Jump into Fear with Jeremy Cowart


– Hey everybody what’s up? It’s Chase, welcome to
another episode of the show. That’s right, the Chase Jarvis Live Show here on Creative Live. You know this show,
this is where I sit down with awesome people, he’s right here. Don’t look, don’t look yet. I sit down with awesome people
and I do everything I can to unpack their brains with the goal of helping you live your dreams in career, in hobby and in life. My guest today is one of the first guests in this podcast history
about nine years ago. He is an award winning,
game changing photographer. He is an artist, a fine
artist, he’s an author. We’re gonna talk about his new
book called, “I’m Possible.” And he’s also just
kicked off a hotel chain, he’s a hotelier, if you can believe it. An entrepreneur in his own right. My guest is the one and only
Jeremy Cowart in the house. – Thank you, sir. (upbeat percussion and guitar music) (audience applauds)
– We love you! – Thank you for having me. – Of course, from Nashville, Tennessee! – Dude we got a long history
together in this building. – We do! We are sitting here in
the Creative Live office in Seattle, the studios. How many years ago was
it, do you remember? Was it seven years ago? When you did maybe the fourth I think? Four to five workshop. – Gosh it’s been at least seven, maybe. Maybe nine?
I thought it was more like 10. – Nine?
– But yeah, maybe something like that. – Welcome back. – So proud of you all in all
that you’ve done since then. – Oh this isn’t about us. – This is fun to watch. – Thanks, thanks. And likewise with you. We were joking before
we turned the cameras on that we’ve both transcended a couple different career arches. I felt like we’ve had
really similar journeys. Until now on your journey you just like hit some new rocket ship that kicked you to a completely different universe. – It’s still in the very beginning, but yeah it’s a crazy ride, for sure. – What took you from fine
art photographer to hotelier? – Yeah–
– That’s crazy, now you have to like, just to be clear, starting a hotel is no, there’s a lot of real estate involved. That’s huge dollars, what’s
the vision behind it? How did we get here? – So right now when we’re
filming this it’s May 2019, so seven years ago is April 30, 2012, I was walking through a hotel,
The Standard in Los Angeles. – Yup.
– The one downtown for a photo shoot. I was there shooting for
the iPhone app Visco. I was just shooting a
model for some promo thing they were doing. And so I was walking through
the hotel to meet them, just in a regular, normal room. But as I was walking through the hallway all of the hotel room numbers were designed like name tags. Like old school ’80s like
“Hello my name is room 121.” And I just thought, that’s cool they rethought the name tags. But in that moment I was
like, man it’d be cool if as you walk down the hall you could stop and read the story of every room if you wanted to. So I look at the story band and then I had the thought
of child sponsorship, like each room was
giving a dollar per night to some kid overseas
through this organization and they would call it
Compassion International. Then I looked at my room key as I was about to enter the room and I thought of Caitlin
Crosby and The Giving Keys and how they employ the homeless to you know, create these cool keys. And then when I opened the door to my room it was like the movie scene
where you see everything in front of you transform
into something else, you know? It’s like, you know going around.
Yes. ‘Cause I was like oh the artwork, like Joelle and all my
humanitarian artist friends could do the photos of the artwork and then the desk could
be built by the homeless and the internet feed could
fight human trafficking and the soaps and shampoos
could come from Thistle Farms and it was like one of
those just real time moments where I was like, “Oh,
that’d be a really cool Hotel “if everything was doing something.” And so yeah, I remember telling
the Visco guys right away, I was like, “Ya’ll
sorry I’m ADD right now, “I’ve got a really, really big idea that I think is incredible.” And so I told them and they were like, “Okay yeah that’s an amazing idea, “but we have a photo shoot–” – But let’s go, yeah
let’s get back to work. – Yeah and so I went home that day and told my wife and
usually she’s so used to me sprouting off ideas that usually
she’s like yeah whatever, I was just thinking that she
would have that reaction, but she started crying
immediately, like just bawling, like this is the most
amazing idea you’ve ever had and we have to do this. And so, ultimately I did pursue right away with the guy in L.A. but
very quickly I could tell that he wasn’t the right fit. So after that dude I spent three years just in fear, ’cause it was just so big I was like, “There’s no way
that I can do this,” you know? So I just surrendered to
it and maybe later in life that’s something that I can pursue and so, then in 2015 I decided it was time to, to go for it so my business partner and I, we launched the Kickstarter and that began officially
the full journey, so four years now actually working on it. – I think that well, there’s two things, two threads I want to pull on. One is, how ideas come to us, you know I think what is
it that the Picasso line inspiration is always there but it has to find you
working, is that Picasso? I think it might be Picasso or yeah, I’m getting my one liners
No I know the quote yeah, I’m forgetting who said it too. – I think it’s Picasso,
has to find you working. So the fact that you
were traveling for work, working at a hotel in a
sort of creative mindset, and that you had the discipline both to pursue it enough to like, you know record these moments and you can tell that story
as crisply as you just did and also the wisdom to know that right that minute
was not the exact time. So before we go to the other thread, if we pull on that
thread a little bit more, how did you know that? You used the word surrender, you used, you said something about,
you know having patience, and how did you figure that, how did you know to let that idea simmer versus just run after
it with all your energy Well,
and stop photography and stop whatever? – I was used to running
after ideas immediately, so again I did run after it immediately, I found this Hotel Agon, Los Angeles, to run with, I mean
immediately like within a week I was sitting down with him, but he, it’s a long
story but he just wasn’t, was not the right fit at all
and thankfully I knew that. – But how did you know that? Like this is, I’m trying
to get into your intuition. – Yeah, ego, yeah.
Yeah. ‘Cause, yeah I have no room or no desire to work with big egos and this guy was already
starting to kind of take credit for everything that I had come up with and I was just like, “Whoa, whoa.” And I just kind of
scooted myself out of that and but then I was like man, this is just, this is too big, you know I was 35 at the time and it’s like I’m a
freelance photographer, like every other photographer
on a rollercoaster of finances, you know? Some years are great some are awful, and I’m like, “how does a freelance artist “build a 150, 200 million dollar “sky scraper hotel?” that doesn’t, that doesn’t connect. – The math is not working. – The math is not working,
so yeah man I just, I just sort of thought there’s
no way that I can do this, but what I would do is I would keep speaking the idea, even into the fear of somebody
stealing it or whatever, even at conferences, you know? Like wherever I’d be at I’d
just talk about this big idea I have like one day I think
I’m gonna do this, so. I just thought that if I keep speaking it, like hopefully people will
latch onto the idea with me and people come along
side me and eventually I’ll meet the right people
that I’m supposed to meet, like just letting it out into the world and so I did that for three years, I shared it all the time. And everyday, you know it’s a good idea, or when it’s an important idea, when you can’t stop thinking about it, that’s when I, ’cause a lot of times I, and I’m sure you’re the same way, you have a big idea but a month later you’ve moved on to the next idea, and that’s kind of how I identify, “Okay that must have not been
that important or urgent.” So this one just never went anywhere. – So I, you already naturally Segwayed from my first part of that question to the second part which is this fear of having an idea that’s so big. And my belief is that these are the idea’s that are worth pursuing,
that are worth chasing for a decade or a lifetime. And yet when you initially have it, you have this, the same
voice that you had, which is, “Whoa, we’re
trying to worry about “where our next gig’s gonna come from.” Yeah.
