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Redemption and a Thirst for Change with Scott Harrison

Lesson 139 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

Redemption and a Thirst for Change with Scott Harrison

Lesson 139 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

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139. Redemption and a Thirst for Change with Scott Harrison


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Lesson Info

Redemption and a Thirst for Change with Scott Harrison

Hey, everybody, What's up? Front chase? Welcome to another episode of the Chase Service Live show here on creative Life shows is where I sit down with amazing humans. I do everything I can't unpack their brains, their stories, their missions and visions with the goal of helping you live your dreams where that's in career and hobby or in life. I guess today he's a two time podcaster, super happy to have him back. Hes the founder and CEO of Charity Water, which is my favorite charity on the planet. I'm humbled to be in your presence, my good man. Welcome back, Mr Scott. Rates. Did I love you? Yes. I was joking with your team. I invited myself back. It was like, Hey, chase, can I come back on? And then I think I realized we're probably both wearing the same thing. We were the first thing. We did it almost black on black And like, Well, so I invite myself back and I wear the same jeans in the same shirt. I could have at least in the same hotel, in the same hotel. But at least you're consis...

tent. Sits right. I'll take it. I'll take it even any time I can get in our with eyes is a great our first of all. Welcome back. Thanks, man. Thank you for having me. Holy smokes. Congratulations on your book. Thank you. Thank you. I love it. When? When my friends do things and they say I wanna come back on the show to me Like it The second I heard you got a book deal, I knew that we would be doing this. I'm super passionate about the cause. Um, we have, ah history together. We've hosted some events. Yeah, I'm sure the Waters behalf another again. Yeah, it's been It's been a minute, but it seems like a lot has happened. Yeah, you've had a couple. When was the last time? It was? Two years? Two years ago. Okay. So, yeah, two years ago, I think. Kids. Yeah, Children strengthen. Um, obviously, the the tread water just continues to grow on. Congratulations there. Uh, I'm hoping to cover a fair bit of ground. Let's focus on the book, of course. But within the book, there are stories and their stories within those stories. I want to hear a little bit about the gala. Um, I have yet to make it across the country. And I'm bringing it to you this year. Yeah, closer. It's in San Francisco's, and to me that that makes me very joyful. Um, we also talked about anything you want to talk about. This is, you know, because a su casa. So we're gonna go to the book and I'm a starting this little and gets its first of all kudos. Incredible. I'm gonna read the sort of the the, um, the back of the book because I think it is a nice job. Okay. And then we get all that out of the way. Yeah, and again. And but it goes like this. A 20 years old, Scott Harrison had it all as a top nightclub promoter in New York City. His life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models and repeat, but 10 years in and desperately unhappy, morally bankrupt. He asked himself, What would the exact opposite of my life look like? Walk away from everything, Harrison, that you? I spent the next months on a hospital ship in West Africa, discovering his true calling in 2006 with no money and even less experience, he founded charity Water. Today's organizations raised over $300 million to bring cling drinking water to more than eight million people around the globe. There's another two paragraphs I'm not gonna read. But I think the story What? Why? I wanted to read that rather than unpack it because we have another. We spent 90 minutes together in a previous part. Yes. And I think we talked a lot about the initial formation of charity water to me. I want because this book is really a memoir, right? It's ah, story of redemption, compassion and a mission to bring clean drinking one of the world. I want to focus on the you part of this. So what I also remember is your mother was very sick. Yep. Uh and that is one of the things that caused you to two. I think you've cited. Like that's I wanted to go do the opposite of taking care of my sick mother. Yeah, but give us early early Scott. Like, how did you decide that this life of being club promoter was something that you wanted? Incorporate your sick mother if you would and then catapult us to We don't need Teoh go too deep into the drugs and rock and roll. Yeah, that's a chapter that we covered for deeply last time. Yeah, but then start with anyone. Yeah, it's interesting. You know, when you spend months writing 100,000 words, which is really what, 150,000 words to get 200,000 words, you know, it does give a little. It gives a slightly different perspective in some way. It's It's it's cliche, like my story is, um it almost feels like I lived out the parable of the prodigal son, you know, or the rebel the rebellion, right? It's It's like the movie, you know, that, like, 70 set around like, OK, you know, uh, religious. It s childhood religious, childhood mother. Sick Mom. Right. Feel sorry for the kid, like, okay, then. Rebels and, like, sex, drugs, rock n roll and then sees the light redemption, you know, redemption, right? It's almost like that. Kind of, you know, that it was done on a white board and after a bunch of cocktails. So, um you know, of course, it was my story, and I lived it. I was four. There was a carbon oxide gas leak in our house. Our whole family got sick. There were three of us. Dad, Mom, me and mom was the only one that didn't recover. And she was an invalid. She was allergic to the world. People thought she was crazy cause you can't really see what happens when carbon oxide destroys one's immune system in her body's ability to function normally in the world to fight off chemicals. Or I was just my parents, my dad's house this weekend reading letters. And there was this excoriating letter to me because I came home and I didn't change my clothes. And some after shave had gotten on my clothes and it made Mom death. Leo. So my childhood was just this bizarre childhood of keeping Mom safe, keeping her pure. I would have. We lived in this sterile environment. Almost. She actually lived after the illness or after the