I Made It: How Chase Jarvis closed the creative gap and wrote his book
Get Chase Jarvis’s advice on releasing your creativity, tapping your intuition, taking consistent action, and applying his IDEA framework to create your life’s work.
Whether you know it as your passion, purpose, or calling, finding “it” can feel a lot like a wild goose chase.
You know, that thing that pushes you to get up earlier in the morning, stay up later at night, and, if you’re lucky, maybe even live a little longer.
Sometimes, we’re born with our passions at the tip of our tongue. Some people know they want to be a writer the first time they pick up a pen. Some kids know they want to be a vet as soon as they meet their first furry-faced friend.
But for most of us, finding our passion isn’t a linear path. It has countless twists and turns until your creativity can be unleashed, and you land on a vocation that just feels right.
This zig-zagged career path was no different for Chase Jarvis , a successful photographer, director, entrepreneur, and co-founder of CreativeLive , the world's largest live streaming education company.
A self-proclaimed “hyphen,” Chase bailed on medical school, dropped out of a philosophy Ph.D. program, and took an early exit from a professional soccer career before pursuing his passion as a photographer.
Not only did he become a renowned photographer -- working with the likes of Nike, Apple, GM, Google, Colombia, Pepsi, Red Bull, and dozens more -- but Chase also hosts the Chase Jarvis Live show in video and podcast form.
It’s a show chock-full of pithy interviews from other famous creative greats, ranging from Mark Cuban and Richard Branson to Brené Brown and Seth Godin.
We had the privilege of sitting with Chase in an episode of I Made It , a podcast for action-taking creators, where he divulges the creative process that went into making his latest creative work -- his book Creative Calling .
Let’s start with the first and most important lesson from his wild-ride of a career: How do you find your passion?
You look within.
How Chase “looks within” to pursue his creative calling
To pursue his dream of becoming a photographer, artist, and creator, Chase had to work past external forces -- like his parents, peers, teachers, and culture -- and self-reflect.
A simple concept, but a challenging one to take on.
Why? There are so many external factors to cut through.
In Chase’s words, “I had to extract myself from everyone else's plans and pursue the things that I wanted in the world.”
Despite all the “inputs from your parents and peers and television and culture,” Chase believes humans are, at heart, “creative machines”.
And those creative machines innately have “the creative capacity to create the living and life that we want for ourselves more than anything in the world.”
To get in touch with your innate creativity, you need to look within and dig deep.
“Creativity is a force inside of every one of us that, when we unleash it, it can transform our lives and deliver vitality to everything we do,” Chase explains.
Pretty powerful stuff, right?
This concept of unleashing your innate creativity from within is the premise of his book, Creative Calling: Establish a daily practice, infuse your world with meaning, and succeed in work + life .
Chase’s book is the medium that allows him to lay out his framework to help people pursue their dreams. More specifically, a framework that’s based on the acronym “IDEA”, which stands for:
I - imagine
D - design
E - execute
A - amplify
The most authentic detail about his book is Chase used his framework to write it. “To be drinking, eating, and taking my own medicine while creating a book was just absolutely fascinating,” he muses. “And it's positive proof that it worked.”
Of course, the actual nitty-gritty of how it worked for him -- and can work for you -- is a little more complicated than that.
But not much more, as it turns out.
Chase’s three-step creative process
Chase breaks down his book writing process into three main steps, the first of which is to look within and listen to your intuition.
“Step one to me is cutting through the noise and listening to your intuition, your true soul of what you want for your world,” he shares. “Step one was really realizing that I wanted to continue to pull on this thread, and it was the curiosity that I found inside me.”
Think intuition sounds fluffy? Think again.
“There's a really strong correlation to intuition, personal agency, and personal power,” Chase coaches, adding that it all culminates in “realizing that you are the author of your own script of your own life.”
Chase believes we’re taught not to trust our intuition and that society trains us to think of it as “whimsical, fickle, and fleeting.” But, in reality, it’s something we should rely on more.
It’s called “a gut feeling” rather than “a head feeling” because your intuition stores all of the data from your life’s experiences, which is felt in your body. “It’s just a little bit harder to access,” he explains.