And this is a hundred million dollar thing. – Yeah. – So, when it does, it is that
idea that sticks with you, to your last point, you
still have to take action. In a world where everyone that I know is, most people that I know are paralyzed because this idea is too big. Yet we hear that the
idea’s that are the biggest and won’t leave us are
the one’s to pursue. How do you reconcile those two things? Because I know there are people listening and watching who, I wanna do, you know they have this great idea, they’re A, probably not sharing it, so we’ve already taken that
piece of advice from you, but how did you actually like, step one? Was there, you know, did
you read a business book? And did you get a partner? And to me those are
also too big of hurdles, but here you are, you’ve
made it happen so, can you walk us through
what you actually did? – Yeah there was a series of events, and not to be that guy, but in the book I talk about, That I think there’s like
five things that happened. One of them was just a
simple moment of inspiration when I was flying over New York City, looking over the sea of sky scrapers, and it just hit me like, kind of like, “You idiot, it’s right
here in front of you, “like all those buildings
had to start with one person, “one idea at some point.” There’s thousands and thousands of them, most of them are just
random business buildings with no meaning and I’m
like, “So why can’t I “have just one of those buildings?” It does have such a deep
meaning and purpose behind it and so, I was just kind of blown away by the simplicity of that thought, like, “Okay this has been done thousands and thousands of times.” – Right it’s not like
you’re inventing the idea of starting a thing. – Yeah, exactly, so I was like, and then a couple of weeks
later I was sitting down with a friend, a guy
that’s a lot like yourself, he’s just multifaceted, creative, he directs a huge show,
or multiple shows on T.V. He’s hold pattens to Apple,
he’s just a brilliant guy. But I told him the idea, he was like, “Why aren’t you doing this? “Like I want to invest
in this immediately.” He’s like go, and it was,
kind of hearing that, just somebody way above me speaking into, like, “You dummy, what are
you doing with your life?” I’m like, “Oh yeah I should do this.” And so, but then the main thing, the main step forward, was sitting down with my at
the time business manager, who became my business partner, so we already have a 14 year, well at this point, 14
year history together. And he’s the opposite of
the guy I mentioned earlier you know like he’s– – Lot of ego and– – Super humble, we have history together, we trust each other and
he is all left brain. So, I like to say that
as creatives we need our peanut butter ’cause we’re the jelly. You know we’re like
messy, all over the place, we’ve got a lot of flavor, we need that left brain
that holds us together. And so Michael Moore is his name, not the filmmaker. But yeah we just decided
to go for it together and he had no experience
in the industry either but I knew he was capable. And so we jumped in, we decided this story needs
to start with the public and so step one was lets
launch a Kickstarter. And granted it took months and
months to prepare for that, you know how Kickstarters work, you gotta get a little rough renderings, copying concepts, so preparing for that. Then we launched it and then we failed, ’cause our goal was two million,
we hit seven hundred grand, and so we fell far short of our goal. But in the launch we
blew up publicity wise, so we got a ton of attention, all of the hotel industry
all over the country. So we re-launched immediately with a goal of three hundred thousand, and we still raised
seven hundred thousand. So we hit our goal, we
hit that number again, and then that seven
hundred has really lasted us the last three or
four years in terms of architectural fees,
designers, graphic designers, lawyers, attorneys all that stuff. – Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, Lawyers, lawyers.
lawyers and lawyers. – Yes, all of them. Yeah I mean truly that’s– – We employ all the lawyers. – Truly that’s probably the biggest, the biggest part of the
money has been the lawyers. – What about not knowing an industry? Like let’s go through
some of the questions that if I was gonna do what you did, that I would be fearful of, like I don’t know anything, I don’t know a single hotel person, I don’t know anything about real estate. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – I’ve never, well how do you raise that much money on Kickstarter? And that’s, the two million that you said, that’s obviously not
gonna build you a hotel, that can barely build you a house in Seattle or in San Francisco, so like how are you talking
about 150, 250 hotel room? Like all these are questions
that usually paralyze people, why didn’t it paralyze you? – I have to give most of
that credit to my partner, Michael, ’cause he’s the
one that really dug in, I mean thousands and thousands of hours since 2015 when we started, he has learned the
industry inside and out. And it’s funny ’cause I feel like I’ve learned that just
by staying in hotels in 30 countries around the world. Like I told even our management company, that day I was like, “I
have to remind ya’ll, “we’re not building a hotel
because we like hotels, “we’re building a hotel
because we don’t like hotels.” Like they’re all to me, uninspiring, even the luxury hotels. Like I don’t get much out of hotels, it’s the largest industry in the world, shouldn’t it be changing the world? You know and it’s not, it doesn’t. I remember being in a seven
hundred million dollar hotel in Orlando recently and there was just not a single, I literally walked through the hotel trying to find something that inspired me. It was just like, just a bunch
of bland crap everywhere, big chandeliers and they
had this one piece of art that was like, probably 20
feet tall, about whatever, it was just this big
yellow minimal square. I was like, “Really? All that space for?” You know, and so I just
am constantly having ideas because a hotel to me isn’t
about the hotel industry. This hotel for me is
non-profit and it’s family and it’s community, it’s
art, photography, design, fitness, restaurants, retail, I mean it’s literally everything
I love together in a space where to me it echos the
world we’re living in. You and I, these guys, like
we’re all in this world for a very temporary time living together trying to figure it out, you know? And hotels the same way, like you’re all in the space for a brief moment together, you know, and how do you make that interaction really engaging and inspiring? And so that’s, so my head
lives in all the creative, like what is that awkward
elevator experience gonna be? You know, so I’ve spent all
my time just re-engineering the experience and the
visuals and the design. My business partner’s
been learning the finance and legal and all that stuff, so we really are good. Good, good match.
