creative curious. And for that group, I believe we have a lot of work to do. And there are a bunch of people who, and you know, every listener is going to know one or two, or 10, or 100 of these people, which they don't identify as they don't like, Oh, I'm not really that creative. And what I would, I would offer for all of us to get on the same page here is, hey, look, you can deny it just for so long. But if you look around you, you actually have agency over your life. And if you did a couple of fundamental principles that I asked people to, to pay attention to, and one that the creative, the human being is differentiated from most of the other species on the planet, almost entirely because of our creativity. So we have the ability to put multiple things together and form new and useful things and words and phrases and concepts. And, and that is actually the fundamental definition of creativity. So it's sort of it's inseparable, to talk about creativity, and being human, those those that can't possibly be together because that's what we are a creative machine. That's what our lives are. So if you buy that for just a second, you how you ended up at the phrase, well, everyone is creative, if you can, if you can hold that. And this is for the accountants in the audience today. And for anyone who hasn't identified as that, that everyone's creative. The next thing then is like, Okay, well, what is creativity? Like? How does it manifest as a field like, well, just like so many other things in our world, it's like a muscle. And it's, you know, I think Maya Angelou said it best creativity is an infinite resource. The more you use, the more you have. And if you can put point one together, everyone's creative. Creativity is then a muscle, that the more you use it the more you have, where then we get very quickly. It's, it's only through using that muscle in small, lightweight daily, everyday use, that you can develop the muscle to be the superpower, you have to use it on a regular basis and it's through creating small data things whether this is a project or sitting in front have, you know, Premiere or you're directing a symphony or you're, you know, writing a book or in your journal or taking pictures, whatever your creative calling might be, it's through doing that, and a set of things that are like that, over and over and over that not only do you create these individual products, but if you zoom out far enough, you recognize that you're actually creating your life. And that is, you know, if we're creating that life, why not make that a masterpiece? So then the question becomes, well, how do we do that? You know, that's the the, to me that the essence of of creative calling what makes us different and, and why creativity is valuable, because it literally underpins the fabric of everything we do, what what way we choose to drive home from, even if we have a JOB, there are lightweight ways that you can infuse this into every moment. And to become more aware of that is to become more creative, to put that creativity that that Mojo that you feel to use on a regular basis strengthens that muscle. And then you start to be able, as I'm going to make an assumption here that that's part of what you felt when you maybe when you read the book, or you're like, oh, my gosh, this is bigger than, you know, me sitting in the edit bay toiling. This is actually what I'm here to do is create a, you know, make a masterpiece of this one precious life that we get.
Yeah. And I know that there's a concept that you talk about about like creating your mosaic. And I think it was this idea of really seeing that there's so much more that I can bring by understanding the combination and the connection, all the different things that I do. And I recently had Joey Cofone on the podcast who I know you're really obsessed with. And this idea of creativity isn't I have to come up with original brand new ideas. It's all about how do I connect things. And it was really the combination of discovering him discovering you and then discovering David Epstein, who I also know that you're somewhat obsessed with this idea of it's not in this is something that I hear from my students in my coaching program, all the time that I experienced is this idea that you reach kind of this, this realization near mid life of I've been doing this one thing, and now I have to start over. You think that it's all oh my god, I've got to start from scratch. And all this was a waste of time I walked the wrong path. And when I realized that my creative calling is this Venn diagram of all these unique things that I've done, like, I've got a high level of expertise in editing, if you look at where I am, is an American Ninja Warrior, compared to other American Ninja Warriors not so good. You look at where I am with my skills as a Ninja Warrior. And also being an editor, I'm probably one of the best in the entire world, right? And then you infuse my knowledge of building community of teaching, etc, etc. That's when I got really excited as opposed to man, like, I'm wasting all this time. And I'm so add versus the center of that Venn diagram is really, really powerful. And clearly, I know that's something that you can relate to. And I want to I want to help people better understand how do I really find the value and find the center of that diagram for myself.
