How to Pursue a Life of Excellence with Special Guest Jori ChisholmJun 20, 2021
If you're reading this post then it would say to me that you are one of those special humans who is pursuing a life of excellence, and someone who strives to constantly invest in their own growth. If we aren't growing our minds then we are doing the opposite, and that just doesn't bear thinking about. One of the greatest determining factors in how our life unfolds, is the proximity we keep with others. The type of people you spend your time with or you work with will have a HUGE impact on your life. Over the years I have came across some very inspiring people who I know are some of earth's greatest people. These are the people I choose to stay connected with over the years - and it all comes down to connection and values. When we are connected by similar interests and shared values - the friendship is rich in every way.
Jori Chisholm has been a good friend for almost two decades, and although we are separated by the Pacific ocean, we manage to stay connected through digital means, and our annual meet-up in Hawaii (who doesn't love Hawaii!!?)
Jori is a three-time world champion, inventor, entrepreneur, father and bagpipe virtuoso. In this week's show, Jori shared some incredible insights on
- Is success a matter of chance?
- The power of having a great coach or mentor.
Not to be missed...
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Jori Chisholm, three time world champion and bagpiper, Seattle, Washington.
James Laughlin, Life Coach and Leadership Coach, Christchurch, New Zealand.
James Laughlin 00:00
Welcome to Life on Purpose. My name is James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician and now a success coach to leaders and high performers. Each week, I bring you an aspiring leader or expert to help you live your life on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and
investing in yourself. Enjoy the show!
I'm incredibly excited to welcome in this week's special guest three-time world champion, inventor, entrepreneur, father and bagpipe virtuoso, Jori Chisholm. Jori Chisholm a massive welcome to the life on purpose podcast. It's so great to connect with you.
Jori Chisholm 00:58
Hey, James. How you doing?
James Laughlin 00:59
So good. Look, guys. I want to let you know, Jori has been a lifelong friend. We've known each other for I would say almost 20 years, we played music together with a band in Vancouver, Canada. Jori has travelled the world. He has become a three-time world champion. He's an inventor, a creator, a father, businessman. He's a quite incredible human. And I'm just so excited to share his wisdom with you guys. So, Jori what's been happening in the last week or two in your life?
Jori Chisholm 01:30
Great, James. Thank you for the introduction. Yes. So, things are good here. We're in Seattle, we're just coming into summer. And you know, still with the with the effects of the pandemic, most of the festivals and a lot of the normal things that people be doing in the summer are not happening this year. But the weather's getting nice. My kids are out of school, starting today was their last day of school. So, we're going to be doing, you know, some small family vacations in the northwest here. And then they've got summer camps all summer. So, it's, you know, starting to feel a little bit more normal than it has been. And it's a very welcome change. That's for sure.
James Laughlin 02:11
Well, that's good to hear. And hey, hopefully. Because for those listeners, well you're in, I get the pleasure of connecting in Hawaii, usually every year around April. So hopefully we can get to do that again and share some fun times with the families.
Jori Chisholm 02:23
Yeah, absolutely. That's the plan. I mean, people are travelling to Hawaii now within the United States. And I think from some countries abroad, so the plan is to be there in April 2022. After a two-year break, it'll be welcome sight to see that the white sands and the blue sky for sure.
IS SUCCESS A MATTER OF CHANCE?
James Laughlin 02:41
100%, 100%. Now you Jori, you got so much to share. And I know that in today's session, we're not going to be able to share half of what you know, but I want to talk a little bit about success. Because you and I have talked over the years a lot about excellence and working towards achieving excellence in everything that we do. So, when you look at success on a global scale, do you think success is just a matter of chance?
Jori Chisholm 03:09
Wow, good question. Um, well, I'll talk about my experience, I think, you know, so I've made my life's work really in related to playing bagpipes and performing and competing at a high level, travelling around the world, playing individually and with bands, and also teaching, and innovating and teaching and then also developing products. And being an inventor, I have a few patents now for some of my inventions or backpack related products. And I feel like luck is sort of one of those things where it certainly has an impact, meeting the right person hitting something right with the timing of the release of a product where there was a need. But to me, the way I think about luck is, it's a bit like talent. It's something that just happens that's out of your control. I think that's maybe one way you could define talent, as opposed to a skill that you build through hard work and great coaches and study. Luck, I think you might define as some good fortune that comes your way from no effort or deserving, you know, not deserving it. So, to me those things, I think, play an impact, but there's not much you can do about them. So, I don't worry too much about it. And I don't spend too much time thinking about it, you know? What I try to do is do the best with the cards that I'm dealt, right? And so, I've spent my career trying to, you know, work hard, work smart, make the most of opportunities that come my way, and try to make my own opportunities through again, trying to be clever, working hard, and not missing opportunities that could easily slip past.