Yeah. So–
But still, he’s the one that answers questions that is really, you know, and together we have sat
down with hotel people over the years and now I have
a hotel management company, so they’ll be running
day-to-day operations and all that stuff. – So, I’m gonna use this
as a jumping off point, so we’ve got your big idea, we open with the Purpose Hotel, you have a lifelong
career as a photographer and designer, you originally
started out as design, then moved into photography which is how we met originally. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – And I’m very thankful for that, but I wanna go back before all that, which largely ties into your
new book, “I’m possible” and dyslexic, is that right? – [Jeremy] Yeah, yeah. – And your book does a very
great job of chronicling and I’ve seen your talk
and that viral video that you made about your own life. Essentially is, grew
up not feeling worthy, and what I’m interested in
exploring now is this journey from struggling as a
kid as so many of us do, trying as a kid, we’re just
basically taught to fit in. I ran away from creativity
because it drew attention to me, as a creative kid I was like, “you know what, I don’t
want to be creative, “I’m just gonna go do,
I’m gonna go be a jock.” ‘Cause it was more accepted in
the world that I grew up in, but how do you? I wanna create a narrative arc here of realizing as a kid that you were unique and yet struggling to fit in and find acceptance and
meet cultural norms, and then how have you had just
crazy success as an artist? Because you would think
that that would spiral down from being a kid who’s not understood and what I like to think is
we’ve all taken this journey in some way shape or form,
yours is just very public, and you’re really good at articulating it, so tell us what it was
like to be you as a kid? – [Jeremy] Yeah. – And how did you find
your way through that? – Yeah the town I grew up in, it was like your typical middle-class, pretty wealthy, wealthier
size of middle-class, and so everybody was
preppy wearing their polo’s and Tommy Hilfiger’s and you know? And I was like this kid
that didn’t like any of that and so there was this
expectation to be smart, make good grades and I just always felt this kind of society pressure to be, to follow all that and I
wanted nothing to do with it, but I wasn’t making good
grades and so I just thought, “Oh, ’cause I’m not making good grades “that mean’s I’m stupid,
therefore not valuable, “so I’m not gonna do much with my life.” And so I just always thought, like, “Eh, I guess I just won’t add up to much, “maybe I can freelance by the time I’m 40, “and maybe work my way up
as a designer or something.” So I just had very low expectations. – And that was cultural? Was it familial? Was it friend circle? – It wasn’t familial, my
parents never really put those pressures on me, in fact
the book really talks about how my dad would always encourage me. Like when they, when I
was interested in art, like next thing I know
there’s an art table, and oil pastilles and color pencils, like they were always supporting whatever I was interested in. So if anything it was
the opposite of familial, it was really supportive. But yeah I just think the education system works backwards ’cause it teaches us that unless you make good grades then you’re not a
valuable human, you know? You won’t add up to much, so. But you know the subtitle of
this is “Jumping into Fear” and I remember as a kid, like I wanted to be the
first in the haunted house, I wanted to be the first that jumped off the bridge into the lake, I wanted to be the first
to do the ropes course and I think as an adult
it’s that same feeling of, I want to go into the
scary place, the dark place and just see what happens, and I think we have to embrace that. Like, “Oh, shit, what’s about to go down?” And I just love– – But was that a, do you think that was just a natural thing in you? Or was that a response that you, because you didn’t excel in school, that you needed to excel
where everybody else wasn’t? – The thing is, probably both, yeah ’cause I think I was always about, like I wanna be something different, I don’t wanna look like everybody else, I wanna do things differently, yeah so probably a mix of both. ‘Cause now I’m for sure jumping
into the hotel businesses, walking into the haunted house, you know? And starting an app, I know you and I have
both tried the app world and that was just as scary, you know? A lot of the projects I’ve done, like when the earthquake struck Haiti, I booked a flight to
Haiti, didn’t know anybody, it’s like I’m gonna go down to a world where people are still
dying and killing each other and you know, I’m just gonna go, and I’m about to go and enter a very dangerous part of the
world for another project. See I’m just kind of drawn into, it’s like when you hear an actor say, “I’m afraid of it, that’s why I knew “I was supposed to do it.” You know it’s the same, Challenging roll?
the same thing. Yeah. – So, as the child trying
to find self-worth, what was your progression
like through school and early career? Because, you know, did you
decide not to go to school? Did you just go right into
working and what was that like? And did you immediately find that you, you got yourself on-track
because you pursued things that you love? Or did you wonder in the
woods a little bit more? – Oh gosh, there’s always
wondering in the woods, but I did know that I
wanted to be an artist, a painter out of high school. ‘Cause I’d fallen in love with art and painting by that time. My parents were afraid
of me making a living, so they told me about graphic design, and that just terrified me, computers, I just associated with
really smart people. I was like, “No, I’m good.” But they bought me a Mac with Photoshop, and my mom’s like, “You should
just try this.” You know? And so I remember taking my
first Photoshop class in college I was like, “Oh man, this is amazing.” Like I was in love, love
at first sight for sure. – Photoshop 1.0? – Probably, this was really early, this was ’95 so yeah, it was. – I think it was. Really, really.
I think it was 1.0. – Yeah, yeah it’s crazy to think that we’ve been using Photoshop
for 20 something years. – I think it’s coming up on 30, 25 years, they just had their
25th anniversary I think. Yeah, yeah.
That’s crazy. – That is crazy. So, yeah studied graphic
design in college, minored in illustration, and took one photography class in college, think it was a prerequisite and
I got a D and nearly failed. Our professor like, I don’t
know he had a weird vibe, I don’t think he liked me at all and all the technical stuff, I’ll never forget seeing
it the first time. They pulled out like a board with shutter speeds and apertures. I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, hell no, “I want nothing to do with that crap.” It was so intimidating, and so I wrote photography off, like I will never, it just
seemed so scary and so yeah, about, about flint photography. And then it really wasn’t until, I graduated, got my first job, put an add in the add agency got fired from that, was told I wasn’t creative enough and basically just that
I’d be a good youth pastor. I was like, it was actually
good for me to be told no, like that’s another compelling, like I’m compelled once somebody tells me I can’t do something then I’m like, “All right, I’ll show you.” So I got another job,
worked for, you know, and then by the age of
24, just two years in, I was like, “I’m done with having a boss, “done with the advertising world, “I’m just gonna start my own thing.” So I jumped ship and started
my own company at 24, and I’ve worked for myself ever since. But it was design for a few years, when cameras came back,
digital cameras came around, I wanted to use a middle scanner, like I would shoot the
concrete on the ground, I would shoot that wall, any textures I could get to
overlay in Photoshop, you know? – Wow. – That’s how I fell in
love with photography. – Really fell in love from that one class that you got a D in? – Exactly, exactly. – Let’s explore that for a second, so, you went on to become crazy
successful in photography and do you look back at that, that D in college and shake your head? It’s like, how many
people would not have had the drive, the ambition, the wherewithal, to pursue photography even
though they got a D in it? – [Jeremy] Yeah. – Like what does that
say about our system? – Yeah it’s certainly all broken for sure, the whole education
system is broken to me. ‘Cause yeah, that
professor was grading me on you know whatever tests, whatever I was able to remember about f-stops and shutter speeds, he didn’t, wasn’t grading
on my eye or my talent, ’cause even looking back I
was taking decent pictures. And then yeah how many kids
walk outta there thinking, “Oh, I must suck, I’ll
never be a photographer.” And they’re probably, you know
so many geniuses that also– – [Chase] Yeah, yeah. – Never pursued it. So yeah that’s a whole problem with our culture and our systems, we’re so valued on what we
make on test scores, you know? – Well how is that changing your, you’re a parent of four. – Yeah. – How does that change how
you and your wife parent? – Well it actually plays