carbon dioxide exposure. Anything chemical made her sick from perfume to car fumes to the ink from books. Like if she helped this book because this is new ink, it would make her sick. So you wanted that migraines, uh, hypertension, vomiting, nausea to read as a child I would bake her book so I would put these things in the oven to try to get the smell of the print of the ink out and or I would put them out in the back lawn. So I just found a childhood photo, 50 books just lying out there in the sun, baking them in the sun from the oven. And then I would take the book up to Mom's bathroom, where she lived. She lived in a tile covered bathroom with aluminum foil surrounding the door. She lived in an Army cot that had been washed 20 times in baking soda to get any smells out. And she was nestled in between the sink and the toilet in the top, and I would come up and I'm not gonna do and say, Mom, I have a book. You know, I think I got all the smell out and she would put on hunting cotton gloves because if she touched the ink, it would get in her bloodstream and she gets sick. Then she would wear this crazy charcoal mask that smelled like disease. And then she could read the baked or burn, you know, slightly charred book So that was just that. That was what childhood was like. It was weird. My friends thought Mom was crazy. Even my dad way struggled this. Yeah, this was it in her head because there's just no, you know, the car. Her carbon oxide levels detect in the blood were were far, far above what anyone ever should have 10 times the smokers or something. But you couldn't see the symptoms. It's so hard. That's like pain. You hear these five biologist stories where they do not pains, and that's very, very real. But the symptoms are so generic in Western medicine. Hasn't it seems interesting to me that there was a very clear event were like, we were lucky to have that? I mean, we found the leak. My dad ripped the furnace out, found the little pinhole cracks with a with an H back guy. And you know, I read about this in the book, but my parents had a deep, authentic Christian faith. They were nondenominational Christians, and they decided not to sue The gas company from gross negligence probably could have gotten millions and millions of dollars. The gas company came out two or three times and said everything is fine. And then it was actually dad's h back friend to rip that Thea owns that everything is not fine. You gotta carbon oxide leak in your house so they didn't sue on. Guy grew up in the church playing by the rules. I didn't smokin and drinkin and cussed. I didn't sleep around. They played piano on Sunday mornings. And then something happened. That 18. And I said, What were the opposite of that looked like? You know, what would it look like to drink, smoke and sleep around and gamble and travel around the world and join a band and grow my hair down to my shoulders? And what would all of those things that I'm not allowed to do? Feel like my meat? Me sick upended this for a second. So how old were you in your mother's our accident For that? That, uh wow. So four years old and from from four, you probably there was a lot of care taking from not just your father. From everyone. Yeah, right. You're making books. And And at 18. Is this Is this you fed up? What's the what's the mental bid that you flipped in your head. Well, I changes more than it was the opposite of this because no 18 year old says, Yeah, that's that's that's actually fair. It's good you push. I mean, I was this kind kid who wanted to take care of Mom, who wanted to be a doctor, Will and grew up. I would do the cooking for I would help clean the house. I was I had this depth of compassion. As I aged into a teenager, the compassion dwindled, the angst rose. And, you know, Mom would sit outside most of the day in a lawn chair and a lean to a friend would build in the backyard. She yelled to me, You know, yelling, Get me there. So get I just started to resent that. I would have never You know that teenager, your your I was like you. I give an example. She would say that electromagnetic it. Electromagnetic radiation meter sick. So therefore no TV or radio. Okay, I was a teenager. I'm like, you're crazy. You just don't want me to watch TV. You just don't want me to listen to the radio. So it felt like rules. So, uh, I write about this is Well, there was a moment as a teenager where I didn't believe her, and I take a radio after she's going to sleep. And I sneaked down the corridor and I faced this boom box at her bed, through the door. I turned the volume all the way off. This should have no way of knowing. And she wakes up the next morning scared, incredibly sick, not knowing that I was in her habit. I thought it was psychosomatic. So it was stuff like that. It was just starting to say, Is this really? And and I want my life. In some ways, I had sacrificed so much of my childhood. I wanted a normal mom. I wanted to do normal things, and that led me to New York City. When I first came to New York, I joined a band and we started playing CBGB s and Wetlands and all these amazing clubs. At the time, the band broke up yet another cliche because of drugs and because the fact we couldn't get along and with the band breaking up, uh, I thought, Well, I should probably go to college now, at least part time because Dad saved up and I was We weren't didn't have money growing up middle middle class, but it started saving. By the time I was born, there was only one of me. So I reluctantly like as if I'm doing my parents. It's huge favor. I'm like, OK, I'll go to N Y. You take all your money. Good. Take all your money. Got in way. Of course, No scholarship because my grades suck tonight barely graduated high school and, you know, let me graduate with a communications degree because that's the easiest thing I could think of. And, you know, I maybe went toe half the classes, got sees, barely graduated. And then early on it, 19 fell into nightclub promotion on I couldn't believe that there was this job that existed an actual job. People would pay you to consume alcohol. People pay to drink like, what do you do for a living? I drink. And not only that your friends rans would pay you way worked 40 clubs, my business partner night over over the decade and at the top of our game, Bacardi was writing us a $4000 check every month to be seen in public drinking, Bacardi and Budweiser said, Well, we'll also pay you four grand a month. Can you just make sure when you're out of your club's you only drink? But, like