I would like to share a story with you from a world famous photographer who I just interviewed for my book. His name is Chase Jarvis, and his story is one you will not soon forget…
Chase grew up as an only child, and he knew from a very early age that he wanted to express his creativity in the world in some way. Like many of us, Chase stifled his creativity in exchange from promises of financial security and stability. Chase was offered a soccer scholarship to one of the best schools in the country, and thought that being a professional soccer player would offer him what was missing from his life. He was an extremely talented soccer player, and continued to play through some of his college years, however, he quickly began to realize that being a professional athlete was not his dream.
He instead thought he wanted riches and a career that he could count on. He began to pursue his medical degree, studying the sciences and focusing his energy on becoming a doctor. Yet, something was still missing. Being a doctor did not make sense either. He finally decided on majoring in Philosophy and when he graduated from college he began pursuing a PhD in the subject. All the while, his parents supported him in whatever choices he made. They continued to support their son despite his various endeavors in a variety of fields. Shortly after he began pursuing his PhD, he had an epiphany. After a 5 month trip backpacking through Europe, and much introspection and self evaluation, he realized that he was meant to be an artist, specifically a photographer. Chase knew it would be a long and arduous journey ahead if he decided to forgo his prior education and pursue an entirely new field, but this did not stop him. He pushed ahead into unknown territories.
He committed himself entirely to becoming successful in his chosen field of photography. He worked tirelessly, learning everything he needed to know about photography by experience rather than education. He pushed himself to new limits, sometimes working upwards of 80-100 hours a week when necessary. He knew he was destined to be a great photographer and would stop it nothing to achieve his dream. From the very beginning he was confronted with his own demons, as well as the peer pressure from society and his friends to do something more traditional. He knew full well that being an independent artist he would have to work exceptionally hard to make the same kind of money that he could have made had he become a doctor.
Despite the lack of any formal education in his chosen field, and the thousands of “No’s” he initially received, he persevered. He pushed himself to new limits, and never stopped believing that he could achieve his dream. Only a few years into his career he became wildly successful. The same people who had once told him “No” were now lining up to hire him as a professional photographer. Chase never let himself get sidetracked by fear or doubt, and he attributes much of his success to his positive mental attitude. He explained that being a “Creative” you are confronted with a lot more negativity compared with many other professions.
He saw the down economy as a perfect chance to grow his business because he knew in his core that what he was doing was right. In September of 2009 he launched an IPhone app”Best Camera” that has now been rated one of the top 20 apps (there are close to 130k IPhone apps) by magazines such as NY Magazine and Wired. From the beginning he was a pioneer in his field who was never afraid to be transparent and to push the boundaries of what was acceptable in the world of photography. He was one of the first photographers to ever take his audience behind the scenes on a photo shoot, and he now has the largest following of any independent photographer in the world (He has approximately 2,000,000 followers on his blog which can be found at: http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/
When asked what piece of advice he would give to someone who aspired to the level of success that he has achieved he shared: “Follow your passion. Do not think for a second that your passion cannot get you 6 figures or even 7 figures. If you are passionate about crocheting, then crochet. Start a crochet blog. It has never been easier to make a career out of something you are passionate about.”
I think Chase’s story is something we can all learn from. Many of us sell out for money or comfortability, but at the end of the day, you have to love what you do otherwise you will live your life wondering what could have been if you had followed your dreams.