Skip to content
Start free trial

Closing the creative gap with Chase Jarvis

Episode 2December 20, 2019

About the episode

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.

Episode transcript

Jay: Okay, let's see. Okay, check, check. No.

What does it take to be a great creator? Test, test. Hello. Hello. Check one, two, check one, two. To hone your craft and turn it from a passion project into your livelihood, we often put this notion of creativity up on a pedestal. And don't get me wrong, I'm totally guilty too. I love the big idea, the daydreaming, gazing out the window and thinking about what could be, I get inspired when I see somebody I admire do something truly amazing. But creativity doesn't mean big.

Let's see. It's the sum of lots of small, often hidden choices all strong together. These choices go unnoticed by those who consume the work. But to the creator of that work, the decisions are everything.

How is this? Hello. Hello. No way. Even if they lead to just small differences in the final product, that can make all the difference in the world.

Hey, I'm Jay Acunzo, I'm too loud.

So what does that look like? What does that feel like? What really goes on when a successful creator builds their favorite project? Check, check. All right. That's thing they can point to and proudly say, "Hey, you see that? I made it."

Hey, I'm Jay Acunzo. I'm an author, a speaker, and the founder of a media company just for marketers who make shows called Marketing Showrunners. I'm partnering with Podia to bring you this show. Podia sells tools to help creators earn a living on their craft through things like courses, memberships, and digital downloads. No coding needed. On this show, creators who earn a living on their craft go deep inside the making of a single project, and it's there that we find some of the technique and the turmoil that went into making something meaningful for their business.

Today's guest is the generous, the insightful, the legendary Chase Jarvis. And the project we dive into is his new book, ''Creative Calling,'' which came out September, 2019. Chase is a photographer, a director, and an entrepreneur. As a photographer, he's worked with Nike, Apple, GM, Google, Colombia, Pepsi, Red Bull, and dozens more. He's photographed athletes like Roger Federer and Serena Williams, has won countless awards and he even contributed to the now famous New York Times interactive project Snowfall, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013. As if that wasn't enough, he also hosts the Chase Jarvis Live show in video and podcast form and he interviews people ranging from Mark Cuban and Richard Branson, to Brené Brown and Seth Godin. Since 2014, he's been the cofounder and CEO of CreativeLive, the world's largest live streaming education company, focused on helping creators earn a living and build their lives. So let's talk to Chase about his new book, ''Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life.''

Chase Jarvis, you made a thing. What did you make?

Chase: I made a book called ''Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life.'' And I'm over the moon to get it out in the world. It's been like years in the making. I feel like it's been inside me for a long time and I'm very excited to share it with, well first of all, with you and your community but also with the world.

Jay: So you do a lot of stuff, YouTube videos. I think it's an understatement. I know you like to say you're a hyphen. I think we all are. And I know you agree and you've said that too. So you do a ton of stuff. I don't have to list them all because I think we'd run out of time, but what is a book able to do to sort of advance your grand vision of the world that your other projects do differently or not as well? Like, what is so like uniquely valuable about doing a book given all the things you already do?

Chase: Oh, wow. Well, first of all, it's a great question. Not one that I have received yet as part of this project. All right. I feel like I ditch the world that everybody else wanted for me. When you grow up, people are writing scripts for you, all around you, your parents, your peers, your teachers, everyone, they have plans for you. And I had to extract myself from everyone else's plans and pursue the things that I wanted in the world. I bailed on medical school, dropped out of a PhD in philosophy, quit a career in professional soccer to pursue being a photographer. And that's not what the book is about, but the book is just an amazing package to present a set of ideas that I've been working on my whole life.

I was again, I dropped out of everything that everybody else wanted for me to become a creator and an entrepreneur, you know, started my own business, worked in photography for years, shot campaigns for many of the world's top brands. And then I felt at some point like, wait a minute, there has to be more. And as the internet expanded, I did a learning platform. Well, actually, I'll back up. I did an iPhone app that was basically the first iPhone app that would allow you to take a picture, add a cool effect, a thing called a filter, which was very new in 2009 and then share it across social media. And so that was sort of like building a tool.

