Skip to main content

Imagination and The Power of Change with Beth Comstock

Lesson 140 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

Imagination and The Power of Change with Beth Comstock

Lesson 140 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

140. Imagination and The Power of Change with Beth Comstock


Class Trailer

How to Find Your Purpose Through Grief and Loss with Tunde Oyeneyin


What is the Meaning of Life? with Tony Nader


Weirdness is the Key to Self Improvement with Marcus Buckingham


How to Unlock the Key to Continuous Innovation with Tony Fadell


Talent is Bullsh*t with Steven Pressfield


Finding Self When No One Is Looking with Jason Reynolds


Does Cold Water Exposure Really Have Scientific Backing with Dr. Mark Harper


Heal Your Past with Sheleana Aiyana


How An Unconventional Path Got Nabil Ayers To President Of One Of The Most Influential Music Labels


All the Hacks to Maximize Your Life with Chris Hutchins


Happiness is an Inside Job with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee


The Power of Regret with Daniel Pink


Data-Driven Life Decisions with Seth Stephens-Davidowitz


Escape Purgatory of the Mundane With Radical Confidence with Lisa Bilyeu


Transform the Quality of Your Life with Tony Robbins


Strengthen Your Intuition & Unlock Your Inner Wisdom with Amber Rae


Make Your Message Heard with Victoria Wellman


Susan Cain: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole


Can Food Turn Us Into Geniuses with Max Lugavere


Peace Is a Practice with Morgan Harper Nichols


Creativity Hates Complacency with Maria Brito


A Love Letter to Human Potential with Kate Robinson


How to Build Confidence and Be More Social with Vanessa Van Edwards


Trauma Is Wreaking Havoc On Our Lives with Gabby Bernstein


Take The Leap, Start a Business with Payal Kadakia


What Every Creator Should Know About NFTs with Tom Bilyeu


40 Seconds To Fame Or Failure with Apolo Ohno


Unlock the Power of Nonverbal Communication with Joe Navarro


Living Shouldn't Hurt with Aaron Alexander


Ego, Disrupted. How Buddhist Wisdom Meets Western Therapy with Dr. Mark Epstein


Words Can Take You Anywhere with Arianna Davis


Master Your Inner Voice with Dr. Ethan Kross


Accelerating 10,000 Hours to Mastery with James Altucher


Transform Your Mind in 12 Minutes a Day with Dr. Amishi Jha


Powerful Habits to Ease Anxiety and Boost Productivity with Mel Robbins


The Art of Self-Reinvention with Malcolm Gladwell


Creative Acts of Curious People with Sarah Stein Greenberg


Self-Discovery, Activism, and Rock & Roll with Stevie Van Zandt


Why Design Matters with Debbie Millman


Discover Work that Makes You Come Alive with Jonathan Fields


Releasing Trauma and Mastering Your Emotions with Jason Wilson


Food Saved Me with Danielle Walker


Changing Our Relationship with Rest with Chelsea Jackson Roberts


Retracing Passion to Build Lasting Career Success with Chris Bosh


Old School Photography + Other Musings with Kai Wong


Escalate and Evolve: A Blueprint for Career and Life with Ben Uyeda


The Stories That Hold Us Back with Jon Acuff


Poetry, Vulnerability and Finding Your Voice with Jericho Brown


What Does it Take to be Backable with Suneel Gupta


Unlocking Creativity, Courage and Success with Rebecca Minkoff


How To Heal From Your Past with Dr. Nicole LePera


That Will Never Work with Marc Randolph


The Real Cost of Your Dream Life with Rachel Rodgers


Your Network is Your Insurance Policy with Jordan Harbinger


Dream First, Details Later with Ellen Bennett


We're Never Going Back with Harley Finkelstein


How to Shatter Limitations and Achieve Your Dreams with Steven Kotler


The Creative Art of Attention with Julia Cameron


The Path Back to True Self with Martha Beck


Upgrade Your Brain and Learn Anything Quickly with Jim Kwik


The Urgent Need for Stoicism with Ryan Holiday


Delicious Food Doesn't Have to be Complicated with Julia Turshen


Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention with Erin Meyer


Stop Living On Autopilot with Antonio Neves


How to Tackle Fear and Live Boldly with Luvvie Ajayi Jones


Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable with Jamie Kern Lima


Hard Work + The Evolution of Self with Priyanka Chopra Jonas


The Power of Idealism with Samantha Power


Pushing the Limits with Extreme Explorer Mike Horn


Fast This Way with Dave Asprey


Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho


Why Conversation Matters with Rich Roll


Elevating Humanity Through Business with John Mackey


When Preparation Meets Opportunity with Paul Ninson


The Art of Practice with Christoph Niemann


Matthew McConaughey: Embracing Resistance & Catching Greenlights


Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul with Justin Boreta


Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results with James Clear


Badass Habits and Making Them Stick with Jen Sincero


Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs with Dr. Benjamin Hardy


Imposter Syndrome, Getting Unstuck and The Practice with Seth Godin


The Art of Curiosity and Lifelong Wisdom with Chip Conley


The Lost Art of Breath with James Nestor


The Art of Reinvention with Sophia Amoruso


Harness Kindness as Your Hidden Super Power with Adrienne Bankert


Heal the Soul, Restore the Calm with Stephan Moccio


Finding Resilience & Possibility with Guy Raz


Truth, Fear, and How to do Better with Luvvie Ajayi Jones


The Future is Faster Than You Think with Peter Diamandis


Music, Writing, and Time For Change with Nabil Ayers


Freedom to Express Who We Are with Shantell Martin


So You Want to Talk about Race with Ijeoma Oluo


Photographing History with Pete Souza


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone with Lori Gottlieb


Never Settle with Mario Armstrong


The Science of Making Work Not Suck with Adam Grant


Street Photography + Capturing Truth with Steve John Irby


Life, Writing, and Real Talk with Roxane Gay


Steve Aoki: Creativity, Community and No Days Off


The Power of Passion and Perseverance with Angela Duckworth


Know What Drives You with Michael Gervais


The Code of the Extraordinary Mind with Vishen Lakhiani


Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill with Jimmy Chin


Personal Growth and Understanding with Citizen Cope


Living Life on Purpose with Jay Shetty


Get Out of Your Own Way with Dave Hollis


Hope in A Sea of Endless Calamity with Mark Manson


How to Find Yourself with Glennon Doyle


Make It Til You Make It with Owen Smith


Surf, Survival, and Life on the Road with Ben Moon


Create the Change You Seek with Jonah Berger


Workplace Revolution with Amy Nelson


Rethink Impossible with Colin O'Brady


Good Enough is Never Good Enough with Corey Rich


Say Yes To What You Want with Chris Burkard


Finding Stillness In A Fast Paced World with Ryan Holiday


Everything is Figureoutable with Marie Forleo


The Art of Being Yourself with Elizabeth Gilbert


Creativity, Comedy, and Never Settling with Nate Bargatze


Personal + Career Reinvention with Jasmine Star


Stay Creative, Focused and True to Yourself with Austin Kleon


Ramit Sethi 'I Will Teach You To Be Rich' book launch with Chase Jarvis


You Don't Need to Be Rich to Live Rich with David Bach


Harnessing Your Human Nature for Success with Robert Greene


Addiction, Reinvention, and Finding Ultra with Endurance Athlete Rich Roll


Disruption, Reinvention, and Reimagining Silicon Valley with Arlan Hamilton


The Intersection of Art and Service with Rainn Wilson


Your Mind Can Transform Your Life with Tom Bilyeu


Do Something Different with Jason Mesnick


Less Phone, More Human with Dan Schawbel


Startup to $15 Billion: Finding Your Life's Work with Shopify's Harley Finkelstein


It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work with Jason Fried


Love, Service, and Living Your Truth with Danielle LaPorte


How to Do Work That Matters for People Who Care with Seth Godin


Happiness Through Gratitude with AJ Jacobs


You Are Your Habits with Julien Smith


Maximizing Creativity + Navigating the Messy Middle with Scott Belsky


The Most Important Conversation About Life… Death with Michael Hebb


Redemption and a Thirst for Change with Scott Harrison


Imagination and The Power of Change with Beth Comstock


Success, Community, and his cameo in Parks & Recreation with NBA All Star Detlef Schrempf