HOW DID IT ALL START
James Laughlin 05:08
Totally. I love that. And you've really taken a hobby, which is the bagpipes and turned it into a career. And for a lot of us, that's a dream, right? When you take something that you just enjoy doing, and you're in a flow state when you're doing it, and you turn it into your career. So, let's rewind the clock a little bit. Let's go back to university years. So, when you were at university, what were you studying? And then how did that segue into what you're doing now?
Jori Chisholm 05:36
Yeah. So, I got started piping when I was a kid, and I played a couple other musical instruments before the bagpipes. But the pipes was really the first thing that I found in my life, that was something I just really, really wanted to do, and was my passion. You know, I didn't need to be reminded to practice it was just something I wanted to do. And I had piping heroes and these great bagpipers who I'd met, and I'd read heard about, and I wanted to be like them, and I didn't know what it took. But I knew that I loved the music, and I aspired to be a great piper. So, all the way through school, you know, doing well in school was important to me and your families that place a very high value on education. And if you would have met me, when I was a teenager, I was absolutely certain what I was going to do with my life, and that was I was going to go to medical school, and I was going to be a medical doctor, and I even had my specialty field and everything picked out. So, I do have a certain amount of understanding when I meet a young person who is very certain of their life's path, that's a wonderful thing to do, can be very, you know, it's very motivating for me to do well in school to follow that path. But I also understand how things can change and change for the better as you evolve as a human being. And as you get exposure to new things, and you sort of figure yourself out. So, I went to university, and I studied biology and chemistry. And then I became a psychology major because I just was really interested in the courses that were offered in the psychology department. And that has continued to be something that I'm very interested in human behaviour, how we perceive music, how we learn motivation, all these things, behaviour change, like these are all things that I encountered for the first time in any sort of organised way at university. And I would say around the second or third year out of my four years there, I knew that I was not going to be going to medical school. So, I was once talking to a friend who was a doctor and I said, “Well, and then I decided I wasn't going to go to medical school.” And he said, “No, no, you got weeded out.” So fair enough, whether I got weeded out, it's sort of a process both ways, which is, I knew that my life was going to take a different term. Now, I didn't know what that was going to be. I knew that bagpipes were, you know, the most important thing in my life, apart from you know, my family and my relationships, but in terms of the things that I wanted to achieve and strive towards and put my attention to was bagpipes, but I didn't know what that looked like there wasn't a path for professional bagpiper, the way there would be for becoming a medical doctor, many other professions. So, I took a year right out of college. And we call it college or university. Same thing. I worked for a year in a real job by word, tie in a suit and worked for a year. And then I earned enough money for the following year to not taking a whole year off. But take a year where I didn't have a lot of financial pressure, while still living at pretty frugal college student lifestyle at that point and try to figure out what I was going to do. And one of the things that I did in that year was I started teaching bagpipes, and I started to develop a vision for what that might look like. And this was in the late 90s. So, the internet was just starting to take off. And I certainly didn't have any inkling of where the internet would be today. 20 years later, but I had an idea that this could be a way to connect with people, and that there was possibly some sort of technological and cultural shift that was about to happen. And again, I didn't have any sort of foresight on what that would be. But I registered my website in 1999, and that was bagpipelessons.com and it's still my website. And I guess you could say that was luck. If I had been five years older, and the internet wouldn't have been a thing, and I wouldn't have registered that website, and if I had been five years younger, somebody else would have grabbed that website. So, I suppose that's just lucky timing for me. And when I got out of university, and when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, so that's one, one example there, of fortune.
And, yeah, so, you know, moved up to Seattle, where I live now with my wife and two sons. And we've been here for 22 years, and I've been doing full time, bagpipe teaching, performing product development, inventing stuff, online content, and that's what I'm doing all that time.
ON HIS CHALLENGES
James Laughlin 10:47
I think it's just incredible, Jori. And you know, for those folks out there who don't really know what bagpipes are and haven't experienced them. It's pretty unique instrument. But also, you know, you may have heard it played pretty badly. So, I want you to if you're listening to this, take a moment and go to YouTube and type in Jori Chisholm and just listen to how a bagpipe should sound, it's phenomenal, and even better, search his website, bagpipelessons.com and check it out. But what you've done is you've created this pathway to serve others because your impact hundreds, actually know you impacted thousands of pipers around the world. And that's really a special gift. So, what are some of the challenges that have come with that? Because that's not easy to take the path last walk is not easy. Socially, sometimes it's not easy to explain that to family and friends. Sometimes it's not easy financially with ups and downs, but what have your challenges been to take that path and march to the beat of your own bagpipe?