So I became an artist and a creator. Then I started building tools for creators in the form of this iPhone app, which went on to be app of the year in 2009 and then a couple of years later launched a learning platform called CreativeLive, which is today the world's largest learning platform for creators and entrepreneurs. Tens of millions of people use it. And what the book is, is it felt like something was missing. Like there's a lot of how, like, here's a tool and then a learning platform is here's how you do it. But was what was missing was a synthesis of all these ideas and a lot of the why, like why creativity matters and how it can empower you and unlock not just the passion, but the creative capacity that we all have innately in us to create the living and the life that we want for ourselves more than anything in the world, despite all the, you know, the other inputs from your parents and peers and television and culture, like human beings are creative machines. And 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. So it felt like a book that sort of had sewn all my personal past together, but also laid it out in a very clear and simple way as a framework for helping anyone live their life and pursue their dreams.

Jay: I found that to be the hardest part about writing my first book last year, which was when you have this grand vision for other people in the world and certainly yourself as a part of that and you're so passionate about it, it can be really difficult to keep that in mind, but almost set it aside briefly so you can actually get the work done. Like taking this massive project, right? And like breaking it up into component pieces and making sure you're not just sort of like going down a rabbit hole and losing yourself in the writing. So you have to make it coherent and lead people step by step. So given that you've long worked against this big, big vision of the world and, you know, creativity, whether it's the craft of executing what people might call art or creativity with a capital C and science, politics, etc., just society at large, like that's a massive thing you're embroiled in that you worked on for years and years and years and now you gotta put it into a book. So what's step one?

Chase: So, oh, man. Well, step one is I think is 10 years of percolating and it living in it, being a part of it and shaping ideas, understanding the opinions of others, but really looking inward. I think that's a huge misunderstanding culturally, is we think the ideas and the opportunities and everything are out there, but you have everything that you need inside of you. And the answers to life's biggest questions by and large are inside of us. And we get these inputs and we're taught largely to ignore our intuition. So for me, the very first part of it was believing that this was something that understanding rather, that this was something that was a part of who I wanted to be in a story I wanted to tell with my life and a subset of people who understood this, who I wanted to connect with and build a community around.

And all those answers were in there. I just was getting information from lots of other places that was conflicting to that. So there's the step one to me is sort of cutting through the noise and listening to your intuition, your true sort of soul of what you want for your world. And you know, the, the book is, it has a framework which I think is a really, really useful framework. It comes in four steps, four parts and in a way, it's a creative process that if you wanted to say build a business or create a piece of art or it's also a framework for your entire life. And it's based around the acronym idea.

Jay: I is for imagine, imagine your dreams for this thing if it's a project or your whole career, life. D design, design a system of daily work, little things you do all the time to reach what you're imagining. E, execute, execute on that idea, refine the system. A, amplify.

Chase: And amplification is a piece of that pie that so many creators and entrepreneurs and people that I know, they miss. They keep their dreams inside and quiet versus building a community around their ideas. So if you go back to the top of the hour, I early on realized that everything I'd ever done and every piece of inspiring work that I've ever deconstructed from, you know, Richard Branson, building businesses to Brene Brown, discovering her life's work around vulnerability and shame to, you know, and anyone else. When I deconstructed the work of myself and others, it was this really repeatable process.

And so step one was really realizing that I wanted to, you know, continue to pull on this thread and it was the curiosity that I found inside me. Step two was like deconstructing the work of others, deconstructing my successes and realizing that there's a pattern here. And then step three has been really applying that framework over and over and refining it. To go back to your original thesis about how it's hard, right? You got this big vision, but you have to actually start doing it. So the irony of writing a book about creativity and about a process for creating, you know, anything you want or something as massive as the arc of your life is I was living that while I was writing about it and talk about it like a mind trip. Like, part of my ethos is really around taking action and you can't actually intellectualize your way out of much. You have to take action and it's the movement that allows you to sidestep obstacles, go over, around or through them. And if you're flat-footed and you're not taking action, it's really, really hard.

And so to be drinking, eating my own medicine, taking my own medicine while creating a book was just absolutely fascinating and it's proof positive that it worked because here we are, right? It took years in the making and like you said, you ended up breaking it down into component pieces and, you know, writing every morning and every weekend, every morning, really early when ideas are sort of nebulous and there's not a lot of obstacles between you and your subconscious. And then, you know, of course, long weekends and do that for a couple of years, you start to have a framework and that's ultimately what became this book.

Jay: I was an English literature major, so I was like, I got this. Like, I'm so used to this muscle. It was a little atrophied, but it was like, let me dust it off and get back to here's this big thing I have to create, all the research, the stories that, you know, and it was all about my outline. Like that was my first foray moving from nebulous idea to concrete direction and clarity. I'm curious about when you designed this book, what was like your first foray into that? Like I gotta get organized now?