yes, we get, we can Funny four G's a month like, Yes, we will drink. But I mean, it tastes disgusting, but we'll, you know we'll drink. It's taking the rent. So you know everything that came with the territory. The decline of morality started with smoking. I was doing an off off Broadway play for fun, and my character smoked like, Well, I have to be a method actor and I should start smoking. So then that led to 23 packs a day for 10 years and, you know, starting to drink and, you know, starting to sleep around. It's like, Well, you know, might as well just going right. I got nothing to lose. And, um, you know, pick a vice drinking cocaine, ecstasy, MDM a gambling pornography, strip clubs. I mean, everything short of heroin would have been a vice I'd taken on over those 10 years, and it just left me Really, Solis, um, you know, what was the moment you talked about? It's Ah, it's almost like, you know, the pot boiling, right. We don't really know. The moment is happening. And then Oh, my gosh, my life sucks. So I don't think I think I was running from it. I was running from the realization that things were wrong. I had put conscience way off to the side. Remember, there was this churchy language growing up that you know, Scott, don't allow your conscience to be seared like Oh, my gosh, like it's on a frying pan, right? Like a piece of tuna. Uh, but but that's actually what happened. I mean, the more stuff you do and the more you don't own up to it, the more you lie, the more you do drugs like Well, that's just I don't want to really think about the morality of that. So I had this moment. I was 28 years old and I was in South America, and it was this amazing vacation and had collected most of the the markers that I thought would lead to my happiness and watched. I had the watch and the nice car, the Beemer, the nice piano in my apartment. My girlfriend was you know, the most beautiful girl of everywhere we went and she was on the cover of fashion magazines and doing Runway and I had this. It was almost like the game of musical chairs where the music stopped and I didn't have anywhere to sit down for the first time. You know, I had always been the 1st 1 in the chair, like pointing my finger, making fun of whoever lost. And it was it was just this this strange, cathartic moment where it's almost like the veil was lifted. A moment of clarity amidst the opulence and the decadence and the magnums of Dom Perignon and the Purim D M A. And the yacht in the $1000 of fireworks that we blew up in her backyard, Uh, did they would never be enough that they would never be enough. Girls will never be enough money. There never be. Somebody would always have a better watch in a better car. Better this and it was this endless pursuit of selfishness and hedonism that, you know, it was it would have no end would have no good end. And I guess I started coming up on 30. I was 28 with the 30 milestone started thinking about legacy my tombstone might actually read Here lies, you know, a selfish S O b. Who spent his life getting people wasted. And in fact, he got millions of people wasted. And you know, who wants that? On the two step Was there it was there. Some. So you talk about is like a boiling pot and you also you look around like, Oh, my God, it's boiling. Does that? Do you have that feeling with other things in life? Like I'm trying to extract? I don't want to pull you out of the journey here because it's gonna drive. People at home were listening to the story crazy, but it seems like that is is very common. Not just with lifestyle, not just with drugs or any sort of addicted or addictive behavior is that still does have a place in your world anymore. Do you realize, like, are you working? Do you Do you like going off the deep end with work? Is this Ah, Have you taken some of those vices and redirected them towards work in a good way? In a healthy way? Yeah, there's a moment where I almost burned out. And I write about that. And why I thought that was at least interesting to write about was because everybody told me I was gonna burn out for nine years. Yeah, I was, like, still going Just did 98 flights last year. Right? 150 speeches, right? I'm unstoppable. This is before kids, Fisher. But there was this. It was this frenetic pace of again. You know, when I when I did move over the charity water, it was completely redirected. Right now, I'm raising tens of millions of dollars for the poorest people in the world, you know? I mean, people are drinking there, just drinking clean water, right? And it's the more you do, the more lives we save. I was traveling Teoh into 69 countries. I've been to Ethiopia 30 times, so I was seeing this. The reaction I would stand on a stage. Money comes in, you fly to Berlin or flight to Phoenix and you stand on the stage and you tell the story. Money comes in. And then a couple days later, I'd be in Malawi or Ethiopia, Nepal, and you'd see people drinking clean water. It was causing effect and the best way possible, not cause and effect. We ran rang 60 G's and boost tonight in on champagne. My cuts nine grand or it was very different. So, yeah, I did. I did just hit that wall and that was that was kind of, you know, slow, slow. So everything's fine. Everything's fine. Everything's fine. Oh, my gosh, I'm really tired. I don't do this anymore. Okay, Go back. And I think I just I want a I knew that about I just didn't know how we're gonna get there. I didn't want it to be linear. So put a pin in that. Now let's go back to you. You you shift gears a 28 like what's what's going on and take me to West Africa? Well, I come back from this vacation and, you know, a couple months of floundering because I I I've got a change of heart, A change of conscience. I want my life to look different. I want to find my way back toe lost faith toe lost morality. I want to feel clean. I felt dirty inside and you know, I was morally bankrupt. I was spiritually bankrupt. and it was hard. And then there's an incident that I read about in the book that was this great out. Something happened at a club and gave me a great reason to get out of town for a couple weeks. And with that added perspective, I said, Well, what if I never went back? And what then would be next? And what would the 180 degree turn look like? The most extreme opposite I could think of was serving the poor in the poorest country in the world, right? If I was serving the rich and they were $1000 bottles of Cristal in one of the top cities in the world New York City and the clubs that Yeah, we're