Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis – Book Club Pick
About Creative Calling
In this book, author Chase Jarvis, the founder of CreativeLive, shows why creativity is the new mindfulness and as important to our health as meditation, exercise, and nutrition. It’s also available to everyone-beginners and lifelong creators, entrepreneurs and corporate executives.
Jarvis illustrates the critical elements for making creative expression the path to fulfillment with his memorable “IDEA” system to imagine your big dream, design daily practices that support it, execute on your ambitions plans and make your vision real and amplify your impact through community
The good news, according to Jarvis, is that creativity isn’t a skill-it’s a habit. It’s a force inside every person that wants to be set free and-if harnessed and put to work-can transform our lives and bring vitality to everything we do.
1 You are creative by nature, endowed with a near limitless capacity to make and grow new things.
2 Accessing this capacity requires a kind of creative muscle that must be strengthened to achieve your full potential.
3 By identifying as a creative person, accepting the world around you as your canvas, and manifesting your ideas regularly, you will intuitively create the life you truly want for yourself.
“Some people say fake it till you make it. Forget that. Make it till you make it. Creators create. It doesn’t matter who you know, what schools you attended, which parties you’re invited to, or what you’re wearing. Creators create. Action is identity. You become what you do. You don’t need permission…”
“You’ve got to do the verb to be the noun.”
“There is nothing noble, edgy, or cool about being a starving artist.”
“Be the hero of your own life. Walk your own path. When obstacles arise, go over, under, or around them. When you lose your way, listen for the call. Your heart will always lead you.”
“Your life has two big arcs. The first is about acquisition, acquiring knowledge about yourself and the world – figuring out how to meet your own needs… The second is about contribution. You start thinking about how you can serve others and make a lasting impression on the world. We take, and then we give.”
“You are a creative person. The world is abundant and full of possibilities. Your situation can always be changed. You can use your creativity to create the change you seek. Creativity is natural and healthy but requires practice. Creativity is ultimate personal power.”
“Don’t think about making art,” he said. “Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
“Creativity is generous, life-changing, mind-altering, and practical as hell. In fact, it’s only creating in small ways every day that we come to understand that we can create big changes in our lives when we desire or need them most.”
“Life gets so much easier once you decide to play your own game. Don’t just try to be better. Be different.”
“There is no reason ti hide. Be bold. Take smart risks. Embrace failure like an old friend. People respect a wrong move made with confidence far more than a correct one made without conviction.”
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Shaune Teske 0:00
I think that’s where a lot of people get stuck is they are working this idea to death before they even go out or they’re afraid to launch it or whatever. And it’s not about that. It’s just about create, create, create, like you have to do it because you can’t not do it.
You’re listening to The Creative Legacy Podcast, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs to build their business while living a life of intention, joy and adventure. I’m Shaune, a wedding photographer and educator that helps photographers creatives and small business owners cultivate intentional lives and build their most abundant businesses. And I’m joined by my friend and co host, Sarah, a brand strategist and designer, helping entrepreneurs craft their brands who speak boldly and reach their ideal clients.
Sarah Schrader 0:55
Last year, Shaune and I had the opportunity to hear about a new book called Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis, who is the person behind Creative Live, which is an awesome, like online education platform for creatives. And we decided to pick up his book and check it out for this podcast. In the book, Jarvis illustrates the critical elements for making creative expression, the path to fulfillment, with his memorable idea system, which we’ll learn about in a bit. Now, the good news is, according to Jarvis, creativity isn’t a skill. It’s a habit. It’s a force inside every person that wants to be set free. And if harnessed and put to work, can transform our lives and bring it vitality to everything we do.
Shaune Teske 1:48
Which is super helpful and exciting knowing that it’s not something that we have to be good at, or something we have to work at. Of course, if we want to get better, yes, we have to work but it’s something creativity, something that’s inside us all. And it’s just up to us if we decide to use it or not. So people are like, I’m just not creative. That’s actually not true. You’re just not using it, or you don’t think you’re using it.