Chase: Well, there's two things I'll dive into on that one. One, the process of cultivating the ideas and then two, like shifting gears into actual book mode. So under the first point, for me, it was very much about creating and not judging. And this ironically or not goes hand in hand with part of the process that I believe the creative process, right? It's not about judging the work. People get stuck on that way too soon. Oh, is this a nice drawing or is this a good MVP if you're in tech or is this good code? And versus just like getting something out there. And so for me, it was just in a nonjudgmental way, putting words on paper in a repeated fashion, and, you know, true professional, lifelong creators know that this is actually how you develop a personal style. You can't actually shape that. You just have to do it. And it's there and it's an active, it's a habit. It's a repetition.

And so I started just flooding my world with words, you know, traveling with, you know, having a notepad in my phone and my Evernote and writing every morning on scraps of paper and having a place where I parked my thoughts in the evenings. And before I started assembling any framework or it was really about putting ideas onto paper in a way that I could look at them and sort of sit with them and be with them and not judging. So, you know, Anne Lamott in ''Bird by Bird'' talks about really shitty first drafts. Like, that's what you have to do.

And so part one was just getting ideas out of my head onto paper so that I could share them with, you know, my friends and peers and my wife and ultimately, you know, book editors and agents and things like that. But earliest on, it was just the act of doing. And we try and make it more complicated. We wanna get everything right before we start to eliminate pitfalls and hiccups. But the reality is you don't have to see the whole staircase. You just have to see the first couple of steps. And for me, I knew that I wanted to do a book and so I started writing. And, you know, that over time took shape but I wasn't in too much of a hurry to shape it. It shaped itself through consistent work and action. It's not dissimilar to working out, or you know, to learn anything.

And then under step two when you think about, okay, I need to shape this into a book, it was, you know, it was very community-centric. I shared these ideas with my friends and, and my wife, Kate, who's been super collaborative and she's a co-conspirator, cofounder and so many things that I've done and bouncing ideas off her. And I have an agent, Steve Hanselman, who's just incredible and we've been together for a number of years and he's like, just when the time is right. And so we just be kicking things back and forth. And then one weekend, this was a couple of years ago now, it just, it reached like peak, had to get this out of me. And I had written enough because of these early mornings and the shitty first drafts that we talked about that I could put in in just two days of writing, what I called it was my eighth grade book report. I basically put a handful of ideas together in the form of a proposal, what I thought a book could be and I just kicked it to Steve and Steve was like, "Oh my God, this is it." This is the thing we've been talking about for five years.

Jay: I think an easy takeaway and a misinterpretation of that story would be, well, Chase was able to get his book through with like this eighth grade book report and I have to put in all this work to create this big proposal. And I would say like Chase put in all this work. It just happened maybe in a slightly different flavor that didn't look like the nice neat packaging of this massive book report because the first thing you said was like, actually step one here, Jay, was working and working and working on this for 10 years, thinking about this stuff, documenting it, you're the flow of your life. Having a notebook or Evernote or something where you could just deposit thoughts and talking those thoughts out loud to people like air raiding them. It just, all of that to me was what a lot of other people think they can just do when they're like, and now I'm starting to write a book, I open a document, I'm creating the proposal. Like your proposal happened in the real world, so to speak.

Chase: Yeah. It's so well put and I'm glad you circled back as I was. It's really important that I don't gold plate this process is again another Brené Brown quote, like gold plated grit. You're like, "Oh, it was so hard, but then it was awesome." And then you just go on to talk about how awesome it was and you really gave the hard part, like a half of a sentence, right? So the reality is that there's, you know, you've heard the concept of the 10-year overnight success, right? And, you know, I've been building and cherishing and cultivating community around creativity, around this area of focus for me around my own work and the work of others that I admire for years. And so it is not as it seems as sort of overnight success. And I talk a lot in the book about this. Like, Ira Glass, for example, talks about this thing called the creative gap.

Jay: I'm literally staring at my notes and I'm like what's the next thing I'm bringing up to Chase? And it just says Ira Glass gap.

Chase: So the creative gap is the distance between the work that you can see in your mind and the work that you can actually create. And, you know, in photography for me early on that was like, the gap was 100 miles and over the course of years you're able to shrink that gap to the point where what you see in your mind is actually what you produce. And that's part of why I'm advocating just starting. You know, creativity does not have to mean that you're donning a Barret and you're quitting your job and that, no, no, not at all. This is a power that is native inside of every person. And it supercharges and amplifies every area of life. It makes a better, richer, more meaningful, more connected. And ultimately, humans are creating machines. Like that's what differentiates us from every other species on the planet.