really well into that story because my two biological children, I mean they’re, they’re not my story, they’re brilliant, they make all A’s, like they’re just killing it. But my other two that we have adopted, when a child is adopted, and ours were abused and there’s a lot of brain trauma there, so naturally they’re gonna have a lot of struggles on school. – [Chase] Yeah. – And so I’m very grateful for my story because I’m able to really speak the same encouragement into them and not, I don’t get mad at all when
they don’t make good grades, or you know, so. I just encourage them like crazy, my son, Eli is a brilliant little artist, you know they’re way behind
developmentally with other Kids but we’re just trying to love them and encourage them and that’ll
never be our, you know? – Do you do anything outside
of the traditional schooling? Or if you’ve got this frustration with always being told
that you weren’t enough or getting bad grades and feeling
like you didn’t measure up by some standard that we
still don’t understand, right? How–
Yeah. Are you just, is that the extent? I’m just curious how you, there’s a lot of parents
who listen to the show so. – Yeah, no it’s a, our son specifically might end up at a different school that does do things differently. ‘Cause he does have a lot of needs that are very specific so
yeah we might pull him out, but our other kids, they all love it. You know, I think it’s in how you parent ’cause again we won’t, like they won’t get
grounded if they make a D or if they make a whatever, like we’re just gonna keep
loving them and encouraging them and I will, I can as a parent, speak into their true value. Whereas I think a lot of times parents do, “Oh you better get your act together “if you made a D on that test” you know, really lay into them, I don’t think that’s necessarily accurate, just knowing, ’cause that was me, like I just wasn’t built for the, the whole test system, you know? – So, we’ve traversed the ground where you figured out that
you weren’t employable. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – You needed to work for yourself. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – Let’s go into that, that
sort of the fear setting or fear escaping, where, presumably when
you’re 24 years old, when you, you went to
the add adjacency stuff, then you left to start your own company, you don’t have any money, you don’t have very many contacts, you’ve got some skills. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – But weather the folks who are listening are 20 or 24 in that same world, or they’re 36 or 46 and the thought of starting something new, the start of, the thought
of not having money, especially after you’ve had a J-O-B, you get a regular paycheck. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – How did you manage that fear? – Just knowing that I had
to chase the curiosity, and I’m still that way, like I’m just so, it’s either really ADD or really curious. But I just knew that I wasn’t happy, I knew that I wasn’t fulfilled, like I got to a place where I just, literally hated work, hated the job, hated having a boss, all of that stuff. And that’s been a theme throughout like I was just telling them I actually launched a platform,
an educational platform a couple years ago and a year
in it was really successful, but within a year of doing it, I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to do this.” You know? And then did the app and I was four years
into the whole app thing, was like, “yep, this is
the wrong ladder too.” And so I just kind of am always pushing to when I know I’m fulfilled, and that’s why the hotel
is for three years, I knew that’s the thing
that feels really fulfilling ’cause I’m ultimately, what
I’ve ultimately realized is I have to do something creative, and that helps people. In fact I’m more upset for, I had a mission statement, said my mission is to
explore the intersection of empathy and creativity, and so. I don’t think I’m answering
your question at all but– – No, no I get it this is str. All these things are just scary things, which is part of what I’m helping, trying to help you understand, that it’s reversing this landscape, none of this stuff is for sure, none of it’s guaranteed and
really nothing is guaranteed, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. – Nothing is guaranteed and I think that, I’ve been having
succession a lot with guys kind of our age. Where they think because
they’ve done something their whole life they
have to keep doing them, they’re really scared to jump and they may not be as fulfilled. And what I’ve learned is that I thought I was a lifelong photographer, then I had a big idea, it’s a whole different other industry. But then I thought well
I’ll never be as fulfilled doing that as I had been in photography, and the truth is just the opposite, I’ve been so much more
fulfilled chasing the thing that I know I was made for and cut out for and I think people just have to, even if you’ve been a physical therapist or a doctor or a teacher
or a photographer like, and you’re burnt out and
you’re just not happy you might actually love this next thing much much more than
what you’ve been doing. And screw it if it is a failure, like you’re still gonna learn, you’re still gonna learn so much. Like those four years I
built a social network, like it failed but I’m so grateful for it ’cause I learned so much about team building, leadership
and all that stuff that now plays into my
role as this hotel founder and so, yeah I guess I’m
just not afraid of failure and I’m also not afraid
of publicly failing, like I think if anything
it makes us more relatable, you know the Kickstarter, I used every connection,
influencer, connection– – I remember pushing that thing like. (speakers drown out each other) – I was hitting everybody up to help us and it failed, and it just didn’t bother me, I was like, “Okay, let’s
do it again.” You know? And so, it gets back to the haunted house thing, like I might get hurt, I might be scared but it’s gonna be interesting
and I’m gonna learn a lot. – Is that native to you? Or is it because of childhood? Like how do you have that Teflon? Like how’s that stuff just bounce off you when it really sticks
and can paralyze so many? – I don’t, I mean I don’t know, I guess it was native ’cause
as a kid, even when I would, and I keep bringing up
the haunted house thing ’cause it’s such a specific memory, is that no kids wanted to go
in but I did, I wanted to be, those were the days where like, you know before lawsuits, where they could actually
touch you and grab you and actually come up with
the chainsaw right here where it really was terrifying. (laughs) – Chainsaw? Whoa I think I went to
the wrong haunted house, there’s a big chainsaw.
Yeah you did man. Oh yeah, oh yeah we had the chainsaws, Tennessee Bro. – Tennessee chainsaw
haunted houses, all right. Here we had gluten free bread, you had chainsaws, we
had gluten free bread. – I mean maybe it’s just a live and learn, like maturing and just realizing, man I used to be afraid, you know would get publicly embarrassed if something didn’t work out, but now, I think it’s just fun, it’s just fun to jump
into things if they fail, like everybody’s failing
everyday at something, you know? And I’m failing everyday still, sometimes as a parent,
sometimes as a husband, not sometimes all the time, those things. But even publicly I just find that people, people really wrapped their arms around us when the gates start to fail, like we’re gonna redeem your
harder fail this next time. I don’t know I’m just okay
with that I think, yeah. – There’s, you always have
approached those things so graciously, gracefully,
both those things. Is it something that you, you talked about not being afraid of it, but sort of like you had
to take a bunch of action, I think that’s as I’m
trying to look backwards and piece together your
answers the last few questions, there was always the act of doing, it’s sort of like you’re a
man who is ready, fire, aim. – Yeah, yeah. – [Chase] You know as a person
or the other way around. – Totally, yeah. – Do you feel like that’s
become an advantage for you? – Well, we say that we’re
building this hotel backwards, ’cause typically a hotel, you know they do all
their private investing and meetings and all that, then they raise the money
to build the building, then they build the building and at the very end they hang the sign. It’s like we started with the sign, and then it’s like, “We
don’t know what’s next.” but we’re gonna jump in and figure it out, ’cause the Kickstarter
was essentially just that, it was like, here’ an idea
that’s not gonna exist for years, may not, won’t be in your city
unless you live in Nashville, but will you still support this? And so, it was very much, like
you said ready, fire, aim, that’s a good way of saying it. So yeah we just thought, this
is an idea for the people, so it has to start with
the public, with people. And there has certainly
been a lot of fear still with, we’ve even had major brands call us, letting us know their
sense of boring concepts, we had asked to go on Shark Tank and we did turn that down, ’cause at that level
of exposure, you know, anyone could just run with it. – Is that, so, that’s
actually fascinating, you have advocated earlier
in our conversation, for one of the strengths
was telling everybody about your vision. And yet there was a
line in there somewhere? You don’t wanna go on Shark Tank? Yeah.
