167: How to Love Your Work…and Get Work You Love with Nick Campbell

By June 14, 2017Podcasts

 

 

Entrepreneur Nick Campbell explores how you can turn your interests into a career–and then make the most of those opportunities.

You’ll Learn:

  1. A process to find the connection between what you love and what pays
  2. How to sidestep all the requirements that job boards claim you need
  3. Why it’s ideal to be the the worst in the room

About Nick

Nick grew up in Detroit, the oldest son of a fireman and a rollerskating teacher. He lived a curious life trying to figure out how things worked. He’s been lucky always have jobs doing things he loved including selling magic tricks, performing yo-yo tricks, DJing parties, Photography, Motion Graphics, 3D Animation, Software Development, Design, Blogger, and Educator. Today, Nick makes software and training to help make the world easier and more fun. He works and lives in the Midwest where he goes on road trips, drinks craft beer, plays pinball, and listens to a lot of podcasts.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Nick Campbell Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Nick, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Nick Campbell
Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Pete.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m sure you have so much great stuff to share, I want to kick it off. I understand the early part of your career you had an interesting role selling magic tricks and yo-yos at the mall. What’s the story there?

Nick Campbell
You know, I had all the crazy jobs. I was a roller rink DJ. The phrase I probably uttered the most when I was younger was, “How do you do that?” I was always obsessed with how musicians made their music and how magicians and jugglers did this stuff. And, ultimately, I was really surprised that they can make a living doing this stuff.

So, early, early on I was blessed to have parents that enjoyed their job and kind of encouraged me to explore and do kind of crazy stuff. So when I saw somebody do magic tricks, it was actually at this really dusty old magic store, this guy did the trick, and then I go. What I did say? I said, “How did you do that?” And he goes, “Well, hey, buy this book, buy this deck of cards and go home and practice, and you could do this too.”

And that led to many magic shows at my parents’ house where every time an aunt and uncle or a grandma came over I had to show them the trick. But, ultimately, it led to my first job when my parents said, “Hey, go get a job,” when I was 14. That’s when they decided, “Alright, let’s get you out into the world here.”

It didn’t dawn on me to get the regular typical first job. It dawned on me, the thought process that went through my head was more along the lines of, “What am I obsessed with? And what can I go learn and get paid to do it?” And so as I walked around the mall, I literally, I was like, “Okay, not at the clothing store, and not at the fast food place, I’m really not into that.” It was right there in the middle of the mall – Magic tricks! Now hiring. And I go, “Dude, well, there you go.”

So I went up and he goes, “Well, do me a magic trick. Show me something.” And he happen to be selling the exact same deck of cards I found, whatever, four years ago. I did the same trick I did all my aunts and uncles, and he goes, “Dude, you’re hired.” And so that was my first job. So that moved into selling yo-yos at the science store and doing all the tricks. Essentially I was obsessed with learning new things and then teaching those things.

And so many of early jobs were around that idea of putting myself in a place where I could learn these things I was obsessed with, and then turn around and be able to either sell them the yo-yo or the deck of cards, and then teach them how I learned these things. It’s right from the start I was obsessed with this stuff.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is beautiful. We are kindred spirits there. And so I want to hear, so right now, can you orient us a bit? You’re still learning and teaching things. And what are sort of like your main projects in the hopper right now?

Nick Campbell
Yeah, it never stops. So now I run a company called Greyscalegorilla and we teach and train people how to make motion design. And if you’re not familiar with motion design, the easiest way to describe it is if you watch a sporting event and you’ve seen the logo, either NFL, NHL, local sports team logo spin around in 3D, boom, all shiny and glow-y, if that’s resonating with you, if you’ve seen something like that, that’s motion design. That’s a really simple way to say it.