1,000 Paths to Success with Jack Conte


Unconventional Ways to Win with Rand Fishkin


How to Sell Without Selling Out with Ryan Carson


Be the Artist You Want to Work With with Nigel Barker


Your Story Is Your Power with Elle Luna


Celebrating Your Weirdness with Thomas Middleditch


Persevering Through Failure with Melissa Arnot Reid


Go Against the Grain with David Heinemeier Hansson


Stamina, Tenacity and Craft with Eugene Mirman


Create Work That Lasts with Todd Henry


Make Fear Your Friend


Tame Your Distracted Mind with Adam Gazzaley


Why Grit, Persistence, and Hard Work Matter with Daymond John


How to Launch Your Next Project with Product Hunts with Ryan Hoover


Lessons in Business and Life with Richard Branson


Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life with Glennon Doyle


How to Create Work That Lasts with Ryan Holiday


5 Seconds to Change Your Life with Mel Robbins


Break Through Anxiety and Stress Through Play with Charlie Hoehn


The Quest For True Belonging with Brene Brown


Real Artists Don't Starve with Jeff Goins


Habits for Ultra-Productivity with Jessica Hische


Using Constraints to Fuel Your Best Work Ever with Scott Belsky


The Intersection of Art and Business with AirBnB's Joe Gebbia


Build a World-Changing Business with Reid Hoffman


How Design Drives The World's Best Companies with Robert Brunner


Why Creativity Is The Key To Leadership with Sen. Cory Booker


How To Change The Lives Of Millions with Scott Harrison


How To Build A Media Juggernaut with Piera Gelardi


Transform Your Consciousness with Jason Silva


The Formula For Peak Performance with Steven Kotler


How What You Buy Can Change The World with Leila Janah


Overcoming Fear & Self-Doubt with W. Kamau Bell


The Unfiltered Truth About Entrepreneurship with Adam Braun


Build + Sustain A Career Doing What You Love with James Mercer of The Shins


How Design Can Supercharge Your Business with Yves Béhar


Conquer Fear & Self-Doubt with Amanda Crew


Become A Master Communicator with Vanessa Van Edwards


How iJustine Built Her Digital Empire with iJustine


How To Be A World-Class Creative Pro with Joe McNally


How To Stop Waiting And Start Doing with Roman Mars


Gut, Head + Heart Alignment with Scott Dadich


If Not Now, When? with Debbie Millman


Lesson Info

Imagination and The Power of Change with Beth Comstock

Hey everybody, what's up? It's Chase, welcome to another episode of the Chase Jarvis Live Show here on CreativeLive. You all know the show. This is where I sit down with incredible humans and I do everything I can to unpack their brain with the goal of helping you live your dreams, whether that's in career, in hobby or in life. My guest today is a powerhouse. Forbes called her one of the most powerful women in business as did Fortune. Fast Company called her one of the most 100 creative people in business. Former CMO of GE and many many other things. My guest today is the Best Comstock. (upbeat rock music) (applause) We love you! Congratulations. Hey Chase, thanks for having me. Good to see you. Thanks so much for being on the show. Happy to be here. Long time coming. Yeah. And congratulations on the new book. Thank you, yes, it's my little baby. We're gonna cover, gorgeous cover by the way. Yeah, I'm really happy with it, Rodrigo Corral is the artist. He's amazing. R...

