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Answers To 4 Good Questions, Including Why I LOVE/HATE Coffee [#cjRAW 10, #HeyChase]

Hey friends – Time is flying. We’re already at episode 10 of the new #cjRAW, and frankly speaking, I’m just getting warmed up.


Onto this week’s episode where I’m AGAIN answering YOUR questions, just like Episode 02..AAAAANNNNDD…. While selecting questions for this episode, I noticed more and more questions coming in were starting with “Hey Chase”… So that got me thinking … what if you/everyone just tags their questions with #HeyChase it’ll be easier for me to find YOUR questions to answer them in future episodes. So, starting today, if you have questions, please use the hashtag #HeyChase and that’ll help me pull them for future episodes!. Ok then. Without further ado, let’s get to those questions:

Q: How did you get over the fear of taking street portraits without being too intrusive?

Thing #1 - Previously on the blog, I wrote a 5-step guide to street photography, and there’s a bunch of goodness there. So check that out first and foremost.

Thing #2 - Smile when you’re on the street. Not a creepy, stalky smile, but a warm one. Simply having your camera out and giving a nod and a smile gesturing that you’d like to take a photo is a great early step regardless of the language.

Thing #3 - If you are in a place where you speak the language, a short, tight, dialog like … Hi, my name is _______ and I’m doing a project on _______ (or I’m an aspiring photographer) Can I borrow 20 seconds to take your picture? This is a technique my pal Brandon Stanton uses for his project Humans of New York. We chat a bit about it on an episode of cjLIVE. The main thing is, don’t be a creepy stalker person that takes a photo and then acts weird when someone notices. Start with a smile, and that will go a long way.

Q: What do you think about coffee?

So first thing is first. I love coffee. Love it. I can even say that I think I have abused it at different times in my life. But…when a few of you asked this question from episode 07 on my morning routine I did not mention it. Why no mention? I did not mention it because here’s the real deal: I don’t think it should ever be a daily requirement. Keeping in mind that “should” can sometimes be wishful. Personally coffee is my preferred morning beverage (in addition to water), but I sometimes I have tea, and sometimes I have nothing BUT water…and say I get that same buzz from exercise and without the caffeine. I’m not trying to sound saintly here, but I know from personal experience, research, and others around me that coffee as a must have (anything for that matter as a must have) is not desirable.

Q: Can you talk about a time where you realized you could not fly solo and needed to hire a team?

First, if you’re an individual / independent artist, hiring people as full time crew is a huge step. I look at it as being personally responsible for the income of another and their family, so look at it carefully to make sure you REALLY need that person and if there is the income & flow to support that long term. If not, hiring crew members on a per project basis is a really great way to go. You can budget rates into your projects, see how it is working with them, and start learning to collaborate as a team.

If you do have the ability to keep someone busy full time, then make sure you’ve connected with the right resources to make sure you understand the various nuggets in payroll, taxes, and other rules & regulations. Sounds lame, but those rules are there for a reason. Once you’ve done that, create a job description to set clear idea of what you’re looking for. Source people you trust by using your network, narrow down candidates to those who align with you & your business values, and have gone through an interview process that demonstrates they are competent to do the job & are one the same page as you.

Q: What tools are you using for being productive, keeping ideas, and inspirations?

Thing #1 - I LOVE, love, love Evernote. It’s an everything digital file cabinet that’s always synced to the cloud. You can take a picture, take a screenshot, record something and tag it. I’ve been using it for YEARS, almost since the beginning of time. It’s a great tool that I carry with me on my computer and phone. You can type notes, upload photos, and it even turn graphic documents into searchable type. For example, you can take a picture of a business card and the text becomes searchable. I use it for notes, reflections on mtgs, agendas the next mtg, notes from the shoot, brand ideas from something I saw, etc. I use it 10x per day minimum. Everyday.

Thing #2 -- I still love a great notebook. Moleskin, Field Notes or similar. Something I can carry around to sketch in and draw.

OK friends. There you have it. Links and other goodness from this Episode are below. Cheers.

Links from the Episode

Money + Business for Creatives with Ramit Sethi
Humans of New York
cjRAW EP07 – My Morning Routine

What’s Covered

Tag your questions #HeyChase [0:29]
How do you overcome the fear of [0:53]
What I think about coffee [2:56]
Transitioning from a solo artist to building a team [4:57]
Tools I use for being productive [10:48]

People Mentioned

Brandon Stanton
Kelly Starrett
Michael Bierut
Ramit Sethi
Tim Ferriss

How To Get UN-STUCK From Anything in Life That’s Got You Down [with Lewis Howes]

Ever felt STUCK with something in your life? Blocked, like you can’t get past this mental state, this hurdle, this creative block, this bad habit, this… Wait a minute. Why am I even asking that question? Of course you’ve been stuck before. We’ve literally ALL been stuck before. And by extension we all know how much it sucks to be in this state of mind. AND – on the flipside – how amazing it is when you can reclaim your life and get back to the things you want to be thinking, doing, and becoming. I’m obsessed with overcoming the mental blockers that try to keep me down – and I think it’s been a big piece of my personal success. Which is why I thought this little nugget might help.

ENTER: Lewis Howes.

My good friend Lewis Howes was in the studio shooting his newest CreativeLive course last week and I was able to snag him for a few minutes to chat about his new book and his amazingly simple, yet powerful process for reclaiming our lives and live our biggest dreams. In this episode, Lewis shares a powerful experience from his life and how- on reflection – it helped him overcome his biggest obstacles in achieving his biggest dreams for himself. Lucky for us, Lewis breaks this process down into TWO simple steps, and gives us an action plan for moving through our blockers. He calls the exercise his “Perfect Day Exercise” and it looks like this:

1. Create a Big Vision

What’s one thing that we clearly have the ability to do as kids that we usually LOSE as adults? Easy. The ability, or rather comfort, with dreaming big. As adults, our wildest dreams are tempered by a lot of other messages we get in life (mortgage, job, family, responsibility, etc – sound familiar?) and that can often cloud the real vision we want for ourselves. To break through this blocker, and to get clarity, Lewis prescribes the following… First, go out into nature. Not like a climbing expedition to Everest, we’re talking just spend 30-60 minutes outside. In a park, on a beach, under a tree, at the table out in front of your favorite coffee shop… and envision your wildest dreams. Dream big. It’s a creative exercise. Do not limit yourself and in the process, picture your PERFECT DAY. Think about all the things that you want in life — without limits. Be detailed. Think about the people you’re spending time with, where you’re traveling, the food, the experience, how you’re feeling, what you’re creating … dream big and don’t feel guilty about it. Then write.this.down. This is key, because even if you have 100 reasons why your big dream cannot happen, there is power in taking the first step… writing it down.

2. Create a Daily Itinerary

Thing 2…is once you have a vision, create a fantasy daily itinerary outlining blocks of time will fit into your big vision in to every day little steps. What would you do every day? What would your day look like if you wanted to live those big hairy dreams you thought up in step 1. Now be careful not to over think this part. This should be easy. Imagine big blocks of time for what you want most. Some small block for other stuff you love. Get in touch with yourself. And again – WRITE IT DOWN.

3. Baby Steps – but Get to WORK

From this simple recipe you now literally have the basic outline of how to get out of that rut you’re in. You should ideally be energized because you’ve literally just created V1 of your outline to a new life. NOW… start integrating those things, those moments… first something that just takes 15 minutes, then something that takes 30 minutes… then keep pushing. It’s super simple stuff I know, but if you are intentional with your calendar you will start seeing small progress to the things you want to be doing. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it. Countless times in my life I’ve used this technique to get unstuck from stuff in my life… be they small or large…it works. I even share a simple example in the video.

Setting an intention starts with a dream. Then writing it down makes it a little more real. Scheduling time give you a space to start to live it…and before you know it, you’re on your way.

So this little nugget of goodness and a bunch more is in Lewis’ new book, The School of Greatness which drops TODAY! Check it out – and buy it via that page I just linked to and receive some special prizes along with your order. He also has two awesome CreativeLive courses online, Start Your Profitable Podcast and How to Build and Online Business. Both are baller.

Links from the Episode

The School of Greatness Book
The School of Greatness Podcast
Connect with Lewis Howes [ website | facebook | twitter ]

What’s Covered

Who is this guy [0:38]
The key to success [1:13]
How to get unstuck. Where this idea comes from [1:37]
The Perfect Day Exercise: [2:10]
Step 1: Dream Big [3:15]
Step 2: Create an Itinerary [5:29]
The Recap [6:35]
My results by planning my day [6:51]
The School of Greatness Book [7:30]
The School of Greatness Podcast [7:36]

Virtual Reality + I Answer 5 Questions on the #AskGaryVee Shoooooow

Hey friends — quick blog post coming to you from NYC. Just wrapped an episode with my man Gary Vaynerchuk. Episode 154… wowza. I’m sure you remember him from one of my most popular #cjLIVE episodes back in 2013. It was great to connect. Thanks for having me on the shoooooow! Here’s a brief recap of the Q&A:

Let's get into the shooooow. #AskGaryVee

Q: If I pursue what I think my passion is, but don’t come close to achieving what I want, will I have wasted my time?