bringing 60 G's and night just we were sell vodka Red Bull for 25 bucks. It is amazing what people will say something at centric, she chibok given. So that was the idea. Serve on a humanitarian mission volunteer don't get paid for it and tied back tithing being a very kind of Christian thing. My childhood give one of the 10 years that I'd selfishly wasted back. So I applied all these organizations that I've heard of in the you know the Oxfam and save the Children's and UNICEF's and no one will take me So I'm eating. I'm shocked, right? I'm I'm I'm this like club guy in New York and get 1000 people to stand outside of velvet rope and get excited about ripping them off for cocktails. And I can't even volunteer my services for free. And as as you know, as it would turn out, only one organization finally accepted me under the conditions that I would pay them $500 a month and actually go live in the poorest country in the world on a mission toe. Liberia, which had just escaped 40 years of work. So I went looking for the opposite of my life. And there's probably nothing more opposite than selling $1000 bottles of Cristal to then paying to go serve in Postwar Liberia. A country with no electricity, no running water, no sewage, no mail systems completely ruined. It was actually remember the time it was actually, it had fallen off the U. N. Development charge it wasn't last was like off, like we just had the data, you know, it was definitely last. But you know, so far so far. Between last and second to last and long story short, I joined a medical mission as a photojournalist. So actually dusted off the n y u degree some or irony there the degree that I never use that I didn't want to get you doing My parents this huge favor will turn out. They did me a favor because I actually was qualified to do this humanitarian job. As a photojournalist, I always taken pretty good photos. I'd always been a decent writer, and I just start storytelling from Liberia, West Africa to the 15,000 people in my club list that I've been getting drunk for 10 years and I mean, it was an abrupt change. I mean, if you were on my email list, you would have gotten dishes like flip on the light, right? Yeah, I was like, Yeah, you know, come to the product opening. You know, the product store opening in SoHo Two months later, it's like, I don't know, you're getting a photos of leprosy. Hey, I'm in a leprosy colony and, you know, here here are the patients that I'm meeting or here's a kid suffocating to death on his own face with a giant facial tumor. So there were definitely some unsubscribed take me off. Not what I signed up for, but But I learned in that moment a The power of the personal transformation was interesting to people who had partied with me. Who knew me is one thing. Not as the guy who would care about the poor in Liberia and not as a guy who would be. I have poured my heart out. Really. In these stories I would meet people and learn about their hardship in their sickness and disease. And so there was a personal interest. And then there was this. I so hard to find the right word for this, but almost like a wistfulness, you know? So I would write these stories and people would say, How do I go do that? Like, how would I find my way to an opposite experience like that? I remember once, uh, sent out a post about Somebody may be blind with cataracts, and we've given them my surgery, and the united comes back and this woman's as I'm sitting here at my desk and she know it's brightly lit and tears streaming down my face. People wonder what is wrong with me, but I just had no idea that these problems existed in the thes. There were solutions that people could be helped like this. So I was getting really positive feedback outside of the unsubscribe, people said, How do I help? How doe I give How doe I volunteer like you? How do I change my life? I'm so I feel stuck as well. Yeah, I don't want to sell $5000 persons or 1000 our shoes. And I want my life to have meetings. So that was quite I did that for 16 months or almost two years with the the in betweens. And, you know, among everything that I'd seen in West Africa in my travels around Africa, it was just the need for clean water. There was just the one thing that rose some I was in leprosy cooling. It just felt like the one thing that wasn't OK on my watch. And maybe it was because I had sold Voss water for $10 clubs to people who wouldn't even open the water. Just come in and, you know, he raised you and I could be 10 bottles of water and ah, $ of water just sits there unopened because you're drinking champagne or vodka. Maybe it was because I just intuitively thought that if you wanted to make people healthy because I was with doctors were doing expensive surgeries. Why not go to the caught the route? Yeah. Cause of so much The sickness was, as it turned out, was 52% of all disease throughout the developing world. Water and sanitation, water toilets. So you could make half the sick people. Well, I just give him clean water and toilets. So I stumbled into that. Of all the things I saw, it was just water is gonna be my thing. It's crazy that at the time it was 1/6 of the world when I never six human beings alive. 1,000,000,000 don't have clean water is a 1,000,000,000 people. When we first met and I just wanted to see that number come down to zero and that became the mission. I came back to the Earth's idiot 30 Teoh try to make that a reality. You've that arc that personal. You call it the prodigal son. I quit everything. I should say this that I did the hard work of going cold turkey. I drink a little bit, but I never smoked again. You know, when I went out with a bang, I mean, there was There was that there was a Mrs my There was the last Karachi I kid you not. I was about to board the hospital ship the next morning and sailed to Africa with a group of doctors and humanitarians. I'm like, I am going out with a bang. I mean, I think eight years, three packs of Marlboro Reds, I boarded this ship that next day with blister packs of nicotine gum and patch. I'm going. I got quit. Uh, but I never smoked again. And I never looked at a pornographic image. And this is what, 13 14 years again? I never said put Mr Club, I I never touched Koger any any of that stuff again. I never gambled again, you know? And I speak in Vegas all the time. I'm love gambling, but I really just said I need to do the hard work, shed all these vices in order to allow a new story for my life. and I. You know, I didn't want to just kind of have one foot