But anything animated on television or movie titles that is not necessarily visual effects, it tends to be motion design. So I was obsessed with this at a young age too and this is essentially what I went to school for. And the company came along because I wanted to teach more than I wanted to serve clients.  And I started teaching everything I knew on a site, my current site called Greyscalegorilla, and it created a community of like-minded people that were interested in animation, interested in design, and interested in 3D, and we now create training and tools and plugins and texture packs and all the stuff that you need to do motion design, and that’s our business today.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s so cool. Alright. And you, in the realm of sort of learning and teaching the things that you’ve learned, have done some sharing at places like SXSW or South by, I guess is the cool kids abbreviate it.

Nick Campbell
Right.

Pete Mockaitis
“Oh, yeah, South by. Yeah, sure. Okay, cool.”

Nick Campbell
Now they just call it “Sobo” it’s real short. It’s getting even cooler now.

Pete Mockaitis
I can already hear my transcriptionist saying, “I didn’t quite make out what Nick said.”

Nick Campbell
Just trail it off a little, yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
And so then you’ve learned and you’ve taught that very sort of set of skills or process by which you have identified and found and are doing work that you love. So can you can walk us through a little bit of that process? How does this unfold?

Nick Campbell
Yeah, wow. So that’s a big question. How do you find stuff that you love? So one easy trick to try to do this is to just notice the things that you’re naturally obsessed about. And this made sound a little obvious but some people, when they sit down with their friends, or even with new people, they want to naturally talk about a specific topic. And so I would try to take the time to understand what you’re super interested in, the things that you can talk about for hours and hours and hours.

And then take that and kind of draw a Venn diagram. Start a Venn diagram, make a little circle around all these topics that you can’t stop talking about, learning about, reading about, and then next to it draw another Venn diagram kind of circle and write all the things that you can provide value to others with these topics.

Pete Mockaitis
So I’m thinking right now about a guy who he’s always talking about conspiracy theories and the illuminati.

Nick Campbell
Love it. This is great.

Pete Mockaitis
I know how unmarketable that is but let’s run with it.

Nick Campbell
Well, no, so that’s the key, right? So you have to find where these Venn diagram, these little circles in a Venn diagram where they overlap, the things that you’re obsessed with and love to do and love to talk about, and then the things that are valuable to other people. So let’s say it is talking about conspiracy theories. That could be a media channel, right? That’d be my first way to think of it. “Can I sit on YouTube and make the best conspiracy theory videos to kind of educate people,” and say, “Hey, let’s say that this person is like, no, this stuff is real. This isn’t for crazies, and this is some of the science behind why I think these conspiracy theories are real.” He or she could build a brand around this and say, “Let’s start to educate people in this way.”

So education, that’s one way that you could approach your passion to start to get the word out about what you do. And what’s great about educating people and just creating a community around what you love is sometimes the people with the job come knocking, right?

Pete Mockaitis
Alright.

Nick Campbell
What you don’t want to do is go out and say, “Okay. Well, I have this passion. Now I just got to wait for somebody to come find me and hire me to do this.” You have to start to throw the fishing line out and let people know what you’re into. It’s really about marketing what you are to your friends and family at first and then eventually a crowd of people that kind of like what you’re doing.

And so what I would say is, for this hypothetical, or actually it’s a real person, right? For this person that wants to talk about conspiracy theory stuff, how do you get the message across that this is what you’re into? So that’s the first step.

And then the second is being aware of the secondary things that you do that might be valuable to others. So, in this case, he might be somebody that could go on the news and talk about this stuff. He might be able to write a book. He might be able to interview people. And if you’re doing something along the lines of – in my world it’s a lot of creative work, and people are really into drawing or design or poster-making. So think about some of the things that you could turn into a client service at first. Those are the earliest first jobs that you could do with stuff that you’re passionate about. Just reaching out and finding the people that need this work done and getting it done for them directly. So that doesn’t apply to everybody but that can be the first step to finding work that you love.

Pete Mockaitis
And that’s so intriguing because what I like is, well, I think there’s a lot of voices out there, I think some well-intentioned and some not so much so, they’re like, “Yeah, just do your passion and make an online course, and, boom, you’re rich.” And it’s like, “Well, usually it doesn’t quite work that way per se. There’s some intermediate steps.” And I really liked how you said that at times there is a third party sort of a job that could come to you.