Got it. – So I think I was telling everybody within my culture of community, I would speak at a lot of conferences but even at those conferences it was like, I know you know this feeling, when you just kind of trust
the people you’re amongst and like especially in a creative
church kind of conferences and we’d just kind of share it. We hadn’t gone on a Shark Tank until, what was it 30 million Americans, or 20, whatever it is, essentially
tell the country and especially the people watching are the people searching for ideas. So that just felt too risky for sure, But I love that,
to go on that level. – That you, I found the same
thing to be true, if you can’t, this idea that people
are gonna copy your idea, Shark Tank excluded, okay because most people don’t
have access to Shark Tank, so Shark Tank excluded, I find that there’s this power that comes from speaking your ideas
and getting feedback and for those folks at
home who are thinking like, “I don’t wanna tell
Larry or Sally my idea, “’cause they’re gonna go do it.” I just find that people, they, they’re largely self interested and they have their own dream and their own dream is
not to create a hotel where the soap is the soap and the artwork and the rooms all have some
tie to a higher purpose, that’s just not their thing. And even if they’re interested in hotels, they’re like, “yeah,
I got this other thing “that I’m working on.” – I agree completely, I’ve never been really
bitten by the whole, even in especially photography, I used to be, in my twenties I would say I was that photographer, “Oh
no I can’t tell you my secrets, “they’re really secret,
they’re really cool.” – It’s where I put the
light, at what power its– – Yeah, yeah, well yeah just
all of the gimmicky stuff I would come up with, and then throughout my
thirties I was like, “wait a minute, who cares? “I’ll share anything and everything.” ’cause what I’ve learned is like, kind of what you’re saying is, nobody is ever gonna be you, no one is ever gonna
have your relationships, your experience, your
just everything and so, I just learned that community
is far more important to me than competition. Yeah just far outweighs competition, like I just rather share and, too what I learned about my ideas is that once I execute an idea I’m done with it and I’ll
never do it again anywhere. So yeah let me share it and see what everybody else does with it. But on the hotel front yeah, it has been a little
tricker because we are, this is an idea that’s gonna take, I mean by the, from when I had the idea to when I open the
doors it’ll be a decade, fricking ten years, you know? And so when you openly
go tell everybody that yeah major chain could pick
up a lot of the concept and implement it so you know, that that does, has
made us a little nervous but still there’s so many, I’ve only released like
the tip of the glacier of the idea to the public, there’s a lot more below the surface. And so, yeah I’m still
just not that worried and I have enjoyed just openly sharing it and letting people, ’cause now, I am the eyes and ears of all the emails that come through, so I’m the one literally cataloging and organizing, “Hey I’m an investor,” or “I do soaps,” or “I know this non-profit
that does blankets,” so I’m just, because I’ve spoken it everything’s coming to me. And so I’m just sitting here sorting, so then when we are ready
to fire on the soaps, I’ve got all these emails ready to go and couches and, so that’s
been pretty cool to, to share in that way and let it, again build it backwards,
let the people come to us. – So you said several times, talked about sharing and
openness and vulnerability. So there’s a topic I want to go into now where I saw in one of your social feeds, you shared that you’d
just been diagnosed with, a very debilitating, or
potentiality debilitating disease, and I think the world doesn’t
know very much about it, but you, same with you, when you released the book, the same week you were also, so it’s this constant like up and down. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – I think it’s called life. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – But if you would be so kind as to share a little bit of what’s
going on with your health? Yeah.
I think people would be interested to know that you’re always pushing
through something, right? – Yeah, no I was on a
photo shoot in Africa when I was 28 so, what 14 years ago and my assistant on that trip was like, “Dude you can’t walk straight.” like, “Whatever I can walk straight.” and I tried walking straight
and I was like, “Oh, crap. “I can’t walk straight.” So for the last 14 years
it’s gotten worse and worse, to where I just have thought, “Oh that’s just what
happens when you get older, you start to get a little
clumsier and off balance.” I just told myself that
and I would laugh at it, I just thought it was funny
that I was kind of clumsy, and it was actually embarrassing at times but it just never really
bothered me too much, until last year I got
so bad that I was like, “Man I am like, literally
a drunk all the time.” So I was like I should
probably go get it checked out, so yeah I started seeing the doctors and found out I have a disease
called Friedreich’s ataxia, so it’s pretty serious, yeah it affects my balance, co-ordination, speech a lot of times, even today I heard some of
my words kinda run together. Heart disease, loss of muscle, loss of feeling in the
legs and arms potentially, so it’s very serious. So sadly there’s no cure, medication, but I have been hearing that
it is one of the few diseases that they feel like they
are close to curing, so. – Neurological, what’s the basis? – Neurological, yeah, I am hopeful that they’re close, but yeah I just gotta take
really good care of myself with diet and exercise and
those things help tremendously. When I’m eating really clean, my speak becomes clearer, I walk straight and it’s pretty crazy. – So, do you find that, when you’re diagnosed with that, how does that affect your
day-to-day psychology, more then not being able to walk straight, I think that’s, even, that’s downstream of fact
of having the disease, to me the primary, sort of what’s affected in most people is the identity of like, I have his disease? – Man, I don’t want to
give it that much credit but I have to cause it has
taken up a lot of mental space, I mean you’re exactly right, like I’m both thankful for an answer too, ’cause now so many things
in hindsight make sense, like little moments where I’m like, in the moment I was like,
“Why can’t I run downstairs “quickly like the other guys at the gym?” or just weird things, so
it’s good to have an answer, but yeah it’s really like man this is, part of my story is that I share how my brother died of a
heart attack when he was 43, that was about five years ago, and I’m 42 right now, so certainly that even
plays a bigger role, I was like, “Man, what if
I died next year, at 43?” but I’m going to see doctors all the time, I’m not sure he was at all, I don’t think he even knew
anything was wrong, so. Yeah I mean it plays a big roll, for sure in my day-to-day mental state and there is beauty in speaking
out about these things, ’cause now I’ve met all these other people around the world that have it, and so we’re all exchanging notes on how to treat the symptoms, and yeah. – There’s a real clear theme of, for you, running at the thing, that I think most people
would try and hide, they wouldn’t wanna announce
that they have this, they wouldn’t want to
say, “Hey when you see me “walking down the street,
if I don’t walk straight “it’s because I have this.” – [Jeremy] Yeah. – Hey, I, words look different to me, when I was in school 25
years ago, 35 years ago, I didn’t think I was smart, the people that are around you now, who you were running
around with 35 years ago, who could’ve identified you as the guy who was in
school and wasn’t smart, and yet you’re still, you’re very open and transparent about these, weather it’s a malady or a challenge, or a huge opportunity
like the Purpose Hotel. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – In a way it’s like, weather it’s the fear of failing or succeeding with the Purpose Hotel, or the fear of you have this disease, this is the haunted house, like, why are you consistently going there? It’s clearly been a