It's a, it's a beautiful visual that you've cultivated there. And I have a phrase that no effort is ever wasted. And so despite you look back, and to paraphrase the jobs, you can only connect the dots looking backwards, you, you can't necessarily connect them like a board. So when you look backwards, and then you look to where you are, like, Oh, now it makes sense. I went to the school, I took this job, or I had this relationship, or I quit this job, or I got to this relationship, or I had this this trauma or this hardship or whatever. And that got me to write here. To me, that is a if you take that same sort of metaphor concept, and then you map it to let's just talk about specifically your career, how you want to spend your time, like, oh, wow, and this whole Ninja Warrior thing that I got on this kick, man, what a waste of time. Well, if you take the the lens on that, that no efforts ever wasted, you're like, wow, what did that give me? What are my takeaways from that? And how do I apply that such that as you said, this Venn diagram, you start to become really interesting and unique? What your job then becomes and this goes back to the title of my book, creative calling, it's like your job is to then identify that what is this Venn diagram of things for which you are uniquely the best in the world? It's so much more valuable for you to be the best you then dang good. Somebody else. You're like, well, I want to be some a Hyack or I want to be Oprah. How about instead of being a second rate Oprah you be a first rate you and what does that look like? So you have to this this is where it gets confusing for people, because we're seeking all this stuff out there. Well, I want to be like, x or be like why and And if you can, there's a slight distinction. It's like cool. I want to be inspired by x or inspired by y. But I want to be the best me. What that does is it turns that sort of seeking from out there to in here. And that is where its tremendous sense of personal power comes from that. And I'm guessing that was your experience when you realize that oh, my God, all this Venn diagram, well, I'm okay editor, and I'm a really good editor. And I'm an okay Ninja Warrior. And I'm like, shit. But what about Ninja Warrior editor? Do I make? Do I edit that show? Because I know so much about it. You know. And that's very much how I got started to you know, honestly, I was passionate about being outside, I skied and grew up skiing and climbing, and we fly fishing and doing all these outdoor activities. My grandfather died, I was willed his camera, I had a passion for it, and started experimenting. And the best thing for me to experiment was things that I was already doing. And so I, I combined this my love for the outdoors, and action sports and surfing and skiing, fly fishing all these things, with this newfound passion of photography, and it was, was one of the best photographers in the world, not on a, you know, on a scale of photography with a capital P. Was that one of the best athletes in the world? No, but I could you know, my friends, and we're sponsored professional athletes, and I could keep up with them and do the same things. But holy smokes, you put those two things together? Am I one of the best action sports photographers because I can do this shit. I know what good looks like, I know what great looks like I surround myself with those people. And I'm a damn good photographer, will all of a sudden, very akin to what you shared. Wow, I am one of the one of the best action sports and lifestyle photographers in the world because I live it. So I would ask the listeners, what are what is that amalgam of things? If you look internal, you know, this is again, this is why this is an internal journey. The calling isn't necessarily out there, right? It's inherence. It's not a trumpet. It's not a bugle. It's, it's it's, and it's no one standing in the you know, screaming in your ear. It's like a whisper. And the reason it's a whisper is because it is a whisper relative to all the other inputs we have in the world. This is our parents telling us what we need to do our friends are, you know, this goes back to the, you know, our opening, sort of our opening salvo. Which was why is this so hard? Well, when you can learn to quiet all those things, when you're willing to be misunderstood for a little while, while you're figuring this out. And you can start to listen, you buy time, through, you know, exercise, meditation, whatever, like, whatever you can do to go in and focus a little bit, then you start to be able to hear that. And that is very powerful, very exciting. And I would say the most valuable thing that we can begin are sort of re begin our journey toward who we were meant to be or become.
I'm glad that you mentioned that it was a whisper because I was just about to step in and say the same thing. Because we're totally on the same page. It's a whisper, but it just doesn't stop it just continually and repeatedly reminds you know that this is the thing that you're meant to be doing pay attention, then again, all this noise. Wait, I didn't hear you what was that. And what I have found with so many of my students is that they get to this point where they're ready to make this major career transition or life transition. And they think to themselves, why is this so hard? Why don't I have this figured out? And then I break it down for them? How much of this have you actually been taught how to navigate a world without immense amount of structure or immense amounts of accountability? And our educational system was not designed to facilitate read of minds to flourish? And I know that you very much feel the same way about this that I do.