So whether you're cooking dinner, writing code, building a business, it's all creativity. And what we need to do is find a way to not judge this, to undo the years of cultural programming. Because face it, our culture, you know, it's easier to sort of control and measure and move things forward at a government or a nation state level if you just set up, you know, walk in line. But that's not how innovation happens. That's not how ingenuity or that's not how the biggest problems in the world gets solved. So like if you go back to, we're just native, massive creative animals, let's, you know, let's start identifying that, calling ourselves creators and taking these steps that we're outlining here, whether it's my eighth grade book report or you're getting started, you have a passion for cooking. Like, these are the things that unlock the truest, deepest meaning of what it is to be a human being. The creative gap gets smaller over time.

Jay: You know, I also think that sometimes people interpret the Ira Glass gap quo a little bit too literally. Like the quote runs something like, "If you wanna close the gap between what your creative tastes is urging you to create and what your skills are actually able to create, you know, that gap between the two, you have to put out a lot of bad work and that's the only way to close the gap. And I completely agree, but I think sometimes people believe that the reps you have to put in, the bad work, so to speak, has to be the exact thing you're trying to get good at. And I actually believe that yes, if you're gonna try to make a podcast, the only way to get good at it, podcast. You wanna write, write? You wanna speak, speak, you wanna take photos, take a lot of pictures. So I believe in that and I've lived that. And you have too, Chase, I know. But I also think that there are other types of reps, other things you can do a lot of that have this supporting or tangential benefit to help close the gap too. So now let's apply that to your book. How did your experience in your years of taking tons and tons of photos being a photographer professionally and personally and all the video work you've done, how did that apply to putting out the best work possible for the book?

Chase: That's a great question, Jay. And I think the most simple answer is it's the lens that we all, like for me, photography and video was a lens that I put on this powerful concept called creativity. And for you it might be, you know, coding or cooking or creating great audio experiences for people. And while each lens has its own unique like angle to it, fundamentally, the process is very similar. And so I was able to exercise my muscles, if you will, in and around photography. But so many of those skills, the fact that you are looking inside to find something as meaningful to you than to pursue it with, you know, with imperfection and move along a continuum of the quality of your craft, your experiences through creating and then sharing that work, which is a really big piece of it. I think we should talk about that through sharing that work and discussing with the small community. Like, that process underpins Creativity, right? Whether you're doing it in photography. For me, that was my lens. And yet if we step back, you know, the creating the arc of your life, that's just creation at a different scale.

And so, you know, for me it was photography and video and you wanted, you know, that was very, very meaningful for me. I could see the process, right? You take 1,000 pictures with your phone and you realize something between picture 1 and picture 1,000. And the same is true if your cook a hundred meals or you build 10 MVP products for your tech platform or, you know, whatever form of creativity you desire to pursue. And to me, I just had done it enough as a professional creator, again, not required for any of this, but as a professional creator, you're in the trenches every day so you get more swings, you get more reps.

And I just started noticing all the similarities. And then, you know, when I did that iPhone app in 2009 and it went on to be the app of the year, my mom finally was like, "Oh, what's this thing about that you've been making and on TV about?" And I put an iPhone in her hand and my app and she went from believing she wasn't creative and having, you know, as 70-years-old, she went from that to like the most creative of all her friends and all. She's posting pictures on her Facebook page and every day on her walk. And this was just like, if you can change someone's perceptions of themselves as a 70-year-old and the sphere of influence that they have through their creativity at 70 when you spend a whole life not believing that, that that was a piece of your DNA to me that, you know, again, go back to the individual lenses that we all have.

And, and you know, I think this resonates with you because I've talked to you about it before in the particular locked lies, the universal, right? So in your own experience for me, you know, you asked about photography and video. For my mom, it might've been the iPhone. For you, it's creating audio experiences and any number of other disciplines. But it's in that particular experience and process that we see that we are all connected around this things and that we all are human creating machines and that we all have a voice, a point of view, and a personal style. We just haven't been taught to unleash it.