in both worlds, the old World and like I like, uh, beard one too much. That's probably my one last twice. I never trust anyone with no vice, but that's a lot harder. The forties now with two kids and you know, last three glasses of wine. You wake up at 5 30 with the kids and you're in pain. That used to be like the preamble to the night, right? That's it that's getting started. So without, I think without, um, reinventing charity the giving part of charity, I think it's fair to say that you re invented how charities could be for me, like one of the reasons that I connected with you and share your water aside from mutual friends, is it just It looked and felt like the thing that I want to contribute to. So in large part you've you created a mission and division, something that was so foundational like I always like to go back to first principles. Water is in sort of an equivalent of first principle, and you did it with simplicity. With elegance. It's the equivalent I feel like I'm gonna allowed some compliments on here. It's the equivalent of what Tesla's two cars or apple is to technology. Um, And you made it contemporary. You gave its OK to see Cool. Yeah, cool. You made it. Should be, Yeah, it giving in generosity and compassion and empathy should be cool, right? And should be fun. It should be. Until did you set out with that in mind? Or is that was that a It was that a key principle of core value That was gonna be all those things, Or did that just emanate from Yuhas? Ah, you know, as a cool person on empathetic kind person, because there's a sort of a brand associated the brand it's required. I think it's one of the things that differentiate you. I talk about this a lot in the book because I think this this part could actually help people you mentioned Mission envisioned. So the mission was to bring clean drinking water to everyone on the planet. So the mission is accomplished when no human being alive is drinking bad water, putting their life at risk. However, the vision is actually very, very different in that The vision, as you said, was to reinvent charity was to reimagine the giving experience and, you know, let me riff on that a little bit. So I had the unique advantage of starting the organisation at 30 with no charitable experience and no circle of friends who gave money did anything terrible, really? So as I go and tell every day, 30 year old party people Hey, I'm gonna bring clean drinking water to the entire world that look at me like have six heads. And in conversations I realized that there was they weren't giving. There was a huge cynicism and skepticism and a lack of trust with charity, and some of it was very, very well founded. Other wasn't but somebody everybody would have, Ah, horror story that could pull out of their back pocket and say, Oh, the charity did raise $2 billion for X disaster. And he's still sitting on a 1,000,000,010 years later, right? Or the CEO who's paying himself millions and millions of dollars in hiring his cousins and nephews for his charity. They don't actually do anything or the high overheads or everybody seemed to have an excuse, but I learned there was data behind this. 42% of Americans polled said they just didn't trust charities. And this shocks people because no one is more generous than American right. Of all the countries in the world, we have this philanthropic heritage. I mean, Americans give money, But yet almost half the country doesn't trust the system. 70% of Americans, interestingly, pulled by N. Y U. When asked about how charities handle money, 70% said they believe charities either waste money or badly waste money. 30% of people thought charities were good. Stewart's did the right thing with money. So for me, that was the big problem I was gonna have to solve. To make any meaningful impact on the water crisis. To move the needle in any substantial way, helping humans get clean water, we would have to address the cynicism, the skepticism and build a completely new construct. So I just started trying to address those objections through the businessman. OK, well, the number one objection was, I don't know where my money is going. I don't know how much is actually gonna reach the people that you're saying. You want me to help All right. Well, what if it was under present then you couldn't use that excuse. So what if I said 100% of whatever you give? Whether it's a dollar, a $1,000, will directly help people get clean water and is in not fund operation. No overhead, no staff. Not my salary. Not my flights. Not the office, not the copy machine. Not the phone bill. Not the, you know, insurance. Uh, what if 100% go to the field and I didn't actually know how we would make that work, But I just open up to bank accounts and said one bank account is we're gonna put all the public's money this second mega pounds gonna be for overhead and somehow we're gonna figure out how to fill it so we can eventually hire an employee one day and then a second employee if it works. So that was 100% model. The second thing was Okay, well, money is actually not fungible with this organization that if you put that stake in the ground so we can do really cool things tracking the dollars coming in and where 100% of the went so we could say OK, $6 came in from this girl who said in her allowance, Here's where it went out and welded up in Malawi or wound up in this village in India. So that was the proof pillar, Really the second pillar. It was okay. Give away 100% of the public's money. Take that objection off the table to just show them what you did with it. Transparency and yet transparency and showing impact. If you give money and you could see that it actually change somebody's life, you're more inclined to give again. And for what it's worth, like photographs of well and doing this visually. Photos. GPS visual. We have drilling rigs now that have Twitter accounts, and they tweet their location. Just way found 20 ways to do that. That have been, I think, interest totally title. But the core principle was proof. Show people where their money goes. Let them see their impact. The third thing, third pillar was brand, and as I looked at the charitable sector, I just saw bad, anemic brands. I saw lame chippies. There was a poverty mentality, and their branding were just a lack of talent and lack of taste. Charities would put up white papers. They chase it really like you to read 100 and 21 page paper about the water crisis written by some academic you know with and you wouldn't even get past Page one. There was