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Seth Godin: Creator Therapy | Dealing With Fear, Embracing Impostor Syndrome, and Following Your Creative Calling – The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Check out The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show podcast page

Key Takeaways

  • Follow your intuition (your compass)
    • You don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to know which direction to go towards
  • Every great business or creative project starts from nothing
  • The root of success lies in showing up EVERY day to do the work
  • Everyone has fear – don’t try to make it go away, just figure out a place to put it while you’re doing your work
  • “All you have to do in order to be the noun is do the verb” Chase Jarvis
  • “If you don’t feel like an impostor, I don’t think you’re working hard enough”Seth Godin


  • This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at the Helen Mills Theater in NYC
  • Host: Chase Jarvis (@chasejarvis)
  • Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog) is an entrepreneur, a teacher, a Marketing Hall of Fame inductee, a daily blogger, the host of the Akimbo podcast, and the author of 19 international bestsellers
    • He’s also the founder of the altMBA
    • For more Seth, check out the Podcast Notes from his second appearance on The Tim Ferriss Show

The Rules of Creativity

  • Establish a daily practice
    • Do something you love EVERY DAY
  • “How you do anything is how you do everything” Chase Jarvis
  • “Every single person on the planet is creative, every single person” – Chase Jarvis
    • Every day, you make hundreds of creative decisions you might not even be aware of
  • Creativity is a habit, not a skill (it’s a muscle)
    • Like a muscle, use your creativity to build your creativity
    • Chase recalls a quote: “Creativity is an infinite resource; the more you use, the more you have”
  • It’s with small acts of creation (i.e., baking a cake, writing code, or cooking dinner) that we create our life (the same muscle is used)
    • By creating in small ways, you can create the life of your dreams
      • Let’s emphasize “small” – all it takes is taking a cool photograph on your walk to work, or changing a recipe ingredient

Chase’s Advice for Those Needing Reassurance

  • You have all the tools you need at your disposal (you have enough creative plutonium to power you for 10 lifetimes)
  • Advice is everywhere, but when it comes down to it – listen to your intuition
  • Society sells us map (do this, this, and this to get X)
    • BUT THERE IS NO MAP, and you don’t need one – you only need a compass (you don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to know which direction to head towards)
      • “To learn to follow that compass is the most powerful, but maybe the most difficult thing to do” – Chase Jarvis

How do you know when to give up?

  • TONS of people are trapped by resistance
  • Ask yourself: “Do I love it, and is it working?
    • If you love it and it’s working, keep doing it
    • If you love it and it’s not working, keep doing it (because you love it)
    • If it’s not working and you don’t love it, quit
    • If it’s working, but you don’t love it, quit
  • One note on the above: Make sure you decide in advance (when you start out) what the definition of “working” is

Seth’s Creative Practice

  • Seth has written for his blog every day for the past 11 years… 11 YEARS!!
    • “My blog is a cheap way to have a discipline to say, ‘I saw this today. I think it’d be better if you saw it too.’ It’s a way to help this group of people get to where we all said we wanted to go.” – Seth Godin
  • “The thing that I do that’s hard, I started doing long before I had a blog” – Seth Godin
    • Seth elaborates:
      • Asking why (detailing the why behind everything you do)
      • Showing up long before you’re sure something is going to work

Everyone Starts from Nothing

  • Take Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of NY:
    • His first Humans of NY social media post had 0 likes and 1 comment
    • Look at him now – he has millions of followers and is one of the world’s most well-known photographers
      • Despite this, Brandon still has doubts, and frequently calls Chase for help
        • “He calls me all the time… ‘Can you help me? I have no f***ing idea what I’m doing, Chase.’ He’s always asking me for help.” – Chase Jarvis
    • Brandon became the best in the world at asking an individual a series of questions, getting to a deep level, telling a story, and pairing it with a photograph
      • Chase adds: “No one in the world would tell you, if that was your ambition right now, that you’d have four #1 New York Times bestsellers, make tens of millions of dollars, and be one of the most prolific, well-known photographers on the planet. NO ONE would tell you that. How did he get there? By taking pictures EVERY day.”

Be Unapologetically You

  • “The experience of being unapologetically you, that to me is the most powerful vehicle we all have” Chase Jarvis
    • “It’s the hardest thing you can do, and it’s the easiest thing you can do”
  • Seth has a different view:
    • “I don’t use any of those words. If you want to be a professional, you choose a version of you to wear while you’re doing your work, but there is no such thing as authenticity. The last time we were authentic, we were naked in diapers and pooping. Ever since then, we’ve made choices.” Seth Godin
      • You might not feel like going to work, but you did
      • That choice allows us not to take things personally
        • If you walked up to Doctor Seuss and said you hated “Cat in the Hat,” that doesn’t mean you hate him 

Want to be a writer? (or perhaps you have writer’s block?)