Yeah, yeah, you know, the education system. And you know, God bless our teachers, my wife is a teacher for a long time. And I do
I didn't even know that. But my wife is a third grade teacher as well,
I developed a lot of insight from the public school system, through just you know, riding shotgun with your life partner. And, you know, she worked as hard as I've ever seen anyone work before? And is this not set up the way it should. And there's all kinds of rationale for why it set up the way it is. And when I set up, I mean, that sort of everyone, you know, you based on your age, you go into the factory on one end, and then you marched through the factory, you know, and everyone's going along at the same time learning the same things at the same rate are expected to, and then you come out the other end, you're supposed to, you know, have n number of skills and number of you know, attributes. And, you know, that's just not how human beings work. It's very efficient and effective. It was based on the factory in the you know, the 18th 1900s and the farm you know, we we Why don't we go to school in the summer, that's literally so we can harvest. I mean, that is the you know, that doesn't make any sense. But rather than throw rocks at, you know, this big evil overlord who set us up to fail. This is one of the reasons I believe that we have to and when you start to again, develop About this idea that you are a creative that you're creating a masterpiece with your life and you look at the system, the system may be failing you, or your kids or your friends or whatever, and to have the courage to realize that, okay, I'm either going to continue to play this game with my left hand. And then with all of my other energy I'm going to pursue, I'm responsible for taking my own education and my own schooling and my own personal development, growth hacking, like however you want to talk about it. I'm willing to own that. Again, what I keep coming back to isn't that then it gets really interesting, really exciting, you start to feel energy like wait a minute, I mean, I'm just to give you an an analog, which is going to date me a little bit when I first got really passionate about photography. This is before the goddamn internet. And I wouldn't go to the library, go to a card catalog and with my little fingers, I would flip through all these the photography section. And I would go grab all these photography books off the shelf and sit down in the library, check them out, I would go to the newsstand and buy every magazine that I could afford, and I couldn't afford very many. So it ended up sitting at the Barnes and Noble. For hours thumbing through all of the action sports magazines, and taking notes on what photographers were shooting, where were they going, what athletes were they working with? I want to realize this is what I've gotten. I've got graduate school in the backdrop here. I was in a Ph. D. program in philosophy, and I'm thinking this feels entirely useless. There wasn't I mean, there's some value there sure, learning how to think critically and write and all those things, but and then I'm thinking about the education that I'm giving myself on a daily basis by devouring books on photography, and climbing and skiing and is watching, you know, ski and snowboard films is could that be educational shit, if you're gonna start to make those as your career, of course, that's like a studying cinema valuable for a filmmaker? Of course it is. And yet, it doesn't look like what has been prescribed it to us as learning. So we have discounted it. And as soon as you can realize that you either have to play the game or you're willing to put that game on the shelf and focus, trust your intuition. Pull on the threads that are interesting that you are where your curiosity takes you. Oh, my God, the world becomes fascinating. And you acknowledge that? No, this is my studying. I am learning what it is not, is fucking scrolling Instagram. I'll tell you that separate conversation. But I'm talking about ways to engage your brain and sure that, you know, 10% or 5% of your research time might be spent there. But I'm talking about really expanding your horizon not sitting hunched over on your couch, scrolling Instagram, but engaging in your own personal development. Things get really interesting really quickly.