Jay: So I'm gonna use an interview technique. Let's get Meta because everyone listening is a creative. I'm gonna use an interview technique that I learned from this really great interviewer that everybody should go watch on YouTube or listen to over audio. His name is Chase Jarvis. He has this show, it's called Chase Jarvis live. Don't worry about it. Chase, you probably like this guy. You're very good at summarizing things because you have very deep-thinking guests. And I think when I was writing down as you were giving this awesome answer were like three things that I pulled out to put a pin in, so to speak, which is a phrase that I've heard you use before as an interviewer, which is such a good idea. Because you're a photographer, I feel like what photography's naturally about is perspective in some way and this book is about changing the perspective or improving it on these topics.

I also liked that you mentioned it's like an iterative series. You talked a lot just now about taking lots and lots of photos. I don't think people quite see that when they're doing a big course, a big eBook, a big printed book. It's sort of like that's the one thing in their mind, but there's actually these micro moments inside that you have like this iterative approach to. And then I really like this idea of what, when I personally see a great photo, it sort of just works. Like it doesn't need the explanation. I just get it, whatever the it is, the emotion, the scene, the snapshot in time. And I do feel like a great business book with a framework like idea and the stories and methodologies and science and all that stuff. Like once you finish it, you put it down and you kind of have that same feeling. You're like, "I get it now." It's this very empowering feeling that kind of washes over you.

Chase: That you have latched onto that, you know, even just with the few chapters you've been able to read, that is a huge thread through the book. If you just look around wherever you are listening to this show right now, just look around and everything in your field of view was created. And it was created by someone no smarter, no brighter, no anything more than you. They had the same raw materials that you do, and it was just the application of effort, the curiosity and work that created the ability for them to create everything that you see. And when you start to unpeel that, you start to pull back the different layers and you realize something's foundational and fundamental as that you're like, wait a minute. I mean I can do that?

There's no crazy leaps to be made. This is all, it's so obvious. It's like hiding in plain sight in our culture and to me, that's why the book had to be made. And I think why it has the chance to really create an impact for anyone who's listening.

Jay: In the first chapter of the book, you used a word that I used in the subtitle of my book. I use it very freely. I think it makes a lot of people cringe, which I kind of do enjoy. It's the word "intuition." And you talk about listening to your gut, which isn't like a big revelatory moment of clarity necessarily so much as like a little thread that you're shown and you start to pull on. Why is that idea so important to you and that other people get on board with that idea of like, there is this sort of internal voice or this gut that you have access to and why does that matter?

Chase: Oh, there's a couple of different I think elements that I wanna bring to bear on your question, Jay. One is that intuition is a thing that we're taught not to trust, right? Because it seems whimsical and fickle and fleeting and all those things. But the reality is it's just the opposite. Our rational mind is the thing that's reasonably slow. It's loaded with bias. And while it's useful, it's only a fraction of what we should be considering when we make any decision. But certainly, life's biggest decisions and what do you wanna pursue, what do you wanna do for a living? Who are the people you want to put yourself around and how do you wanna feel? And we all have these moments, you know, let's think of your own life right now.

There were times when everything was working and working can be whatever you just put it in air quotes there. And there was a feeling that was associated with that and that largely what I find is that it's not at someone else's directed. Those are when you're doing the things that are natural to you, that are instinctual and in the we're taught to turn those things off, that's just a very convenient way of controlling you. Not in some sort of like black state sort of way, that's just a culture does that. And if we take the opposite approach for a second and said, wait a minute, we know that right now our body is taking in billions of pieces of data. Like, you're not thinking about what are your jeans feel like on the backside of your thigh? But if I draw your attention to it, you can feel that.

And the reason you weren't noticing that right now is because your body has to, in order to move through life, it has to focus on a number of things, potential threats, light, the ability to see, your move through the world. Or it has to focus on so many things and it has to turn off billions of other pieces of data. But what we know is that data is hitting our universe and it's being stored in our cells. And so where the rational mind is slow and brooding and sort of it's inclined to negative thinking because there's a survival bias, right? We were all looking for saber-toothed tigers, way more important. It's way more important than seeking the spa, right? And yet our intuition that has all of the data, all of the data stored in it, and it's a little bit harder to access. That's why we feel it in our body, not in, it's why I call it a gut feeling, not a head feel.

So the book is largely, you know, there's a piece of that early on, it talks about listening to that intuition. I call it the path. And every person who's listening to us talk right now, every person, 100% zero exceptions, has felt it working. Whatever it is in their life, whether it's their job or their life or their relationships or what have you, felt something working. And if you retrace what was working and you undo you deconstruct it. I don't know an experience that someone has where it was working and they weren't trusting their gut. So there's this really tight index between intuition and feeling, that feeling of things working. And there's a, you know, I opened the book with an Alliance like, you know, is how you're working, working? Is how you're living working?