So I imagine if you started this media channel and talking conspiracy theories you may very well have some openings associated with, I don’t know, like, 20/20, or investigative journalism, or news programs where you say, “Hey, I love getting to the bottom of tricky controversial issues so take a look at what I’ve done. Would I be an asset to your team?” And they might very well say, “Well, yeah, you would. The other applicants don’t have a portfolio like this.”

Nick Campbell
Yeah, and as you were talking it reminded me that one of the other things you could think about are what are the skills you’re learning through your passion that are more marketable. So let’s take the conspiracy theory thing again because I like it because it seems so unusable in a way, right? Think about the things that you’re doing.

So, let’s say it’s investigating. Let’s say you’re good at looking into details and finding stuff. Let’s say maybe you’re either a critical thinker or a unique thinker, and think about how that is valuable to the marketplace in a more general way rather than just talking about this one specific thing that you’re into. Maybe you’re learning how to communicate in a way, maybe you’re learning how to argue in a way, tell a compelling story. Like these are valuable traits that you can bring into many different marketplaces, right? I’m thinking of advertising and stuff like that for you to get the word out about a unique idea. That is really what this conspiracy theory person might be interested in in general.

So, for me, yo-yos and magic tricks weren’t going to make me a full career necessarily. What those things brought to me, though, were the ability to sell, like walk up to somebody, do a trick and say, “Do you want to buy this?” Right? So like not being afraid to walk up and talk to people, it made me learn how to learn quickly, so like reading books and learning new tricks. It taught me how to communicate and perform. I’ve always been a performer because of this.

So think about the ancillary things that are surrounding your passion that might lead to – I don’t want to use the word realistic, but that might lead into something that is more marketable and more hirable so that you could start to work in it and then you can adjust, and that’s the key, for me. Adjusting, once you’re moving in a general right direction, has been my whole life.

So I left a job that I love to start my own company because I thought it would make me 2% more happy, right? It wasn’t that I hated it, it was like I was in a right direction but I knew that if I didn’t go tried this company thing, like this idea of trying to be an entrepreneur that I knew that I would be boned if I didn’t try it. So I left and became 2% and then 3% and then 5% more happy over time. These aren’t giant shifts in your life. Or at least the way that I see it is you have to approach it bit by bit.

So what I would say to anybody out there that has a passion that they think might not be applicable to the market to really think at those secondary things that are a little bit more marketable to the marketplace.

Pete Mockaitis
And what I think is really cool about that is it could sort of spark lots and lots of ideas. And I’m wondering, though, about – I’m thinking there could be a holdup when it comes to just the whole, I guess, job hunting, posted positions, job descriptions, requirements in terms of like it’s okay you’ve got great sales experience or great skills building an audience or telling a story, and yet it seems like so often when the alleged requirements for a job are kind of crude approximations of having the skill itself.

It’s like, “Oh, we need you to have three years of experience in a sales role and/or a bachelor’s degree in marketing or sales.” I guess it’s not in sales but a bachelors’ degree in a related field like for finance or accounting or marketing, or communications, broadcast journalism, whatever. How do you navigate some of that stuff? It seems like there are artificial proxy hurdles between what you can do and what they think you can do based on what their application-tracking system says? So that’s a big one. I’m going to dump it on you, Nick? What do you got?

Nick Campbell
Well, thanks for that one. I appreciate it. No, I do understand the question and that is hard. So the way that I would approach that is to think about your career hunt or you’re trying to get 5% more happy in your job as a referral situation. Because as soon as you are referred by somebody, all that garbage goes out the window. All the, like, what school you went to and all of that is crap. And it is. It’s such crap.

And I get to say this because I’ve been to the design industry where nobody asks you ever for your credentials, right? You’re real and your portfolio and what you’re able to do in a certain amount of time is your calling card and nothing else. So I am sensitive that this does matter and I hope my doctors actually have the credentials and things like that. But all that aside, if you are referred and you can show somebody that, “Hey, I may not have the pedigree that these other people have, however, I have this experience, I have this. I’m really passionate about this,” and you actually meet somebody.