odrigo Corral. Well, we're gonna cover a lot of ground. Of course, Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and The Power of Change. There's a lot of themes that your book covers that are super relevant to our audience, whether they're... I like to think of the groups of people who watch the show, it's kind of two compartments really. There are people who have, understand the value of creativity, entrepreneurship, building things. They've started it, they identify with that and they're trying to move on and upward in their career, their journey. And then there's the people who are just starting to figure out. And so it's part inspiration. We want to add a lot of sort of tactical things in there and one of the things that I loved about your book, I'm gonna sneak peeks at the galley here which is-- Night and day. Yes, night and day, gorgeous but my copy is all dog-eared and whatnot. So let's start with the title and then go, I was enamored with the title. I think a lot goes into naming something, words matter. So when you chose to write a book, why did you name it Imagine It Forward? Yeah, well it was quite a process to name it. Because when I've learned when you do something yourself, you're too close to it, and maybe you're not the best judge. I don't know, I had dozens and dozens and dozens of titles but imagination has always been important to me as I had a business career and life and I actually feel business doesn't value imagination enough. And that was the reason I was writing it. Other titles, like I kept toying around with this idea of permission granted, because there's a big theme about giving yourself permission. It kept coming up with somewhat spiritual connotations. So I was having a hard time getting it to say what I wanted it-- And you wrangle that into a business book? Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then I've often joked to myself, maybe I should have called it Fail Forward because I tried to share a lot of things that didn't work. But Imagine It Forward is just, it's what was important to me and I think that subtitle, courage, creativity and then it's a book about change. And I do think there's power in change. Most of us think we don't like change, I don't like change-- It's uncomfortable in the short term. Yeah, and it's like, why am I doing this? I caught up with an old friend of mine we went to college together and I was like, I'm working on this book. She's like, "Well, I'm not gonna read it, thanks." She goes, "'Cause I hate change." Really good friend of yours, right? Exactly, yeah, I used to think she was a best friend but she's like I hate change. And I think most people when you say that word, so I felt like I needed to remind people that actually there is some power in change. It's not something you run from. Ironically it's the only thing that's constant. It is, I know. You can feel it all around you. So aside from the title, let's go to this subtitle, Courage, Creativity and The Power of Change. Running a huge part of GE, massive company, I think that there is an outward understanding or rather I'll say the lack of understanding of what goes into creating change, but what goes into innovation. For the folks at home who are solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, artists, creators and don't have multi-billion dollar budgets, I think there's basically a gap, an understanding of how do you drive change. And what I'm here to try and bridge is, that there's actually a lot of similarities, that what happens in individual and small scale, you've done, in arguably the largest scale in the world, so bridge a gap for me around change, around creativity, innovation. What are the habits that you have had to have as an organization that are probably similar to the folks at home? Yeah, well I think to me the guiding principle is just change starts with you. And so, you're in a big company but it's still a very personal act. That's why I thought it was really important to be personal and share personal stories. So I think for everyone trying to confront change and really unleash their creativity, it starts with you knowing what you are good at and getting out of your own way. And I think that's the basic premise, big company, small company. One book I have always loved for much of my career I guess since you put it out is Twyla Tharp's Creative Habit. I love that, I think that's a great business book and she's a choreographer. I mean she ended up having a nice business life but really she's an artist. And what I got out of that, it was so inspiring to me. It's just, it's the discipline of it. That without some discipline, creativity untethered is just chaos. And so again in a company, you think, oh it's just all process, even saying it, like I can't breathe, but yeah you need some of that discipline to make sure stuff happens. So I think there's probably right in those two things of like how do you get yourself going and then how do you come up with some kind of practice or discipline around it. I remember leaving graduate school to become a photographer. And there was, in graduate school and I went to a particular graduate school that was very rigid about how you needed to write and what were the, the canons in philosophy, what you needed to draw from and how you needed to be like. And so immediately, I was like, oh man, I'm gonna go be a photographer and I thought it was like, no one's gonna keep me down, like whatever schedule, I wanna feel creative like-- Screw the man. Yeah, and the reality is that that didn't produce a lot of results. I felt like, there was a time where it was joyful but that ended pretty quickly when I realized it didn't create results. So talk to me about discipline, but how does one... Rather than one, how have you put the discipline that you just mentioned was required for change, for creativity, for innovation? How do you do that in your own life both for yourself and in managing somebody whose... So for the first part about changing myself, I had to get out of my own way. I mean I, especially earlier on, I was incredibly reserved, shy, introvert and that held me back. I've always thought I was a very creative person. I grew up with parents that really encouraged me to be creative. And so here I ended up in these companies, I mean I was in media first which somewhat creative. But yet I held myself back because I was reserved, I would be the one always sitting back. I'm at the chip bowl, I'm never the life of the party. And I started just realizing people were getting their ideas out there and I wasn't. And I'd leave there really... Well, first I'd come in timid and I'd leave pissed. Because I was like, I had a better idea than that or I thought that idea and they'd be like, but you didn't say it, so doesn't matter. And I'd see the people who were out there and participating and frankly realized, I couldn't go forward if I didn't do something. So I just set a series of personal challenges for myself. Show up and ask one question, come up with a crazy idea out in a meeting. So just little small steps to put myself out there. That was kind of what I had to do to get out of my own way. And then I think for me, I ended up in this huge company, GE, worked my way through media to get there. What was ironic, I don't think people believe me when I say this but it's so true to me. I worked in this incredibly creative industry media, I was at NBC and I went to GE. I can probably count on one hand the number of people who actually wanted to leave NBC to go to GE, there weren't many. And yet GE was such a creative outlet for me. Said not very many people know I would think. Yeah, I get it. No, probably very few people. Because at the positions that I had, I was able to connect dots and see patterns and see things. I was in a more horizontal position and it just suited me. And I think it encouraged me to develop those skills that are, I think fundamental in creativity where you're connecting things. It's not that you have to have the best idea, it's that you have to see things, maybe earlier in a different way than other people do. So those would be two examples. I mean felt really unleashed creatively. Now there was a lot of bureaucracy and process and all that stuff I had to fight, and I think that would be the other thing for me, just this, sort of something came out of me, this, not only like you better get out there but I gotta fight for these ideas. And a bit of a rebellion in somebody who grew up in a small town, good girl kind of person, this rebellion to say like, no, we're gonna fight for this idea, we're gonna keep going. I call it no, is not yet. So just no, no is an invitation, what do you mean no? And how many times in companies I work for, people get told no and they leave and you never hear from the idea again? So out of that kind of environment, the bureaucracy and the process just brought out a rebel in me that I didn't know existed. There's just some tenacity and grit-- Yeah, for a shy person, right. It's tension. I wanna unpack a bunch of things that you said. I also want to take a small tangent which is, I love the work of the artist, Kristo. And I just randomly had dinner seated next to him not too long ago at a... He's a character at a sushi restaurant in the Lower East Side. The project that he did in Central Park, I heard that his approach and this is a rumor, I didn't get this from his mouth but that it took 23 years in the making when he did the, I think it was called bridges or gates-- With all the orange. Yeah, exactly, gates or bridges. And that managing through the bureaucracy, he looked at that as part of his creative process. Because if he didn't, he would have gone mad and wouldn't have got things accomplished. So it really dials into your no isn't no, it's not now or not yet or whatever. You can be Kafka or you can be Kristo, maybe is what I'm taking for that, right? (Chase laughs) Either K I guess. The idea that you could manage, you could be tenacious inside of an organization, I don't think that's a widely held belief. So I wanna go back to something you said, two paragraphs for that which is like I set up a series of small challenges for myself. And as the shy person who as you said, would hang up by the chip owl, you glossed over a couple of them but there are thousands of people at home who are listening and watching right now saying like, I need that. So just (mumbles) used to say, what are some of these things? You flew through a couple but lay 'em out for us, what does it actually mean to break through and to try and get your ideas out there? Well, the first thing is just put them out there and realize they're temporal. You have one idea today, you have another one tomorrow, five minutes later and if you're like me, you overthink things and so you imagine you have to go with this beautiful little gem. Here Chase, I'm going to give you, it's this well craft-- Thank you so much. And meanwhile, everybody's onto the next thing. So I overthink, I overthink, I overthink and then like I put too much emphasis on it. So I had to learn that the ideas are just ephemeral, they're go, then they're gone and then you move on to the next thing so don't overthink it. Two, do your homework. I actually don't like that advice where people say, well, just show up and say anything so people know you were in the meeting. Well, I think that's kind of dumb advice because what if you say something really dumb just get to your voice out there. Every time person X talks, it's very dumb. It's not gonna get you anywhere. We're not inviting her to the meeting anymore. So I think you