Once you find that clarity from within -- as Chase did with his book concept -- the rest falls into place, so long as you put some serious action behind it (more on that in a bit).
Chase’s second step in writing his book was to deconstruct the work of others, as well as his own successes, to uncover any patterns.
From there, he applied his IDEA framework repeatedly while refining it along the way.
That’s the mental side of things, anyway. The actual physical part of writing a book drills down into two parts.
How Chase breaks his writing process into two parts
There are two main parts to Chase’s book writing process:
Cultivating his ideas
Shaping his book
While cultivating his ideas, Chase's main objective was not to judge his writing. “It's not about judging the work. People get stuck on that way too soon,” he warns.
Instead of allowing himself to overthink his ideas and intellectualize himself out of writing a book, he focused on taking iterative action and turning his writing process into a physical habit.
“For me, it was just, in a nonjudgmental way, putting words on paper in a repeated fashion,” Chase shares. “True professional lifelong creators know that this is actually how you develop a personal style.”
And a personal style, according to Chase, is something you can’t shape without taking action. Personal style is something you achieve by doing. “Personal style is there, and it's an active. It’s a habit. It's a repetition.”
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In addition to developing your personal style, taking action while cultivating your ideas comes with another benefit -- it allows you to overcome hurdles.
“It's the movement [of action] that allows you to sidestep obstacles and go over, around, or through them,” says Chase. “And if you're flat-footed and you're not taking action, it's really, really hard.”
For Chase, all this action meant jotting down ideas in his phone, on scraps of paper, and using Evernote everywhere he went.
He started flooding his world with words and wrote every day as a place to park his thoughts.
Taking action also meant working long weekends for a couple of years. “I ended up breaking it down into component pieces and writing every morning and every weekend.”
He chose the early morning “when ideas are nebulous, and there aren’t a lot of obstacles between you and your subconscious” as the time for his daily dose of brainstorm writing.
For the second part of his creative process, Chase changed into what he calls “actual book mode” and shaped his book by collaborating with his community.
He bounced his ideas off of his friends, wife, and agent, and used their conversations and feedback to guide the direction of his book.
Once he’d written and ruminated over his ideas for a few years, he spent two days writing a proposal and submitted it to his agent, who was elated with the book proposal. “Oh my god, this is it. This is the thing we’ve been talking about for five years,” his agent reacted.
While it seems like a straightforward process, it’s one that took patience and dedicated action to come to fruition.
Chase had been “building and cherishing and cultivating a community around creativity for years.” With his cultivated community, though, he was able to achieve his dream of creating a meaningful book.
Which means his book-writing experience resembles the “10-year overnight success” concept.
Put another way, Chase had to invest enough time and energy to close the creative gap -- a concept popularized by Ira Glass -- which is “the distance between the work that you can see in your mind and the work that you can actually create.”
If you’re a creator who wants to close your own creative gap, Chase imparts words of wisdom especially for you.
Chase’s advice for passionate creators
To unlock your creativity, which is “the truest, deepest meaning of what it is to be a human being,” Chase recommends simply taking action, even if your ideas aren’t fully fleshed out.
Through consistent work and action, the creative gap will shrink.
“You should start building something, and you should start investigating it in the form of action,” he affirms.
Otherwise, the pitfalls of perfectionism will take over, and your intellect will trump your action. You’ll risk thinking your way out of creating something that you’re meant to create.
“I've tried and I've tried for decades on certain projects to think my way out of it,” Chase divulges. “It's only through taking some really imperfect action where you find the next step.”
Chase also advocates for “pursuing the thing that you're naturally inclined to do, that feels good to you, where your curiosities lie.”
In fact, this is the purpose of his book -- to help people pursue what they truly want to do and uncover their creativity that’s hiding in plain sight.
(It’s a purpose we wholeheartedly believe in at Podia, where we strive to help creators make a profit off their passion. Give us a free try today to see that philosophy in action.)
Chase believes “humans are ‘creating machines.’ This is what differentiates us from every other species on the planet . . . We just haven't been taught to unleash it.”
Until now, anyway.
Be sure to check out Chase’s book, Creative Calling , if you want to learn more about unleashing that calling.
And for more great advice from power creators like Chase, check out the full I Made It podcast over here .