Sarah Schrader 2:13
That’s one thing I definitely appreciated about this book, is that he emphasizes several times and in multiple ways that creativity is for everyone, and that everyone has it. I have built a little bit of a platform of people saying, “Oh, I’m not creative,” because when they’re saying that they don’t actually mean that they mean they’re not artistic. And I have to stop them and be like, No, you are, you are creative, you have that ability. And so this was kind of awesome, she just have that reiterated and then like so much inside of this book to help explain why you have it there and why it’s so important.
Shaune Teske 2:51
Right. And he has a passage in there that says, “You are creative by nature, endowed with a near limitless capacity to make and grow new things.” And I think everyone can feel a little bit better breathe a little bit, you know, lighter and be able to know, yes, I am creative. So even if you’re feeling stuck, or feeling like you don’t know what next new project to work on, you know, you have that creativity inside you. It’s just up to you to decide what to do with that.
Sarah Schrader 3:22
Exactly. And even to emphasize that a little bit more, he put in a Bernie Brown quote, which we both love. And the quote in the book he pulled was, “There’s no such thing as creative people and non creative people. There’s just people who use their creativity and people who don’t, and not using it doesn’t go without penalty, as it turns out on his creativity is not benign. It’s dangerous.”
Shaune Teske 3:44
Yes. And I definitely feel that when I’m not being creative, or using my creative gifts for something I don’t feel the best. So you mentioned his idea system. Can you tell our listeners what that is all about? And kind of how he breaks it down in the book?
Sarah Schrader 4:05
Yeah, so idea is an acronym. And it stands for idea, design, execute and amplify. So the system starts with imagining your big dream, right? So we get to use our creativity to imagine up things and put two things together, he actually says that in the book, the definition is putting two things together. That to create something new to solve a problem, whatever that may be. So we get to do that. And then we get to design daily practices that support it. That’s the ‘D’ part of it. And when we do that we can execute on our ambitions and plans and make our vision real and then amplify them to impact through community. So those are cool ending do for the book. Talk more about community in that because we both love community.
Shaune Teske 4:54
Yes, and there There’s a whole section about that about finding your tribe and finding your people and, and so much to about building community and about, you know, followers and clients. Again, reiterating that does not have to be, you know, all the followers a big number of followers, it just matters that you have a tribe that is for you. And as dynamic as you, I thought that was a really great, he said something like it should be as dynamic as and unique as you that’s what your audience should be. And I’m like, yeah, it doesn’t have to be this, everybody. So he walked me through in the book, you know, all those things, and then get little points on each part of the idea system. And then he kind of talks more about his life and how he started in photography. I mean, he was like, supposed to be a professional soccer player. And then he was gonna go to school to be a doctor and then dropped out of all of that and just started, you know, traveling through Europe, and just taking pictures and from their income came to, I think they went to Colorado and started photographing, like snowboarding, skiing, like getting really into sports photography, and just how his life has built up from there. I mean, he made an app that was kind of similar to Instagram around the same time as Instagram. I mean, he talked about how the app didn’t work, it failed. And so when Instagram was bought out for like, a billion dollars, like, that was one of his failures, they could have done that, but it’s not, you know, it wasn’t meant to be so learning from your failures that he talks about that. And then, you know, kind of how then he started creative live and the awesome people it’s helped and the millions of hours of content that’s been created is really cool. So he takes you through all of that, and has some really fun points. I think one of my favorite things I’ve ever heard him say, and this is at the retreat that Sarah and I were at last year, he was there speaking and he said a few these things and stuck with me then so I’m glad to see him in the book. One of my favorite things that stuck with me since then to now and to see the book, again, was just reaffirming how much I love it is, “You got to do the verb to be the noun.” And you can’t call it…
Sarah Schrader 4:58
Shaune Teske 5:07
Yeah, you can’t. And then he said, “You can’t call yourself the noun until you do the verb.” So people, you know, this comes out of like, okay, well, I’m not really a photographer, if I don’t get paid, or if I’m not having been doing it for a while. If you if you’re photographing things, whether you’re getting paid or not, you are a photographer, you can start calling yourself that. But then on the flip side, you can’t call yourself something you don’t do it. So even if you want to be I say a lot of people say I’m a speaker, or I’m a, you know, educator, but if you haven’t done that, you can’t really say you are that you know, and that comes back to he has this great quote. You don’t fake it till you make it. You’ve heard that saying his says, “You make it till you make it.” So in a quote he mentioned in the beginning, and then there’s actually like a little section on make it till you make it. So he says, “Some people say fake it till you make it, forget that make it till you make it creators create. It doesn’t matter who you are, what schools you attended, which parties are invited to, or what you’re wearing creators create action is identity, you become what you do, you don’t need permission.” So I use that a lot. When I’m not feeling worthy of a title. I’ve either given myself or I want to get to this next level. I don’t feel there yet. It’s okay. Like, you can announce what you are. If you’re doing that. If you’re actively doing that. You are that first Aaron I we are podcasters. Yes. Our podcast isn’t like this crazy big, you know, chart tapping thing, but it’s something we do and put in the time when the work and the love to ask what we are.