You gotta follow your heart, and that’s never a waste of time. I spent the beginnings of life trying to do the things people wanted me but it was all crap. There’s only one thing, and that’s doing what you’re supposed to be doing in the world.

Gary brought up a good point, which is you also need to be real with yourself. If you want to be a needlepoint expert, but you want to make 10 millions dollars, those things just don’t line up. Gary said it best … reverse engineer yourself so you don’t have regrets. I’m a strong believer that we all have the answer inside ourselves. Do what you know you should be doing and if you’re not sure what that is, experiment until you do.

Q: Would you rather time travel 100 years into the past or 100 into the future and why?

Easy one. If I know everything I know now, then I’d definitely go backwards to capitalize on that. If I don’t know everything, then I’d go forward.

Q: In episode 122 you say at 22 to 24 don’t settle. What is the settling age? I thought you should never settle?

There’s living in the cloud of dreams, and there’s practicality. Sometimes the fact that you need to pay rent, eat, or other responsibilities cuts into making those dreams happen and you might decide to “settle”. But I think if you are serious about following your heart, you’ll use that practicality as a motivator to start doing the work. Nothing like doing the thing you hate to motivate you to do what’s necessary to make your dreams happen.

Q: Would you say the “T” in timing is way more important than the “T” in talent?

Hands down, talent. Though I truly believe there is no “talent” without (also) hard work to cultivate it. Your ability to do a thing, or as Gary mentions knowing when to do a thing, is all about talent. Timing or luck doesn’t win over the long haul.

Q: Star Wars or Star Trek? Or both?
Ahhh. I gotta say Star Wars here.

Fun times. Hope you found some nuggets of value in this. To close out the show, in #AskGaryVee style, my question of the day was …. Do you see virtual reality becoming popular in the next 24 months? Drop me a line in the comments below. As always, love to hear your thoughts.

BIG NEWS!! Bravery, Authenticity + Rising Strong in a Digital World — Brené Brown on #cjLIVE [Thurs, Sept 17]

UPDATE: Still reeling from this awesome interview the Brené Brown. Incase you missed it, check it out above!

UPDATE: This live show is TODAY at 3:30pm San Francisco time (6:30pm NYC time or 22:30 London) at…. but you can still win $200 gift card from CreativeLive by sharing this blog post via twitter and facebook, see below on to score.

UPDATE: there are just 20 seats left to be part of the LIVE in-studio, in-person audience tomorrow at CreativeLive in San Francisco (details below). Interested to meet Brene in person? check this link ASAP to see if there are any spots left. Sorry we’re all full up ;)

cjLIVE Brené Brown Bravery and Authenticity in a Digital WorldA huge part of success is failure … but what we do AFTER a failure, heartbreak, or loss can make the difference between becoming defined by those stories or writing them. I truly believe this is the secret to unlocking your creativity and your biggest successes in life.

Enter: Brené Brown. You certainly remember, Brené joined us in studio in one of the TOP #cjLIVE episode of all time to discuss vulnerability  and having the courage to share our struggles as a path to a more creative life…. WELL HERE’S THE BIG NEWS! I’m honored to have her join us again to chat about her new book RISING STRONG, and how bravery, authenticity, and Rising Strong from failure, is a huge catalyst to our lives. Only when we own our true stories — our failures and discomforts — can we truly access the full power of creativity, love, belonging and joy.

WHO: You, Me, Brené Brown + a worldwide creative gathering
WHAT: LIVE interview, discussion + worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Thursday, September 17th, 3:30pm San Francisco time (6:30pm NYC time or 22:30 London)
WHERE: Tune in here. It’s free!

Anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

// How do we recognize the power of our emotions and turn them into creative energy?
// How owning your personal struggles and story are keys to bravery and authenticity
// How do we lean into discomfort of any kind to drive personal growth, innovation, and huge success?
// How can we create a revolution in our lives on a path to becoming a better creative entrepreneur, a better partner, a better human?

For those of you who know and love CreativeLive… The #cjLIVE show is now broadcasting on the CreativeLive network! We are the world’s largest live-streaming education company, teaching skills for career, hobby, and life…focused on unlocking your creative potential. As the Founder + CEO, you’ve see me excited about CL for years, and you’ve also seen featured all over the place including the New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Time, CNBC, Fast Company, etc. So my long-running #cjLIVE show has now joined forces with CL to incorporate an even larger worldwide audience.

In order to reach the largest audience possible, we’re kicking out a couple nice prizes… We’re giving away $200 worth of free creativeLIVE course credits to two (2) people.

Enter to win by promoting the show as many times as you can starting RIGHT NOW till the show begins. Send out a creative tweet OR Facebook post including #cjLIVE + @BreneBrown + any url pointing to THIS blog post. Be sure to use the hashtag and/or point back to my Facebook or CL’s Facebook so we can track all your entries. We’ll select 2 of the best ones and give you a shout-out at the beginning of the show, along with access to the $200 CreativeLive credit.

WE WILL ALSO GIVE AWAY MORE TASTY PRIZES DURING THE SHOW… including signed copies of Brené’s book. You gotta tune in to the LIVE SHOW for a chance at winning those.

Want to be part of the live studio audience in San Francisco? It’s first come, first serve. Be one of the lucky few! Register here.

LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY… thanks to CreativeLive and our fine friends at –the place where I get all the rental cameras, lenses and equipment for my shoots … who help make this show possible.

ChaseJarvisRAW #02 — Shoot What You Want to Get Paid to Shoot + Answers to 20 other questions…. (Episode #02)

Hey ya’ll … thanks for all the great questions and comments about the NEW cjRAW series from way back in Episode #01 here on the blog and here the Tube. Thank you so much for sharing it with others as well. I’m grateful for your support.

I felt the love –thank you– and today I’m back trying to deliver some value, given that last episode was really just an announcement. SOoooo today I bring you answers to a pile of questions you asked me last week about photography, creativity, business, life, travel, adventure and … some seriously random stuff…like my favorite animal.

Also — btw, stay tuned for an announcement later this afternoon on my feeds. If you’ve been waiting for the next chasejarvisLIVE, you don’t want to miss this….!

In this Episode, I answer DEEEEEEPLY the following 20ish questions PLUS SEVERAL OTHERS NOT BELOW…that you asked me last week… I put the the short answers in the txt below… Longer, better, more answers in the vid above.

// Any chance of chasejarvisLIVE becoming a regular thing? There’s still lots of great people to talk to!
Yes! CJLIVE is coming back with a new passion and super kick-ass guests. Hold tight. It’s on the way!

// What’s your favorite visualization tools or techniques?
I meditate twice a day using transcendental mediation (TM). It has been a game changer for me. I realize this isn’t necessarily a visualization tool, but along with this I use some visualization exercises tied to my morning routine.

// Have you ever been to Norway?
I was in Norway & Sweden for a Helly Hansen shoot. I actually have a lot of Norwegian in my blood. I’m looking forward to going back soon.

// Can you get the guys from DigitalRev to come to the States?
I love those guys. I’ve been to Hong Kong a few times and shot a couple episodes with them here and here.

// Who was your first commercial client and how did you score that job?
Waaaaaaaay back my first commercial gig was with Hart Skis. They’re not around anymore. I got that gig because I was immersed in the ski industry, people knew my work, and I hustled.

// What’s the best way to approach agencies?
Shoot work that you want to be hired to shoot on your own. Invest your own money. Pimp that work.

// Why did you give up medicine to be a pro photographer?
Let’s be clear, I didn’t “give up” medicine because it was something I was bad at. I aborted. I gave up. I quit -specifically because I was chasing something that someone else wanted me to be. That’s a bad recipe for a life.

// What do you do outside?
Skier, hiker, kayaker, flyfisher. About to get back to surfing after a 10 year hiatus because of a busted up shoulder because I am making killer progress rehabbing with my pal/trainer Dave Werner from Level 4 Crossfit in Seattle…and his website MoveSkill.

// What are some tips to push past a creative funk and limited thinking?
I stop focusing on the funk and start focusing on living. I also get into the practice of creating by booking time to be creative.

// What do you do if you can’t shoot the way you want?
I spend a lot of time upfront setting expectations with clients. This is a longer answer in the video – and it’s important. So watch it.

//What do you do when you are in the middle of a project and you’re feeling down in the dumps or depressed?
I do something besides that creating. I’ll go live. I’ll go on an adventure. I’ll take a vacation. As far as actual depression, that’s a real serious issue that I’ve gone through before. I think it’s worthy of a whole episode of chasejarvisRAW. STay tuned for more on that.

// What are some of the top marketing & business minds you follow?
Richard Branson has become a big influence. He’s an investor in CreativeLive and a mentor to live by. My peers: Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ramit Sethi. Then there are the folks who’ve built great business like Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn. He’s an unbelievable leader, incredibly empathetic, very smart.