a study The New York Times New York Times article that that cited a study done of a huge charity's website, which I will not name, and the charity put lots of PdF's and documents up. They found that 70% of the P D EFS had received not one download zero downloads. Okay, so if that's that's an extreme case. But if that's the old way, the other thing, I would say is that there was pervasive shame and guilt based marketing charities would say Way talked with Sally Struthers commercials from the eighties. The leftovers of that the sad eyes and the flies laying on the face and slow motion is the 800 number stripes and and it says, Please give, you know this kid's gonna die if you don't get, and it works of people give. They put their wallet, but nobody tells their friends about that charity. Nobody wears that T shirt. There's no no word amount dies when a charity makes you feel shameful or guilty about what you have. And, you know, I thought early on I said, The great brands don't do this. Apple doesn't do this. Nike doesn't do this. Imagine if Nike told you you're fat and ugly and lazy turns the television to go for a run. Would you like some shoes? Yeah, and by the way, please buy our shoes and nobody would want to go for a run. Nobody wants to be talked down. Teoh. Ashamed. Nikes. Brilliant. They say there's greatness within you. Chase. If you've lost a leg, we believe you can complete a marathon in record time. You don't have an arm. You can still shot, put or play basketball like there's greatness within you. You can overcome adversity and they just storytelling story. Tell about all these people and you kind of say yes, that's something. But we're using me. I'm gonna turn the TV off. I'm gonna try and eat better. I'm gonna try and run. I wanna wear the symbol of someone that believes there's greatness with inside me and I could actually do it. And then I wear their clothes and charity. Just don't do that. There wasn't this fun and joy and inspiration you've heard give back. Oh my gosh, I threw up in time. I'm out every time I hear a company. Talking about giving back the language makes it seem as if you know the company or the individual has pillaged and plundered to such a degree that it's finally time to throw some scraps back to the poor. And, you know, if I hold this book, you take this, give it back, right or, you know, I'd like to give something Teoh giving should I think should be framed deposit. I just dropped the language with back. Just talk about giving program, talk about our families philosophy of giving frame, giving in the positive because it's a joy and an honor and a blessing to give out of the abundance, to give our time to your talent, to give our money to be of service to others. Not as a sense of repaying a debt, not at a shame, not out of obligation. So we just nailed the stuff early on and said, Let's make this about hope. Let's make it about opportunity. Let's make it fun. We are inviting people to a party where the whole world gets clean water. You want to come? Do you want to come with your dollar or your $1,000,000? Do you want to come with your birthday? Do you want to come with your fundraising campaign? Do you want to come with your volunteer hours? You're invited. You're invited Like we've literally been saying You're invited for 11 years. Not you have to not You need to not. You really should, because you're so rich. But, hey, do you want to come along? We're doing is really cool thing in this community of people was just inspiring us every day and they're going above and beyond. So that's that's the kind of I guess that's how we think about Brand. And then the fourth. Those are the three pillars. And in the fourth corner, I guess of the house would be working with local partners. Nobody like me should be drilling wells in Africa or India. I do not have a role as a hydrologist. I do not have a role rolling into, you know, a rural village in Bangladesh, trying to train the community on water, sanitation, hygiene. I have a role in becoming an advocate for this issue, getting everyday people to care and act, but the for the work to be impactful and sustainable and culturally appropriate. It has to be led by the locals. So we just got that right. Early on, we said we'll raise the awareness and money, but all the work across the world has to be led by the local heroes. They were the ones that are gonna be celebrated, its heroes and, you know, tow us success is spending $50 million in Ethiopia, me rolling into Ethiopia and having no idea who we are. Charity water. But our local partners celebrated at the local heroes the people that are actually making it happen on the ground. So those four things you giving away 100% improving where people's money goes and just building an imaginative and inspirational brand and working look towards that sounds like common sense. It doesn't sound like we did anything that innovative. It just wasn't really how things were done 10 years ago. So I think that the framework that you put in the book here and that you build charity water on. To me, that's beautiful because you know that that exists in so many areas of the world, the same opportunity to grow and invent or reinvent thing that had broken his charity didn't invent charity. It was reinvented and using technology. And I think the way I feel like we talked about that in another conversation. But there's a building amazing technology platform that as you get for your birthday and there's just it's beautiful, you should go check it out. Let's if we can pivot for just a second from your personal narrative is incredibly inspiring. And to watch what you built with charity water, you know, high five and all of all of the accolades because you've earned it and it's impressive. It's incredible. What I'm trying Teoh get out of the next couple of minutes is what is inducing down because there's a lot of folks you listen who want to have impact. Yeah, most of the people I know if you're a creator and what you want to do is you go on, go create a new charity. So I see a lot of that, and I have sent some people your way and said, Here's my friend Scott, You know, if you want to get involved, you should talk to him versus we built from the ground up. So there's a lot of people at home watching and listening and say, I want to give what? Which is someone who's been in this system for so long and you've seen the ups, the Downs. You built it from the ground up. What do you recommend? I think most people should find something enjoying it. You