differentiator for you, is it because you’ve
ultimately found reward in sharing the most painful things? Or what? It’s fascinating to me,
it’s really, it’s cool and I seek things that are different to other stories that I’ve heard, and that’s like, you run right
at your biggest struggles. – Yeah I think it just connects us all, I’ve never liked acting
like I have it all together, I have all the answers or I’m
like a master of something ’cause I’m just super curious and I identify life as
just being so, so sort, like especially with my brother dying, like it just feels like we’re all here for such a short amount of time, so, I’m like I would just
rather be an open book, and you know, but
because life is so short, like yeah I should go try everything, try all these ideas and
just jump into stuff and it’s fun for me. And life gets really
boring if I keep doing the same thing for a long time. I’m sure even after five or ten years of the hotel I’ll have
a bunch of other things, even the hotel itself is a hundred ideas that are gonna spring into other things, and so, yeah that fear
for me it’s just fun. I’m drawn to it, that’s why I specifically wanted to use the word
“Jumping into Fear” you know? – [Chase] Yeah. – Instead of, you know. – Yeah for those folks at home– – I should’ve even said
“Joyfully Jumping into Fear.” – So the subtitle, the
title’s “I’m Possible” play off impossible, “Jumping into Fear and
Discovering a Life of Purpose.” So, let’s talk about the book
a little more specifically. How did the book come into being? Because, some people
are like, I would say, you know, I can’t wait to write my memoir. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – You don’t strike me as that person. – No. – [Chase] So how did it come into being? – Once again yeah I’m not a writer, never wanted to do a book, never wanted to be a speaker, like all that was an accident, so a mutual friend of ours, Jon Acuff, about seven or eight years ago, he said, “Dude, I want you to speak
at my new conference.” And I was like, “I would love
to but I’m so not a speaker.” like I can’t remember a
talk, like I would suck. But then I had been, I had just done this time lapse drawing of Tom York, where I, it was part analog, part digital and I filmed a time
lapse it was really fun, but I thought it would be, that’s when I had the idea, where Jon was like, “I
think I could draw talk.” And the conference, once I had the idea, by that point the conference
was like four days away. So I spent literally
every hour until that, even moments before going on stage, I’d just text word of the vinyl, you know, and gave it to him. And so again, walking, “Jumping into Fear” was always like, “I’ve
never done this before.” and I doubt anybody has done
a talk like this before, ’cause it has music,
visuals the entire time. So I did it, and standing ovation, everybody was crying, I was crying, it was like this just emotional explosion. And I was like, “Well,
something just happened.” And that launched a speaking career, I’ve been doing this talk man, all over the country, to
real estate conferences, photo, creative, churches,
elementary schools, colleges, done it in arenas and 16,000 people. I mean it literally just
blew up my speaking career, ’cause I think it’s just a visual talk and most speakers don’t do it that way. Anyways so at one point somebody said, “This needs to be a book.” and there’s an agent and she said, “I’ll pitch it to publishers.” and she started pitching
it and here we are, yeah. So literally the whole
thing was accidental. – But this is the theme now, this is what I wanna, I’m harpering on if you’re not picking up on the theme lemme spell it out for you folks at home, that everything that you’ve
ever sort of got out of life came from doing something. You know there’s the
idea of sitting at home in your parents basement,
thinking abut something. And then there’s you, Jeremy,
who’s out there doing it, and you do this big scary talk and clearly there was
value in and of itself for the talk, right? You had cathartic moments, the crowd, there was a great connection, and that kicked off a
speaking tour, great! That’s very literal right? You’re speaking, you gave a speech, and now someone’s asking
you to give more speeches and they’ll pay you for it. But clearly it also launched a book, and now here you are, you’re a speaker, or a non-speaker who became a speaker, who wasn’t an author, became an author, weren’t a hotelier, became a hotelier, like there’s this, there’s the really– – Nearly failed photography,
became a photographer. – Well yeah I guess I
didn’t mention photography ’cause your success there is
so obvious and very public. Do you credit action? Do you credit the doing to your success? Or is it the quality of your ideas? What is it? – You know, have you read
the book, I’m sure you have, but “The War of Art” Steven Pressfield? – One of the most
impactful books of my life. – Dude people told me to
read that book for ten years, and I never did until just recently, I got the audio book and I was like, “Screw it, I’ll finally
read this dang book.” I nearly wept, first chapter,
I was like, “Oh my gosh.” – Speaking to me, Steven. – The resistance, oh the resistance, yeah the resistance for me
has been so many things, but I think most people, the resistance just kills them, you know? Weather it’s “I’m too
old,” or “I’m too broke,” “I don’t have a social media platform, “I don’t have any money.” “I don’t,” there could be
a million different things, I think these days a big reason, a big thing I’m hearing a lot is, “Oh I don’t have enough
followers.” You know? I have a platform or whatever, and I have those thoughts too, everyday I mean even
still on the hotel front, I mean every morning I wake up with my own set of resistance. But I just always also think like what if? Like what if, what if
this could work, you know? It’s gonna be fun and
just yeah, I headed out, it’s just, I’m just gonna walk into it. And yeah the talk was really
fun ’cause I was like, I don’t even know the timing, I hadn’t even practiced the timing ’cause I photoshopped it all on time lapse and I wasn’t sure if
it was gonna time out, like it was a train wreck the first time but it still worked, you know? And it took me over and over doing it to time it out right. So yeah I just like doing things, even the fricking cover, I gotta tell you the
story behind this cover. So the publisher say’s, “All
right you have a 4000 dollar “budget to do your cover.” I was like, “Awesome I haven’t
been a graphic designer “in a long time so I’m
not doing my cover.” So I call this guy up in New
York, brilliant designer, and I paid him the full budget to do all these rounds of
covers, they we’re amazing, but it’s like I like them 90%, and I never liked them 100%, so then I went over budget, hired another designer in Nashville, he did a whole round of comps, loved them but didn’t
love them, love them. So I was like, “Dang it,
I gotta do this myself.” So I ended up getting out my iPad and I literally drew, you
know this whole cover, everything on my iPad,
everything, just did it myself. All these interior color
illustrations, you know? I’m just gonna jump through it, literally scribbling everything, just going to town on my iPad and I’m just gonna make it happen. And now for you, I’m
telling you that story. – No it’s fascinating,
that’s exactly what we want. – But yeah, I mean the
word is scribbled out on the front here, “I can’t.” I told my publisher I
can’t do my own cover, I just, I can’t do it, I was
like, “crap I have to do it.” – And here you are. So do you feel like, what is it about your process? ‘Cause clearly, what you
just described is seeking, you’re starting to do something, saying yes to the book,
hiring some people, learning a little bit,
no that’s not quite it, picking up the iPad and
the pencil yourself. This is a little bit into
the Steven Pressfield world, what have you learned about
your creative process? – Gosh that’s a good question. Just, the curiosity is huge for me, the curiosity through everything, it’s like if I don’t,