And then down the road somebody goes, “Hey, I’m looking for an energetic person to fill this role in whatever random thing it is.” And they go, “You know what, I actually met somebody I think might be perfect.” That’s where you want to be. That’s where you want to be because as soon as you get that email and as soon as you get the referral, and a recommendation really is the word, I guess, I’m looking for, then you’re in way deeper than any piece of paper. Because all those things on a piece of paper are just there to sort you into the right bucket to maybe get an interview.

And if you could just bypass all that then, of course, that’s the way. So how do you do that? How do you go get on everyone’s radar? So take the thing that you are passionate about and, step one is, let everybody know. You want everybody on your Facebook page, following you on Twitter to be like, “I’m into this thing.”

I’ll take a personal story. I was really into pinball. Loved pinball machines. I got really obsessed with playing them and going to tournaments and collecting a couple of them. I was obsessed with pinball and I went out and I was like loud about it, right? Well, a few months later down the road somebody recommended me as a designer to make animations for the first pinball machine that had a TV in the back glass.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yeah.

Nick Campbell
So instead of the little red dots, this company made the first pinball game that had a big widescreen TV in the back that had all these great animations. And somebody goes, “Hey, Nick is an animator and he’s also obsessed with pinball. You may want to talk to him.” And the only reason that that referral happened was because I was loud about my passions. And not just my passion about my work, that my real work which is design and training and education, but also my hobbies and the things I was obsessed with. So step one is getting the word out to everybody about what your passion is.

Step two is going to where the people that hang out that might do what you do, go hang out with them, go to the events, go to the meet-ups if you’re near a city. Of course if you’re near a city go to the meet-ups. Hang around other people that do this. You’re going to learn how they speak, you’re going to learn their language, you’re going to meet some of them and you’re going to be able to bypass this whole…

Pete Mockaitis
Morass.

Nick Campbell
Yeah, crap. Yeah, yeah, I wish I had a better, more eloquent word than the resume crap that is happening. So go show yourself as a passionate person about whatever you’re into. At least, for me, that has been the fastest route to meeting the people in the industry that eventually got me my first job in animation that allowed me to work on really big projects because I was able to volunteer.

That’s another one, go volunteer at the places that do what you do and go meet the people and show them your energy, show them your passion, show them how fast you learn, show them your communication skills, sales skills. Tell them your conspiracy theory, man. Get it out there.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s a good one. That’ll be like your pull to quote or the T-shirt from Nick here, “Tell them your conspiracy theory and live your dreams.”

Nick Campbell
You want to wait until there’s at least a couple of drinks in and then you start the conspiracy theories.

Pete Mockaitis
“Let me tell you what’s really going on around you.” And what’s so intriguing is if you do show up at those places, I remember it made such an impression because I remember one time I went to Unbounce Landing Pages design, a company, the software. Well, they had an event in Chicago – The Unbounce Roadshow – and this is one of few things I’ve ever purchased at Facebook, I was like, “Well, yes.”

So I went there just because I thought, “Well, I do need to know about landing pages and conversion and design, and I just sort of need to have a basic familiarity/awareness of this as someone in business who has some webpages that I would like for more people to share their email address with me and provide deeper engagements and all that.”

So I went there and I thought, “Oh, boy, I probably would meet a bunch of interesting business owners here.” And I met not one, and like everybody was a designer or worked at an agency or was in marketing for a particular company. And what was intriguing in that space was that I really stood out to them, and they’re, “Oh, so you have an agency or are you in marketing?” I was like, “Well, no, but I guess I market my business and stuff so I just thought I should be here thinking…” “Oh.”

And so I think just as I was sort of noteworthy and interesting person to be in the mix I think your tip would really connect. It’s like, “Oh, so you’re in pinball biz?” It’s like, “No, I just have a completely different but I just love pinball so I thought I’d be here.” It’s like, “Well, this guy is something special.”