Jori Chisholm 11:45
Interesting. So, what I always tell people is that, you know, I love my job. And I feel very fortunate. And I usually don't use the term blessed, but people use that term. I mean, you know what it means. And I do feel blessed to be able to do something that I love to do, and make a career doing it, and help other people to do it. But I would say it's not for everybody, you know, it takes a certain amount of discipline, you know, so I have a small team that works for me now. But that's a relatively recent development. So, for a long, long time, it was truly a one person business, right. So, I'm home, I don't have an office, I work from home. It's me, and my pipes, and my laptop. And teaching students here, teaching students online, I was the first piper to offer bagpipe instruction on the internet, going back to 2003. But it was just something that I was doing on my own. So, I understand that's not for everybody, that sort of entrepreneurial thing. It's absolutely for me, and this idea of meaningful work is something that I love, I love the challenge of trying to find new ways to make an impact in the world, whether that's through my one-on-one teaching, or if it's through my sort of online courses where I can teach large numbers of people through my products. I love that challenge. And I also love the fact that it's my business, and it's something that I've built. And now I do have a small team, and they're a big part of my continuing success. But looking back over, you know, a couple of decades, that's a great source of pride for me. And I would say it doesn't happen overnight, you know, as it is with people are, you know, quite aware that you know, in any sort of sports discipline, or musical performance discipline, that there's the 10,000 hours thing, and there's a lot of work and dedication, all that stuff. But that goes for other aspects of life too. And that goes for my teaching. I'm so much more effective a teacher than I was 20 years ago. And I think if you're doing things, right, you're not just getting older, but you're learning from all those miles travelled. And I tried to do that. And that's, you know, some something that I've always been interested in is systems and processes and trying to refine my understanding and trying to find ways to communicate more effectively finding tools and methods that are more effective. You know, if you look in any sort of, just take an athletic discipline, like especially like a timed sport like track and field or swimming, the records keep falling. And, you know, we're biologically we're the same humans as we were decades ago, but they keep falling. And why is that? Well, it's there's improved training methods, we have tools available that we didn't have, I mean, just the smartphone is just an incredibly powerful tool. It's more than texting your friends and, you know, instant messages. It's a camera, it's a slow motion camera. It's a high-fidelity audio recording device that you can loop things and slow them down and analyse your playing. It's a way to communicate, it's a way to, it's connected to all the great libraries of the world that's connected to YouTube, which is more than entertainment. It's just this vast repository of knowledge and inspiration. So, all these tools are at our fingertips. And that's part of what I'm trying to do is find things that work for me that work for my students, and then try to scale that and help others as much as I can.
ON HIS STRATEGIES
James Laughlin 15:57
That's epic. And you're talking about helping others and helping others acquire new skills or new habits, new techniques. So, let's apply this to just anything. So, whether someone wants to learn an instrument, they want to learn a new strategy for their business or get healthy. How would you say, you know, from your experience, it's the best way to kind of short cut that time between not knowing and knowing how to do something with confidence, like acquiring a new skill? Are there any strategies that you implement with yourself? Or with your students that help them to acquire new skills quicker?
Jori Chisholm 16:29
Yeah, I think you need, I think the number one thing is you need to get in touch with somebody who knows what they're talking about. You need a great coach, teacher, mentor, whatever it is. And, you know, if we're talking about, you know, your question sounds specifically was about how to accelerate that process. Well, there's a certain amount of learning that you can do on your own with a book, or with a book on tape, or with a YouTube video. But you're going to have a much more- you're going to have a faster learning process, if you are in touch directly with somebody who has travelled the path before, there's just so much that goes into certain things. I mean, I know a lot about bagpipes, but whatever the field is, it could be business, it could be some academic field. You need someone who you can trust and not just the information that that person can transmit to you, but also the path. And a lot of times, it's, you know, getting from here to there is not just about knowledge, it's about skill acquisition. I mean, honestly, a lot of it in what I do is helping people avoid pitfalls. And if you can avoid the common pitfalls because you've been warned about them, you're just going to be so much further along, you know, if you could learn in the most direct path, without taking detours. I mean, it would just be like a superpower. And we all make mistakes, and we learn things wrong, and we form bad habits, and then we need to retract or we take detours in life. And that's normal. But if you're interested in limiting that, or reducing that as much as you can, I'd say you got to find an expert, and listen to what they tell you to do.
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO?