// Can I work for you, please?!
You just missed out! I just had a position open but now it’s closed. Keep an eye out on CreativeLive Careers. We have a bunch of jobs open. You can work with me and 120 other super talented folks.

// What’s your favorite animal?
I love me some big cats!

Links from the Episode

chasejarvis LIVE: ‪

CreativeLive: ‪ ⟶ Award winning online education. Check it out for education on Photography, Design, Audio, Crafts and Money/Life classes.


CreativeLive Jobs:

What’s Covered

CreativeLive Seattle office getting a refresh [0:38]

Is cjLIVE coming back? [1:29]

Visualization tools & techniques [1:58]

Norway [2:48]

DigitalRev reunion? [3:02]

My first grey hair [3:33]

My first commercial gig [3:51]

What’s the best way to approach agencies [4:27]

Why did you give up medicine? [5:23]

What’s the scope you do outside [7:27]

Tips for getting out of a creative funk? [8:24]

What do you do if you can shoot the way you want? [9:46]

What do you do when you’re feeling down in the middle of a project [11:50]

Who are some of the top marketing & business minds you follow [14:10]

Can I work for you? [14:54]

What’s your favorite animal? [15:09]

People Mentioned

Kai & Lok

Dave Werner

Mark Runco

Richard Branson

Tim Ferriss

Gary Vaynerchuk

Ramit Sethi

Jeff Weiner


How to Overcome NO & Beat the System — “Dear White People” Director Justin Simien on #cjLIVE Wed Dec 10

UPDATE: In case you missed it, here’s the re-watch of the incredible episode with Justin Simien, below!

OR if you’re hungry for my audio PODCAST here via iTunes or (be sure to subscribe) or download the MP3 file here. Subscribe to keep up with future episodes and take a peek back all previous shows including performances by Macklemore and the Lumineers, insights from Adrian Grenier from Entourage fame, Tim Ferriss and many others.

It’s my hope that after watching this you…
…are now more inclined to take on a huge creative challenge
…can use Justin’s approach and techniques to overome hearing “no” in pursuit of your dreams.
…have a better sense for the “new” democratized way that films can get made..
…have a better understanding of how to recognize and respond to systematic racism.
…have now experienced another visionary and inspiring creative.

These are just some things that I took away… Surely I missed a bunch that are worth a shout out, of course feel free to let me know!
justin simien chase jarvis live REMINDER: this show is TODAY Wed, Dec 10, at NOON San Francisco time (3pm NYC, 20:00 London) and is broadcast LIVE at Tune in, join the global internet audience + live Q&A w/ Justin Simien. PLUS – I’m giving away a camera today too! Details below – see you soon.

Years ago as an up & coming photographer, I got so damn sick of hearing NO, sick of hearing what I had to BE and what my work had to LOOK LIKE in order to “make it”. Now years later and after some modest success, I…actually, wait, who am I kidding…that banter from the world never really stops, regardless of success or achievement. So the question I started asking myself some time ago WASN’T “how can I avoid those toxic ideas” – but rather “how can I use those toxic ideas, the uncertainty they create, or even my own identity crisis as fuel for my biggest goals + aspirations?” How can I beat the system?

ENTER: Film director, writer, and the artist that everyone in Hollywood/the film scene is talking about right now…my newest hero, Justin Simien. More than anyone I know personally, Justin has centered his emerging career around overcoming the “you can’t do this / make this / be this” and around telling stories about the human condition–HIS condition. And he’s parlayed those efforts from a successful IndieGoGo campaign, to nabbing the Special Jury Award at Sundance, and now a nationwide theatrical release of his amazing (and controversial film) Dear White People — that is IN THEATERS RIGHT NOW (ah-ma-zing trailer below…)

Among a several other challenges –like identity, race, AND financing his dream– Justin was told his script couldn’t become a feature length film…and that commercial success “wasn’t possible” with “that kind of script”. But who’s laughing now? Justin is… he’s laughing all the way to award parties, the late night TV circuit, Variety Magazine’s Top 10 Directors to watch, and…to my couch for the next episode of #chasejarvisLIVE!

WHO: You, me, breakout filmmaker Justin Simien + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, December 10th, 12:00noon San Francisco time (3:00pm NYC time or 20:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

// How to use NO as fuel for your creative fire.
// How to crowdsource your projects from obscurity into success
// How to break free from the assumptions of others and claim your own identity
// The power of flipping the script and walking face-first into what people expect from you
// How to make conversation an integral part of your craft
// How to use your very own life experiences as the biggest accelerant to your art & career

FIRST, in order to reach the largest audience possible, we’re kicking out a couple nice prizes. We’re giving away $200 worth of free CreativeLive course credits to two (2) people. Enter to win by sending out a creative tweet OR Facebook post including #cjLIVE + any url pointing to THIS blog post. Sample for cut + paste…

Overcome “NO” + beat the system! @DearWhitePeople director #JustinSimien on #cjLIVE here–>

Promoting the show as many times as you can starting RIGHT NOW till the show starts on Dec 10. Winners announced LIVE on the show! Be sure to use the hashtag and/or point back to my Facebook so we can track all your entries.

SECOND, we’re giving away the latest and greatest GoPro Hero4 Camera during the live show to one lucky viewer – you gotta tune in to the live show to win….PLUS we’ll hook other people up with a bunch ‘o Dear White People posters signed by Justin himself. Again, you gotta tune in to the LIVE SHOW, day of, for a chance at winning those.

Want to be part of the live in-studio audience? filming here at CreativeLive Studios in San Francisco?? Space is limited, BUT if you’re in the first 40 people, to submit THIS FORM we will email you back within 48 hours with instructions for YOU + 1 GUEST to come hang with Justin and me in person, take some photos, ask your questions, and generally have a ridiculously good time.

LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY… our fine friends at –the place where I get all the rental cameras, lenses and equipment for my shoots — have kindly agreed to give all #cjLIVE fans 10% off this month. Use code “CHASE” now till yearend. Enjoy!


justin simien dear white people chase jarvis live

Comfort Is the Enemy of Purpose: How to Pursue Life-Changing Risk

There is no force as powerful as pursuit. It’s a gritty daily grind — but it’s the only way to find out what you’re capable of. Twenty years ago, I ditched medical school and bailed on a PhD in Philosophy to pursue my own calling to become a photographer. Amidst a bunch of head-scratching and doubt from my family and peers, I abandoned a known outcome to dedicate my life to making art. This quest woke me from a sleep state, and has since catapulted me into opportunities I never imagined existed.I test myself by doing, making and being, NOT by checking off boxes or collecting diplomas. By navigating my life in pursuit of my vision, I have – at the core – created my own trajectory.

Over the years, I’ve been lucky to befriend many fellow comrades in adventure — and there’s few if any more prolific than globetrotting entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s discipline and insight are a constant source of inspiration for me. His blog , The Art of Non Conformity is a part of my daily routine, his early books are continual energizers for me, and he’s even joined me on the #cjLIVE couch before.

But today is an especially awesome day, because I get to share Chris’ new book with you on this blog, along with an exclusive interview with the man himself. That’s right, during the time he wasn’t visiting every country on the planet (!!!) or running my favorite gathering of humans (the World Domination Summit), Chris managed to write a game changing new book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – and, although it just came out last week – it’s already a New York Times bestseller (no surprise there). I tracked him down between book signings (where he’s visiting 41 cities in the USA alone!!) and talk show appearances to chat about the relationship between pursuit and fulfillment.

Are you ready to be the hero of your own life? Then start by GRABBING CHRIS’ NEW BOOK HERE and then check out our Q&A below for a few actionable takeaways for finding your own life-defining quest.

Hello my friend! Congrats again. Please tell me and the good people here what inspired you to write this book? How did you know this was the next story you needed to tell?

I wanted to tell the story of real-life adventures and modern-day quests. I spent 10 years visiting every country in the world — but the best part was hearing the stories of other people who had also chosen to cultivate the value of adventure in their lives. I didn’t want to just write a memoir, in other words. I wanted to present an agenda: “a quest can improve your life, and here’s how you craft one.”

I love that term, “the value of adventure”. Is this a one-off idea, or are we having a cultural shift towards a new definition of happiness?

I think it’s fair to say that people are thinking differently about their lives. They’re understanding that with all the opportunities available to us, we should put our limited time and energy to good use. We should strive! We should live with urgency!

I’ve often gotten lost during my trajectory toward a goal. And looking back it has been because I’d poorly defined those goals. Your book cuts thru that nonsense (and the challenges that face most people) by making goals a “quest”. What defines a quest?

A quest has a beginning and an end. There’s something you work toward over time—and there are usually multiple stages or milestones along the way. Challenge is the essence of a good quest. It shouldn’t be that easy! Lastly, something unexpected usually happens along the way. You can’t help but be changed through the journey. A quest makes you a better person as you embrace the challenge and adapt to unexpected circumstances.

How do you begin to set “the right quest” – and even the right milestones for a quest — while also allowing room to learn from the unexpected?