Nick Campbell
Right. Their company didn’t fly them in. They came here on purpose. They’re here because they want to be here. I think that passion really does show through especially in more traditional… I could see in more traditional business approaches where everyone’s there because they have to be and they all signed up, and all of a sudden there’s this new person that’s obsessed in talking about how they’re trying to figure all this out.

One of the best things you could do for somebody is be interested in what they do. How much do people love to help and talk about what they do? And if you’re actually genuinely interested in about something that you maybe don’t know everything about but you want to know more about, oh, my gosh, people love to tell you all the stuff that they do for a living, and especially if it’s stuff they love.

So like to go into an industry situation and go, “You know, I tell you I’m not the best at this. I’m actually just getting into this but I’ve always loved this. Can you tell me about how you got into this job, how you got your job?” People love telling their story, people love sharing, and they’re going to recognize you instead of somebody there that’s handing out business cards, and that’s okay too, right? You’re connecting and getting the word out about what you do is important.

But if you’re there literally like, “Hey, I have nothing to sell you, I’m just here because I care about this topic,” man, you really do stand out because that is rare. That is rare so I take those things very seriously. The events that I went to early on in my career, again, they brought me the people that eventually hired me, we’re friends. I even have somebody that’s working at my company right now that I met at meet-ups like early, early on. So I think that’s huge.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is huge. And it’s so funny, you’re sparking all kinds of memories, people I haven’t thought of in a while. I remember I knew someone. She was working doing sort of business strategy analytics at kind of a financial-type operation, and she was so into baggage. I was struck by how into it she was because that’s a unique topic, I guess, like pinball or conspiracy theories.

Nick Campbell
Like luggage?

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, like baggage claims, baggage handling, the conveyor belts and all that.

Nick Campbell
Love it.

Pete Mockaitis
And she, I see now on LinkedIn, as just a few months ago, she is now the manager of baggage planning for United Airlines. Well done. I don’t know if there are multiple managers or not. I just pulled this up live here. And so she started a blog and she started sharing her perspectives on like, “Hey, this just in, the latest baggage handling stats from these airlines,” with her own commentary, like, “You know, I’m not surprised that they’ve made some real gains here.” And so it’s sort of like, “Who else in among the candidate pool has that going for them?” It really makes an impact.

Nick Campbell
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great example. I’d love to know how that connection was made, right?

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, maybe we’ll grab her. Let’s see if she’s down with chatting.

Nick Campbell
That’s amazing. So that reminds me of another thing that I think helped me not only get more jobs that I love but also when I got jobs doing stuff that I mostly love doing, it also helped me progress through my career faster. And that’s trying to be the worst at what you do in the room. Be the worst one in the room, and that’s a little counterintuitive. You’re not trying to be the worst. What you’re trying to do is be in better rooms.

And so if you find yourself in a room, and you’re doing your job, and you’re the best at your job in that room for too long, you’re not going to grow. You need to find the best. You need to find your next room that could be filled with mentors and other people that can teach you something and that have another way of doing things because it’s so easy to get that first job, kind of progress through that world or, you know what, education is another one.

I think a lot of students can go in and be kind of okay with being the best one in their class not knowing that as soon as they graduate that has zero correlation to them in the actual industry, right? You need to think about how you compare with everyone else that is trying to do that specific job, and not in a scary way, and not in a way that will make you feel bad about yourself but just in a realistic way of, “This is how you get better.” Surrounding yourself with people that are better at what you do is the fastest way that I found to accelerate my career and also accelerate my knowledge.

I’m a lifelong learner and the fastest I learned is when I’m around other people that have done it before, other people that think bigger than I do. So whenever possible, I try to be in a room full of people that are better than me. This could mean conferences, this could mean a new job, this could mean reading different books, this could mean many different things. Try to be surrounded by opinions that could push you.

Pete Mockaitis
I think that is so on the money. I remember my personal preference. This is terrible. Hopefully I’ve outgrown this. But my personal preference is to be the second worst in the room because it’s like, “Oh, I’m not the dumbest one in here so I’m not super embarrassed and self-conscious but, wow, I’m learning a lot from all these brilliant people.”