James Laughlin 18:31
That's great. And I honestly, I can attest to that as well, in my own life, whether it's in drumming, my drumming, life, you know, getting a good teacher, a mentor, or in my business life, getting a good coach. It's made such a difference. So, what I took from that Jori, as well was when you're learning, it's not just about learning what to do. It's actually about learning what not to do. Would that be-
Jori Chisholm 18:52
Absolutely yeah, it was both. Let's do this. Don't do that. Because a lot of things, certainly, in music and sports, there are certain things that are innate, and to me innate, is something that you do without any practice. And there are a lot of things that are innate that are wrong, right? So, an example would be driving a car, you know, the sort of the death grip thing, or certain types of distractions where you're paying attention to something that seems like the right thing to pay attention to. But you learn from your teacher that No, no, that's not what you focus on. This is what you focus on. And then you do that, and then all of a sudden, things work better. So, it's not always trusting your instincts, because sometimes the instincts are things that need to be overcome, you know, certain fears or just certain natural habits that we have. And then in addition to what to do and what not to do, there's the question, which is what's the right thing to do now? What's the right thing to do next? You can have a vision of where you want to be at the top of that mountain. But you know, you're a rookie you don't know how to get there. And you may think that that's the way I see it there. That's the way I get to the mountain top. But someone who's been there says, actually, that's not the most direct way, it's this way. So, there's this concept in education called the zone of proximal development. And what that means is like, what is the next thing that you should be working on, you can do this, this is sort of like your sphere of where you really know what you're where you have mastery, and you want to get out here or you want a larger sphere, well, what's the next step? And that's something that a good coach or teacher will be able to help you with. And there's, you know, everyone's an individual, but we also have large areas where we are similar. So, a good coach will be able to figure out what you need to work on. Next, based on what you know how to do right now. And that's a really big important part that I think you get from a great mentor, which is, I hear where you want to go, and I'm going to get you there. And I'm going to help you with my knowledge and expertise, and my experience, get you there in the most direct way, which might be different from where you think you need to go.
James Laughlin 21:14
Hmm, that's powerful. They really help you to see your blind spots, right? Because your blind spot is your blind spot. You don't see it.
absolutely, you don't.
Jori Chisholm 21:25
Yeah, so I think from a practical standpoint, and also from sort of an emotional and psychological standpoint, it's very hard to see yourself the way you really are. I mean, that's one of the sorts of things about being alive. And being a subjective person. Every time I see myself on video, or hear myself, on an audio recording, whether it's speaking, or performing or just walking across the room, there's a little part of me that goes really, that's, that's what I look like or sound like. And that's just, I think, just the reality of being a human and just you're seeing yourself out of your own eyes. So, it's extremely valuable and important to have that person that you can trust on the outside.
The best of the best, you know, Roger Federer has coaches and trainers. Absolutely. He's, you know, pick the best person at whatever thing they do in the world. They have a team around them. Certainly, they have had people around them helping them get there.
HOW TO CRITIQUE YOUR BUSINESS
James Laughlin 22:34
100%. When you look at Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, both of those guys used a guy called Tim Grover, an amazing guy. And he was just all about helping them win. And they had to wait, and it was about what do we need to do to get you from A to B? What's your what you just mentioned at what's your one next step. And to me that was just that it is a powerful way of he takes them from A to B helps them see their blind spot. And when you think about that, you've done self-critique, self-reflection in your piping realm. So, you know, you've recorded yourself, you've stepped out of yourself, essentially, what's the recording back and critiqued. How do you do that in your business?
Jori Chisholm 23:13
Yeah, well, that's I mean, that's a challenge, right? So now I have my small team that I talked about. So now I have people that are helping me, with my marketing strategies with writing content, you know, it's still my vision, my voice, my overall, you know. Sort of the goal and the vision is mine, but having other people chime in and go, well, you know, I think this, let's try this. And I think that's part of anybody who's trying to grow, you know, grow a small business, or, you know, maybe you're trying to take your own, whatever your own personal or sports or musical goals are to the next level is you get feedback from others, and you just get that, you know, you start to grow your team. And I think part of that can be reading books, you know, reading great books, from the great, you know, whether it's literature, or they're sort of these how-to books are books about habits or learning or motivation. And those ideas and those authors, those philosophers, those great minds, they have an effect on you. And I read a lot of nonfiction, I read some fiction, but I read a lot of nonfiction. I listen to podcasts, and I watch these great lectures on YouTube, and I try to take them in. And I want to know where I'm deficient. Now, it's not always easy to hear that or it's not always the most fun thing, but it's useful to know, you know, if you're missing the target, and why you're missing the target, because then maybe you could do something about it and you could hit the target more. So, if you care about, you know, reaching whatever goal you've set for yourself. It's really useful to know why you're not getting there the things that you could do differently. I remember one of my mentors was that the late, great pipe major Alister Gillis, and he talked, and this is, you know, he was voted the greatest Bagpiper of the 20th century. Fantastic player, great guy died far too young, sadly. But I remember him when I was taking lessons from him as a young man, him telling me the importance of having someone who would tell you the truth. And he was talking specifically about piping. And for him, it was his father, who was his first teacher and continued to be one of his mentors through his life. And he said that, even to this day, you know, he didn't say it quite this way. But what the message I took was, even to this day, after all the prizes, and all the medals that he'd won, eclipsed far and beyond what his father had ever achieved, competitively. He said, my father was still telling me the truth. And that is incredibly valuable. So, I think if you have somebody who you trust, who you respect their opinion, and they will tell you the truth, hang on to that person. Because you might not always like what they say, but it's very valuable.