know, it's it's Ah, very long, hard road. And, you know, I talk about some of the struggles in the book and burning out and wanting to quit and, uh, the moments of near insolvency. We were, you know, a couple of those public and these were teachers for the book. You were within moments I've been solving scene. Um, very generous gentleman. Stranger walked in, gave a $1,000,000 complete stranger. I mean, there they've really been some some miracle moments, But had that not happened, we're not sitting here and you know, I'm not back in nightclubs, but I'm I'm not running a you know organization that's helping people get clean water, so it's very difficult. So I normally try and talk most people out of it because they have encountered the costs and or a lot of people try and do it part time. That's great, but you're just not gonna make that kind of an impact. You know, this is this has been all in. This is you're 12. And maybe I'm down to 50 hours a week now with a couple of kids at home. But it was 100 hours a week. Was this? I was assuming it was all consuming. Uh, you're all in trying to build it, and you're gonna die at any moment. You are never people said, like somewhere around your four or 50 you should write a book. I don't even know if this organization would be around by the update. You know, like we may be insolvent in three weeks or three months. So I do think to that said, there may be people that say There's just this problem and I just can't shake it. It's not OK on my watch. Maybe it's a justice issue. Maybe it's hunger. Maybe it's the fact that people are going to bed without a roof over their head or their sleeping in water and they're cold and they're huddling. I would say we also need more social entrepreneurs who are willing to count the cause of go all in and make a life of this not do it for a year or three years, but do it for decades, you know, some some of the great organization to be you. Look at the Salvation Army. These air multi decade commitments by a founder. This isn't kind of Mormonism charity or I'm gonna get back. You know, I hear that all the time. Someone will will approach us about a job and they worked at Facebook or Google, you know, made a bunch of money and they want to do, like, a year Teoh get back that That's okay. And sometimes they can find ways to be useful. But we also are in need of people who will become advocates for causes. Go deep. I literally feel like we're just now getting good and what we do in your 12 and we're just now getting it takes. It takes the 10,000 hours we did so many boneheaded things that may write about some of the failed water projects, and we just we screwed up a lot at the beginning rather than filled water products projects because I think you do a nice job of capturing that. Let's talk about some big missteps you did in building Charity. There weren't that many, Aziz said. Really, you got a lot right? But I'm gonna get a couple wrong. What would those be? The model is incredibly difficult. I mean, I talk everyone out of 100% model. You basically have to do two things at once and run them in perfect balance from A from a businessman. So we've not raised about $320 million the all of the money that we raise from the public we can't ever touch to pay the now 80 staff in New York City. The office, the flights we can from a business model approach go bankrupt with $100 million in the bank. Wait, couldn't touch it. We would not make payroll like 80 checks would whatever our direct debits, direct debits would bounce. But yet we have $100 million for water projects on its way out to go help three million humans. So that's, uh, that's thing that's been challenging and the way that we fund the overhead. There are 130 generous families, many of them entrepreneurs who you know, the founders of Twitter and Facebook and Spotify and executives at Apple. And these 130 families are paying for our 80 staff in our office and our flights. But it's incredibly difficult. And we didn't We didn't count the cost. Early on, that $1,000,000 gift allowed us enough of a reprieve to go out and build that second business. But had that not happened, we would've flamed. Let's I want to find a way to hear some really, really good news. Talk to me about prod progress. Yeah, and attacking the problems. Well, the closing now is we're helping about 3500 people a day this year. So today and I woke up and I went to work and had meetings today and podcasts and I get to see you. And by the time I go to work tomorrow, 3500 humans we have gone from drinking dirty water to clean water. So we're on a run rate of about a 1,000,000 half people a year. So I was at Madison Square Garden that recently with my wife and, uh, Drake Show now is Depeche Mode. They just They just raised a couple $1,000,000 for us, and I actually thought it was pretty cool. But I looked around and I said, Honey, we're doing this every four days like the volume people. So you have these moments of like, we are feeling MSG at capacity for a concert every four days, like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, all of the people with dirty water walked into a stadium right and move from dirty water to clean water. And then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, we just did it again. So that's exciting. It's taken us 12 years to get to that point, and, you know, we've done. I think 8.49 million people know what exactly? It's 8.49 million people across 29 a half 1000 villages, so that's 1/80 of the global problem. Now the problem is down from a 1,000,000,000 people that water to 6 70 so 8.5 1,000,000 against 670 million OK, 1/ 1.2%. Little more depressing way to look at it when 80 sounds better, but you kind of think like, Oh, wow, I could imagine this problem being solved right? If we just did times Mauritz, not just us. There's all these other great water groups that air starting out but are also growing in. The awareness of this issue is growing, so that's the good news. It's harder now than it was at any point. So the bigger your scale is, the more challenges you have. Raising the overhead is actually a big challenge in the moment, cause the water growth is outpacing the 130 families. So I'm spending a lot more of my time going out and finding family number 1 31 Family number 1 32 Could you please help us on the other side, on the opposite overhead side just took all the well. Still, call it the well. It's It's amazing group of unselfish givers that trust us like I want to pay for the software engineer. Does your software