Nick Campbell
Hey, as long as you have room to grow, I like that. It’s in my personality to really not want to hold something back.

Pete Mockaitis
Right.

Nick Campbell
Early on in my career I was hired because I could animate well, and I knew everything about this piece of software, it’s called After Effects. It’s all about animating and adding special effects and stuff to video, and I knew every button on this piece of software. And when I came in to work at a digital agency, we did movie titles and title sequences for TV shows and HBO and all this fun stuff. And while I was there, like I said, I knew how to animate and I would do the best work I could.

I would sit there and try to figure this stuff out, and over and over again I would look at my screen at what I made and I would be okay-happy with my animation but it still didn’t look right. I couldn’t quite figure out why my stuff didn’t look like everyone else’s, and I think people have that feeling a lot with whatever work they do. They do their best work, they look at their result and they look at their heroes and their peers even, and they say, “Oh, this is the best I could do but it’s not as good as ‘Insert your hero here.’”

I happen to be working with a lot of my heroes and around them where they could look at my screen all day long, and I could just feel them like staring at this ugly stuff I was making. And, finally, one of the creative directors – and he was kind of a tough guy – came up behind me, he goes, “Hey, Nick, you have a second? Hey, man, I can notice you over here working your butt off, you’re always staying late and trying to figure this stuff out. I just want to tell you I really appreciate that. Let me tell you something else though. You suck at design.”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Nick Campbell
And kind of let that settle in for a minute, and he kept going. The good news was, as he kept going, he started telling me why, and he didn’t just tell me how to fix it. He told me that the techniques and design concepts that have helped me through my entire career, this one creative director that took time to come up to me and say, “This is why your stuff doesn’t look like ours.” And he showed me. And the only reason I had that, and I’ve had many mentors like that, was because I was in the room with them and I was open to growing. I had the mindset that said, “I know that mine doesn’t look like yours. Please help me. Please help me.”

And as they gave me critique, things to work on, I put it into action. And if you could find a mentor, somebody around you that is willing to reach out and give you advice, give you an opportunity, the best thing that you could do to further that relationship is to take action on what they say whether it’s right for you or not. Take action on it, try it out for yourself and show them that you’re willing to change. Show that person that you’re open to suggestions and open to trying new things because that person just opened up their time for you, and if you can show them that, “Hey, thank you for that. I just tried that,” and you’re getting better, you’re going to help both of you at the same time, right?

Understanding how that happened, it only made sense to me looking back. At the time I was just worried I wasn’t doing my job right, but looking back on it, being in that room and accepting help from people that are better than I was, was the fastest time that I grew because once I had that knowledge, once I knew some of these design concepts I studied. I bought the books. They literally opened a door for me that I didn’t know existed. I didn’t know that I suck at design and they were willing to sit there and go, “This is the problem, and this is how to solve it.” So put yourself in those situations as much as possible, be humble about your level and understand that there’s always room to grow.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, Nick, that is golden. Tell me, is there anything else you want to make sure that we cover before talking about some of your favorite things?

Nick Campbell
I think understanding that there’s always room to grow, and really the more I talk about this stuff I realize that it’s a mindset. The mindset of being humble, the mindset of knowing that there’s always room to grow. As soon as you have the mindset that you know it all, there’s no more room in that brain to progress any further, and that goes with everything.

If you are so strong in your conviction that no amount of proof or no amount of learning, or no amount of new knowledge will change it then that is a fixed object, right? That is just stuck there. And being human is about growing, being human is about progressing. Your body feels better, your mind feels better when it’s stretched. And just like when working out you have to be a little uncomfortable to stretch that muscle. You have to be in a place where it hurts for a minute.

So open yourself to the idea that learning new stuff, being around people that are better than you that might push you harder, that is work, that hurts sometimes, it hurts feelings. But if the ultimate goal is to be better, if the ultimate goal is to be more fulfilled, I want to encourage people to stretch in that way.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, Nick, I love that and I think I’ve come to believe that if you want to sort of learn, grow, develop, achieve something it’s like you’ve got pay the price in one currency or another, maybe it’s money. You’re going to pay money to get a great mentor or a great coach who’s going to tell you the stuff or a course, who’s going to tell you the stuff you need. Maybe that currency is time. You’ve just got to do rep after rep after rep after rep the 10,000 hours or whatnot.