Yeah, and the only caveat to that is you shouldn't be scrolling Instagram except following Chase Jarvis bingo, right. And I say that I say that partially jokingly but imagine if you took 30 minutes a day and you scrolled Instagram. But it was a very carefully curated following list of Chase Jarvis and Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferriss and David Epstein, in these are the only voices you hear in a sense your as you've talked about creating your own mentor. And it's a digital version of a mentor. But one of one of the things that you saw kind of like Wayne Gretzky saying, You don't skate to the puck you skate to where the puck is going to be, you knew 10 15 years ago, that and even before that, that the secret is that everybody's trying to keep secrets about our craft. And I'm just going to open up the world to all the secrets about photography and the creative process, when information was incredibly valuable, and it was hard to get. Right. So you saw that coming, and
We saw that information wanted to be free. And if we've got this thing called the internet, are you going to keep a lid on the internet? It was a very philosophical and simple fundamental question. And I very quickly got to not possible. Okay, then, what is what does that mean? Where are we going with this? And you could, I could see where it was going. It was just like, you're able to, like type anything and get the answers to, you know, you know, so and so's lighting technique or this person's you know, what kind of, you know, camera or technology are they using to get that look, or that was all going to become instantly knowable? Well shoot, when everyone else is still holding that information and thinking that the kind of lights they use or the the way that they treat something in post production is going to meet is so special, that they're differentiating, well, guy that's pretty flimsy. Let's lean into the opposite, which was let's get all the information out there and start sort of rising tide floats all boats in the process of doing that that's what actually built a community around me and my work was the ability to point that out share what was going on at that point in specifically photography and later in, you know, building venture backed businesses and whatnot, but it and as you said, you see it going there and skate to where the pucks going to be. And the thing is, is I'm telling this from my point of view, but everyone has this in their own experience like where As the puck that you're interested in in your Venn diagram, where's it going? And how can you go to that spot? Now? What journey? Would it look like? What strings would you pull on? What threads? Who would you spend time with? Where would you spend your attention? Like, that is available to everyone. And here's the punchline is, it's also a really creative process, you start to realize those things. Learning becomes fun, how you spend your time, who choose to hang out with all these things that used to feel like either passive or, or detrimental, you start to realize that wait a minute, I'm trimming a bonsai tree here. I'm shaping my life in a way that is incredibly valuable for me incredibly constructive and holy shit. I started to see the best version of myself, which I didn't know existed because I was getting programmed from everybody. And, wow, what a transformation what's possible with this one precious life.
And not only is it fun, but it brings up another F word that I'm very obsessed with, which is fulfilling. Yes, I there's this really delicate balance of being successful and being fulfilled. And the more you find the center of that Venn diagram and you embrace it, not only does your work become more fun, it becomes more fulfilling, you're energized by it, your burnout just drastically goes down. Those are all the areas that I'm completely totally obsessed with this, how can we design our own paths, because the world never taught us how to design this path. And not only didn't teach us, without it, like you said, being a Dark Overlord, it was designed to essentially make sure we fit into the assembly line or into the cubicle. And just on a massive global scale, we're all fighting back against this mentality, and where I think the puck is going next. And you can tell me if I'm totally off base here, when you started building your company, access to information was the solution. I think at this point, access to information is almost becoming the problem, because there's so much of it, you don't even know where to start. And I think that it's curation of the information based on somebody's unique path. And not only curating a very specific learning path, but the order in which you learn specific ideas. I think that to me is kind of the the next level. And the next stage of all of this is here's where I want to go, here's like my asymmetric advantage, right? Like, here's the center of that Venn diagram. What do I need to learn from what experts in what order so that I can get the results that I want, which is totally different than the regurgitation and memorization of information and concepts that we get now? And that that's the that's the nuts that I'm trying to crack is how do you build a community around serving those people that are figuring out what that path is? And what what I've really discovered, again, very, very independently of your work, and then realizing I'm asking all the same questions that you've been asking, How did I not know that you existed? Where I've really focused, my intention is not so much on learning the craft, it's on? How do I surround myself with the right people? Right, one of my biggest kind of discoveries during my American Ninja Warrior journey, is that I don't have anybody in my network that I can go to when I need to start from scratch and surround myself with mentors surround myself with experts. And one of the ideas that I had to embrace was that I have to be the worst one in the room at this, and I need to be okay with that. And I want to dive into this idea that you say, of a gamers work with a gamers and B gamers work with C gamers because the first time I read it, I'm like, Wait, that must be a typo. B gamers work with big gamers, but it's not. So talk to me a little bit more about this idea of how to surround yourself with the right people to level up your life.