have to do your homework. Obviously you have to come in and say, alright, this is the topic. I have ideas about X and feel confident about them. And that I think leads to the third thing is, know your strengths. So if I walk into a meeting on Gap Accounting, I doubt I'm gonna feel very confident that I'm gonna give you a creative idea. Creative accounting is one of the fields that we don't want. Don't want, especially in Gap Accounting. And I know I did not do well in accounting but I go in as a marketer, okay that's my strength. What does the market say? What are the insights? What are the trends? When you go with your base of strength, it gives you confidence and the Gap Accounting people can't argue with your marketing 'cause they're not in marketing, although in marketing a lot of people think they are. But so those would be a couple of things and then just put an idea out there. I often, for myself I would find I do it in smaller groups. I mean don't go to like the company's board meeting and launch your first idea. Do it with a smaller group. Maybe just a group of folks you go to lunch with and say hey, what do you think of this idea? Give me some feedback. So those are just really what I came to learn about change and innovation, it's just like a diet. I think it's just, why do we all keep buying diet books? Maybe you don't, you look pretty fit, I don't know, but many of us keep buying diet books but we don't want to do the hard work. And change and innovation is the same thing. So you wanna get an idea out there? You gotta practice it and you gotta have a routine to do it. So those would be a few steps. Thank you for that. One of the things that I loved in the book is, the attention to storytelling. And as a marketer, obviously that is a core pillar of marketing as you're telling stories because they need to be emotional connections. But to what do you credit that insight? Or how have you employed it, and maybe more prescriptively, what do you see is missing from storytelling and contemporary sort of like I guess pop culture marketing? Yeah, well I think you and I are united in story. I mean to me it's the glue that connects everything. And in business, we often think it's what you do at the end which really frustrates me because story is what it is to be human, it's how we pass, it's our DNA, right? It's our cultural DNA whether you're a generation of your family, generation to generation or company. And we just forget that. And so, I don't know. Just stories always resonated with me. My mother was a schoolteacher. I remember her reading stories to me. I remember my first internship, I was a biology major in school and kind of late in that trajectory I thought I was gonna go to medical school but I realized, what I wanted to do was a science reporter. And (mumbles) is a great school but they wouldn't let me do this like double science English major. And I was really frustrated but I got an internship at the local public radio station. And it just reminded me like, I have to tell stories in some way. It brought that out in me and I remember going to my hometown and doing interviews with migrant apple pickers in the apple orchards near my house and they were singing these beautiful songs, that sort of passed the day away. So I found those moments and I was like, I want to be part of this and for me, I wanted to tell stories about science. And in the end I got to do that at GE, even though I wasn't a reporter and I wasn't very good in front of the camera. Eventually, I got to do that. And so in some way I think story has just always been what's pushed me forward, because it's how you make a connection. I know your story, you were a photographer, you studied philosophy. I have a connection with you now rather than just, hey, you're Chase, you're famous. And what is it about story? I think we know it's important, we think it's soft, we think we're not good at telling stories. Like I'm not good at telling jokes but I probably am better than I think. But we think we're not good at it. And I think in today's world, just everything moves so fast and we think that you have to be able to tell a story in 140 characters, and we're not Ernest Hemingway, we don't. But I think that puts pressure on us. For what it's worth, that's one of the reasons that this show is what it is. And you've done a lot of TV, a lot of speaking, as have I. You're lucky if you have a four-minute segment. That feels like an eternity on television. Yeah, it's rare. Yeah, and to capture, it's more like 90 seconds or 120. And to capture this little sound bitey thing, I get it, there's a culture that's moving fast but there's also, the rise of sort of podcasts for example. I think that taps into something deeply human. And of course, it's nice to be able to pop in your ears and go about your day. But I think the utility is less, it's less about the utility of being able to listen rather than watch and a lot more about the emotional connection that a story makes. You called it rewriting your story in particular, so for those of you who are watching or listening, there's a section in the book called Story Craft, and one in particular a chapter called Rewriting Your Story. Talk to me about that for you. Well, I think part of my journey through GE was just always trying to connect to this story. We spent a lot of time connecting to the story of our past. I think we all need to know where we're coming from to make sense of the future. So for us it was reconnecting with Thomas Edison. And in that particular case, it was right after the financial crisis. And sort of everything GE had thought was the future, capital, financial services, this big conglomerate model which was falling out of favor anyway but it was totally just taken apart. Decimated. The capital business suddenly was in peril and seemingly made no sense and there was a march to be more technically focused. So you had to tell a story about who are we? Where are we going? Why are we here? And again back to that founding, okay, these children of Edisonian DNA, like this invention machine is in our DNA, how do we reinvent ourselves again for the future? And so what we did, is we just returned to the stories of the people who work at GE. We knew we wanted to get more into a making future, making great machines was already in works, we're going to do more of that. So we just returned to the stories of the actual people who make things and let them tell the story. And my favorite story of that is, we went to one of the factories that makes aircraft engines, jet engines. And these people were amazing, and surely flown on planes but they had never seen the engine they made take off. So they didn't really have a direct connect to, I made this, here's the impact-- And it's moving 270 people. So we took them to Boeing field. And they got to watch their engine take off. They were falling crying. We could have told a nice story about these people who made it and you would have liked it but to see that, that said everything. Human, raw. Human, exactly. Like there's unmediated emotion. So I think in those moments of change, in those moments of oh my gosh, who are we? What do we stand for, I bet it's in the human story and that's where you need to go unpack. Before you put together some fancy business strategy, I'd start with your story. So let's put in that for a second. You just talked really eloquently about rewriting GE's story after a financial crisis, we're gonna get back to the basics, we're gonna get back to people making things, could you do me the favor of flipping the script on yourself? So again, top 100 most powerful women in business, managing Fortune 100 marketing. But now you don't do either of those things. You've captured, one of the things I love about books is that entire lifetimes and all wisdom is captured in books. How are you thinking about your own personal journey here and what story are you writing or rewriting? Yeah, that's such a good question. So I left GE at the end of last year. I knew I was going to leave at some point in the new-- How many years first of all? 27 years if I count the NBC and the GE. I mean it's an eternity these days. And I probably stayed too long which is a whole other discussion but I was passionate about the work we were doing. I'm like hey, I'm about change, I call myself a change maker. This is gonna be easy. It's been a really challenging year because it is back to that, who am I? What am I? These are fundamental questions. Fundamental and simple things get reinforced. Another friend said, how do I introduce you anymore? Well, I still have a name, my name is Beth but I don't have a title, right? So again, on one hand I don't care, on the other hand I do care 'cause I worked for that and it was a way to shorthand and you're representing a company and people... you get access. Suddenly, it's just me. And it's really, really hard. And what do I want to do? I think the sort of the narrative I'm comfortable within myself, if I go back to what we said earlier, where did you come from? Where do you want to go? What are you good at, and how do you put those together? Storyteller for sure but I think really, the word I keep being drawn to is beginner. I just love learning, I love starting over. And so now maybe I have this opportunity to start over with some wisdom and I want to do something in a very different way, and I'm not sure what it is, and I've tried not to pressure myself. But it's really hard. In the first few months, this is so pathetic-- I love this, this is beautiful. What I share in the book a lot is me coming up with, me finding social courage was a lot of what that story is about, working with others, all that. Now I feel like my destiny for me is finding creative courage. And so I was like okay, great. So I took an art class. Oh my gosh, I was so bad and I love art and I used to do it when I was a kid but I was just too uptight about it. I took an improv class, I took... I've just been... I love this. Nothing is fit yet but I'm still out there trying different things. But you put these pressures and so I still had these old patterns. So I'd sit there in the morning and I'd have my to-do lists but I did creative flourishes with it, and they were beautiful to-do lists. I have to say I was quite creative. I got my different color pens out and like, today is Tuesday and I spent like half an hour on Tuesday and I had each to-do thing and beautiful colors. Even a little stand I bought for it. But then you realize like okay, you're pathetic, because you still have a to-do list, you're still in a sort of routine and doing things the same old way. And then I threw myself into the book and I'm just like, I used to be, working crazy like frenetic and that's not what I wanted, I'm happy with the book but that's not gonna-- That's not you. Give my creative courage thing. So I think I've learned that about myself. I am much clearer, anyway that could go-- No, please do. This is what people want to hear. You're again one of the most recognizable and successful women in business, and I think people, we all want to hear stories of reinvention and that it's hard for the people who are at the pinnacle of their career--- People who tell you it's not hard, I wouldn't believe them. I mean maybe there's a rare person that they know exactly what they want to do and good for them, but I also think you just have to kind of stop and wallow in things. And the ambiguity, pretend like I like ambiguity and I'm generally good about that in business, I'm actually really good at it in business. For myself, I like certainty, I like