if I get bored or stale, I don’t know, I just kind of die inside, in fact I would say,
everything we’re talking about makes me sound so productive
and creative all the time but I mean honestly the
last two years of my life were just a funk where
I was just doing nothing because the hotel idea. And this is a whole different
thing we had to talk about, but the hotel has been
seven years of waiting, where everybody else’s careers,
you know, are doing this, on Twitter and you’re
killing it with Creative Live and everybody else is doing their thing and I’m just sitting here going, you know, “One day I’ll have
this idea that comes to life.” And so it’s been a really long, I mean there been, dude there
been months where I’m like the hotels not happening,
I’ve let my photo career die, I’ve let all my clients go away and I’m just sitting here doing nothing. And then everything in the political world the last two years, I feel like my, I’ve just been doing nothing, like I’ve been really in a dark funk and Steven Pressfields book is really what brought me out of it. Is reading about the resistance, and at some point it said, “the
work you’re most meant to do “Is what you’re most afraid to do.” You know, something along those lines and it was both New York
and the hotel for me. So that’s why I started
jumping back into fine art and what lead to discover
literally “The War of Art.” Just being so afraid to jump in, I mean I’ve been afraid of
my fine art for 20 years, I’ve literally chased everything else. – Yeah. – One point in Steven
Pressfield’s book he said, “Hitler was a brilliant painter, “but he was so afraid of a blank canvas “it was easier for him to
start World War II.” you know? And do all these other things, and obviously I’m not
comparing myself to Hitler, but the idea that it’s
easier for me to go, try to figure out the hotel
and non-profit’s and apps then it is for me to face a blank canvas. But I’d love to say, I’ve certainly had my
struggles along the way, the last two years especially have been, almost, I would say almost dark, just depression, yeah, not productive. – But do you, the part
that I think is fascinating is that it’s sort of like
daytime requires nighttime, ’cause if it was daytime all
the time we wouldn’t survive. – [Jeremy] Yeah, yeah. – So there’s this truth, a
yin and a yang that’s required and it’s almost like, if you
look at the seasons right? It’s not summer all the time, you know you have to have a winter, you have to be able to slow down, you have to be able to rest and get sleep and energize and build up these ideas. – It’s funny that you say that ’cause yesterday I Tweeted, I said, “For the last two years
everyone has been talking “about hustling, it seems like, “and right now it seems like everybody’s “talking about self care,” – Backlash for sure. – It just proves that we
can only hustle for so long, before we really need to
take care of ourselves and yeah I’ve been in that season of, it was hustle, hustle for a long time, then I think it was
burnout and what am I doing and just the hotel taking so long and now I’m in the self-care
phase right now for sure, trying to figure out my health and taking care of myself for sure. – You mentioned something
in the last little moment there about transitioning from being a photographer to being, weather you identify as a hotelier or a multi-dimensional artist, I don’t, I’m not gonna put a label to it, but clearly you’re, you’ve just sort of crossed a
caseum, you’ve transitioned. I found that to be the hardest most confusing things
for me personally was, “Wait a minute you’re on top of the world, doing the thing you love more
than anything in the world, I’ve never dreamed in a million years I could have the photography
career that I had, and at some point, for me, my calling, I heard a calling that
wasn’t not photography, but was sort of, beyond it. It incorporated that in the same way that a lot of what you’ve talked about like photography is a piece of the hotel, images, design, marketing, branding, that’s all part of the package. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – And how have, I look back and I think that’s the transition
that I personally watched, and it seems like you’ve, you’re finding a way to
make it really elegant and maybe that’s just how
it looks on the outside, but give the folks at home, ’cause there, I think
there are so many people who are stuck, they’re in a gig and they don’t know how to transition. And so do you have some advice on that? And I’m taking notes here by the way, ’cause I feel like I did a bad
job over the last ten years, transitioning from one thing to another. – Man, I mean it’s,
you’re definitely right that it always looks
more polished than it is, I’m sure people will watch me going, “Oh he’s so great, building a hotel now, “switching from photography.” They don’t see the seven year journey, the three years of just numbness, of literally doing nothing
other than talking about it. You know they don’t see
the sleepless nights of me going, “What have I done? “This isn’t going to work.” You know, when the deal
fell through in Nashville, like there’s so many moments where this just isn’t gonna happen. But for the people stuck, especially in a job they don’t love, wanting to jump out and do the thing, I think, you know naming it is so huge and letting your community know, it’s like, again bringing
up my friend Jon Acuff, like the other day– – Jon we gotta have you on the show, we’ve been friends for a long time, we gotta get you on here, it’s great. – The other day he said, “I’ve been telling
people I’m not a runner, “‘Cause I’m afraid to claim
that but I run everyday.” it’s like, okay I’m a runner, I think once we start speaking
that into our communities, I think for a photographer it’s like, if you just start taking a
camera with you everywhere and you start letting people know, “Yeah that’s what I do now.” And claim it, not even telling them, “I actually work at Home Depot.” or whatever, just owning it and naming it and claiming it and
going out and doing that, even if it’s for free at first, which I know that’s a controversial topic but yeah just, you’re gonna figure it out, you’re gonna have, thing’s
are gonna start falling, you’re gonna meet one
person, who knows one person, I mean it’s been seven years of the hotel, I was like, “I always met
her and she knows him.” and it’s the game of you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. Guy’s can be girls obviously, but I think you just have to step out and start owning it mentally and talking about it and people
start to identify, you know? And hopefully your thing
will start to become good, then they’ll start asking you about it and then it starts to
become accountability, like, “Oh crap, I gotta now do that thing “that I told them I was gonna do.” Like at the beginning of this year, I actually just announced
in a spur of the moment told all my followers or whatever, “I’m gonna do an art show.” And I announced the dates in my studio, I didn’t have any art ready, hadn’t made any art at that point. It’s like, “I’m gonna
fricking do an art show.” Which has been like my lifelong dream, and I have this gorgeous, large studio in Franklin, Tennessee and
I’d never done a public event, it was always my private studio. In saying that, I mean
it’s really the same thing because people know me as
a commercial photographer, not a fine artist that does paintings. But I’m like no I’m just gonna say it, “Jumping into Fear,”
I’m doing an art show. And so, weeks later,
I just busted my tail, not only creating art but by completely reinventing my studio into
an art gallery, you know? Hanging the work, making the work, learning how to make the work, I mean you’re talking about a mess, and it was a mess. But hundreds of people
showed up to my studio, I did over three nights and each night a couple hundred people came, it was the most beautiful
thing I’ve ever done, and the whole night I was like, so insecure about the art, ’cause I’m seeing all the mistakes and all the things I didn’t melt right and all the little, my