There's a lot of tactic around that. And so I'm going to park the tactic for a second and speak to the concept. The basic premise concept is that look the best in the world at anything. Ninja Warrior editor. Whenever, wherever your Venn diagram, the best in the world wants to work with other people who are the best in the world. And the reality is we're all you know, if you lined us up, we all going to have different strengths than weaknesses and whatnot. So what is best who's who is the like, you don't want to go down that rabbit hole. But it's the Supreme Court used to not be able to define pornography. But the Justice said, I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it. And similar here, like who are the who are the best in the world at your craft, or you can you can look at somebody's work their experience, learn a little bit about them. I was obsessed with biographies of art of living and dead artists. I just used to consume one a week for several years. And it was you know, that's how I sort of put my mosaic or my puzzle together of you know, it's two part this and one part this and and when you start to understand that a players want to be around other A players, it's not a stretch, you're like, Oh, that makes sense. If you're, you know, Roger Federer and you decide how you want to spend your time on the tennis court. You don't want to coach that's not very good. And even if you're Best Friend, you want to spend a lot of time with your best friend, but he's a crap tennis player and you need someone to play tennis with, then he's probably not the best choice. Maybe not the best example. But I think you can extract you can lift and stamp that to other areas of your life. And then you look at someone who's mediocre at something. And those folks, they tend to be self conscious, they're aware of where their skill set lies relative to others, where they are in their journey. And through largely through ego, a B player is going to want to spend time around a C player, so they can feel good about themselves. So they can be the best one in the room, nurse their ego, and that has almost a catastrophic effect, which is Oh shit, if I'm the smartest person in the room, I'm doing it wrong. I'm doing a lot of hearing my own self talk. And I'm doing a lot of, of preaching and pretending that I've got it all figured out. surrounding myself, even when people like people get to the same skill level or even better than me if I either, you know, bad mouthing them or steering clear those folks because it doesn't make me look as good. You can see that's just a recipe for disaster versus an A player, say an A player in, in video editing wants to learn, you know, after effects if you can, if you can see this other After Effects expert as your peers and say, shit, you're so good at that I want to spend time around you because you're the best person my entire of everyone I know at you know that that's that skill. Cool. And they recognize that school thing about talent is talent sees talent, right? And there that often is there's a sort of a mutual respect. And then take the that framework and map it on to who you're deciding to spend time with? Are you choosing to spend time with people who light you up? Who give you energy? For whom? who inspire you? Or are you spending time around people who have just the opposite effect where you're the brightest star in the room, or the brightest bury on the bush or the person who has all the knowledge and your ego is being nourished by having a handful of people is that oh, man, I love what you're doing with American Ninja Warrior, and you're such a good editor, and I'm just living in my mom's basement and doing what we're like whatever the you know, that's so cool, then, and you're feeling good about that. So this is not a stretch, right? What we're trying to do is make the things available, and we're developing awareness for your listeners for each of us individually. And so that we can actually make some changes in our life, you know, becoming aware of these things. It's not science, it's not superhuman vision that lays us out. It's like, it's being in touch with reality shit. Turns out that a players hang out with other A players and B players want to add their their ego nourished. So I would ask your listeners, what camp are you in? And if you find yourself in a camp, where you're, as you said, the smartest person in the room? What can you do? What series of changes can you do with your community? Through you know, mentorship through who what your what information you're consuming, to put yourself in sort of that inspired learning mode rather than the other way around?
Love all of that couple of things that I want to add to it. The first of which is that from my students, I know that oftentimes if you say to them, you want to connect with the best people in the world. I could never do that. I'm just going to be bothering them. And why would they want to help little old me, what I will often advise them of is like your quote unquote expert doesn't have to be the best in the world. It's somebody that is a little bit further ahead. That's achieved already what you want to achieve next. And sometimes that kind of takes the fear out of it. Sure. No, I want to dig into that a little bit. But then part and parcel with that. How do we also look at this idea of well sure, be great to surround myself with a players but I don't I don't believe that I'm an A player, I see myself or I identify as a C player or a B player. And I'm not worthy of being in that circle. So how do we kind of look at it from those two different lenses and go into some of these tactics that you talked about?