James Laughlin 26:24
100% Yeah, having I mean, it might only be two or three people in your life that you have, and it may be a coach or a mentor, but it may be a family member, I agree with you Jori and just being able to be held accountable to who you say you are and people to call you out on that, that's, that's golden.
Jori Chisholm 26:37
Yeah. I think also on the positive side, the encouragement, you know, so if you have had somebody who's been part of your life for a long time, and they will be honest to you, but they also, you know, have a sense of who you are on a deeper level, you know, so those long term relationship and long term friendships are very important.
James Laughlin 26:59
Definitely, definitely. I interviewed an Irish sporting legend called Ronan O'Gara. So, for those sporting people out there, don't know Ronan. So, he's the highest ever point scorer for the Irish rugby team. And sitting having a cup of tea with him and talking about his life and his challenges. And he said, look, James, my dad was the guy for me. And he says, when I was at my lowest ebb, he was able to lift me up and remind me who I am and what I'm capable of. He says, but on the other side, when I was bigger, you know, too big for my boots. And for my own, you know, hot air, he was able to bring me right back down to earth and remind me, what I’m about, who I am, what I need to focus on. So, you often that person could be sitting quite close in proximity. And sometimes we don't like hearing some of the feedback they give us. But it's the best medicine for us.
Jori Chisholm 27:48
Yeah, I think I think you're right there; you bring up a good point, which is that sometimes what you need in that moment might be a brief moment, or it might be a longer period of time is what you need is encouragement. And you need to really remind yourself that what you're trying to do is incredibly hard. And you should go easy on yourself, or you should acknowledge that what you're trying to do is really hard. You know, I had this realisation recently that, you know, when you're a musician, and you're really striving, you really, you're trying to do something that's impossible, because what you have your sights set on is always just out of reach. So that can be frustrating. And I hear that from my students quite often they'll say, I've been really working on this, I just, I feel like I shouldn't be able to do it by now. And that's always kind of an interesting comment. And we need to figure out well, it could be that there's something that you're doing in your practice, it isn't right, or it could be that it just takes more time. So sometimes you need to acknowledge that. It's not for lack of effort. It's not for lack of, you know, a good approach, just things take time. And what you're trying to do is actually really hard, and you don't appreciate that. So, there's that side of it. And then on the other side of it, I think sometimes what you need is you need to be told by yourself or by others, that you can do better, that you're not doing enough that you can do better and you know, deep down, that you're going easy on yourself or you're taking an easy way out or that you're not being what you could be. So, I think it's a mix there. And I think, you know, maybe people have a different balance of those, they sort of have a natural balance where some people are maybe harder on themselves. And they need a little bit more of the encouragement once in a while. But certainly, there are people who could be vastly better than they are, if they wanted to. And if they you know if maybe circumstances come into that as well, but I'm always trying to find that balance there. You know, there's this idea of, you know, I've been running on the treadmill, trying to get in shape the last few months, and I've always been reasonably good shape. But last few months, I've really been had an organised exercise plan, which has been great. And there's that moment on the treadmill, where it's like, it's painful, it's really painful. And I think there's this idea, which is you want to listen to your body, don't push yourself too hard, and don't injure yourself. But there's this also this, this voice in me, which is you can do this, you can push through this. And maybe that's a metaphor for other aspects of life, too, which is, when do you need to say that's okay. Let's take a break, or you've done well reward yourself for when you say no, no, no, that's you're capable of more if you'd give yourself a chance. So, I think it's a balance.
DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO YOU LOVE, REPECT AND TRUST?
James Laughlin 30:58
It really is. Can you think back during your time in your life, whether it's recent or years gone past where you've had someone in your life who you love and respect and trust, say, hey, Jori come on, you can, you can do more, you can give a little more, and it's made you really reflect and then take action and get a better result?