You set a big, incredible goal that is also within the realm of possibility. It has to be hard but it has to be achievable. In my case, visiting every country in the world (193/193) was tough. It took ten years! But it wasn’t fundamentally impossible. I knew if I worked hard enough and found a way to overcome the various challenges, eventually I could see it through.

How do you recommend we build pursuit — be it of larger quests or smaller goals — into our everyday lives?

We can choose to live for something we believe in. We can spend our time on things we’re excited by *and* things that bother us. One of my favorite stories in the book comes from Oklahoma, where a young mother decided that she’d raise her family with an international perspective. She couldn’t visit every country in the world, but she decided to cook a meal from every country in the world. Over the three years that the project unfolded, her daughter grew up eating foods from all over and learning about life beyond her doorstep. Then other people started caring, following along with the recipes she posted online.

It became something much bigger than just a small project, even though it was something she could pursue from her home and without a lot of specialized skills.

Is a quest ever really over?

In some ways, yes. Every quest has a goal and a destination. It may be “all about the journey” but there *is* something you’re working toward that you’ll eventually reach. That’s why you should be prepared for the end!

That said, the act of “questing” itself is addictive. Once you go down the road of adventure, it’s hard to quit.

What’s your next quest?

For me, the next quest will be much more about community. I want to focus on serving people who are interested in living unconventional lives. I want to help them to form communities of their own and provide role models of others who’ve done remarkable things.

Ultimately, I think this kind of work will be far more valuable than visiting every country in the world. But I’m also grateful for the extended quest of traveling, because without it I wouldn’t have the community in the first place.

Well said, amigo… before I again recommend you pick up Chris’ book, I’ll leave you with one snippet that I’ve learned from Chris that’s different that all the other goal or quest-setting books out there.

According to Chris, here are the 5 key qualities of a quest:

  1. A clear goal and a specific end point
  2. A clear challenge
  3. A sacrifice of some kind
  4. A calling or sense of mission
  5. A series of small steps and incremental progress toward the goal

The key for me is the sacrifice. What is achievement without sacrifice? In the case of becoming a photographer, I turned my back on becoming a pro soccer player, a doctor, or a professor. There’s gravity is admitting that to one’s self, and for me it was understanding in advance that I’d have to sacrifice that helped me get thru the hardest parts.

So what is your quest? What will you sacrifice to get what you want out of life? Pick up Chris’ book for some inspiration and clarity on how to do this for yourself. It will be the best $11 you could possibly spend to get yourself un-stuck and on to the next big chapter in your life.


How to Turn ‘No’ Into ‘Yes’ + Get What You Want [An Essential Strategy That Will Get YOU Hired]

It’s fair to say that I’m obsessed with the human spirit. It is amazing, bizarre and lovely at the same time and it can accomplish unthinkable things in the face of the most harrowing odds, in the face of challenge, in the face of “never”. Which is why I believe in the following quote and the following story that relates to this quote. You may have seen this story ‘blow up’ on social a few months ago, but amidst reflection (and upon this great story and the short film about it), my interest in sharing this story compounded. So, as such, here ’tis….with some extra insights to follow that’ll help you win.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

— Calvin Coolidge

This story opens with a man. A bizarre but fascinating man named Greg Packer — who had set out on an inexplicable journey to become the most quoted man in the news (I know, weird goal, but a seemingly impossible one as well)… but here’s the kicker: he pulled it off. Packer was so successful in his campaign in fact that the Associated Press eventually issued a memo to all its reporters to stop interviewing the guy.

Enter filmmaker friend Andrew David Watson who, when he discovered the Greg Packer story, had the brilliant idea for a perfectly ironic, smart, funny story to tell this Greg Packer’s story from within the media that he hacked. Essentially, tell Greg’s story in the news.

So Andrew pitched his story idea to a bunch of publications. No one bit. Not a one.

This is where – in a very meta way – the human spirit kicks in. Andrew shot the story anyway. And this is where the TAKEAWAY LESSON FOR YOU begins

Andrew cold emailed a rough cut to The New Yorker, they snatched it up right away. Turns out Andrew’s instincts were pretty spot on.

A month after his beautiful little piece published, The Most Quoted Man In News had over 100k views on The New Yorker and Andrew’s Vimeo page had almost half a million.

I never tire of these powerful reminders to pursue personal work, to tackle passion projects, even when the people who write the checks shut the door. In the past, I’ve told you to get used to hearing “NO” and to use it as a motivator. Now I’m telling you HOW. In Andrew’s case, he knew he had a compelling story to capture and he knew he had the tools to do the story justice.

Mark Schwartz did it with his 8×10 Polaroid, and now his work is used by Billabong, Levi’s and Surfrider. Joey L does it, and he’s now turning work away. Tim Ferriss was shot down by 27 publishing houses before the 28th said yes to his multi-million copy selling 4-Hour series of books. Jason Shelowitz (AKA Jay Shells) put up street art that he knew was going to get stolen, but something in his gut/heart/left brain said “do it anyway.”

The common thread in all of these tales of big time success is… PERSISTENCE. Someone told all of these people NO and they forged right ahead and made the thing anyway, and that thing became a successful stand-out piece of their careers.

To give you more insight, I reached out to Andrew with a few questions about this project and how he bounces back from rejection.

First, let’s hear just a little background on your Greg Packer project:

I first met Greg Packer back in 2008. I read a short article about Greg and decided to track him down. It happened to be during the World Series and Greg was in Philadelphia for the Phillies victory parade. I met up with Greg, filmed some footage of him at the parade and got to know him a little better. I thought Greg was a fascinating character but I just wasn’t sure how to make a film about him. I archived the material, kept the story on my ever evolving list of project ideas, and moved on with life.

Fast forward almost 5 years and I was digging through my note book and got thinking about Greg. My visual style and story telling skills had developed a lot in those 5 years and I all of a sudden could picture exactly how I would make the film. I called Greg and asked if he could come down to a studio in Brooklyn for an interview and he (of course!) was super into it.

The best part is the footage I shot in 2008 when I first met Greg, made its way into the final edit as archival material.

Let’s jump right into rejection. You knew you had a good idea. You pitched it, no one bit. How did you handle that rejection? More importantly, how did you handle it with integrity and turn it into resolve?

At this point in my career I’m used to rejection, it’s part of the process. Sometimes it comes down to the creative, but other times it comes down to elements outside of your control such as timing, similar content already under development, etc. I have pitched ideas in the past that I thought were amazing, but once I went through the pitch process, I realized they were not as rock solid as I thought. Other times, such as this project, even after being rejected I still had faith in the story and the passion to pursue it, which told me it was worth doing.

Can you remember the first time you turned a “no” into a project’s first step towards completion? Tell us about it.

A few years ago Etsy came to me and asked if I had any short film ideas that encompassed what their brand was about (handmade, economy of scale, etc). I pitched an idea about a very opinionated motorcycle mechanic I knew in Philadelphia. The producer at Etsy politely turned it down, saying they didn’t really see it working. However, it was a short film idea I always wanted to do and the more I thought about it, the more I just wanted to shoot it anyway, so I did. When I had an edit ready, I showed Etsy and they loved it. They decided to take it with next to no edit changes. The piece went on to get over 300k views, a Vimeo staff pick, multiple festival screenings and was one of Etsy most viewed pieces for a while.

When you resolved to make the The Most Quoted Man anyway, did you make it with the intention of re-pitching it? In other words, was the style, editing, etc. all chosen because you still saw this thing getting published in, say, the New Yorker?

Honestly, no, I decided to make the piece exactly how I saw it. I learned from past experiences that following my gut is usually better than trying to cater to a specific style thats not my own. “Most Quoted Man” is slightly different from other New Yorker pieces (with a lot more graphics and punchy music), however when they decided to take it, they asked for no editorial changes.

Rejection helps us refine our pitching process. How has it helped you refine yours? Can you tell us about some of your pitching success stories and why they were success?

I gravitated towards cameras at a young age because I find images the easiest way to communicate. I was never a strong writer, and I’m still not, so I find it ironic that now I often have to write out my ideas before shooting them. I have refined my pitches by making them as visual as possible, using a lot of reference photos and my past work to explain my vision. Just like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it, but I still have and will always be refining my pitch process.

The lessons we learn as artists can (if we let them) inform many other aspects of our lives. How does this lesson — not taking “no” for an answer — get applied to other aspects of your life (preferably in a positive way!)

Learning to not take “no” for an answer is essentially creative problem solving, which I have always applied to my life. Whether it’s where to live, how to move forward in my career, where to go to university, etc… there is no correct path to take. Feeling comfortable and confident to make your own decisions even if they go against conventional thinking, is just as important as an artist as it is in your everyday life.

You’re sitting in a room with a bunch of talented but frustrated creatives who are struggling to keep rejection from getting the better of them. What is the one piece of advice you would give them?

Rejection is part of the process. It will make you more critical of your own work (in a good way) and will test your faith in your ideas. At the end of the day, rejection is often just one person’s (or a small group’s) creative choice at that given moment. Sometimes it works for you and other times it doesn’t, but the best way to ensure you continue to get the opportunity (even if it means more rejection) is to continue producing the work you are passionate about.