work is every abstract, I just see nothing but mistakes. But I was so proud of myself just for fricking doing it, you know? And now all these people, they’re starting to think of,
“Oh, Jeremy is an artist.” You know, and I’m just like
yeah I’m just gonna own this, even if it sucks, I’m just
gonna invite you all in and I’m gonna tell you I’m an artist and maybe I’ll start
believing that too, you know? And so, it was really powerful for me, and I’ll do it again soon and the art will probably still suck, but I enjoy the heck out of it, you know? – What are you most excited
for in the next chapter? – Man, when we brake ground on the hotel, I think I’ll be the happiest man alive, ’cause it’s just, it’s such
a profoundly beautiful goal, profoundly beautiful people
involved, just talented. I mean the story, I know I already told you
the Santa Claus story, but the things we plan on
doing with this concept. – You can’t say the Santa Claus story without going into the Santa Claus story, you shared this with me before
the cameras were rolling, we were hanging out, if you watched my Instagram
Live you would’ve seen it, but quick, super quick recap, like this is this pivot moment
from failure to success in– – [Jeremy] Literally overnight. – Literally overnight, give
us the short version of that. – So from 2015 to 2017 we were tryna get this off the ground, somewhere around 2016 a guy said, “Hey I have a plot of land in an area “called 12 South and Ashill.” Which is like, I mean Reese Witherspoon has a little store there, it is like trendy, trendy, super cool, everybody goes there when
they go to Nashville. So it was really exciting, so we were working all towards that, and there was a Friday
night in December 2017 where I met with a neighborhood board, they essentially said,
“We love your concept, “it’s incredible but we
have development fatigue, “there’s no way a hotel
is going in this area.” And so I was super down about it. Back, literally back to the
drawing board, starting over. So the very next morning I
showed up to our annual event, Help-Portrait which, you and I go, Chase is actually one of the reasons, the part of the puzzle that started Help-Portrait from the get go. But this is our eighth
annual Help-Portrait event, for most of those years, this guy had been showing
up as Santa Claus. So I get there that morning, because the night before
everybody set up the gear but I had my hotel meetings
so I couldn’t be there. So I get there the next morning
by myself to set up my gear, Santa Claus walks in,
it’s just me and Santa, and I had never talked to him other than, “Thanks Santa you were awesome.” You know? So I didn’t know anything about this guy, but he walks in, he goes, “Hey, I heard you’re
building something special.” And I said, “Man I’m trying, “I’ve got this crazy
idea for a hotel chain.” And I said, “But our land
fell through last night, “So, I’ve got nothing right now.” Then I told him the full concept, which I guess I haven’t
even told your viewers here, but essentially it’s a social good hotel, where everything in the
building is connected to call us a non-profit. So by choosing our hotel, you’re essentially changing
the world around you. – Yeah, stemmed by that, walk down the hallway
in The Standard Hotel, now it’s a full blown thing, Purpose Hotel, you can
check it out online, yeah. – Yeah so told Santa the concept, he was like, “Man I love it.” he said, “Since 1974,
I’ve owned four acres “downtown in Nashville and
we’ve already got a zone “for a 20 story hotel, “we’re looking for something
creative that gives back.” And I was like, “Dude you’re
lying to me right now.” ’cause I mean if you could see– – Santa that’s painful. – Already in the United States, Nashville has the most
cranes of any major city, I mean it looks like Dubai right now, like it is just, but the only plot that’s
not being developed is this four acres that Santa owns. And Santa’s like, “Yeah
we’d love to chat.” And so fast forward, what now? A year and a half, two years, and that’s where we’re putting our hotel, on Santa Claus’s property. (laughs loudly) It’s crazy, it was so
surreal that I was like, “We have to take a
picture together right now “in case this happens.” And so I’ve got this amazing
photo of me and Santa in the moment that he told me. – Amazing. – Yeah. – And that it was Santa Claus is pretty– – I know, yeah wait
till you see the photo. But the fact that he
and I have been quietly serving the homeless, you know? For seven, eight years together and. – Yeah. – That story was building the
entire time, it’s incredible. – Awesome, so the hotel’s
scheduled to break ground basically in a year, next spring right? We’re in spring 2019. You’ve done some book tour dates, thank you very much for
making this one of them, super, super excited about this. For those folks again it’s, “I’m Possible: Jumping into Fear and
Discovering a Life of Purpose.” Family, everything going
okay with the family? Just wanna check in here like, what’s the next big thing
on the family horizon? You got four kids, all
seven to 13, is that right? – Seven to 13 yeah. Wow.
Yeah. Yeah daughter just broke
her arm this past weekend. – [Chase] Aw. – Son, my son, we got challenges with him, but overall it’s our new normal, everybody’s healthy and I’m grateful to have four healthy kids, yeah. – Where’s the best place for people to go to learn about the hotel? – Yeah, “thepurposehotel.com”, The Purpose Hotel on socials, Jeremy Cowart on Socials. Yeah thinking about the book, there’s a link for more
websites, so pretty simple. I wanna do this with you, I wish we could turn the tables, I wanna be the interviewer now. – Anytime, anytime. I’ll be in Nashville, I
went to Jeff’s conference, Jeff Goins.
Yeah, yeah. – I think you actually introduced us. – Yeah it was fun to
see him on this podcast. – I want to, when he had a book out, which was called, “Real
Artists Don’t Starve.” – [Jeremy] Yeah. – He has a gathering and I didn’t really do
much speaking last year, I had really down and– – [Jeremy] Yeah. – Some of the Creative Live stuff, but it was my first time to Franklin, which is just outside of Nashville. – You were literally in my building and you didn’t come say hi. – I heard, I heard, and it was the day that I
had to go to the airport, I had my luggage’s
backstage, all that stuff. He said, “you know did I tell you.” We were, Jeff and I were backstage and I said, “This building is so cool.” He was like, “Did you
know Jeremy’s studio’s in this building?”
Yeah, yeah. – I was like, “What?” – Yeah. So funny. – We’ll make that, we’ll make that, we’ll swap rolls here sometime
in the next short while. – [Jeremy] There you go. – Thanks so much for being on the show. – [Jeremy] Of course. – That’s almost ten year circle. – [Jeremy] Yeah. – From doing this show in my photo studio, which is about a mile from here. – Yeah. – What a ride, how portrait and your commercial
success in photography, it’s just been fun to be
on the ride alongside you. – [Jeremy] Man, ditto. – Watching from affair, just crushing it, congrats on the book, the hotel. – Thank you. – Ladies and gentleman, you
know how to find him now. Keep doing what you’re
doing man, thank you. – Thanks man, appreciate it. – Bye everybody, we’ll see
you tomorrow hopefully. Hopefully, hopefully. (dramatic music)

8 thoughts on “Jump into Fear with Jeremy Cowart

  • I also feared to start my passion. But still, if I didn't do it and I will have regret after a few years. So that drives me to start working on my dreams.

  • This is something I'm living right now as we speak. I recently quit my job to start pursuing what i really want to and its scary at the same time so liberating as fuck!

  • Another stunning episode with two creative geniuses!
    My biggest take away was putting your ideas out there and sharing what you know!

  • I can SO relate. I'm a full time artist – taught at the college level for 30 years – I never felt anything but guilty for building up the debt of students who would be so much happier if they just nixed the college thing. I love this talk – this is far more helpful than a 4 year college education.

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