You may think Jay Shetty came out of nowhere with over 25 million followers on Facebook, and 4 billion total views, but he’s had a long journey to become the luminary you see today. Jay only had three options growing up: doctor, lawyer, or failure. At age 18, he met a monk who inspired him to live a life of service and purpose. Upon graduating from the Cass Business School in London, he spent three years living as a monk across India and Europe. After moving on from monk life, he was asked to speak at a variety of companies about what he learned throughout his journey.

Then, he became Accenture’s social media coach for executives, helping them with digital strategies. From there, he started posting videos online that received enough attention that Arianna Huffington hired him to produce for The Huffington Post in New York City. He eventually left the company to focus on creating his own self-help content, with the mission to make wisdom go viral. Today, Jay is the co-founder (with Alex Kushneir) of Icon Media, a viral video production company, a global keynote speaker, and the host of the “ On Purpose” podcast.

In the below conversation, Jay shares how he’s been able to make transitions in his life, his sources for inspiration, how he manages his time so he’s fulfilled personally and professionally, how to be human through technology, and his best career advice.

Dan Schawbel: Jay, you’ve made many transitions in your life, from graduating from college, to living as a monk, to working at Accenture, to your role at the Huffington Post, to being a social media influencer. How did you decide when to make these transitions in your career?

Jay Shetty: The biggest thing for me in a transition is research. I get so lost in other people’s journeys and other people’s trajectories. I wonder “what did this person do?”, “how did they do it differently?” and “how did they think about it?” Because when you research the lives of people you admire, you realize there’s no pattern, formula, or step-by-step format. The step-by-step format that did exist is that they all researched what was possible, what was available, and what were the different paths. The second thing is to get really good at what you want to transition to. So, don’t wait to transition to become an expert or learn more, start learning from day one. So, if you wanted to work in social media, you have to learn social media before you want to work in it or before you want someone to notice you doing it.

Dan: You inspire so many people, but what are your sources for inspiration?

Jay: The thing that inspires me the most is the quality of humility. Anyone who is humble but still super accomplished, super recognized, renowned, has status, and has every reason to not have to be humble if they don’t want to, but they still choose to be humble because they value that humanity is connected — that we’re all on the same level as humans — that humility is what wins my heart. So, when I see that in a person, who could be arrogant or proud but displays humility, that inspires me so much. The values of gratitude and integrity inspire me. I could be inspired by anyone in the world as long as they are displaying and demonstrating these qualities and values. When I see them in a human I’m won over by them.

Dan: How do you manage your time so you can be fulfilled in every aspect of your life?

Jay: When it comes to time management, I talk a lot more about energy management. I try to give people 100% of my energy even if I’m giving them very little of my time. The reason why I try to do that is because what I feel that what people really want from you is your energy. People want to spend ten minutes of power energy with you versus an hour of us being on our phones. When it comes to people I love and care about, I may condense the time, but I’m giving them every ounce of my energy. When it comes to creation, I block create and block focus on business. I create a lot of my content in one or two days for the next month because I can get really creatively inspired and then I can spend the rest of the couple of months thinking about other creative ideas but focusing on business, logistics, being effective, practical, and productive. That block creation allows me to focus much more effectively on either of the tasks.

Dan: Technology can be used as a crutch or it can be used to develop stronger relationships. How have you used technology to create deeper relationships with others and not let it isolate you and make you feel lonely?

Jay: I think technology can be an incredible tool, especially when you use it purposely, rather than be used by it. Technology is great for instant communication, connection, and reminders letting someone know that you’re missing them and that you are thinking of them. It’s so beautiful for short instant connection. But, when it comes to meaningful discussion, take them offline. When it comes to important discussion, debates, and decisions for your life, take them offline. When it comes to those big stumbling block challenging conversations, which we all have to have in life, take them offline because those are the ones that you need to have face-to-face in person. But, remember you can also infuse your use of technology with compassion and kindness. Telling someone you miss them through a text or a message is beautiful. Sending someone a quick little video is an amazing opportunity. You can infuse your use of technology with compassion, with kindness, with empathy, and love. You can be human through technology.

Dan: What are your top three pieces of career advice?


  1. Do not become who you think you need to become; become who you truly are and were before all these new ideas were put into your head. Education and the process of it is to bring out, not to put in. We’ve got so busy putting in that we don’t bring out the potential that’s really there. Focus on your inner potential.
  2. Get mentors, get coaches, and get guides. The importance of having someone five years ahead of you and twenty-five years ahead of you is so powerful. Do not limit it to just one or the other; you need both perspectives.
  3. Being depressed, failing, and disappointed is a part of living a meaningful life. Do not try to dodge those emotions. It’s so normal and it’s super going to happen to you and me, so just be ready for that and prepared for that as opposed to thinking you don’t want it.

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Originally published on Business Insider.

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