Follow Andrew David Watson on these channels:


Your Side Project Is Your Next Big Win [legendary Swiss Miss on #cjLIVE Wed Jun 18]

Hey, y’all, this show already wrapped on June 18, but you’d do yourself a huge solid to catch the re-watch on Youtube below or on the CreativeLive website here. Thanks as always for tuning in, and to be the first to learn about upcoming cjLIVE episodes, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter right here.

REMINDER: this show is TODAY Wed, June 18, at NOON San Francisco time (3pm NYC, 20:00 London) and is broadcast LIVE at Tune in, join the global internet audience + live Q&A w/ Swiss Miss. Details below!

UPDATE: JOIN US IN THE STUDIO. Want to be part of the live studio audience? Check it –> This is a special remote episode of #cjLIVE coming to you LIVE from the CreativeLive studios in San Francisco!! Do you live in the bay area and wanna have special access to Tina and yours truly? We just released a few more seats. Send an email to – you will get a response about seats and details for you +1 GUEST!


ENTER: Swiss Miss. Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka is a force of nature who knows that “your side project is your next big win” more, better, bigger, stronger than anyone I know. Tina’s blog has been an inspiration to me since 2005 and was one of the original blogs I referenced when deciding to start my own…way back in 2006. Put bluntly, Tina is one of the reasons I got started sharing online…and NOW she again leads by example, having created probably a half-dozen business WHILE SHE’S BEEN A DESIGNER WORKING IN THE TRENCHES! Funny thing? Those businesses are now global powerhouses in their own right. AND she’s coming on #cjLIVE next week to tell us all about it.

Moreover, we’ll be LIVE from Design Week San Francisco in collaboration with the AIGA to bring you this amazing look into one of the most progressive creative / entrepreneurship minds on the internetzz. Ever heard of Creative Mornings? That global series of breakfast lectures for creatives – now in nearly 100 cities worldwide? That’s Tina (btw here’s my CM talk comparing Macklemore with Ansel Adams). Ever heard of Tattly? The hottest, most playful temporary tattoo site on the planet – doing exlusive deals with MOMA and designers like Sagmeister? That’s Tina too. Or maybe you’ve used a little tool called Teux Deux to plan your day in lists. Yep – Tina. Co-working space in Brooklyn called StudioMates way before co-working was cool? That’s Tina too. It just doesn’t stop – nor does she. And she’s coming on #cjLIVE to give us all her secrets. Taking your questions via #cjLIVE, live on the day of the broadcast – a global gathering of creative people. An all-access discussion and interactive Q&A. Get the deets here:

WHO: You, Me, creative phenom Tina Roth Eisenberg + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, June 18th, 12:00 noon SF time (3:00pm NYC time or 20:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

At the bottom of this post, I’ve included Tina’s SXSW keynote that should give you a good idea of what she’s all about, but here’s a list of just a few of the details we’re going to try to cover in our 90 minute episode next week:

// Making everything you work on a labor of love
// The risk and reward of an eternally entrepreneurial spirit
// Why side hustles are key to getting noticed and doing the kind of work you want to do
// How and why it’s important to cultivate a supportive community

MY THOUGHTS ON PERSONAL WORK??? Let’s face it – you know I’m a diehard advocate of personal work. Most of my biggest career accomplishments beyond nailing a good campaign here and there – certainly the biggest game changers for me — have been “side gigs” that have become either huge or at least interesting – occasionally both. Sharing behind the scenes photos/videos/looks into the ‘black box’ of photography (back when there was no such access) helped put me on the map. Best Camera – the first photo app to share images to social networks, recognized as ‘app of the year’ in Wired, iTunes, Macworld, the New York Times and helped kick off the mobile photo sharing craze was a side project born from a desire to share MY photos with the touch of 1 button. CreativeLive was a side project cooked up on a whiteboard between myself and my co-founder Craig Swanson. Turns out there’s a pattern to this stuff and turns out you can and should be cultivating these so called “side gigs” or “side hustles” or “passion projects” because they have tremendous power to catapult your career, your beliefs, your life into a whole new realm.

If you’ve watched #cjLIVE before, you know how we do! If you’re new around these parts, well you’re in for a treat… We’re giving away $200 in CreativeLive course credits to TWO lucky winners!

Enter to win by promoting the show as many times as you can starting RIGHT NOW till the show begins. Send out a creative tweet OR Facebook post including #cjLIVE + @swissmiss + any url pointing to THIS blog post. Be sure to use the hashtag and/or point back to my Facebook so we can track all your entries. We’ll select 2 of the best ones and give you a shout-out at the beginning of the show, along with access to the $200 creativeLIVE credits.

WE WILL ALSO GIVE AWAY MORE TASTY PRIZES DURING THE SHOW… but you gotta tune in to the show to find out what we’ll be giving away in real-time! I know, it’s a tease. But you’ll be glad you tune in no matter what.

Want to be part of the live studio audience? Check it –> This is a special remote episode of #cjLIVE coming to you LIVE from the CreativeLive studios in San Francisco!! Do you live in the bay area and wanna have special access to Tina and yours truly?? First 25 people to send an email to will score seats and be notified this week about the details for you +1 GUEST!

How to Capture Creative Gold When You’re at the End of Your Rope — Literally. [Interview with Jimmy Chin]

There are two types of photographers who impress the hell out of me.

One is the wartime photojournalist, who puts his or her life on line to document real stories and images behind the world’s most dangerous conflicts. [I’ve written about it before — Would You Die for a Photo?]. Without their work, truths get lost, and the stakes are as high as they can get.

The other is the extreme photographer. I’m not talking about the “adventure photographer” here, the guy who snaps sunset shots of a pride of lions from the safety of his Range Rover. No, I mean the photographer who captures the athletes and adventurers who are pushing the absolute limits of sport in remote and difficult locations. It’s a bit obtusely self reflexive as I often get lumped in with this action sports crew…but there is another level beyond that, I promise. These are the photographers who must both be artists behind the lens and possess the same talents being captured in front of it.

When an alpinist wants to climb the deadliest route in the Himalayas and needs someone to document it, he calls the extreme photographer. When a world class skier tackles an exposed, committed descent in the French Alps, she calls the extreme photographer.

These days, the man who often gets that call is a friend of mine, Jimmy Chin.

If you follow photography, chances are good that you’ve heard of Jimmy Chin. If you’ve ever browsed a National Geographic or Outside magazine, it’s very likely that you’ve come across Jimmy’s work. (In fact, Jimmy is featured on the cover of this month’s Outside magazine.) Jimmy is entering his 15th year as a member of The North Face Athlete Team, he played a key role (both as filmmaker and actor) in Sherpa Cinema’s latest film “Into the Mind,” and he once survived an avalanche.

I reached out to Jimmy recently asking him to share a little more with us about what makes him tick.

Humble Beginnings

Before he was a photographer, Jimmy was an outdoor adventure junky. He spent a good chunk of his early days living the self-proclaimed “dirtbag” life, living out of his car and bouncing between skiing and climbing.

One day in the Yosemite Valley, an aspiring photographer friend handed Jimmy his camera and showed him how to use it. When the friend went to sell photos from that roll, the company bought only one image, and it happened to be Jimmy’s.

Chase: You’ve come a long way since selling that first image in Yosemite. Tell us about the steps you took from that first paying gig to taking yourself more seriously as a photographer.

Jimmy: In the beginning, it was all about going out with friends and shooting for fun. I just wanted to make great pictures, beautiful pictures. I didn’t think I’d ever make a living as a photographer. It was just something I really fell in love with and did. As I paid more attention to photography, studied photography and photographers and met more photographers, I really began to see the potential of photography as a creative outlet, as a career, as tool to tell stories, as a lifestyle, as another vehicle to see the world.

There were a few turning points for me. Shooting Conrad Anker for The North Face was my first paid gig. That was huge. And the fact that Robert Mackinley, the photo editor [for The North Face] at the time, loved the work and actually published it, was a big boost in my confidence and was also intoxicating. Jane Sievert from Patagonia also started to publish some of my work. I was over the moon that I actually got a picture in the Patagonia catalog. This was essentially the start of my commercial photography career. Rob Haggart, the photo editor from Outside Magazine, also threw me a bone and let me shoot a few things for Outside. He pushed me to look at a lot of photography outside of the adventure and outdoor space. That was a really helpful nudge.

About that time, I also met David Allen Harvey, Jodi Cobb, Bill Allard and a few other Nat Geo photographers at a photo seminar. I got to hang out with David for a few days and he completely opened my eyes to a new way of shooting and new way of thinking about shooting. I remember seeing him shoot for one minute and thinking to myself, “Oh, that’s how you do it.” He smiles, he builds instant rapport, he makes people feel comfortable, and then he dives right in. I’ve tried to embody his approach to editorial photography ever since.

I’ve always been a proponent of “if you’re going to do something, do it right.” I applied that across all aspects of my shooting — planning, setting up shoots, getting up early, working with athletes and models, working with clients etc. Just being a pro about it.