And most people answer no to that. And one of the first things that I can get you to do is to step into those moments when it was working and what was happening. And there was, there's a really strong correlation to intuition, to personal agency and personal power, realizing that you were the author of your own script of your own life. And that's the basis, the foundation that I'm trying to get people to lean into for the book. It's very simple. It's not radical at all. And that's why I say it's hiding in plain sight.

Jay: So we have a...I want to end with two tweets and a quote, and then we can get you out of here. So the two tweets are actually the questions that people submitted that I pulled out from what folks wanted to know. So this comes from Sarah Beth Lewis who asked about her husband and her, I guess, are running a SaaS company, software as a service. It's going well. They're copywriters. They're thinking about starting a YouTube channel and she was really curious to hear your advice about how to make a business-oriented channel that's actually entertaining and enjoyable instead of stodgy, and what she says, cardboardy, which I love.

Chase: Yeah, right. I think it's pretty simple. What was her name? Was it Sarah, you said?

Jay: Sarah Beth.

Chase: Yeah, Sarah Beth. Okay. So I go back to the piece that Jay and I were just talking about, which is like what is your intuition telling you? What do you like to listen to? What do you like to connect with? What do you like to make? Where is your curiosity? And that's just, it doesn't have to be everything, but that's the seed around which you should start building something and you should start investigating it in the form of action, right? Let's just go back to the very simple framework that you and I talked about that the book has called idea. Imagining what this could be is the first step and you're like, "Oh, and in my imagining, like what do I like, what am I curious about? What are the things that are out there in the world that I'm attracted to? And if you can borrow from five or six different shows or different genres, the more the better. That's great.

So once you've imagined this thing, what's the first thing that you need to understand about designing how you're know, what's the plan basically? As Picasso, very famous for saying, "We only get to where we're going through the artifact of a plan." And so I would say to her, what's your plan for getting in? And the plan should have some very simple ingredients like, "Oh, the first thing you have to do is start making videos." First thing you have to do is start writing scripts and ideas, collecting ideas that I would want to have on my show. What's working out there in the world deconstructing that? And where does the intersection of what's working out in pop culture align with what is most important to me? What is it that I have to say that is different, not better? Everybody ascribes to be better. That's a useful tool to be good at your craft. But what's your unique thing on it?

And, you know, James Victore talks about what makes you weird as a kid, that's probably your biggest strength as an adult. And specifically around this sort of creator mindset that she's asking me about right now. So, you know, you made this, you dream this thing, you designed a series of steps and tests that you wanna do to get there. And part of what I'm also asking you to design as a daily practice, like are you writing every morning. A daily creative habit is the ultimate sort of, it's like, it's as important as fitness and nutrition. Do you eat well every day? Do you exercise regularly? Think of creativity as the same thing.

So I would set up a designer system that has those elements to it of which mindset is a really important piece. I'll give you a little insight into the book. Like, you know, that identifying as a creator that you can do this and that you really are doing the thing that brings you joy. And I've seen this in you, Jay, just your progression as a host and moving out of, you know, just making content for, you know, the venture world that you were living in and now, you know, crafting shows and the arcs of, you know, things that have much bigger vision. And the same is true for all of us. So she if thinks about her idea, imagines it, designs a sort of a system, a framework, and a supporting mindset that she's gonna do this and then she starts to execute on it.

And that in the executing part, that's, again, that's the doing. I talk about action over intellect. She's not gonna think her way out of the perfect YouTube channel. I promise. I've tried and I've tried for decades on certain projects to think my way out of it. And it's only through taking some really imperfect action where you find the next step. And then a piece that is almost always left out and why people will make, they'll do everything right. They get all the YouTube channel, all the social speeds, all the whatever. And they invoke ''best practices'' for everything, which I think we both think is a hoax, and we're right. And then they put their work out into the world and then it's crickets. Nothing. And the reason is because they haven't laid the groundwork for what I think half of the job of a creator or an entrepreneur or heck a human is cultivating community.