structure, Put my coffee on my to-do list, I want a stand for my to-do list. Exactly, so I had to wake up to those realities that what I say and how I act are very different things. So I think you have to just, and be kind with yourself. Be okay that you don't have the answer or that, just like, I'm an artist, this is my chance, I'm gonna do this. And like the first thing I do looks horrible and it's like a five-year-old did it, and you just want to cry and you want to just throw your crayon from your paper and walk away and go, oh my god. I'm not an artist, I'm an artist in the way I live but you just don't pick it up and be brilliant. Yeah, that doesn't happen. There's a work and it's funny, we were just talking about a mutual friend of ours, Seth Godin. He gave a great quote for your book, which is, this book is a rare gift and honest behind-the-scenes look at the power of success and influence combined with vulnerability and practical advice, book you cannot soon forget. And one of the things that he had just said, I know you guys just missed each other (mumbles) crossed paths but talks about, if you look at the work and you acknowledge that it's not good, your role is singular, it's to keep making. And to me, that's a theme that for the hundreds of people who've been on the show, there's this sort of a relentless continuance of doing the hard work. It's hard work. I mean I have had five websites this year, trying to get ready for a book five and here I'm thinking I've been somebody who's done digital and media, I'm supposed to be the expert. Five, five websites. And it's so frustrating but that's what you have, what are you gonna do? You're gonna not do it? Yeah, you're not gonna do it? And so I've learned a lot, but it's, it's hard work. For sure. So thank you for sharing that stuff. I think that it's super meaningful on the tip of reinvention but also on doing the work, on being uncomfortable, on being vulnerable, those are all essential. If Brene Brown were here coaching us, she would say good job, keep going and there's this sort of keep going aspect of it. So I want to put a pin on that and I want to shift back to sort of the professional career. And to me, I think it was the innovation gap, was it innovation gap? Imagination gap. Imagination gap. I'm big on the word imagination. Yeah, clearly, Imagine It Forward. Our tagline at GE was imagination at work. That word is so powerful to me in business and I feel like I have to be a vessel for it in some way. Well, you picked a great medium, I think it suits you really well and you've done it in business and now that you're bringing it out to us in this form that's super digestible. Because I think people look at GE and innovation, imagination, like wow, I don't-- No, those go together. Yeah, I don't know where... That's hard for me to grasp. And that's why you embody it, as a human. So I want to explore this idea of the gap. I have on the show talked about Ira Glass and the creative gap and that is the gap between the image you saw, the completed image that you saw with your crayons before you started drawing and then the one that you actually created, presumably there was a gap there. You are like I wanted to draw something beautiful, and the way that you close that gap is repetition. And so, by extension or through that lens, what is the imagination gap and is the goal to close it? Is the goal to create it? Explain your philosophy. Yeah, well I just, I feel like I learned this across multiple industries working in the company and the businesses I did. It's just I think over time our businesses have become mechanistic, almost machine minded, it's all about the formula, it's all about the math and look, that's important. I'm not arguing to get rid of that, but we have given up on imagination. And to me imagination, I'm refining the definition for the sake of this, to be kind of those leaps of faith and creativity, the ability to think ahead, about unintended consequences both good and bad, the ability to wallow in ambiguity and be okay not knowing the answer. I really worry in business, especially the bigger a company gets, when it goes public there's that pressure of just repeatable, precision, certainty. All of our models for businesses' future are based on the past. And so we're not ready for these disruptions. I mean remember in 2000, right after 9/ and Black Swan as a concept came out. The book came out and the concept, these hundred-year, thousand-year, how many of those have we seen since then? Like every day. And yet we're still believing in business we are in a risk-free environment, our job is to mitigate and rid us of risk. Imagination and that kind of practice in business says you're ready for it. You figure out how do you make it work 'cause you're not gonna get rid of it. I'm actually worried, I'm really worried. I share a story in the book about, I was invited to speak at the CIA. I loved that section. I wasn't, sure wasn't-- You approached the podium. You're like, why is she here? Probably says, why was she here? No, I love that, I love that. But what's really important, they may help me make my point because you recall after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission said the CIA had suffered a failure of imagination. Because they couldn't imagine that some of the forces that were happening with terrorism, it was a more distributed terrorism world and they were going in their old models of doing it. Well, business is exactly the same. And so, how do we get more of that in it? It's education, I mean it's what you're doing with CreativeLive, right? I mean the reality is, I worry a little bit, I'm glad everybody's learning to code, I think that's important but where are the critical thinking skills, the judgment, the ability to think expansively, to be okay not knowing the answer? We're not certainly training people in work to do that and I don't think we're training people in secondary and college education to do that either. Yeah, the steam verses STEM. I think that's really, maybe prudent time to inject. So Jack Ma, obviously Alibaba, whatever, multibillionaire, one of the richest people on the planet, he was asked at the World Economic Forum about education. And I'm paraphrasing, radically paraphrasing but he was like people don't understand, the coding ship has sailed. The machines are gonna be writing code for the machines and right now we are already have a robot with two arms. And when the right arm learns something, it writes code on the fly for the left arm. And so what my kids are learning is about creativity, it's about painting and artistry. My kids are grown, hopefully I did somewhat a decent job. What are you exposing them to? What are you teaching them? So I think that the way, I don't have kids myself but at CreativeLive I think we largely serve people who have already identified as creator but as I said, at the early part of the show, there's a whole subset of people who we're trying to inspire them. What we realize is that, you have to be inspired before learning and/or we can sub sort of-- That's so interesting. Sort of curiosity in there. And so if people are like, oh I don't know what it feels like to be inspired. Okay, what are you curious about? Oh, curious about, and don't make this a big thing, when you see a thread that makes you want to pull out, what's that thread look like and then as soon as you pull, do you feel more excited or less excited? And so there's this inspiration piece, and large part we find that people can, we've had billions and billions of minutes if we're using CreativeLive as an example, billions and billions of minutes of education consumed on the platform and there's a lot of it that's exploratory. I want to go here to this concept you have in the book about discovery, it's very similar. You have to actually play. Think about the doodles that you did, like making your to-do list. They were beautiful. We can discredit them for their functionality but you can say that they're beautiful. But a way in which they were useful, which is both different than sort of the other two, useful is that it was play. And that is like such a word you don't hear at work for sure, right? So that's the way that, I think we're experimenting with is there are people who come to platform and identify with the thing and we wanna give them all that, but we also show them just enough of other things where they can play and move laterally. For me, I have to in order to have breakthroughs, I have to go through this process of being sort of bored or frustrated and to say bored it's mostly like, okay, I'm just doing this thing, why am I doing it? It's awareness really and then I just say, "Oh, now it's my job to play," and immediately when I-- Do you use those words? I do, I use play, yeah. And this is after a book that a friend of mine wrote, named Charlie Hoehn and it's called Play It Away. And it has a lot to do with anxiety and if you actually tap into some of these things that when you were a kid, it's just this big unlock and you don't have to know everything, but you have to know is what to do now and then how about now. And if you're oriented toward play and experimentation, that's why, and you talk about the imagination gap, what you're doing is that's a muscle. Creativity is a habit not a skill, and so what can you do to put yourself, like think of the other muscles that you want to build. You put those under duress, small duress. Not like you're not going out on the Olympic stage, but so small ways that you can do that. And so I would argue that your doodle is valuable. It's a great way to think about it. GE was really big on leadership development and training. And spent, at the time I was there up to a billion dollars training people across the company, was a huge commitment. And it was really some great programs but back to this, I always thought like maybe we should be shaking it up a little bit too. What would happen if we just took a group of people instead of in a traditional class and like took 'em to, I don't know, pick any city in the country, Akron, why not. And say we're gonna take your wallet-- Hey Akron, we're coming for you, we're coming. You have to figure out how you're gonna get back, right? We're not gonna book anything for you. Maybe you have to give them their phone or something. It could be really cool if you could take their phone away too and just see, could they figure their way out of it? To me those are the kind of things we-- What is it? Is it Naked and Afraid, is that the show? No, it wasn't quite what I was thinking of, that would've been really-- Awkward. Yeah, awkward, but I do think those are, that is what you're trying to fill with the imagination gap, fill that gap is the figure it outness, the curiosity. I love that we put inspiration and curiosity, so you're trying to put people in a situation to inspire themselves, that they can figure it out. For sure, 'cause you have-- Now this body has to tell them. For sure, that's like there's this ultimate, sort of turning of the finger. It's like, instead of like entertain me, it's like-- Yeah, exactly. Let me entertain me. My kids used to say, oh but I'm bored. It was like the worst thing they could say, I'm bored. It's exactly that, I'm bored and I think that happens at work. Like you have that feeling and when people go, I'm bored, I think they have a choice to be cynical or to take action, give themselves permission to just do or to be cynical. I talked about this group that I worked with once. They call their group The Table of Lost Dreams and they clearly had taken that path of bored