This shot of Charakusa in Pakastan, taken using his first roll of film in a proper SLR camera, marks the early stages of Chin's career as a professional photographer. ©Jimmy Chin

Beyond 10,000 Hours

By know we all know the 10,000 hour principle made famous by one Malcolm Gladwell. To become great at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours doing that thing. Practicing. Learning. Taking risks. Making mistakes. When I step back from this whole blog and view it from the stratosphere, sometimes I think it’s all about helping other photographers get to that 10,000 hours. Because it’s that important.

And that’s one of the things that most impresses me about Jimmy. The photography and filmmaking work he consistently produces reflects that of a professional who has achieved a level of mastery. But that’s in addition to his skills as an adventure athlete, which are also world class. I’m talking about a wide range of adventure athleticism — everything from rock climbing and alpinism to skiing and snowboarding. The man is among a very small club of people who have climbed and skied Everest from the summit, and Jimmy did it while taking amazing photos of the journey.

Chase: People want to know how a person can get so good at two things that require a serious investment in time and energy: adventuring (which in your case includes skiing, climbing, mountaineering, etc) and photography (and now filmmaking). How were you able to master the latter without formal education?

Jimmy: I did a lot of reading and research about filmmaking but ultimately it was about going out and doing it. I made a lot of mistakes. In fact, I’d say I learned 9 out of 10 things by making mistakes. I also had some incredible mentors who helped me along the way. I sought them out and created opportunities to work with them in the field. You can learn more in one hour with a good mentor than you can in months of research and/or trial and error. I also don’t think I am a master of anything. I know I will be the eternal student, and that type of attitude helps.

Off the wall. Chin

Chase: Tell us briefly about the mentors in your life. How instrumental were they to shaping your path and providing you with education and wisdom?

Jimmy: Many of my biggest life lessons have come from working with or being with incredible mentors. I feel really fortunate that a few amazing people took me under their wings — David Breashears, Rick Ridgeway, Galen Rowell, Conrad Anker, Rob Haggart and countless other people who believed in me. That being said, these opportunities and mentors didn’t just get handed to me or show up out of nowhere. It took a lot of initiative on my own projects and expeditions to create the opportunities. I think people need to see that you have the drive, ambition and potential before they want to invest time in you. I guess I’m now at the age where I am always looking for talented young people to share experiences with. I think it’s kind of a natural progression in life, to be mentored and to mentor others.

I also think it is a two-way street. I get a lot of inspiration and learn a lot from younger generations. I like to think I did the same for some of my mentors. I think that is the beauty of mentorship.

With good mentors, you get to see someone doing something they’ve been honing for 10, 20, 30 years. You get all of their knowledge condensed and shared with you and hopefully, you get to learn from their mistakes and successes. Then you get to add your own perspective or style or ideas to it. It’s incredible.

©Jimmy Chin

Death Defier

The extreme side of Jimmy’s profession presents its challenges. To get the shots and capture the story, photographers like Jimmy must push the limits just as far as the athletes they capture. Sometimes those limits push back.

In April 2011, Jimmy was swept up in an avalanche while skiing with a friend in the Grand Tetons. Here’s an excerpt from his journal entry of the event:

“Hope fades and fear rises. It is a dark time. I feel speed, velocity, power, forces unnatural for a body to experience. Then comes the weight. It pushes down. It compresses. It is more and more and more and more… It is unbearable. I hear myself roar from a place I knew a long time ago. It is primal. It comes from my stomach and into my chest. I hold on to my body. Bracing, bracing, tightening for impact. The impact never comes, but the weight gives me no release and I feel my chest compressed and crushed. No chance to breathe. No chance to expand my lungs. It is dark and it is dark.”

[For the full account, go here]

Chase: You had a pretty well-known brush with death when you survived an avalanche. How did that experience shape your path?

Jimmy: The avalanche definitely changed my risk calculus. It could be my age and experience too, though. I know I am more conservative now than I was 10 years ago. There is a ton of criteria that I look at when it comes to more dangerous or intense shoots — like who I get to have on my team, how experienced they are, what the risks are, what are the consequences, etc. It needs to feel right, and that often boils down to the people involved in the shoot. For set-up ad campaign shoots, portraits and lifestyle shoots, it’s obviously a lot more casual, but if it’s a heavy shoot and it’s not the right team, yeah, I’ll definitely second guess it.

I’ve definitely taken a few risks to get a shot. I’ve walked both sides of the line, where in some instances I’ve taken a bigger risk than the athlete to get a shot, and others where the athletes are definitely taking a bigger risk. Shooting while skiing on the Lhotse Face of Everest is one of those instances where it felt like I was dealing with a bit more than the skiers. Skiing it was pretty intense to begin with, but stopping and trying to set my edges and balance on an icy, 5000-foot, 50-degree slope at 25,000-feet to pull out my camera to shoot probably added another level of risk than just skiing it. On the other hand, when I’ve shot Alex Honnold free soloing a couple thousand feet off the deck in Yosemite, I’m not exposed to nearly the same level of risk as he is.

Alex Honnold free soloing in Yosemite. ©Jimmy Chin

Balance and Ambition

These days, Jimmy finds himself in the middle of the biggest adventure of his life: marriage and fatherhood. Even as the demand for his skills are greater than ever, he makes time for his wife, Elizabeth Chai, and his daughter, Marina. He also splits his “down time” between his home in Jackson, Idaho, and an apartment in New York City. Between family and regular assignments, he carves out time to work on a personal project that began back in 2008, after a failed attempt to ascend one of the few remaining unclimbed peaks in the Garhwal Himalayas. Three years later Chin return with fellow mountaineers Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk and successfully summited Mount Meru, a 20,700-foot vertical wall known as Shark’s Fin. (The feat earned the men the Golden Piton by Climbing Magazine for Best Big Wall Climb of the Year and was voted the #1 ascent of the year by Rock and Ice Magazine).

Chase: Tell us about balancing life and family with work. What does the equation look like these days?

Jimmy: I think experience and time overall has shifted the needle in terms of risk. But, yes, having a family will likely change the level of risk I am willing to accept. I’m not just calculating risk for myself anymore. I will always want to push the edge and step outside my comfort zone, but there are a lot of ways to do that, particularly as a creative. Will there still be cutting edge expeditions in my future? For sure. I’m just going to be a lot more picky about the objectives and who I will go with.

I think you can still push the edge, but focusing on better planning, decision making, choosing expedition partners carefully and keeping it all in perspective — i.e. knowing when to call it — are all part of evolving and refining. At some point, you’re supposed to get smarter and better at how you do things. Hopefully that will be true for me. You also see enough shit go down and eventually you learn when to check the ego at the door. Of course, you can talk about all of this and then there is just plain bad luck sometimes. That’s a tough one. I guess when it’s your time, it’s your time.

Chin is routinely called upon to capture extreme athletes performing in hard-to-shoot venues, like this wing-suit BASE jump from Half Dome in Yosemite. @Jimmy Chin

Chase: What’s next for Jimmy Chin?

Jimmy: I’ve been working on the MERU film for several years between jobs and assignments, so long-form filmmaking is definitely on my mind these days. MERU has been an incredible passion project for me and really opened my eyes to the power of feature-length documentary films. I really dove in deep on MERU over the last 10 months. I’ve been working with my wife Chai on it. She’s an incredible filmmaker and has directed several award-winning documentaries. She won the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary when she was 23, and she has been producing and directing films since.

I’ve also had the privilege to work with Bob Eisenhardt, who is a world class editor. I’ve been learning a ton working with both of them. Right now, I’m focused on working with a composer to finish the score, and we’ll be moving in to color and mix shortly. So I guess I would say finishing MERU, and getting it out is what’s on the immediate to do list.

I’ve been working on a couple bigger film projects lately. They are hugely rewarding on one hand, but it’s also really reminded me about the beauty and simplicity of the still image. I will always love photography and will undoubtedly be focused on shooting stills again in the upcoming years. I like the diversity of working in both mediums. Shooting for National Geographic is always an honor and a privilege. They really push you as a photographer. So, I am always looking for projects or assignments to shoot with them.

This shot was taken in 2008 during the failed attempt at the famous Shark's Fin route on Meru in the Himilayas. Chin would eventually return 3 years later and successfully complete the entire route. @Jimmy Chin

You can follow Jimmy across these channels:


Scroll down for more of Jimmy Chin’s work.

©Jimmy Chin

©Jimmy Chin

©Jimmy Chin

©Jimmy Chin

©Jimmy Chin

©Jimmy Chin

Daring Greatly to Unlock Your Creativity with Brené Brown on #cjLIVE [Wed, April 9 @ 10am PT/1pm ET]

 Brené Brown Chase Jarvis LiveIf you missed this show when it aired on April 9, be sure to check out the rewatch on the Youtube embed below. To keep your ear to the ground about all the upcoming cjLIVE episodes, subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here. And as always: thank you for watching!