And that doesn't mean like people that you're gonna sell your stuff to. Sure, that can be part of the community's function. But it's for exchanging ideas. It's for having someone there to, you know, pick you up when you're down, help you understand where you went wrong bounce ideas off of and to also inspire you. And once you've started cultivating that community, you realize that every person who you recognize has some degree of success on a field that you aspire to be successful in, they've been building community for a long time. And if there ever is this thing called the 10-year overnight success, it's like this is the manifestation of it. They've been building community, telling people what their dreams are, getting people excited and bringing them along, giving, adding value to that community and asking nothing in return over time. And miraculously, those are the folks who end up breaking through, have been contributing. And if you do find an example of someone who hasn't been contributing or building a community 100% of the time, that is just a flash in the pan and it goes away. That's the concept of a one hit wonder, right? That's not lasting. You're persistent.

Jay: So really quickly, we have a second tweet in a quote. Do you have like two minutes?

Chase: Yeah. Do it.

Jay: Okay, cool.

Chase: Let's do it.

Jay: So the second question is from Ben Tobin. Ben says he was actually on a jog, ran into some trail runners and one was a photographer like him. And they started talking about photography. And one of the people he encountered started talking about your work and said he's a photographer, not an influencer. And Ben says, he replied back saying he liked that, but he wanted to run it by you. And what you think about that this idea that you're a photographer, not an influencer. So maybe you could riff on that for a second.

Chase: Sure. I'm happy to talk about that because I think this is also a really misunderstood and misguided piece of our culture. You create influence through the vehicle of expression, whatever that is, whatever expression, whatever creation you're putting out in the world, whether it's words or food or whatever, and that becomes an opportunity to influence others. Influence on its own is a myth. It's fiction, it doesn't exist. You might say, "Well, what about the Kardashians?" Sure, they cultivated a, and I don't advocate this for what it's worth, I'm just trying to debunk. The most obvious sort of cliché myth is that they focused on having, it's basically a PR machine. So what they got really good is at putting themselves in the limelight.

Now, that is actually a craft that you can get good at. I don't advocate for it. What I do advocate for on the other hand, is pursuing the thing that you're naturally inclined to do, that feels good to you, where your curiosities lie. And in doing so, you naturally both support others in their influence and cultivate an influence of your own around an area that you care about. And that influence is steeped in authenticity, is baked with like beauty and realness and all those human tactile qualities that we can feel. It's like why we're attracted to someone and not someone else. This authority and authenticity is influence. And so it makes brings me great joy. I'm sure you're not surprised to have someone say, "Chase, oh, you know, he's not an influencer. He's a photographer."

And you know, that's the way I pursued my craft, the thing that I wanted to do more than anything in the world through pursuing photography, found that I had the ability to influence or contribute to a community. And then when I leveraged that influence, that reach and that footprint and mostly the experience of mastering something, I was able to leverage that into something else and to say entrepreneurship and helped build CreativeLive and raise venture capital and reach tens of millions of people. But that's just the application of influence that was created through 10,000 hours work.

Jay: Yeah, it's everybody focused on the byproduct instead of the thing that yields the byproduct and almost you have to then decouple it, not care about the byproduct and focus on the thing.

Chase: For sure. That is a better articulation of it. I wish you should pay. I could use your...

Jay: I'm just gonna I'll follow you around the world. We'll do this little act that we've developed here.

To wrap up things up, here's a quote from Anthony Bourdain as read by Chase.

Chase: ''It's not always a great idea to follow your passion. If you're passionate about something you'll never be good at, at some point you're gonna have to recognize that. But if you feel in your heart, if you know, if you have reason to believe that you can do something awesome that will shock and astound and terrify people and bewitch them, do that.''

Jay: Thanks for listening. We have some extra stuff to give away for you if you've made it this far. So here's the deal. Podia and I put together a newsletter that is only for listeners of the show. I've been working with Podia CMO, Len Markidan, and we put together this exclusive email list. The link is in the show notes. And subscribers get three things of which, the third is probably my favorite because I get to do it. But those three things are number one, a free copy of the book that's been written by the team at Podia about creating and selling online courses, which is normally $29 on Amazon, but you'll get it for free. Number two, write-ups about each episode with key takeaways ripped out and links to anything we discussed on the episode. And then three, exclusive and rolling invitations for periodic live video calls with me and Len where we talk about running creator businesses and answer questions for listeners about the show and their businesses. I'm Jay Acunzo and this is what I made this week, but here's to whatever you're making right now. Keep going and let us know if we can help. See you.


  • @2014 – 2021 Podia Labs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • Privacy
  • Terms