Or maybe that currency is just courage and humility like you’re going to feel yucky a few times but it’s like if that’s a currency that you’re willing to pay the price in and you prefer that to time and money, well, then you can get there faster and cheaper.

Nick Campbell
I like that a lot actually. It costs something no matter where you’re doing it. What I’ll add a little bit to that is if you’re paying somebody to do it, I think that’s good. For things that you’re not passionate about and you’re not the best at, you should totally pay people to just do it.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, right. Outsource it? Yup.

Nick Campbell
Yeah, totally outsource it. But I think in the context of this where the goal is what you’re passionate and doing your best work, it really has to come from your body to feel the success. Now it doesn’t mean you can’t build a team and then succeed through them, but it has to come through your own action in a way. And maybe this is a more subtle point that we don’t have time to dig into, but it’s something that I struggled with in the last few years which is thinking that I needed to do it all.

And this might be about a different podcast, but something that I’ll open up some of the things I’ve struggled with is the ability to build a team and to build bigger projects has been something that I’ve been kind of obsessed with. So to tie this back to what you’re passionate about, it does require work. I just 100% agree with what you said. It is going to require stretching and learning new things.

I consider myself a lifelong learner and, ultimately, if I were to pick what my super power is, it’s being a good student, is I love learning and I also love putting into practice what I learn whether or not it sticks for me, whether or not it’s perfect for my personality, I love trying new things and seeing if it progresses my life and makes me that one more percent happy.

Pete Mockaitis
Beautiful. Thank you. Well, now, could you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Nick Campbell
Yes, so one quote that I always come back to is, “What one person can do, anyone can do.” And the way that I kind of read that quote is as soon as one person shows that something is possible, it generally means that it’s also possible for you. So let’s take super athletic people that are definitely born with certain physical traits, and let’s talk about kind of mental things that you could do.

So if you look at running the four-minute mile, that was something that people said was impossible, they said the body would break down, all these things, and nobody could do it, everybody pushed to try to break this four-minute barrier. And as soon as one person did it, I think it was like one person did it the one Olympics. And by the next Olympics it was like 15 people.
So you don’t have to be the first, but if you can learn from somebody else that is doing something similar to what you’re doing, then there’s ultimate proof that it is potentially possible for you and to have that faith.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. Thank you. How about a favorite study or experiment or a bit of research?

Nick Campbell
The studies for me are generally about how to be happy. There’s a book called Happiness Hypothesis that I thought was really interesting in really breaking down how your brain perceives happiness and growth and perceives fulfillment, right?

So understanding what long-term happiness is all about, those kind of studies interest me. So I don’t have a specific one but, in general, how our brain perceives to be more happy is definitely an interesting study for me because it can help me make better long-term decisions for my life.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. And how about a favorite book?

Nick Campbell
So if you’re more creative, on the creative side I recommend a book called It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be. It’s my favorite, favorite book about trying to be better at what you’re doing but it’s definitely geared toward a more creative life. And as far as business and kind of self-learning, and actually I take that back, it’s really not a business book. It’s more of a self-learning book. It’s called The Art of Self-Directed Learning. And it’s a nice breakdown of how to learn. It’s about learning how to learn. And, to me, that’s endlessly fascinating.

There’s also a book called Mastery that I would highly recommend if you’re into kind of self-learning and also trying to get the most out of a mentorship. And then for everybody, I recommend this for everybody, go listen to Jim Rohn. He is one of the originals in kind of talking about building your personal side of your life but also your wealth side of your life. Highly recommended, old-school stuff, but I think he’s one of the best communicators that we’ve ever had.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And how about a favorite tool?