Jori Chisholm 31:15
Oh, absolutely. I mean, to me, when you as soon as I got that idea of what you're saying about I thought about my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson. And she was very strict, and very old school, even for those times. And she had a reputation for being brutally, let's say brutally honest. And I was a kid who I can kind of get by using my natural, whatever, charm. But I had never applied myself until I was in her class. So, I was 11-12 years old. And I remember on my first project, I got an F. So that's the worst you can do. And I never even had letter grades before, but a big red F. And I remember, I was shocked. And we had a conversation. And I don't remember the exact conversation, but it was something along the lines of you can do better. And I ended up completing that project. And I got, I went from getting my first F just like in the movies, big red F to my first A+. And that was truly a turning point for me, where I had my first experience, sort of like a, you know, a shock. And then for the first time, I really, really applied myself and I thought I did a great job. And then I was rewarded for it. And it wasn't just you know; I wasn't a straight A student from there on out. But that was the first time in that academic context where I really got sort of a school of hard knocks, it was like, not so fast, wise guy. And you can do better. And I absolutely remember that. And, you know, it was harsh, but that's what I needed. So, I have a you know, I've got two young kids now. So, it's a similar balance, which is when does a little rascal need to be told? You know, it's okay. Try again. One more time, you know, like, when do they need patience and encouragement? And when do they need to be told, okay, knock it off. enough is enough, right?. So again, I think parents, we all have maybe a natural balance where we can go overboard in one direction or the other. Finding the right balance is not something that you do once. I think it's something that you do continually from moment to moment. And that's probably, you know, I'm trying to think if it's the biggest challenge, well, it's certainly one of the biggest challenges for me as a parent, which is to strike that balance of when do they need patience and kindness, and understanding and forgiveness as the primary response? And when do they need, hey, come on, you know, better than that, right? And I do think it's a balance, it's certainly depends on the kid. It depends on the moment. Sometimes you cut them a little bit of slack. And sometimes you go, oh, come on, you know, sit up, sit up straight, or whatever it is you're trying to do. So, I think it's a balance with parenting. I think it's a balance that you need to strike. I try to strike with myself. Yeah.
PERSISTENCE IN BUSINESS
James Laughlin 34:34
That's brilliant. As I'm listening to that, but word persistence comes up. And I'll go back to something you said earlier, just you know, by being a bagpiper, right? That's one of those things that you can't do overnight. And you know, we're in a society now where we can download a lot of things instantly, whether it's on the app store, or we go straight to YouTube, or we buy a course or we pay something by credit card. But there are some things in life that cannot be hurried. Now a musical instrument is one of those. And I do believe that every child should be encouraged, or at least given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument because it teaches delayed gratification. And so, you've had to develop this persistence with this hobby across your life. And how have you seen that play out in your business? Because in business, it's no different. There's no, you can't just start a business today and tomorrow, you make a million bucks. Like that's not how business works generally. So highly used that persistence, and where have you seen it show up in your business over the last 15-20 years?
Jori Chisholm 35:37
Yeah, so I think that absolutely, there are parallels there. And I and I think your suggestion that every child should have an opportunity to learn a musical instrument, I think is absolutely spot on. A musical instrument, some sort of skill. I know kids play chess, they do sports, but I think musical instrument, but something that you have to stick with it for months or years, right? This is not a weekend thing, this is something that you stick with, certainly with the bagpipes, you are not making anything resembling a beautiful musical sound for a while, right? And I think that the delayed gratification is part of it. And I think part of that is the idea of deliberate, incremental progress. And that's really what life is. And I think that that's absolutely comes into play and into my business, which is, things don't happen overnight, you're not going to download a course on you know, the, you know, whiz bang, newest trend in marketing and download it, and it's not a plug in that you put on your website, and then you know, your house is full of money, it just doesn't work that way. Regardless of what people promise. So, it's this idea of incremental progress, and gradual improvement through you know, various iterations. So, you come up with what you think is a good idea, you try to flesh it out, you've run it by a couple other people that you trust, and you try to put it together, and then you see what happens. And then maybe you make some tweaks, maybe you need some marketing, maybe need to actually change the product.