REMINDER: this show is TODAY Wed, April 9, at 10am Seattle time (1pm NYC, 18:00 London) and is broadcast LIVE at Tune in, join the global internet audience + live Q&A w/ Brene, or just in by to say hey. Details below!


I can say with clarity that the most defining moments of creative/professional success for me have required overtly pouring my most honest, imperfect, afraid, guts-and-all parts of myself into my work. In short – those successes were built on vulnerability – on being real. They were built on daring greatly. What do the viewers/consumers of your art really want? YOU. They want to see YOU. And in seeing YOU, they see themselves.

And so, we’ve got the perfect guest for #cjLIVE – a woman who might just hold the keys to the thing that’s been holding back your unbounded creativity…her name is Brené Brown. You’ve probably seen her on the TED stage (millions of views), or perhaps as a regular on Oprah (they’re pals), and at damn-near every bookstore (where Daring Greatly is a best-seller). But it’s not necessarily for all her accolades that you’ll want to tune into #cjLIVE this coming Wednesday April 9th. You’ll want to join our LIVE broadcast because you’ll have full access to Brené in a way that few other forums can grant — interactive Q&A with you from wherever on the planet you might be (via my Twitter and Facebook) and she just might have the keys to unlock the thing that’s been holding back your creativity. It was the missing link for me – and I’m guessing it’ll help you too.

WHO: You, Me, Bestselling Author Brené Brown + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, April 9th, 10:00am Seattle time (1:00pm NYC time or 18:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Facebook and Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

This won’t be a marketing lesson or a therapy session, but it will be be THE shortest path between your most authentic self and the professional/personal hold-up-the-mirror, tear-down-the-barrier “success” you crave. Hello, the new you.

// Vulnerability does NOT equal weakness – it equals strength (the world’s best artists are living proof)
// How to cultivate creativity, “gratitude” & “worthiness”
// Personal + professional transformation happens when we ask the hard questions
// Explosive creativity happens when we have the courage to share our struggles
// How to harness the space between our aspirational values (what we want to do, think, feel + become) and our practiced values (what we’re actually doing)

And another big announcement. For those of you who know and love CreativeLive… The chasejarvisLIVE show is now broadcast on the CreativeLive network too! They are the world’s largest live streaming education company, has been featured all over the place like in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, CNBC, Fast Company, etc etc and we are joining forces to incorporate an even larger worldwide audience.

In order to reach the largest audience possible, we’re kicking out a couple nice prizes… We’re giving away $200 worth of free creativeLIVE course credits to two (2) people.

Enter to win by promoting the show as many times as you can starting RIGHT NOW till the show begins. Send out a creative tweet OR Facebook post including #cjLIVE + @BreneBrown + any url pointing to THIS blog post. Be sure to use the hashtag and/or point back to my Facebook so we can track all your entries. We’ll select 2 of the best ones and give you a shout-out at the beginning of the show, along with access to the $200 creativeLIVE credits.

WE WILL ALSO GIVE AWAY MORE TASTY PRIZES DURING THE SHOW… including signed copies of Brené’s book. You gotta tune in to the LIVE SHOW for a chance at winning those.

Want to be part of the live studio audience? We’ll invite the first 20 people who send an email to to join us +1 guest of your choice. You’ll receive a confirmation email with attendance details if you’re one of the first 20.

SORRY: The in-studio audience is already overbooked.


I’m doubting many people chose “be more vulnerable” as their resolution for 2014, but here’s a Ted Talk Brené gave about the power of vulnerability that may prompt a re-think. One of the most popular TED talks of all time…:

The KEY Characteristic Shared by All The Most Creative People I Know — And It Can Be Yours Too

I’m a huge believer in making art for art’s sake. Taking photos that no one is going to pay you for. Shooting films that aren’t commissioned or funded. Writing words that the world may never read. I’ve said before that doing and making always trumps talking about it, but there’s also a difference between the doing and making that pays the bills and the doing and making that brings joy, that hones craft, lights creative fires, and that brings meaning to your life. This is personal work. This is creating simply for the act of creating.

For some, that creative work may lead to more “work” work. For others it is meant to be given away, shared with the world.

Andres Amador (pictured above) falls in that latter category and yet is hugely inspirational across ALL walks of artist-friends of mine. With nothing more than a rake as his brush and the beach as his canvas, he creates huge and beautiful geometric patterns on the sand – patterns that last only as long as the tide permits. (Patterns not unlike those made by snow artist Simon Beck, whom we spoke to some time back.) Recently the California-based creative’s sand art projects passed across my desk and I carried his inspiration around with me for several days – I simply couldn’t shake the concept from my mind. He’s clearly an artist whose work speaks to the emphasis placed on process – the act of making, with an acknowledgment of the value we derive from that making and from the ability to appreciate something – even something entirely fleeting.

After days of pondering, I arrived at the belief that it’s his approach / attitude / priority toward creating + making for the joy of creating, and having a point of view about that which was so compelling. And I’ve come to believe with great conviction that this is a characteristic shared by all the most creative people I know and the most successful artists – the process alone makes the juice worth the squeeze. Sure there’s other stuff at play, but all great artists take joy / pride / love / appreciate the making process. (Thx to my pal Rick for the juice/squeeze saying ;))

Looking back – not all that far – I think this is what’s missing from 90% of the photographers who ask me to review their work. The awareness – through the work or the artists attitude toward his or her work – whether or not the work is for the works’ sake or some other masked reason. I think as art appreciators, we can smell the intention and it’s either authentic and hooks us, or it’s not.

Creating temporary art brings that right to the surface. And so as a maker of temporary art I wanted to find out more about Andres’s work. The results are the following interview. I tracked down Andres and asked him a few questions about his work and his process. My personal take-aways from my Q&A with him unlocked several key insights for me – check the interview below:

Andres, thanks for taking the time. You’ve really caught the world’s eye with your work. Certainly mine. Every artist has an origin story. Let’s hear yours:

I didn’t start pursuing arts with any seriousness until I was 28. I went to college studying environmental sciences. When I came home to San Francisco from serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, I soon became involved with the underground music and arts culture. My first trip to Burning Man marked a turning point. There I became friends with a group of people with whom I would go on to spend nearly 7 years exploring the arts. We formed a performance and arts troupe, living together in a run down building in the Tenderloin where we held arts and music events, bringing together a wide range of expressive styles. During that time the beach art began.

It happened during a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I went there for a month, bringing with me books to study ancient geometry. I was looking into the realm of sacred geometry in order to speak with people about the sculptural art I had been making for the past several years, creating large installations for festivals. The sculptures used geometric supports and I was often asked about their meaning. With a friend I made a 2 day hike to a remote beach called Kalulau Valley. With an intense backdrop of deeply gullied lush green hills on one side (the opening helicopter scene in Jurassic Park was filmed in this region) and a solid curling crystal clear wall of beach breaking waves to the other, I did an internal journey for several days. On one of those days my friend and I were playing in the sand with our walking sticks, doing calligraphy as we had seen in the movie ‘Hero’. That led to drawing designs, which led to drawing circles. The geometry I had been studying came to me and I started explaining what I had been learning- the circle representing the unity, the 2 overlapping circles representing the multiplicity, the 3 overlapping circles creating the triangle, the first 2 dimensional form, and so forth. It was though I was hit with a bolt from the heavens – I had a vision that I could do enormous designs such as I had been studying and I could picture exactly where I would do them, at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, with it’s wide flat beach. It was several weeks more before I could actualize what I had envisioned (the Kauai beaches being far too narrow and steep, with coarse grains that dry too quickly). When I got home, I immediately went out to the beach to see if my vision was true. The first run was a product in the moment, using my hand to make the marks. The next time I went back several days later it was with the tools I continue to use to this day and done near the cliff so I could look at it from above. The second piece was huge, I was off to a running start.

I imagine you feel an instinctive attraction towards the sea. Can you talk about that? When did it begin? How did it manifest itself?

There are two types of places I feel drawn to- the ocean and mountains, especially mountain rivers. I particularly love where the coast meets the mountains. The ruggedness, the drama. It was at such a location that the beach art was born. I have loved to explore coves, with their tumbled boulders and spire outcrops in the water, tidal pools and mussel encrusted reefs. I can spend the entire day at the beach. And I love to explore mountain rivers- huge piled boulders, waterfalls and pools, steep walls. Both locations are products of water, constantly moving water.

Growing up in San Francisco, I would often explore Land’s End, an area along the SF coastline with steep cliffs and hidden beaches. But it was not until the art on the beach that my life began to revolve more deeply around the ocean. Several years ago I moved inland, several hours from the ocean, to live on a family farm. My heart feels at peace on the farm, yet I feel the call of the ocean. It’s only been since moving away that I can recognize my desire to be near the ocean, where I have lived most of my life. My desire is to live near the beach again, perhaps in the Stinson area north of San Francisco.

There’s an inherent impermanence to your art, much like a Buddhist mandala. In this way it’s almost the complete opposite of a photograph. If our ideas and projects are our babies, how to you come to terms with the reality that your babies get routinely – and literally – thrown out to sea.