Let's go to the second one first. So if I'm a C player, well, you're an A player in something. What do you in a player in? Or what can you become an A player in really quickly? I believe that we have to go deep into something that we really love to become a master at that thing because it's through the process of developing mastery that we can then recognize mastery for what it is. Understand, learn how we learn and then in turn that accelerates our learning in every other aspect of our life from that point forward. So what can you become great at also, if you are not a master at something or you're not great at something or you're a C player in In a world where you want to become an A player, look into your wallet and say what am I in a player at? Or how can I throw energy and time at supporting the A players that I know in the world? And this has very much to do with community? How can I become a member of an A player's community? What do I have to offer? Even if that is just your time and attention? This is why trying to get into those rooms not through creepy weird ways. But if you commented on every one of my Instagram posts for the next two years, I would know your name. And that's your noticed, you're not calling me and say, Can I have an hour? Will you review my portfolio? Can you connect me to Richard Branson? That's just dipshit moves there those that's just like, Who are you to ask for my time? I don't know you? Are you gonna give random Joe off the street? You know, two hours, your time when time is the one most precious commodity? That you might say yes, until you have 1000 People ask you for an hour. I do not need coffee anymore. I need someone to support the ideas that I'm putting out in the world to buy my books and help other people see and hear about them. That is available to every single person who's listening right now, if there are people in your world that you respect, and appreciate and admire their work, how can you become a champion of their work for so long, and then be so dedicated to that, that they can't help but recognize you. That's a great start. I'm not saying that's the end all be all. But that is an example of hacking the system where you don't have to try and be my friend, I will become your internet friend by you supporting my work over and over and over because I can't help but notice it be the person who's tireless at that. Now, there are all sorts of other techniques, again, that I think are very well articulated in creative calling. And I just noticed this 30% off on Amazon. My assistant Julie just shot that to me just now. But the concept of what is it that you're interested in? And how can you support that? Or what are you in a player in? And how can you bring that to bear in the area that you are a C player but want to become an A player. These are, you know, a well, a great life is not doesn't just happen. It is designed, it is planned, you do not end up with a gorgeous, architecturally rich, recognized, award winning badass house by just fucking hammering some random boards together. It's strategized. It's thoughtful. It's planned. And so art is so art your life. And so whether you're in you know where wherever you are in whatever area of focus, however, what whatever your development in that area is start to look around and assess the system for what it is like, where am I great, where am I deficient? Where How can I build my community? Like these are, there are books that are written about this see mine, there are communities that you can participate on the internet, see yours, there are all kinds of ways that you can actually learn. And these are skills. To be very clear, these are skills, that if you do not work on these skills, you will not get good at them. And so expecting you'd be good at a skill that you've never practiced. That's where you know where to your points earlier, we sort of feel let down by the Learning Center by the teaching system, the learning system or the school system. But if you can shift that mentality and take ownership and responsibility for that, the answers are all there and they're hiding in plain sight. It just takes a little bit of work.
That I believe is what we call a mic drop moment. I'm going to need a chiropractic adjustment for all the head nodding that I've been doing that people can't see if they're listening. And I literally just about totally interrupted you with the most ridiculous laughing when you said I don't need more coffee. Right? And I I'm not certainly not at the level that you are. But I can very much relate to that where it's a constant influx of outreach all day, every day. And I teach to my students, when we're learning the process of networking, it has to be about providing value first. Yep, not taking. But the outreach that I get is so bad, I actually have a collection of it, I have what's called a bad outreach collection. And I teach it and I break it down. Because there's so much of it. And if you just provide value to somebody first, you immediately alert them that you're in the top 1% And I actually I want to peel the curtain back a little bit for the audience and even a little bit for you. The reason you're actually on the show. And this goes into this idea of tactics the reason that you're here today because what the level that you're at the size of your audience, there is no tremendous like, oh my god, this is a huge opportunity for me Chase Jarvis, who already has 10 million students best selling book to completely expand my audience. You're here because of a mutually an introduction that was facilitated through a mutual friend, whom you really respect who was my business mentor who's Ramit Sethi. And going back to this idea of providing value to somebody's community. First, I heard Ramit on the Tim Ferriss podcast way back like 2015, when Tim was just starting his podcast, and I was at the point of making the career transition of, I don't want to be just an editor anymore, I want to go in this other direction that I've now gone, I heard him on the show. And I'm like, that's the guy, if there's one person in the world that can help me better understand how to take all of these various skills, and package them to provide value to others and make an income, it's Ramit. So I joined his