  • Write down what you say out loud for an hour
    • What you’ll end up with is a bunch of writing that isn’t very good (but it’s better than not writing anything)
  • The next day, do it again
    • “Sooner or later, your subconscious will realize you’re not going to give up. Once it realizes you’re not going to give up, you’ll speak more clearly.” – Seth Godin

Realize This

  • You might be 10,000 hours of work away from where you want to be, but you’re only ONE decision away

Start a Podcast

  • “Why not be an amateur podcaster starting tomorrow? You’re sitting next to someone you could interview… You could record it on your phone.” – Seth Godin
    • It’s easier than EVER to start a podcast – don’t wait
  • And once you start a podcast, don’t get caught in the hamster wheel of pleasing people:
    • “How many reviews does it have?”
    • “How many downloads did I get last week?”
    • “Who am I going to get as the next guest?”
    • “Where will I get a sponsor?”
    • ^^^ NONE of that is why you signed up
      • “Who cares if more than 6 people are listening to it? That’s not what you signed up for? You signed up to have real conversations.” – Seth Godin

Put Fear in the Closet

  • “If you’re actually fearless, you’re a psychopath” – Seth Godin
  • If you hire a coach to help you run a marathon, you don’t ask the coach how to run a marathon without getting tired (everyone who finishes a marathon gets tired)
    • You hire the coach to help you figure out where to put the tired – the same thing should be done with fear:
      • “What you need to do is not make the fear go away. You just need to figure out where to put it… Don’t try to make the fear go away. If you try to make it go away, it’ll only get stronger.” Seth Godin
  • “All you have to do in order to be the noun is do the verb” – Chase Jarvis
    • Seth Godin and Chase Jarvis would still be artists, even if you never heard of them
    • Want to be a podcaster? – Take out your phone and start recording (it’s that simple)

Impostor Syndrome

  • EVERYONE has it
    • “Of course you’re an impostor. You are making an assertion about the future that you cannot possibly know is true – that your work will touch someone, that your effort will somehow pay off, that you see something others don’t see. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but in the act of asserting it, damn straight you’re an impostor.”Seth Godin
    • “If you don’t feel like an impostor. I don’t think you’re working hard enough.” – Seth Godin

Audience Q&A

The Smallest Viable Audience

  • When you start out, commit to creating work that allows for just 5 people to be touched by it
    • “Express yourself to the smallest viable audience with the smallest possible project, and do it again, and again” Seth Godin

On Being Tired

  • Identifying as a “tired” person isn’t helping
    • “That’s not what Kobe Bryant says when he gets on the court” – Chase Jarvis
  • Change your mindset: You get to do your work, you don’t have to do it

The IDEA Framework

  • Chase breaks up his book into the following sections:
    • I (Imagine)
      • “Part of where we’re broken as a culture is here. Our imagination is constrained by shoulds, woulds, musts, mortgagees, partners, and all of those things.” – Chase Jarvis
      • Put your hurdles on the park bench, and imagine what’s possible
        • Ask: “If I could write my own script, instead of working with the script everybody else has written for me, what’s possible?”
    • D (Design)
      • Design a framework for getting there (AKA the behaviors necessary for achievement)
    • E (Execute)
      • Nothing works if you don’t work
    • A (Amplify)
      • The idea: you can amplify your way to success by surrounding yourself with a group of like-minded, creative individuals

You Are Lucky

  • “We are the luckiest billion people in the history of mankind. We’re sitting in an air-conditioned space, not fearing for our lives, healthy, and fortunate enough not to have to work 18 hours a day to put food on the table. We are allowed to have hobbies. That’s insane that we’re allowed to have hobbies.”Seth Godin
    • Since you’re allowed to have hobbies, embrace it – don’t wreck it by trying to make it your living right away

“In the Particular, Lies the Universal” – Chase Jarvis

  • When you genuinely want to know the answer to something, there’s a million other people who want to know the same

A Motto to Live By

  • “Go make a ruckus”Seth Godin

Additional Notes

  • Seth grew up in Buffalo, NY
  • Seth has a podcasting fellowship
  • “The most important words that we can say are the words we say to ourselves”Chase Jarvis
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