But it's a process of continual improvement. You know, that's how I look at my inventions. You know, I've developed these products for bagpipers which have been quite successful and are used by many of the top players in our art form, and, you know, won awards and that sort of thing. And it always starts with an initial thought, which is, this is a problem, or this is something that doesn't work, how it should, or this is too hard, or this is too complicated, or wouldn't it be nice if we had a thing that did this? So, then I think, Oh, yeah, well, and then it's a process of product development and tinkering with things. And then it's a, you know, come up with the version one, and then people are using it, and it works great. But right away, I'm already thinking, ah, but there's this thing, this could be improved. And I think if you're really, you know, if you're intimately familiar with the challenges that people face in whatever discipline, then who better to be the innovator. I remember, I was fascinated when I learned that. Eddie Van Halen, the guitar player, the legendary guitar God who recently passed, I was so amazed when I learned that he had multiple patents. And you know, for guitar, peg heads and different guitar gear, very, very technical gear. And then after thinking about it for about five seconds, I thought, well, of course, he's the guy who else would know who else in the world but a guy like Eddie Van Halen is the one who knows everything about gear, and he wants the very best, and he knows exactly what works and what doesn't work and what bothers him. And that's the first step is you know, being intimately familiar with what's going on in your discipline, identifying what the problems are, and then the third step, which most people don't do, which is going, but I think I have a solution. And then I guess the fourth step would be actually trying to turn it into a product. But it's that you know, Jerry Seinfeld said in an interview that he thinks comedians are exquisitely good at observing the world around them and being irritated by it. And he said, that’s if he notices something, and it bothers him. Then to him, that's the seed of a joke. There's a lot of his jokes are, you know, like, hey, what's with these things, you know, and it's universal humour, because it's It seems so obvious once you hear him say it. But it wasn't obvious because he's the first guy who said it. And I mean, a lot of my products have come from that, which is something I noticed something was like, this isn't right, or this doesn't work, how it should or this is annoying. And I know that because I've been playing for all these years and really trying to be good, and really trying to have everything work in the bagpipe is complicated, and hard to play. Plus, I've been teaching full time for 20 years. So, I see in my students, so I mean, someone in my position should be the person who would figure out what the challenges are. And then the next step for me was to try to figure out a solution and then go down the product development path and, you know, try to come up with something that will help people.
JORI, A PROBLEM SOLVER.
James Laughlin 40:51
And you've done that, like hundreds and hundreds of pipers that I've connected with over the years using your products. And these are papers that are just starting off. These are also Piper's here, and the world's greatest are using an embracing your innovative products. The one thing I wanted to touch on was, you don't only innovate in the product sphere, you also do it in the event sphere. So, you seen a challenge or a problem with competitions and people being able to get to those competitions. So essentially Pipers and drummers for those who don't know anything about what we do. We often compete and we get adjudicated, and we need to sometimes travel from Vancouver to Portland, or we need to travel from Christchurch, New Zealand to Glasgow, Scotland, right? So, you've seen a challenge, and then you come up with a pretty amazing solution to that problem. Please talk us through that event, that special event that you created.
Jori Chisholm 41:44
Great. Yeah, thank you. So, like you said, competition is huge for pipers and drummers, you know, we do we go to the Highland Games, the Scottish festivals, they're all around the world. We it's a really a big part of how our community comes together, how we perform. And they're wonderful. But they're not with it's not without its drawbacks, as you mentioned, expense, travel, all that kind of stuff. So, I had this idea 10 years ago now to do an online bagpipe competition, right? And now we're doing everything online, but it just had never been done before. So, in a typical in person competition, you register in advance. And then on the date you show up at the Highland Games at a fairground at a stadium that a beautiful little gland in rural Scotland somewhere, and you get your pipes out and you play for a judge. And then what the judge will do is they'll award the placing, so whoever won the competition, and if you're lucky, you'll get some feedback from the judge. And that's Piper's we love to do that. So anyway, I had this idea to do this online competition, did a few of them back in 2011 2012. James, you came on board, and we're the drumming chair for our events. And we branded it the world, online piping and drumming championships, and we got hundreds of people and people loved it. And this idea of Wow, I can be a part of something global. And I can challenge myself, and I can work on my tunes. And I can have this experience of a personal challenge and being part of something big. And I don't have to travel. So, I got busy with a few other things, you know, had a couple kids developing some products. My business was expanding in other ways, but always had this idea that we'd bring back this online competition. And then Coronavirus, just the most unfavorite word around the world, or the last year or two happened last spring, and just knew we had to bring it back. So, we brought back the online competition back last spring 1600 entries, which is has to be the world's biggest piping and drumming competition of all time by some sort of factor. And just a really cool thing, the competitors, we're incredibly grateful to be part of something, you know, when the whole calendar of so much of our lives was just completely just wiped out. So, it was really important for people, and they communicated that to us and the parents of a lot of kids, they really loved it. We had a world class judges Pipers and drummers from all over the world. Judging from home, you know, the way it would work is instead of playing live, you'd submit a video. So, in a way it's simple, but it was this concept that I basically invented which was you register online, instead of playing live, you record your video at home, you upload it to YouTube, you submit a YouTube video, we send it to our judges, they do the placings, and the most important thing for a lot of our competitors is to get that feedback. So, every one of our competitors gets a sheet of comments written by one of our world class judges, something like 95% of the competitors say, that's the number one reason they do it, that can only be so many winners, but everybody gets the feedback. So, it has that educational component, you know, and that's, I know, important to you. And it's a value that we share, which is not only pursuing excellence as players, but this idea of spreading the spreading the art form throughout the world. And just online competition is really proven to be a successful model for doing that. And to be able to scale it, you know, there's only so many lessons that you and I can teach in a day. And because competition is such a big part of how Pipers and drummers perform and get feedback, it's been it's really worked in that way. So, we did three competitions last year, just finished one up this spring, and have just announced a new one for or we will be announcing one for the summer, and then the fall this year. But you know, on the order of over 7000 entries over the company that we've done, and just seemed like the right thing to do. You know, I've been playing bagpipes for basically my whole life since I was a kid. And I've benefited from all these organisations that have been around, you know, the various piping associations, the local Highland Games that are all run by volunteers, and we just take for granted if we show up on the other side of the world on that date, that there's going to be that event for us. And it's all going to be there. So, I felt when this pandemic hit that it was really our responsibility to bring this back for this community, and to use that experience that we had, you know, doing online, these online events, but just online stuff in general.