Nick Campbell
I run a company that’s all remote working. We all work from either home or a local shared workspace. We use Slack all the time. We could not run our business the way that we do without Slack. And if you’re a Slack user, check out Appear it’s a little plugin installed through Slack and it allows you to do basically kind of like a Skype call really quickly in Slack. So we use that tool all the time. So Slack and Appear.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. And how about a favorite habit, a personal practice of yours that’s helpful?

Nick Campbell
I try to get my morning structured. I’m not typically a morning person and so rather than struggle with that, I’ve always tried to organize that in a much more clear way. So, for me, the thing that made the biggest difference in the morning was doing cold showers. It started off as an accident when I was staying at a friend’s house and their hot water heater went out, and they were gone and I didn’t want to bug them and I didn’t want to call anybody so I just kind of sat in this apartment for a few days taking cold showers every morning and I learned to love it.

After I hated it for three days in a row, my body started going like, “Wow, this is really interesting.” So this is a total crazy idea, I totally understand people that go, “You’re a complete idiot, Nick.” But give it a shot. Give it three days and you don’t have to do an entire cold shower. You could do a hot shower, be warm, I’m saying have fun, and then the last one minute make it all the way cold. I mean, all the way, and then stay in there. And if you can’t put it all over, just put it on the small of your back. And what it does is it wakes you up.

Now I still drink a lot of coffee and all that kind of stuff, but I have never felt more alive than when I take at least a minute shower, and now I can’t live without it. It lets me know that my day has started. It’s been huge for me.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, thank you. No, I like them weird because that just means, hey, we haven’t heard that in the 150-160 guests before you yet, so that means it’s original so that’s a winner.

Nick Campbell
Hey, if you guys do it, you let me know because what I want to know is what works for you guys, and this is something I’m really interested in lately. If any of you out there, I would love for you to try it. If you do it and it works, hit me up on Twitter @nickvegas N-I-C-K-V-E-G-A-S. I would love to hear your story because I think this is a thing, man. I’m really obsessed over it, and please let me know of your results.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And tell us, is there a particular nugget or articulation of your message that seems to really extra connect, resonate, get people taking notes, nodding their heads?

Nick Campbell
Yeah, I think we went through a lot of them: not being the best in the room, surrounding yourself with people better than you, keeping a student’s mind, keeping a flexible mind and an open mind. One of my new favorite phrases is, “It wasn’t made for me.” And what I used to say is, “That sucks.” Right?

So let’s say it’s a movie or a band or whatever. I’m a big music nerd, and I used to say, “Oh, that band sucks. You’re an idiot for listening to them.” Right? Typical young punk kid kind of stuff. And so now it’s become a little more subtle, hopefully. I’m growing up a little bit. And now what I say is, “That wasn’t made for me.” Right? And it’s a subtle difference but what it means is that there are people in the world that have different opinions than you do. There are people in the world that see the world differently than you do, and that’s okay.

And when there’s art, or when there’s an opinion, or there’s a political belief, or a religious belief that you don’t agree with, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, it doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it doesn’t mean much other than that particular piece of art or religion or political belief is not made for you, it wasn’t built for you so move on. Find the stuff that you’re obsessed with.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And, Nick, if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Nick Campbell
Yeah, so hit me up on nickvegas. I’m hanging out there, that’s probably it. And then you can also go to NickVegas.tv. I have some articles there, trying to write a little bit more about this kind of stuff, and I think there’s also a speaking page. If you’re not tired of my voice yet you can go there and see some of my talks from the last few years.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Nick Campbell
Man, find your mentor. Find somebody that you can learn from either directly and/or through a book. I think books can ultimately be the best mentorship and the cheapest too. Like for $10 to $30 to $50 you could get a book and learn how somebody that you look up to, that you want to model, live their life, makes decisions, built their career, it’s all right there.

And so many of my favorite mentors, so many of the people that have impacted my life in a huge way have no clue who I am. And so what I would say, as a challenge, is to find that mentor, whether it’s a person or a book or a story that you can connect with that will push you into your next phase.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Well, Nick, this is so much fun. Thank you. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Nick Campbell
Thank you, Pete. Thanks for having me, man. That’s fun.

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The Gold Nugget

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