flagship program, which is now called earnable, at the time was called Zero to Launch. And this is a very ballsy move. As soon as I joined, I emailed Ramit directly. And I basically said, in so many words, you don't know me yet. But a year from now, I'm going to be one of your student testimonials of somebody that has completely devoured your program, and has gotten results from it so that I can inspire your other students to do the same. And I am now routinely featured in his emails as one of those success stories that inspires other students, he flew me out to New York to be on the stage and talk about my journey. But it wasn't about, hey, Ramit, I paid you money. Now you need to help me it was here's how I want to help you, I want to help your community. And I was in his Facebook group every day like, here are my challenges. Here's what I screwed up today. Here's tomorrow's struggle. And I was building this entire conversation. And I love that it's not a matter of well, quid pro quo, I gave you this value. So now you owe me something, I just love providing that value to other people. And you're here today, because I gave that value to him, we've developed a good relationship. And then because he facilitated the mutual introduction, you're willing to take an hour out of your life, for sure. That's that, to me, is how it's done. If you want to find these people that are A players,
it's a beautiful breakdown. And I'll add one other thing here, which is part of a very important piece of that puzzle is you emailed Ramit and said, I'm going to be you know, an A student in your class. And I don't know if you know this, or I'm going to say how I would treat them. Like I would say, sweet, let me see it, prove it, because I've received 1000 of those emails and 10 have manifested as the person predicted. And because you know, the why I'm sharing this is because it's not what you say, it's what you actually do. That matters. It's not what you think, from the couch, it's what you get out there and do this is why I have another phrase action over intellect. Like, if you're sitting there trying to plan out the most perfect, you know, step by step process or the, it's like, look, it's 90%, you know, doing 10% planning. So once you've planned for 10 minutes, you need to be, you know, working for 90 minutes. And if you extrapolate that out to the scale of your life, you start to get a picture. And so I wouldn't frown on sending that email, that's great. But I don't I don't want your listeners to misunderstand, because what you actually did is you did the work. And the work look like showing up in the community every single day. And Ramit didn't, didn't fly it in New York, because you send a nice fucking email he sent flew to New York, because you did the work and community added value. And you didn't ask for something. I think it's a very important distinction. And the cool thing here is that that is available to every person who's listening, there is not a you do not have to spend $50,000 and get a piece of paper to do that work, you do not have to fly to Paris, wear a beret smoke cigarettes and become super creative. All this shit is available to you right now today. Like it's you can literally can start while you're listening to the show, you can start reaching out to people in a community that you want to be a part of an adding value, even if the value is you know, liking, commenting, offering your own personal experiences and, you know, being a positive person in a man and otherwise dark spot. Like those are valuable attributes.
Yeah, and the last thing I want to add to this, to layer on it that I think goes back to well, what if I feel like I'm a C player that wants to be surrounded by a players, it's so much more about your character and your identity than your specific area of expertise. Because if I've dealt like you said, you kind of have to master one thing first, if you demonstrated, you're the kind of person that puts in the work to master or craft the right people will recognize that and see you can apply it to others. Whereas if I just sent that email to Amit, and I hadn't follow through, well, I'm not the kind of person that's going to follow through with that. But for example, when I started a relationship with Tony Horton creator p90x I'm like, Dude, my one of the things that my bucket list I want to be a cast member of one year workout programs. Yeah, sure. Sure. Whatever, right? Three years later, boom, cast member and p90x for right oh, I'm I'm going to be a ninja warrior. And I'm going to be taught by the world's best. Yeah, okay, whatever, especially, you know, winning DadBod award competitions, you know, at the age of 40. But one of my trainers is literally on the 50 foot banner and is known worldwide as one of the top ninjas in the sport. So the words are one thing, being willing to put in the work and play the long game of chess for years years make it happen, that's the component that most people miss. It's a long game of yours to make for sure.
And but this is also why you should you can invest all that time in something that somebody else thinks you should do, which is fucking grueling. Because you're never gonna, it's like, you're gonna lack that motivation, the, the, when shit gets hard, and it will, if you're just gonna walk away, you're gonna drop the rope. And this is why doing something that you actually care and taking the time to look inside, who am I, what am I doing, I'm going to test a few things and try some things out. Now that didn't work. But I like this. So this, oh, it's the combination of these two things like that's an active process, you have to go through that process, as a part of this process we're talking about in order to be working on the right shit. And if you do find that, Oh, my God, I got three quarters of the way down this journey. And it's not for me, what you have learned is not that all that shit was for naught. But let cool, now I have a new set of skills and a new, you know, a new saber in my backpack that I can then bring to the next to the next battle. And that if that doesn't energize you, then you need to take a vacation, you put up a load off, just like get yourself straight, because that should fire you up. And if it doesn't, I can't help you.
