Always send the elevator down. Talking w/ Chris Do about Creative Confidence & Entrepreneurship
Motoki recently talked to Chris Do on Instagram live, you can watch it here and we have summarized the talk here for you.
Chris Do is a man of many talents. He’s an Emmy award-winning designer, director, strategist, lecturer, consultant, and entrepreneur. Over the course of his two-decade career, he’s worked on creating commercials for prestigious brands like Nike, Xbox, and Fox Sports as well as music videos for bands like Coldplay. His career epitomizes what it can look like when you can make money doing what you love.
In an effort to share that gift with others, Chris founded The Futur, an online platform for content and educational courses centered around design, branding, business, and UX. Through this journey, he’s become an expert at creative leadership.
Although Chris has already amassed over 1 million subscribers across the globe, he wants to help 1 billion people turn their passions into revenue streams. This project is quickly gaining traction. The hashtag #1BminusOne brings up results from all over the world!
Chris Do’s Emphasis on Giving Back
The basis of The Futur is sharing what Chris has learned so that others can achieve a similar level of success. While you do have to pay a membership fee for some of the content, he offers so much knowledge on his website and YouTube channel for free.
Giving back is important to him for many reasons. First of all, it just makes him feel good. But his roots as a first-generation immigrant also play a role in his “giver” mentality.
After Chris’s parents fled Vietnam to escape communism, they had a sponsor in the U.S. who they called Aunt Barney. While his parents were busy looking for jobs in Kansas City, she would take care of Chris and his younger brother. Aunt Barney’s generosity is a major reason why Chris’s family was able to “make it” in America and that has attributed to his own success. So Chris loves giving back to others in the same way Aunt Barney gave to his family. According to Chris, the world would be a much better place if we all gave more than we took.
“Always send the elevator down”
The Power of a Supportive Community
The pandemic has been an interesting learning experience for Chris because of how much he values connecting with others, even as an introvert. Connecting now may look different, but it’s crucial that it’s a priority. He loves apps like Clubhouse because they help people feel less alone and know there are others who understand their pain and struggles.
Although Chris is quarantined with his wife and son, he values the support of like-minded creators. Chris’s family may not always understand his desire to create, which is why he enjoys his Pro community with The Futur. To him, the Pro group feels like a second family.
The routineness of doing the same thing every day for basically a year has, in Chris’s opinion, killed creativity. The predictability has been draining. He’s had to seek out other avenues to get that creative spark that he used to find at work. Clubhouse has been great for this too.
The support that Chris gets from his Pro community is crucial. It’s a community where everyone is stumbling forward together, learning from one another, and having an ongoing conversation. However, as a pioneer on the edge of the frontier, Chris knows he’s going to stumble a lot more. He’s left behind maps and tools that others have used to try to make his own path.
To Chris, it’s crucial that everyone in the Pro community has a similar level of commitment so everyone can get something out of others in the group. This is why there’s a price to joining the community. It shows a level of dedication so that everyone is at a similar starting point. The goal is to stumble forward together!
Being a Balanced, Self-Aware Self-Leader
Chris’ success has led him to accumulate over half a million followers on Instagram. While it’s something worth celebrating, it can be a double-edged sword.
One way he’s created a healthier balance is by trying not to rely on anyone too much. That means maintaining some autonomy in family, culture, community, and company. For example, in Chris’s own home, each member spends time on their own endeavors, whether that’s work, school, spiritual practices, or hobbies. Then they come together to eat, watch TV, talk, or exercise.
Self-awareness is another healthy habit Chris believes is crucial. One way he thinks you can be self-aware is by understanding which one of two types of creators you are. The first type is the hunter who goes out and seeks for a long period of time. When they catch something big, they go home and celebrate. This seems exciting and glamorous!
But Chris is more of a farmer creative. He plants seeds and tends to the crop. At night, he might plant seeds in the form of tweets or Clubhouse calls. Then in the morning, he can see how people are responding to those creations. That’s the harvest! Having the self-awareness to understand and accept how you are will help you work in the way that’s smartest for you.
As far as Chris’s role as a boss goes, he believes healthy leadership starts with bringing together the smartest team. Then when they contribute ideas, he works on keeping an open mind. No matter how smart you might think you are, you have to be willing to listen and learn and from others’ points of view and their suggestions.
Tips, and Tricks from Chris’s Experience
So maybe you think you have a great idea. Now what? Chris says there’s only one way to verify that it’s actually a good idea: try it out.
Trying out our best ideas can be terrifying. All of us are afraid of failure and of losing something, even things we might know are bad for us. But if we dwell on that fear for too long, it will stop us from pursuing what we actually need. It’s important to stop thinking about what you’ll lose and shift your focus to what you might gain. Think of supporting your future self!
How can you start doing that? According to Chris, you have to simply choose a direction and go for it. You’ll definitely experience some setbacks along the way, but if you keep readjusting and refuse to quit, you’ll eventually arrive at the final destination.
Applying What You’ve Learned
Stumbling forward where no one has gone before is scary. But when you’re in a creative leadership position, the reward is what you will leave behind for others who follow. They can from your success as well as your mistakes.
Remember that you can cram as much information as you want into your head, but it’s how you actually apply that knowledge — how you work with your hands — that matters. Chris wishes people would stop being so focused on learning and start actually doing the work.
If you’re looking for your next step, go ahead and write down one action and post it on social media. This will keep you accountable and it might inspire someone else to do the same. It’s like the butterfly effect. The small movement you make where you’re at could create a tornado somewhere else.
So, go flap your wings and make the world feel your energy!
We will have Chris as our guest at our dexp.academy conference on March, 25th. Check it out!
Here is another outtake.