It's crazy how much a text message can change your life. "Mike, It's Chase. Give me a buzz when you get a chance." This was the same Chase who inspired me to get into photography just 7 years prior. Now I'm on the phone with him and he's praising my work and better yet, offering me the opportunity to work with the Creative Live team.
I just wrapped up a Microsoft Web Series and my business was booming. I was on track to hire an editor/assistant and already had a few big jobs in the pipeline for the coming year. That being said, my friends and mentors told me to take the job and I totally agreed. I'd be losing my freedom, and missing out on some opportunities but overall I'd never had a "real job" and this was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up.
I joined the team, and right out of the gate I was traveling across the states filming promo videos with some of the most successful people in photography and business. I got to work with Tim Ferriss, Lewis Howes, Ryan Holiday, Joey L and Kelly Starrett within the first few months.
I learned that collaboration was everything. I was working with a content and marketing team, along with a producer and we all had good ideas. I learned you have to drop the ego and put the product first. Our Youtube views began to grow and it was super exciting to see people commenting on the work and sharing it on social media. People we're getting inspired, motivated and occasionally getting a good laugh. There was a buzz about how much better the videos were and it felt great!
Although I loved my team, I started missing my freedom. Showing up to the same place at the same time everyday really started to take it's toll. Even though most of it's in my own head, I started to feel trapped. I had 3 weeks of vacation every year but for some reason I hated to use it. I felt like I was a little kid on Halloween trying to get as much candy as I could fit in my pillowcase, yet only occasionally eating a single piece. I felt fatigued and lacked the motivation to be out in the world. I was depressed.
I saw a ceiling. When you work for someone else, they control your career. No matter how hard you push, if there isn't advancement, there just isn't advancement. Even if there is, you have to ask yourself do you want to advance in this company? Would you be happy still working there in 5 or 10 years? The answer for me was no and I ultimately I wanted more control of my career.
As creatives, I think diversity is key. I started taking on side work but quickly became overwhelmed and ultimately, it did as much harm as it did good. I was getting burned out and things became too flat . Not much was at stake and when the stakes are low, I don't think you put your whole heart into it.
I want to be more than a guy who makes video. I want to be a person who inspires, motivates and changes lives. Over the years I've realized the importance of becoming unique and irreplaceable and I want a career that helps others become more successful. At Creative Live, my ideas were heard but at the end of the day, I was the guy who needed to shoot and edit the project. I was part of an assembly line. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as that's what you want. I don't. I want to create the assembly line.
I've realized what drives me is the risk and the hustle. By quitting my job and restarting my own production company, I'm taking a huge risk. I honestly have enough money to get me by for a couple of months but that drives me, and it means I HAVE to do this. The stress motivates me and has me thinking super creatively. We've all heard it, "the time is now." It truly is though. I'm taking the advice of all my peers and my own, and pursuing a life of doing what I love. I'm creating my own success and taking greater risk with the opportunity of a greater reward.
If there was only one thing I could pass on, it would be to get uncomfortable. You don't have to quit your job or move to a different state, you just have to question what you’re doing in your life. Are you happy? Truly happy? Could you be happier? What would you have to change in order to get that happiness? Maybe it's just a little change or, maybe it's a huge one but whatever it is, I encourage you not to settle. Ask yourself hard questions and don't be afraid to answer them. Be great and do what you love. It's not easy but neither is leading an unfulfilling life when we only have one.
Thank you Chase for that text message and thank you all at Creative Live for being such a big part of my creative life.
Here's a handful of my favorite creations I produced while at Creative Live.