to cynical. And it was a black hole, and they were funny. They were really funny, I have to give 'em credit. They made you laugh with their cynicism but who wants to work with people like that? Yeah, I don't have that appetite. I can tolerate a lot of things as a leader. Cynicism I'm like, what? I need to go explore this and figure out. And you think about critical thinking because, again if that's in short supply in the imagination gap where to me it's judgment, right? Well, just make a decision based on your best knowledge. And people get frozen and they're unable to make those judgment calls and they wait for people to tell them what to do. I always marvel at larger institutions and what, CreativeLive we built this thing, an enterprise product. The ramped up really quickly, it was very successful by category defining brands, the ones that you think about. What we find is that they're investing in the whole human, sort of training or learning inside of an institution or a bigger company used to be like, how can we give you this widget so that you can do your... how can we teach you pivot tables so you can be better at your project management job? Who does that serve? That really serves the organization. Yeah, exactly. And what we've experienced especially around creativity and innovation, which accidentally we built the best catalog in the world for that it's like, no, no, we want you to take pictures of your kids. We want you to experiment and things that you're gonna do on the weekend are gonna energize you and you're gonna, neuroplasticity is not a joke. It's like you're literally retraining your brain to use new pathways. And the surgeon that is also a musician is more likely a better surgeon. And so I think as we've thought about how to empower organizations and going back to your imagination gap, I think there's some solutions there. But let's shift if we can to the way that you thought about discovery, 'cause obviously there's a lot, it's tangential we're talking about. So talk to me about the, it's a beautiful chapter in the book on discovery. Why is it in the book? What do you mean by it and how did it manifest in your world? Yeah, to me, it's what I feel most passionately about. It is I think just a critical step in being ready for change and thinking about the future, imagining it forward. You have to get out in the world, you have to just get out and discover. You can't just have people tell you what's going on in the world, you have to go see for yourself. I mean it's just that simple, go see for yourself. What happens when you pick your head up? And it's counter to everything we're teaching and studying and work. It's all about focus and productivity and efficiency and I don't have time for that is usually what people say. I don't have time for that. I say, how do you not have time for that? And so discovery is just getting out, going and just being good at, getting good at pattern recognition which then helps you build confidence about trends that are unfolding, it's that simple. It's not scientific. I have a little mechanism I use called going on three's. First time I see it I go huh, interesting. Out in the world I spot something, that's interesting. Second time, wow, I'm seeing this in two different contexts. Huh, is that a coincidence? Third time, there's something going on here. I just declare it's a trend and I gotta figure out what it means. I shared in the book, sort of the early maker movement and how, I'm making forever sound like we're back to the Stone Age. Cave painting over here. The latest early maker movement, the return to craftsmanship that we're seeing and we just we went and looked at that as the impact it could have on GE as a manufacturing company. And now you could say, oh, that's cute. I went to MakerSpace. We've had this place in Brooklyn. You go, wasn't that cute? They're making these things and you go, oh wait a minute, that's cute but they're making solar panels and water purification and people are gonna be living off the grid making these things. Vertical farming. Exactly, that potentially could disrupt us. And they're doing it faster, cheaper, potentially better, how do we understand that? So I think part of your challenge in discovery is not just to be the person in the company who's like the cool kid, who's always like, I got the trendiest thing, let me tell you. It's how might this trend impact us. So you don't have to pay attention to everything but you do have to sort of do that translation function a bit. Do you have an example of something that you've recently seen in threes beside, the maker movement is a great example 'cause I think you're like, wait a minute, maker movement, maker bot, maker, it's become a pop-culture term even though making has been around as you said Forever. The Stone Age. Yeah, I mean I think it's interesting. A couple of things I'm sort of trend watching on. I think people are seeking out more analog experiences. We're inundated with digital and I believe and I'm seeing enough trends now that people are gonna pay a premium to have experiences created for them, that people take away their phone, take away, create something else. We're already seeing that in some cases. So I mean really intrigued by that. Today at Apple, is a great example, super brave bringing people together to create in stores in Apple. I volunteer that-- Is that right? Just was a part of it but I think this, the concept of analog, keep going on this because I think it's powerful. I'm not sure where it goes but it's on my radar. Since I'm no longer employed, and I'm in the world of people who have side hustles, and different definitions of themselves. I'm really just for myself and others seeing this growing trend of professional fluidity. And we all want, we don't just want one title. We don't want just one job that we're doing, and our company's gonna be good at that. Probably not on the path we're on. So does that mean we're all gonna leave companies? Right now, I on the five websites I've built, I'm getting great talent. It's not the people who were bad, it was me. But I'm able to access amazing talent of people who are frustrated in their day job, or they're not able to express themselves in the way they want to. And so I think that's a growing trend that maybe it's already existed and I'm just catching up with it but I think for established companies, it's definitely and probably people who are part of the CreativeLive community, that's why they're here, is they want to hone those skills. They consider themselves a hyphen. It used to be like, you can't say that many things about who you are and now it's like oh, you're a YouTuber, you're a creator, you're an entrepreneur, you're bam bam bam bam. And to me, not only is that not going away, it's mainstream. And there's some great data, I don't remember. By 2020 half of the American working population is gonna have a side hustle. Now, that's not 2030 or 2050, that's a year and a half from now. Yeah, that's amazing. What's that, how many? Half, half, and I don't know the work, I think it's like 80 million yeah or something like that. And some of it may be the economy. For sure. I think because you can, access to the opportunities with digital tools is so much better. I think people were inspired by people doing it. I mean you've got David Solomon running Goldman Sachs who's a DJ, right? So we've now got mainstream examples of people defining themselves as hyphen. And also you mentioned the workplace, how can you do all these things. I also look at education. Here's institutions that are made of marble, on hills, covered in IV where physical real estate is really important and I get the analog component of that. But there are also, when you go to school and you learn something you come out with a thing, then it's four years,the reality is is that can't possibly keep pace with the rate of change and sort of rescaling and learning. So that's the writing on the wall, I think we're about to see 50% of the US colleges will be out of business in the next 10 years. I remember in college, many of 'em still do it, you had this sort of general studies or kind of, I don't know what they call it these days but it was kind of like you don't know what, go figure it out and it was kind of looked down on. We should be having more of those. If I could go back and have that even just science and writing together, I might have had a much different career path had that been unlocked in me. So, I'm gonna use that to latch onto this term that you do a lot of talking about in the book which is fear. I think the way you say it, is it's not about ideas, 'cause there's lots of ideas, it's about fear. So whether it's you going back to school or someone who's watching and listening deciding to, take on their next challenge or write a book or draw a to-do list, what role, I think let's talk about it in two ways. One, how does fear manifest itself? There's a lot of people again who are full-time employees are watching, listening, they wanna be inspired to go work or take that into their own world. So let's talk about how fear manifests itself in an organization, and what you can do about it and then we'll talk about fear in the individual after that. But for now, how does fear manifest itself in organization and what can those organizations do about it? You're a leader and you've managed through this so help these people figure it out. I wish I had learned this earlier in my career because to me one of the secrets of just life, but certainly business is that most people are actually really afraid. And so they act badly, because they're afraid. They're afraid of losing face, they're afraid of losing power, they're afraid of losing a job, they're afraid, just everybody comes to work with some fear of something; being a fraud, not knowing the answer and it just gets manifest at work because it's theater. We just sit here and pretend like we're supposed to be so good and I have this expertise and I know the answer. I've lost count of how many times I've sat in meetings with people just act like they know what they're talking about. And then you realize later, they have no clue what they're talking about. They are just good actors and all that time I felt intimidated that they were such geniuses. There are also geniuses. So I think that would be, I think in companies we don't talk enough about fear. Because it's fearless, it's the bravado of business, we know all the answers and so we're just kidding ourselves. I mean I think it'd be hard to bring your team and anyone who's, okay tomorrow, we're gonna come in and like tell me your fears-- Trust falls. And do all that. It's probably a bit unrealistic. So I think as a team leader, you can be aware of that. I talk about a few things in the book, I mean just simple things but like name your fear. Give it a crazy name. Let's all just be honest, right? We're afraid of the competition, right? We're Nike, we're afraid of Adidas, right? Let's just say that, let's call it something goofy, let's call them the, I don't know, come up with a creative name to make it seem less fearful. But just call it what it is. Get to know the people, your colleagues who you are afraid of. I see so many things that I did in my career where I was just afraid of the other person. I was afraid to tell my idea, I was afraid how they were gonna react, I was afraid that they knew more than I did. And what I didn't do is get to know them as a person instead of an advisor who would say to me, just take him out to coffee. "I can't stand him. "What do you mean I have to take him to coffee?" Anything, like