Capturing the Moment

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.

Soaring towards Success

In interviewing 6 figure earners for my book, I had the chance to speak with a Captain for a major airline carrier who has been in the business for close to 30 years. Although airline pilots are union and their salaries are predetermined, after your first few years, there is definitely an opportunity to earn 6 figures, and to still have the time you have always wanted to travel the world as well. I was surprised to learn that pilots only get paid from the time the brakes are released for take off to the time when the brakes are set upon landing. Pilots are ONLY allowed to fly 1,000 hours a year. What are they spending the rest of those hours on? For this 6 figure earner, vacations and golfing were definitely at the top of his priority list.

Being a captain of a major airliner is not all fun and games though. As enjoyable as it sounds to jet set around the world, you are also 100% responsible for the lives of the people on your plane. This 6 figure earner I interviewed not only is a captain, but also spends his spare time training other pilots. As we all saw from the plane crash into the Hudson Bay earlier this year, having an experienced, well trained pilot to land the plane safely in an emergency can be priceless.

What does it take for a pilot to get hired on with a major airline? Well for one thing, it is not easy. It takes many hours of training, and flying before you can even be considered to work for a major airline. In addition, if you are not someone who comes from military background, you often have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get all of your ratings. Today, getting your ratings can cost upward of 40-50k. The Captain I interviewed did not have his Bachelor’s Degree when he began his pursuit of becoming a pilot, but said that in today’s day and age, it would be almost impossible to become a pilot without it. He also did not have the 20/20 vision, which was required to become a fighter pilot at the time he began his flying career, but he did not let that stop him. He invested all of his time, money and energy into getting his ratings and learning how to fly.

There were many obstacles in the way of the Captain I interviewed, but with every hurdle he encountered, he became even more resolute to get his pilot’s license and become and amazing pilot. From when he was a little boy of only 6 or 7, he had always loved airplanes. He would often join his father at Miramar Airbase in San Diego, where his father worked, and stare in fascination at the planes for hours on end.  His biggest obstacle, as with many things, was timing. You had to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right qualifications. It took many years of investing both time and money by the time he was finally able to get paid to fly. He learned an important lesson in perseverance during that period of his life.

By the time he was finally ready to pursue landing a job with a major airline, a recession had hit! This meant airlines were laying off, and after all that hard work, he was left with very few options. At the time, he was bartending, and began to consider giving up his lifelong dream of becoming a major airline pilot. He even considered changing his career path to becoming an air traffic controller. Despite all of the hindrances he encountered, he never gave up and chose to ride out the recession.

Finally, after years of chasing his dream, he landed a job as a commuter pilot and was paid relatively well given the times. Then, only a short time after he had accepted his commuter pilot job, an opportunity arose to work for a major airline, but it was for far less money. Regardless, he took a leap of faith and went for it. He knew that, while he may have to take a pay cut in the short term, in the long run his decision would pay off, and he was right!

Now, after over 20 years of working for one of the top airlines in the world, he gets to pick and choose where he wants to fly, when he wants to fly, and gets paid to do something he loves and has been passionate about since he was 6 years old. If you learn anything from this Captain’s story, just remember that sometimes life may seem hard, insurmountable obstacles may seem to get in your way, and recessions may happen, but if you never give up and go after your dreams, you too, can live the life you have always dreamed of!