It feels more like my ideas are birds that I am setting free. It feels good to release them and allow them to be expressed and let go. Where do the ideas come from? Inspirations come from all around me, but it can sometime feel as though the ideas are simply moving through me, and I am their scribe. I actually find it a relief to actualize an idea, to get it out of my head and allow it life. I am then allowed to move on to the other ideas desiring expression. Having the ocean wash the work away can be frustrating when I am not yet finished, especially when I have worked hard and perhaps bitten off more than I can realistically chew. But the waves are also an essential aspect of the art in that they clean the beach and leave with me a freshly prepared canvas for my next visit.

I can’t claim to be a Buddhist but I have been influenced by its philosophy. The art is a focus on process over product. The act of doing the art brings me joy and whether or not a piece turns out as desired I feel complete with the experience simply for the opportunity to do it. The beach art has brought me into contact more than anything else I have done in my life of the impermanence of anything we can do, anything that humans can do, anything that ever exists. In the face of certain dissolution the question becomes, why do anything? My garage is filled with past arts. I can’t let them go, for they are dear to me. But the beach art I can’t hold on to. Knowing that the art can’t last has had me focus on the ‘why’ more than any other arts I have done. I find the ‘why’ to be the challenge and joy I feel in the doing of it. Its about being in the moment, which is a very Buddhist perspective. (as is non-attachment, of course!)

Although many incorrectly assume that much of the magic behind a great photograph is the combination of serendipity, quick thinking and a good eye, in fact there’s a TON of planning that goes into a shoot, and getting that single money shot. I think the readers would love to know how much of your art is preconceived – or planned – and how much of it is “go with the flow.” Talk process.

Good question. Of the hundreds of artworks I have done, there are only a couple of dozen that are truly beautiful images as photos. Not only are there the factors of happenstance of location, weather and lighting, the art itself may come out really great or may not meet my desires. I time the artwork to the tides, but I must also be aware of when and where the sun might be – the images are not nearly as vibrant after sunset, for instance.

Until very recently I have been relegated to the photographic vantage points that a location might offer me, which has been limited. This would dictate how the art could be positioned and the area I could use. Recently I have acquired the capacity to take photos from the sky via a remote controlled helicopter. This has suddenly given me the opportunity to truly utilize a location, to create an artwork that works with the whole landscape. I am just beginning the exploration of what this offers me, and I’m a bit giddy with excitement over the possibilities. Now more than ever I will be able to play with design placement and work better with the rising or setting sun to maximize the images I can capture.

Ultimately, it is ‘go with the flow’ as I must always work with what I am provided. There is very little control I can truly exert so I am always adjusting to the conditions present and making the best of what is happening.

How much location scouting do you do for your art work?

I do quite a bit of scouting. The tough part is that the only time I can get an accurate assessment of a location is during the kind of tide which I would actually do the art. So I am risking a good art day in order to check on a location. Thus I am ready to do art at the location and simply work with what I have available. Also, all beaches shift during the year. When I have a commission to do I often must scout a previously known location to see if it can still work for me.

While we’re on that subject, do you ever travel to distant beaches SOLELY to create your sand art?

Yes. I have traveled the California coast in search of good locations and there are several many hours away that I would go to for they are so nice. There is a lovely beach in Point Reyes with a waterfall emptying on to it that was several hours of walking to reach. And there is a huge beach, the largest I have had the chance to work on, south of Half Moon Bay that requires using a rope to assist in scaling down the steep hill and then a 1/2 mile walk to get to the starting spot.

On your website you advertise that you do commission work. Tell us a little bit about that.

I’ve done all sorts of work using the beach art. A big one for several years is creating marriage proposals. I might have rolled my eyes at that thought previously, but being part of such a moment is really quite special. I have done celebrations, working with guests to create together, and i have done memorials, helping to facilitate ceremonies. I have done several commercial commissions and am working on few at the moment, one being the creation of imagery for a clinic specializing in spinal care. I enjoy seeing how the beach art can be used, but the commissions bring me anxiety as I am unable to simply ‘go with the flow.’ When I am being paid there is the desire for payoff and the pressure is on.

How do you keep your work fresh and new?

There are times when it feels as though I am groping for what to do. But I have only to dip into my cache of ideas that I keep – photos of interesting patterns, cultural designs, and past sketches. I find that new directions are constantly coming to me. I am actually unable to keep up with the possibilities. The problem I sometimes face is that I seem to lack the time to develop the ideas as far as I would prefer. Also, the aerial photography capacity has me feeling like I have entered a new universe – the possibilities feel almost overwhelming. I have many years of exploration in the beach art, a lifetime, potentially, which is a comforting thought. Off the beach I have been using the same principles while using other materials. The main form this has taken is using straw, which is plentiful, cheap, and biodegradable. There is much to explore in this direction as well.

Is it possible for you to go to a beach, kick back and just relax?

Not really :-) Well, yes, when I know it won’t be a good tide day or the beach is not suitable. My recent trip to Mexico was this way often – the beaches were not so good for my purposes, so I stopped bringing my rakes.

I’m finding that there is a larger message coming through me. The success I have found in doing the art I do stems from engaging something that brought and continues to bring me joy in the act of doing it. I could never have set out to get to where I am with it. It was an outing by outing process which invigorated me and spurred me on to do more. I’m wanting to encourage others to follow that which brings them joy, regardless of the perceived outcome, for the process, the act is all that truly matters. It’s a lesson I bring to the rest of my life and I am grateful for its guidance.

For more of Andres Amador’s story and artwork, find him across these channels:


Scroll down for more of his work:

Creatives, Geeks, Freaks & Voyeurs of the World — Join Me LIVE from SXSW!

UPDATE: this is TODAY! starting at 9am SEA time (11am Austin, 12noon NYC, 17:00 London) you can join into the conversation with your truly + the most creative minds from photo, design, tech & music. If I do my job right, you’ll get more insight in a weekend than at a semester of any college – all from people who have found success. LIVE at Ask questions all day at #UberLIVE or @chasejarvis.

Certainly you’re in the know of famed South-By-Southwest (aka SXSW) – that two weeks every year where the creative, film, music & tech worlds all come crashing together in little ol’ Austin, Texas. I LOVE all that stuff, so I’m here all week and ….through the miracles of technology I’ve got 2 LOVELY THINGS to set right on your lap – both of which had better add a bunch of value to YOU, or else the next round of bourbon is on me.

chasejarvisLIVE (my internet show) & creativeLIVE (my creative education startup) are having a man-child together this week in the back seat of a Cadillac Escalade. That is right, my LIVE show + the best in online education + the ridesharing service that has taken the world by storm are all coming together in one delicious collaboration to bring you LIVE-on-the-innnernetz, real-time interviews with the best + brightest luminaries from film, photo, tech & music worlds … all while rolling the streets of Austin in the backseat of an Uber. This is your free, front row ticket to join me and an insanely talented group of creative genius without leaving the comforts of your own internet connection, wherever that might be. Things are crazy here and this list is always in flux, but here’s a couple names you might recognize that I’m preparing to hang with and bring you their nuggets of wisdom & the inside scoop….

-Austin Kleon. artist and best selling author of Steal Like an Artist & his newest…Show Your Work
-Dana Brunetti. executive producer of HOUSE OF CARDS, the netflix original hit that has reinvented TV
-Kevin Rose. founder of Digg, Revision 3 & is now a partner at Google Ventures
-Brandon Stanton. photographer & creator of Humans of New York, the world’s most popular photo project
-Gary Vaynerchuk. entrepreneur, media maven, best-selling author and wine geek
-Kristen Chenowth. actress from Glee, The West Wing, BeWitched, and other stuff
-Steven Kotler. best selling author of Rise of Superman and guru for accessing & maximizing creativity
-Lewis Howes. Former pro athlete, entrepreneur, business coach & world record holder.
and many many more…including..ahem..perhaps some surprise musical performances

Here’s where you can RSVP for the free #UberLIVE event, find more info, and watch the LIVE broadcast this Saturday & Sunday (srsly – you should RSVP)

WHO: You, Me, a handful of GENIUS people from SXSW + 100 countries tuning in worldwide
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A from the backseat of an Uber
WHEN: Sat & Sun, March 8th & 9th, 8am – 5pm Seattle time (10a-7pm Austin, 11a-8pm NYC time)
WHERE: Tune into It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #UberLIVE, my @chasejarvis handle and @creativeLIVE too

Heyyo. I’m giving a little keynote speech for this SXSW thingie on Monday, March 10th at 3:30pm (1:30 Seattle, 4:30 NYC, 21:30 London). Here’s the tasty link to that hot mess If you’ll be physically at SXSW, come join in, heckle me from the audience, throw tomatoes, or whatever. If you’re at home in your pajamas, rumor has it my keynote will be live-streamed, compliments of our friends at U-Stream, but I haven’t got a link yet – will update that ASAP when I get one and I’ll tweet to let you know.

Don’t forget to RSVP for #UberLIVE. And, as always, you can follow along here… Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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