Sarah Schrader 8:59
Yeah, I am so glad that you mentioned this section because I had it highlighted to like literally the whole entire paragraph you just read. And it pulled out too. He mentions at that point to how he bought business cards with his name and photographer on it. Like he needed that approval from himself like that reminder to convince himself that he was a photographer, and in the part of like, you don’t need approval for anybody else. It reminded me of a time in college where saying I was a designer at that point, like still going after my degree. It was a little intimidating to say that like it was, oh, I’m going to school to be a designer or whatever, like I just said. Yeah, and I think it was either the end of my fourth year and my no probably the beginning of my fifth year, at university. I was co-leading a design group called Design Lounge and we had an on campus gallery that was showcasing work from another designer. And he didn’t direct this at me. But another person in the room when we had an artist talk with him, had asked kind of about that, like, when can we start calling ourselves the designer and he pointed like, told her like, you’re doing the work now, right? You’re a designer. And so that’s what it like, connected for me in that moment. I’m like, okay, so he wasn’t telling me like giving me permission, but somehow that’s what made it click. But it’s so true. Like, that didn’t need to happen. I was a designer, I was doing the work in college. Like, I was just getting more education and more training, which I mean, I’m still doing that today, just that in the setting of school.
Shaune Teske 10:58
Yeah, and I think a lot of people feel like that I can’t remember how many times, you know, people would ask, what do you do, and you’d say, when I was working in a different job, I would say I’m doing this, but I’m also you know, working on photography on the side, and it’s like, you don’t have to go there. You can just say the thing. You’re doing it, you can say it. So what’s one of my favorite things, if you know, if you’re doing the verb, you’re already that nou. But you have to do it, you have to, you can’t be out there saying you’re doing these things, and you haven’t actually done it. So he talks a lot about that, which I’ve always really loved and then he goes into you know, to that it’s it is about making money, it is about creating art. You don’t like he has this quote about like there’s nothing noble, edgy or cool about being a starving artist, like,it’s okay, to get paid for your work, we think about the great masterpieces of the time, like, we are happy those people got paid for their work, because now we have this thing and, and whatever. So I just love always reminders of that, like, you can work other places you can hustle, whatever to do your art, there’s no reason you should be sitting there and going well, I’m not making any money from it. So you know, I’m just gonna keep going on my way like, you should make money.
Sarah Schrader 12:13
Yes, definitely. So to create these lives of living in creativity, there’s a quote, I pulled out that says, “Creative lives and creative careers are not, or sorry, creative careers aren’t each designed. They happen intentionally, the so called lucky ones, the people who live wildly creative lives, are paid to do what they love, built what they have deliberately and strategically, they created a vision and worked towards achieving it, every one of them started exactly where you are now, or farther back, it’s time to put your work boots on and start kicking some butt,” I’m going to slightly edit that. But another strong point that Jarvis brings out is just getting started and doing the work like you have to be putting in that effort or think you’re just gonna sit in the same spot, and even repeatedly, like practicing it, doing it again and again. And that brought on another quote that I think he said that I love, “Which is creativity is abundant. And the more you do it, the more you have of it.” So I think that’s just an awesome thing to think about. Like it’s not limited, it’s not somebody else has it. And I don’t it’s available. It’s abundant and ever growing as long as you keep continuing to pursue it and use it.