According to my notes, we're about 50 minutes into a six and a half hour conversation. However, as much as I'm enjoying this, as as much as I'm totally in the zone, I want to be very respectful of your time and all the many other endeavors and creative callings that you have to accomplish. But before we leave our audience, I do want to make sure they know exactly where to find you where to find your work. So they can be a part of your community. They can support it, and they can provide value where should I be sending people?
Awesome, Zack, thank you very much for for having me on the show. I admire a lot of things of just not just on what you've said today, but Ramit has shared many of your attributes with me prior to our introduction and what you're saying, like you're speaking the truth, just so people are aware, like all of this stuff, you haven't said anything that is antithetical toward anything that I believe. So first of all, thank you for that. And you're on the, you know, a beautiful path and blazing a trail for yourself, which I think is really exciting. The second thing is if people do if any of this has resonated Of course, I'm just Chase Jarvis on all the social platforms. And I feel like you know, I took years to write a book called Creative Calling, which has all this stuff in a very tidy format. And I did my own stunts. So if you like audiobooks, I read my own Read, read, read, read the gun, that was a grueling process, you lock yourself in a little room for five or six days to either one of those, the the actual book, the hardback Kindle, like, I'm not attached to whatever version you get, but it's good stuff. And it's very helpful to put you on the path if any of this stuff has resonated I'm just Chase Jarvis everywhere. Don't email me and asked me for coffee. Do all that other shit first.
Yeah, I love it. So Chase Jarvis Creative Calling, we're going to make sure all the show notes are at optimizeyourself.me/podcast. I'm going to be beaming from this interview for at least the next four weeks. And I thank you again for this time. And I hope that I've earned the opportunity to help you publicize that next book when it comes out. And boy, am I going to be on the preorder list.
I love it. I love it. And what I you know, just a little inside baseball here for the listeners. What I shared with Zack is I'm bouncing specifically to go talk to my editor about my next book, which I'm 50,000 words into an 80,000 word book. And it's very exciting to me so. But start at the start, go check out Creative Calling. And also I given out to Creative Live, which is an online learning platform that I started. Some Gosh, 13 years ago, which Zack alluded to. That company has been acquired by a large public company. I'm no longer associated with it. But I believe deeply in the ability to learn from smart wise people on the internet. I had Ramit as a teacher on that platform decades, more than a decade ago.
Pretty beard, you wouldn't even recognize me looks like a baby in some of those videos.
I know. The same with Tim. Tim taught an amazing class on that platform. So you know, that's worth your time. But Creative Calling is where I started to do Styria.
I love it. Well, thank you so much. Once again, this has meant the world to me and I hope that I can spread your work to an entirely new audience of people specifically in the Hollywood entertainment industry and creative community.
Awesome. Love it. Thanks again for having me on the show, Zack and to everybody out there. Good luck. I got your back I think you can do it
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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Chase Jarvis is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and one of the most influential photographers of the past 20 years. His expansive work ranges from shooting advertising campaigns for companies like Apple, Nike, and Red Bull; to working with athletes like Serena Williams and Tony Hawk, to collaborating with renowned icons like Lady Gaga and Richard Branson. As a fine artist, he’s had solo and group gallery shows in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2013 Chase contributed to the Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times story Snowfall, and in 2014 earned an Emmy nomination for his documentary Portrait of a City. He also created Best Camera – the first photo app to share images to social networks, and is the Founder of CreativeLive, where more than 10 million students learn photography, video, design, music and business from the world’s top creators and entrepreneurs which was acquired by Fiverr – a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange – in 2021. His recent book Creative Calling debuted as an instant National Best Seller.
He’s long been an advisor to Fortune 100 brands, and a guest at the White House, the United Nations, the Library of Congress, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, and the DIFC in Dubai. Chase lives with his wife, Kate, in Seattle, and serves as a volunteer board director for several non-profits.
This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.
The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).
Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.