meeting with him, now I have to go have coffee with him? And I never did those things, took me a while to do 'em. So sometimes it's just stopping and getting to know each other as people not as well that's sales, well I'm marketing, and you're-- You're Tom. Yeah, exactly, right. Or there you go again, you engineers, you always do that. And so it just instills those fears of... Again it's kind of basic what you had said earlier, kind of bringing that-- But everything's basic. It is basic. This is blocking, this is simple. That's one of the things that I've realized in having the good fortune to know a lot of smart people like yourself is that there are very simple patterns. And by and large the solutions are not about how to land on the moon. It's about literally about taking your colleague out to coffee to connect with them as a human and try and transcend the problem that you're having. And I think when you have that, that anxiety or just say to yourself, I'm afraid. It's okay, what if I've been here before? I love that as a technique. When have I been here before? And it either turned out or didn't what, remember, like it turned out okay or it didn't but you didn't do that this time. So it's a little bit of a pep talk you give to yourself. I still have this feeling where that you've taken a risk on something, you're so afraid like you can't sleep, you get up early the next day, you just become a mess, right? I mean that happens. Up until the last day I worked I probably had those moments. It's not like you suddenly get more senior or you have all this expertise and you don't have fear. In some ways your fear gets bigger, right? Because it's a bigger stage and more that you can... So I think that's the other thing is just, that is a part of the experience. And it's not like suddenly I have this new job, I don't fear as much. I'm fear free. Yeah, no. Said no one ever. A bigger paycheck, a bigger title, more people on your team does not take away your fear. If anything it exacerbates it. So that's I think super helpful from a business context. Let's go out to the individual, and because individuals are what make up businesses, and also individuals are the people who's we're in their ears right now. So the more you can give about your own experience, like the better. So talk to me about a time where specifically you were afraid and what did you do about it, where you actually were successful and then maybe, one where you were not successful. Well, there's so many that I wasn't successful. You do a great job of sharing-- I'm talking about the failures-- Sharing in a book, honestly it's like this... I mean there was a fun one that I had in the book of just I worked at CNN, Turner Broadcasting and I worked for Ted Turner and he didn't know my name. And I'd given him no reason to know my name. I was the PR person and but I showed up and did a good job but he didn't know my name. And I was afraid to tell my name, it's just so stupid but it was a real fear at the time. And I just, I was like this time I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna walk up, I'm gonna introduce myself and when you read the book you'll see I picked the worst time possible. I picked a really inopportune moment to do it, and he was coming out of the men's room, zipping his fly and wet hands and I'm like, "Hi Ted, I'm Beth." And he's like "Okay, hi, whatever." Now I can laugh about it but at the time... You do these things, you do them awkwardly, right? I probably just went home and just (sighs). "You idiot," right? "You bozo." I lived to tell about it but you have to laugh at those things, right? You have to laugh and we all have those, they're so dumb. They only matter to, maybe as an introvert they matter more, I don't know, I shared a story of a big company we had invested in and partnered with and quirky, a great founder who I really loved working with in Ben Kaufman. It was this model of connected devices and we were just early. I just had a lot of fear of what if this doesn't work and it was almost like by will, together, we're gonna make this work. His company went bankrupt and everything we'd tried to do didn't work. And I've also started to think that sometimes, I don't want to say like the fear becomes real, you will the fear to happen, but there is a bit of that, where you're so fearful and you try everything you can. There comes a moment where you just have to say, I've done everything I can, I gotta walk away. And so that's another way of thinking about fear in yourself is, that's why I stayed at my job probably longer than I should have. I was afraid of betting on myself. And so I think that's another, sometimes fear keeps you from giving up quitting. Sometimes you just do need to quit and say, I've done all I can do and it's fear of failure, fear of looking like a fool, fear that I didn't try hard enough. And so that's also what I've had to figure out for myself. I share in the book of a divorce story that I, I mean I've only been divorced once but it was very tough and hard, especially traumatic for my older daughter. And yet I felt like I had to do that, to live the story I wanted to and I had to face those fears of will people see you this way, people expect you to be this kind of person and I was choosing a different path. Those were huge fears. And there were every reason to not do something about that. No, keep going on that then, what do you mean? I mean every reason. My husband and I then had a young baby daughter. He was a lovely man. My parents were very happy that I was married, I had a very nice future in this path. There were a lot of reasons why the fear of, yeah, but this isn't right for me gets muted. And you listen to everybody else and you're afraid to take the step. So those would be, I think that was the biggest one for me in my personal life. But then once you make that decision, you like, I gotta make it work. There are pieces of it that aren't gonna work and I have to give up some of that anxiety, and almost kind of give up some of the control. You don't control that change often, you just have to do your best to make it work. I like to think that the universe is happening for us, not to us. And also reference to Scott Belsky's new book, The Messy Middle which is like-- Which is really good. Yeah, and then none of this is like, (laughs). It's this way for everybody. This is called life, and I don't know very many divorces that are just obvious and everybody loves it, that's not how-- Yeah, conscious uncoupling wasn't a thing when I was in that stage. So, if we're going to depart from fear for a second and let's shift to sort of radical, successful innovation. And you get to work closely with Nike. In the board there I believe? Yep. And incredible role to be-- It's a great company. Front row seat at one of the most successful and thought leader driven companies of all time. What is it like and what are the characteristics that you see there that you don't see in other companies? Let's talk about, as a professional business person, your sort of pattern recognition and my hope is that people at home are gonna take what's happening at Nike and literally apply to their own design business or interior decorating or whatever and I understand that one is an enterprise, but I'm looking for the commonalities. One, it's been just such a great experience. I've been on the board for eight years. It's a great company. I mean they're incredibly focused. Mark Parker, the CEO, came up through design. He's incredibly focused, like the word, you use a lot of surgical. So they spend time discovering what's next but they're also really focused on what they choose to do. He has a phrase, added to amplify. So he's just really good as a design thinker to sort of take out the stuff that's just noise. The most important lesson I've learned from them is, they know who their customer is, it's an athlete. And everything they do is making the athlete perform better, and I love it's like that, if you read Shoe Dog which I highly recommend, I think it's one of the best books of all time from Phil Knight, one of the co-founders. And Bill Bower and his co-founder had this just great phrase of basically, if you have a body you're an athlete. To serve the athlete, asterisk. And hey, by the way, if you have a body you're an athlete. So that clarity of mission, it's a little bit of a wink. But that clarity of mission, we're gonna help athletes perform better, for me it's everything they do. It's not just written on the wall. And that's what good strategy is, and I think companies lose sight of that. So if you have a one-person shop or 200,000-person shop, keep going back to what am I in this for? Who's my customer? That Peter Drucker quote from the 50s, without a customer, there is no business never goes out of style. So I think Nike is really good at that. I think the fact that Phil Knight, I mean he's no longer chairman of the board but still that founder ethos, there's somebody around back to what we were saying earlier, the history and he still cares just immensely. And so there's somebody who that history as a reason to go forward it still looms large there. And so I think that's another message for any company is, you all started somewhere, don't lose sight of that ethos. Alright, others, we talked specifically about Nike but clearly you've seen other companies that are wildly successful at innovating. There are times at GE where you felt like you really broke out, trends in the style of thinking or leadership, core values, any of those things that you could share with us? In terms of just companies, good innovation stories? Yeah, and less about stories of innovation, just the characteristics-- Of what makes a good company. Of what makes them be able to innovate and to be able to, like I took plenty from Nike but I also want to explore if there are some others. Well, I'd say what I learned from GE is just, never forget to make it personal, right? No matter how big a company is, it's about the people, the people who you serve, the people who work there. And so I think a lot of the work was to reinvest and remind yourselves about the people, that you build a brand, it starts with your employees. It's not go and advertise it, your employees have to take that message out. I've had the opportunity to be on the board, as a trustee of National Geographic and I love their storytelling. They're just fearless storytellers. They are really, they're about the human experience, right? It's not the globe as much as it is what's the shared human experience no matter where you are in the world. You want to talk about global warming, let's go talk to an Inuit family. Exactly. And it's not about like science says X, Y, Z. It's like what is this particular native Inuit's person's experience and they'll document that for months. And you go, and I've met some of their explorers who I just, I love these people for a number of reasons because just one, it's cool, an explorer, right? That's cool. Professional explorer. Get some buddies like that, yeah. These people, they teach scuba diving to go be cave divers, right? They don't get paid a lot to go do the crazy things that they do but they're just... They want to do better in the world and they want to find something new. So I think again back to what your mission, why are you here? I think those are the most, the best stories I've seen in organizations, big or small. I'm gonna pull a couple of quotes from the book and I'd like you to respond to them. Discoveries about engaging the world as a classroom, to extract ideas that will create the future. Discoveries