Shaune Teske 13:38
Yeah, he touches on that a lot about you know, we all have our own uniqueness, our own creativity to bring he talks a lot about like, you just need to go out and do it, there’s a ton of motivation to just start something, to go do something, just stop just sitting around and waiting for it to be perfect. There’s lots of different prompts in there to start it. You know, he has quotes about, like being the hero of your own life, walk your own path. When obstacles arise, go over, under around them. When you lose your way. Listen for your call. And I think that’s the creative calling, your heart will always lead you so it’s always like keep going keep starting, you know, don’t just sit there with this idea. And just keep creating stuff. He has different examples of writers writing, you know, so many rough drafts, first drafts and throwing them all away and keep going just keep writing keep putting out there. I think that’s where a lot of people get stuck is they they’re working this idea to death before they even go out or they’re afraid to launch it or whatever. And it’s not about that. It’s just about create, create, create, like you have to do it because you can’t not do it. So I think there’s so many ways to start and he gives you lots of ideas of like, just try this today or just, you know, get out and do something new and whatever he does a lot about And other things too, and not just saying in your medium experimenting with it, I think it’s just a really positive way of, you know, if we get stuck in our heads or stuck about creating the next big thing, we’re going to get stopped and not create anything. And he quotes Andy Warhol. And I think it’s something that I want to definitely think more about and use in my daily life and go back to this. His quote is, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide what’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it, while they’re deciding make even more art.” And yeah, it’s not about everybody else, it’s about you and putting out your best work, trying to make a difference in the world and trying to do what you really love.
Sarah Schrader 15:46
Yeah, leans into the done is better than perfect.
Shaune Teske 15:50
And that’s hard. I think for a lot of us to, to go to.
Sarah Schrader 15:55
For sure. I think the part of this book that’s great for people who are really struggling to use their creativity or feeling stuck in their creativity or feeling like creativity isn’t for them is there’s so many different things he hits on that all these different blocks that we can have rather be mindset or money or feeling like there’s just not enough time, like he hits on those so many different things and explains like how we can get through them and to pursue that creative calling that we have.
Shaune Teske 16:29
Very cool. Yeah.
Sarah Schrader 16:32
Something that he brings up in the book. And it’s an interesting dialogue that I’m curious to see where it can go and where it can lead is he talks about how we, as a, like, just society have kind of created this path that is paved, and there’s construction signs, and you know where to go. And the creative calling is kind of more that untaken path, it’s our own path, we follow and make our own path. And I think it’s very interesting to think about, like, how we can kind of change that narrative and dialogue, to make it more acceptable to pursue that.
Shaune Teske 17:19
Right, and you don’t have to be good at it either. I think that he has this great quote, I think he calls it the creative gap. What you’re making might not have been good, you can give yourself permission to suck. I love that just like it’s good to be bad. It’s okay to, you know, fumble and try something new and not be good at it. I think he makes this reference, like I know, I’m not an oil painter. I mean, like stuff like that, where it’s just, you can be bad you can you can really suck it your your work for a while, even if it’s something you’re really passionate about. I mean, I definitely did not start out as a photographer like yes, I’m just making the best work ever. And I love this and and I’m gonna be like this for the rest of my life. No, I took some really bad photos along the journey, and learned what I liked what I didn’t like, why did things a certain way, and kept going on that process. And I think he brings it up a lot like you’re never going to stop learning, you’re never going to stop trying new things and gain better at your skill that’s never going to stop, but you need to just do it. I think he has I don’t know if I wrote it down. But there was a quote about, you know, there’s only so many teachers and schooling and things you can do. He talks about how he was going to go get another degree in art something or other I can’t remember but you know, he was going to go back to school. And he’s like it because school was a safe option when you’re there like you kind of know that path. And he said schools great skills are great, but you have to start doing and kind of pull that away once in a while and just get after what you want to do, get messy. Try new things fail. He talks a lot about like failure. And I really love it. One of the sections is called plan for success, learn from failure. And we have to embrace that we have to embrace tha we’re not going to be perfect that things are going to fail and work to the way we want it to work. And that’s okay, that’s part of our journey. And that’s going to actually make us a better creative.
Sarah Schrader 19:28
Yeah, in that section one of the quotes that I pulled was, “There’s no reason to hide be bold take smart risks, embrace failure, like an old friend.”