engineer. It could be a Google making double what I want to pay for the accountant's salary of the water programs. Engineer the hydrologist salary. Um, so it's it's it's it's good number we're gonna do 10. We're gonna get 10 million people clean water. We're gonna be there in 14 months, you know, 10 million. That feels like something that's legit. And just more we've got We did a business pivot Year 10 from the birthday idea, which you've been a part of before in a lot of people have heard about. And we said the birthdays air great people giving up their birthdays for charity water on the fundraising campaigns. We raised about $50 million that way. But no is doing a second birthday reason to keep finding new people. This is exhausting. Yeah, right. I can't make more than 100 flights a year. I can't make more than speeches or whatever. It's just you can't do that. So we said, What have we moved to subscription model? What if we try and build a Netflix or Spotify of charities and the same people say, Can you show up every month, please? $10 a month, $30 a month, $100 a month, whatever you could give. But we were pretty practical about it. We said this one time we had a 1,000,000 givers give. Once January 1, we'd started zero. We'd go raise $50 million you know a while. It's amazing. It's a $1,000,000 a week. All these people gave. And then January 1, it goes all the way back to zero. It's like starting over. Yeah, crazy. Go to jail. Do not pass. Go. And we said, Well, Netflix's business isn't like that and HBO's business isn't like that. And Spotify his business isn't like that. And drop boxes. Business isn't like that. They just have a lot of people who are showing up month in and month out, getting value from the content from the storage whatnot, we said. What if we create a subscription program for pure good, where ah, 100% of that value every month is getting passed on to the poorest people in the world? Called it this spring? I thought that would be a nice name. Will flayed Nice brand, you know, Double Anton Drel, right? Beautiful spring water and water from the earth. And at a time of new beginnings for people, many of these communities will talk about the history of their community before the water and after the water. Like it's how they tell the story before it came and after it came. So we called it this spring and we said, Hey, look, we're gonna anchor on $30 a month. We think there's a lot of people out there that could give 30 bucks a month dollar a day, and that's what it costs us to get one human being clean water every $30. I can move someone from dirty water to clean water. And this launched. What about a 3000 day? That's not that's reading a lot of money. Yeah. Instead, the rough math or big money? Yeah, and that's just on the waterside. So that now is an amazing community has grown to 100 countries. Interestingly, the averages 29 a half dollars. So we have a lot of university kids giving 10 bucks. We have people giving their allowance. We have people you know want to say this. We have people canceling HBO. We have people canceling some of these subscription services to actually be a part of the spring with limiters and then we people giving 100 bucks a month and 300 bucks a month and 500 bucks a month. So the spring is now. It's the fastest growing part of the business, almost 30, people from 100 countries. It's up 220% year of a year. It's just growing as the story spreads in the best way possible, because I don't have to start January 10 I start with 30,000 people. We're like we're in this. You keep doing your part. You keep being transparent. Keep telling the stories of impact where our money is going and we'll keep giving and the impact is, grows and grows and grows and grows. That is uncredible story. You've done a masterful job of capturing a book. Congratulations on writing 100 50,000 words about yourself in your life. I worked with an amazing writers while her name was Lisa helped to get a lot of it on the page, and we came to Africa with me and way talked a lot. The third member of the family for about a year to truly remarkable thirst by Mr Scott Harrison. It's always a pleasure to say we should say I'm not making a painting off the book. You don't and you're tired of proceeds Go to charity water the advance, the proceeds. So I really would hope. Yes, but this goes and actually helps people get clean water. Besides, maybe inspiring some people that it's never too late. I mean, you know, if I guess that's the theme for people out there On a personal level, it is never too late to change. If a, you know, a scumbag like may can kind of find redemption in purpose in service to others, you know, you will read this. You are not as bad as me. I can guarantee you I can guarantee it be. You'd be hard pressed to find yourself in any lower predicaments than I was. And you know, I have a beautiful wife, beautiful family, and I get Teoh help. 3500 people get clean water and I'm surrounded by amazing team members and volunteers and partners. And you know it zone. Incredible thing to do. I I still kind of pinch myself as hard as it is, you know? What did you do today? Like we got 3500 humans, athlete water. Whether the folks at home are listening and they're interested in charitable giving or building a business like I think that what's at the core of your story, which is super resident, is story of transformation, transformation of human transformation of an industry of a model of a problem. The fact that it's gone from a 1,000,000,000 toe 670,000 7 million. We've taken off 1/3 of the problem. Yeah, that's the collecting the world pick up the book. All the proceeds are going to charity. Water. Congratulations. You huge went on the book and I promise to get you out of here. And I'm six minutes late. Thanks to you. Thank you for being on the show there. Right? We gonna talk forever. Could we could and out. Thank you so much, man. I'll invite myself back, and then we could do, like, two hours and talk about what? We should do it. One in Africa sometime. We should totally like you should come on a trip when we should bring some five D's and rock it out. And, uh, I don't know Ethiopia. We've got some people who might want creativelive Ethiopia. Come on, Thank you so much. But everybody pay attention to Scott at charity Water. Pretty much everywhere at Scott Harrison also. And thanks again for being part show here. What? Yeah.

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!!

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