about engaging the world as a classroom to extract the ideas that will create the future. I think I'm just trying to, probably echoing what you were saying earlier, just this ability to tap into curiosity and bring it to work. The world is your classroom and you don't stop learning just because you go to work. No one likes to work with a know-it-all, at least I don't. Maybe know-it-all like to work (laughs) I don't know if they like to work with other know-it-alls, they like to be recognized. That's right, they like to be singular know-it-all. Let's keep playing this game a little bit. Who are you waiting for to tell you it's okay? Your boss, your mother, Yoda? Grab your own permission, no one is going to give it to you. That's probably one of my favorite quotes because it's just born out of... It's one of my favorite parts of the book, it's how I end the book. It's beautiful, like the Yoda part, like nice curve ball in there. It's just because, especially in established organizations people have a million excuses why they can't do something. It's an excuse factory and sometimes it's true. I don't have enough budget, my boss won't let me but often there is a lot of power that they have that they're not exercising. And so frankly, I get tired when people say I can't do that. I used to do this thing at work, it's kind of goofy but I'd give permission slips to people. I'd put it in the book just as a, just write yourself a permission slip. That's what a good manager does, a team leader. I got your back, hopefully, I'm sure that's what you do with your team, right? Like I got your back, it's okay, you can't mess up with this. What I find is that, that it's very hard for me to encourage enough. And I don't know if it's me or if it's the organization and to be clear, CreativeLive is wildly inventive and disruptive and all those things. So if it's true in a small start-up, that's focused on creativity and innovation and helping people track down their passions and pursue them I can only imagine what it's like at a... I've literally never been employed, for better or worse. But I have very few times, given someone permission and then felt like they went too far. I think this is a really, it's something to be prescient of. Just think about that for a second and maybe I'm a weird leader but I don't know if that matches your experience but-- No, absolutely matches my experience. I mean rare case, you get people who just, (Chase whistles) But you can just bring it in, but you're right. People, they're afraid they're gonna disappoint you. I had that, I would get that kind of feedback, like we don't want to disappoint you. Then you have to do soul-searching for yourself. Like wow, what am I signaling that I'm making it so difficult for them? So then it's back to me, right? So you have to be clear what their issue is. One more quote 'cause I like this game, it's going well. What we are witnessing is the battle for the future of our businesses. And I think when I wrote that, it was really about this imagination gap and the reality is that as we get more mechanistic, more algorithms, formulas, coding and we squeeze, literally our organizations are squeezing the imagination out of us, like you can't breathe in some of them, you just can't. And so how are we ever gonna have a future. If we can't imagine forward the way, I mean both good and bad. How are we ever gonna do that if everybody who works in our companies are robots, literally and figuratively, how are we gonna do that? Another quote, the pace of change is never going to be slower than it is today. Yeah, I love that. I took that from actually a colleague of mine I worked with at GE Venture, Sue Segal and she would say that a lot. It's just this wake up, people. You think you have all this time that you're, especially in companies, well, we're gonna do this and the market's gonna unfold this. They have this beautiful five-year business plan and they always all look the same. Nothing, nothing, nothing till like year five and then it's like shoot to the moon, they never happen. So it's all, and you think you have time. Especially with the pace of change, the disruptive nature of change now and all the connectivity in the world, whatever you think is fast it's gotta be 10 times faster. I think, I think and I think that's where big companies or older companies and probably even small companies, because you think you got time. I'm small, I got time. Right, now we're gonna play one last game, this has been so fun. I agree, it's really been great, thank you. I don't want you to go, I want to keep you here but to be respectful to your time, the game that I wanna play now, it's a stretch to call it a game, but you're gonna give advice, you're gonna give advice to three different types of I'll call 'em organizations. Organization, let's just call it the size of GE. There's leaders at that business that have had now, they just get this amazing opportunity to sit down with you. You have so much, a wealth of experience and have done it and the work, what advice do you give someone? And I understand advice is, it could be, I don't want you to feel like the pressure to have to say the perfect thing, but like there's a, you recognize patterns as a leader and there's this, again, enterprise person who works there and they have an opportunity to sit down with you. What do you tell them about, and they say tell me, presume you know my world because you've lived it. What am I not doing right? What's the train that's coming that I don't see? Well, I think that, that is often the conversation I have with people and I usually just like, pick your head up and get out and explore and look at things. Start to build patterns, build confidence because if you don't you're gonna be lost. And usually there are some good examples of leaders who've had that situation that scares people also. So it's part inspiration like get out there, you can do it and also part fear. Like look at what's happened to other companies or leaders who didn't do that. So I think that would be what I'd say to them. That's interesting, it's almost like, what's that phrase, if you think education is expensive try ignorance? Yeah, exactly. If you think risk is, I like to say that it's the riskiest, now is the, or the safest thing is the riskiest thing now. By playing it safe, something like that. Exactly. Okay, so now we're gonna go to mid market sort of a middle manager whom I think, as I read the book, to me this is a goldmine for them because it's almost like you're talking to that cross-section of the world. Of course you're talking to a lot of different folks but there's this ability to effect change for the mid managers, mid market, mid-sized companies, what's the same, I'm trying to contrast these things. No, I'm glad you felt that way because I really did have that person in mind as I wrote this. I was trying to summon myself then and had that person because, they were the people I frankly liked working with the most. Because I think in any organization, these are the people who are making the future. They have enough experience, they're not just starting out, they have enough experience and they're the ones we always call out as the problem when really they're the solution. And so I think that's what I say to them. You make this happen, you have the power. Don't tell me the power is not yours, you have it. What are you waiting for? That's that quote, who are you waiting for? Your mom? Your mom's not here. Although a few times I worked with people who their mother did call. (both laugh) They really need a coat. What? But they were a little younger usually when their mother called. But that's what I want to say to them is, and look, you do have bills to pay, responsibilities, they're good reasons why you don't want to take crazy risks, but you can take some risks, come on. Come on, you can. I get to the point where you can't live with yourself if you don't risk some of those things. Yeah, and it's also, but like protect the... Like the worst case, protect that. But there's a bunch of scenarios, like Tim Ferris's approach, you're like, so what's the worst that can happen and what do you do to recover from that? Not that big a deal. Exactly, yeah. Alright, now the entrepreneurial self-starter, small business, what's your advice for them? Yeah, well, I think one everybody's gotta become more entrepreneurial. So I think we could all, those other two groups could learn from this person. Everybody needs to become entrepreneurial. But just because you're entrepreneurial doesn't mean you have all the answers, it's hard work. It's really hard work. And so just because you have a good idea doesn't mean it's gonna happen. Just because you want to start a company doesn't mean you should be funded. Just because you have an idea in your team, your business doesn't mean someone's gonna give you the green light to go ahead. You gotta keep working to make it better, make it better, make it better. Do the hard work. And does that ever stop? No. (Chase laughs) Maybe, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I'm not a Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. I mean I don't know, maybe when you get to that level it doesn't stop but somehow they seem curious and seem like they're constantly trying to do new things. So I don't think it ever stops. What's next for you? I'm gonna get this book into the world which I'm excited to do. Super happy to help with that. Yeah, thank you, I really appreciate your support. Oh, it's incredible. And then I'm gonna figure out what sector I'm gonna be starting again. I don't know, I'm actually excited about that. I'm saying this to hold, have you hold me accountable and sing it out loud so I can make sure I can have this. But I am going to do something different. I'm gonna go down a different path. I'm gonna pull out my creative courage, I'm gonna find my way to do that. Make sure you have a subscription to CreativeLive. We'll take care of, we'll do whatever-- I definitely will do that. We'll take care of whatever we can. Place for people to find you on the internet? Yeah, I'm on all the social platforms, Beth Comstock is generally the best way. I'm particularly doing things on LinkedIn so that's a good place to engage and keep a conversation going. Congratulations. Thank you, Chase. Really great talking to you. I don't know, have we been here for five days? I feel like, it's long, it's just gone by so fast. Five hours, five minutes, this has been great, thank you. It's an honor to have you sit here and be on the show. Congratulations on the book. Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and The Power of Change. Incredible book for anyone who wants to aspire to any of those things, and you've done an amazing job of transcending the company size. It's not about that, it's about-- And I had a great co-writer in Tahl Raz who we've talked about as well. He's just a really really talented co-writer who helped a lot. Alright, thank you so much for being on the show. So good to see you, thanks for having me. And for those of you at home, thanks for tuning in. Really appreciate it, we'll be back again. (upbeat rock music)

Ratings and Reviews

Dream Focus Studio

By far the best classes on Creative Live!! Thanks Chase Jarvis for bringing so much greatness to the table for discussion! Just LOVE it!

René Vidal

@ChaseJarvis - love chat with Gabby about hope and the "relentless optimism" you share at the end of Creative Calling. Many thanks. -- René Vidal McKendree Tennis


Excellent interview with thoughtful questions. Thanks!!

Student Work