Shaune Teske 19:38
Yes, I imagined failure and we’re just like hugging and we’re having a good time.
Sarah Schrader 19:43
Shaune Teske 19:44
I feel like I failed a lot and maybe not everyone sees it or maybe they’re thinking, oh, no, you’re so whatever successful or you’ve had, I’ve never seen your failures. Oh, I have plenty, you know, and I’ve just hopefully been able to learn from that and take what I’ve failed those lessons I learned and then put them into new things. And hopefully then I succeed.
Sarah Schrader 20:06
Yeah, I mean, yeah, we don’t, we don’t typically broadcast our failures. And maybe we should do that more often, like, really share them and explain what we learn from them. so other people can see. And maybe that would make it a little bit less. I don’t know, I was going to say intimidating, but I don’t think that’s the word.
Shaune Teske 20:26
Go ahead Shara, you share your failures. And we’ll watch you. No, I’m just kidding.
Sarah Schrader 20:32
I mean, you don’t have to do like the crazy embarrassing ones, but like people can learn from each other. And I think that’s part of what is great about opening up about things like that.
Shaune Teske 20:41
Right! So true. It just brings this level of intimacy and this level of like, we don’t all have it figured out. You know, we’re just like everybody else. Everyone’s like everyone else is trying to do their best trying to follow their own creative calling, and put out work that they’re really proud of no matter what that medium is. We all just want to do our best.
Sarah Schrader 21:04
Mm hmm. I think just a couple more points. So this book, there’s a part where he’s talking about, oh, he talks about rebellion, actually, and, but he says, ‘”Instead of rebelling or conforming, simply choose, choose yourself.” And a little bit later, he says, “Life gets to get so much easier. Once you decide to play your own game, don’t just try to be better be different.” And I love that, I love that encouragement to just kind of go in your own way and find that calling. But the biggest quote that stood out to me it was very close to the beginning. And that was, “Creativity is your birthright. Creativity is generous, life changing, mind altering, and practical as hell. In fact, it’s only by creating in small ways every day, that we come to understand that we can create big changes in our lives when we desire or need them most.”
Shaune Teske 22:04
Yeah, it is. Again, I feel like this whole book just makes you feel like, it’s okay, we all have this, we all have an inside us. We don’t have to stress about trying to follow what everyone else is doing. Or we have to go a certain way on our journey. It’s our own journey, it’s our own path is our own creative passion. It just gives you the freedom to go after it however you want, especially if there is like he talks about he has lots of thought I was gonna do this, because this is what I was told to do. And when I started listening for my calling, listening to the passions in my heart, I took a different direction. And I think everyone has that. And maybe you say somewhere because it’s safe. Maybe you haven’t realized the calling yet. But it’s in all of us. And there’s such a freedom in that knowing that we can go out and explore and try new things and get closer to our true selves.
Sarah Schrader 23:05
Yeah, he says, “Creativity is for not just the photographers, designers, it’s for the moms, it’s for the teachers. It’s for everyone.”
Shaune Teske 23:18
Yeah, even the dads, just kidding.
Sarah Schrader 23:25
Yeah, well them too! Cool. Well, in this book, he says in the beginning, this book is really for somebody who is struggling to find their creativity or is feeling stuck. And if you know anybody who is in that space, or if you know somebody, like I know somebody who says they aren’t creative. Like give them this book, because this is gonna tell them why exactly they are creative, and they get to own it then.
Shaune Teske 23:51
Yes, and I feel like I’m gonna pass on my book to people. If someone’s like, I don’t I’m not creative. I don’t know what I’m doing and be like, here’s this book as I just carried around with me now take it.
Sarah Schrader 24:15
Yeah. This episode may be over, but we want to keep the conversation going. Find us hanging out over on our Instagram account @thecreativelegacypodcast and interact with us there to let us know your perspective and questions on today’s topic. As always, we really appreciate your thoughts and feedback. You can reach out to us on Instagram @thecreativelegacypodcast or leave a review on Apple podcasts and we might include yours in an upcoming episode.
Shaune Teske 24:41
All the show notes and links to resources from this episode can be found at thecreativelegacypodcast.com/episodes.