BALANCING YOUR WELLBEING AND RELATIONSHIPS WHILST REACHING YOUR DREAMS
James Laughlin 47:01
And this applies to so many people, someone who's listening to this that's in a different sphere. You know, if you're not doing something like this, there's an opportunity, whether you're a guitarist, or whether you're an ice skating or whatever it might be, there's an opportunity if pandemics continue throughout our lifetime, to do things like this and to be innovative. So, it's really an inspiration Jori. And I would have to say, because I know you very well, you're incredibly much like a you're a high performer on what I mean by high performer is that you perform above the standard norms across many, many areas of your life. But you don't do it once you do it sustainably, and you do over the long game. And whilst you're doing that, and this is what truly makes you a high performer, you do that whilst maintaining your wellbeing and maintaining relationships. And that's powerful. Because a lot of us want to have the big business, a lot of us want to create products, but everything gets sacrificed. So how do you do that, and maintain your wellbeing and your relationships?
Jori Chisholm 48:05
Well, I would say that everything good in my life that I have been that I have been the beneficiary of has come through people. Now certainly, there's luck, and there's hard work and all that sort of stuff, and whatever personal you know, grit and determination that I put into it, but really it comes down to people through having mentors who've guided me and inspired me and you know, given me technical expertise and know how to my wife and kids and my parents and my extended family and my friends, you know, I count you in the group of my, you know, influential friends and supporters. So, it's through people. And I really try to encourage that in my own two sons, who are nine and six, that many good things will come to you if you're a good person to be around. So be a good listener, be a good helper, be respectful, like there's nothing bad that can come from that. And if people want to be around you, and people want to teach you things and show you things and help you along the way. It absolutely is good for everybody. If that happens, and it's just so important, I think. And you know, I'm naturally an extrovert. I love being around people. I can fly halfway across the world and be totally jet lagged. But you put me in front of a roomful of bagpipers and I'll just I'll just check and go for days, you know, and we've done that together. It's just, I guess that's also luck. But I get a tremendous amount of I get so much from being around people and I always have, I think that's part of it. You know, I don't want to sound immodest, but when it comes to that, we were talking earlier about the need to reward yourself versus be more strict and demanding of yourself, I would say, I probably err on that side of being very demanding to myself. I don't, it doesn't get me down. I'm not I don't sort of beat myself up. But I'm always striving, I've always been sort of a striver. And now that I have kids, I also, I get a lot of inspiration from that, you know, when I, my first son was born, I was expecting to have to feel the sort of unconditional love that a parent would feel. And I did feel that absolutely, but I felt something else that I wasn't expecting, which is I felt incredibly motivated. And now, to me, that just seems like a natural thing that should happen to a new parent, but I just, it kind of surprised me in a good way. So, I very much, I think about my business as something to build, you know, not just something in the short term, but that's something that can build. And I also think about living my life in a way that models you know, models life, how life should be lived as best as I can for my kids. So, that's another thing, you know, I think about, you know, not only the good things I should do, but what are some things that I know I shouldn't do? You know, and I think everybody has that list, or you know, it really be better if I exercise a little bit more, you know, whatever it is, we all you know, what that might be, you know, get a little bit more sleep, read some more books and look at less Netflix, or, you know, I really should eat a little more vegetables and less, you know, hotdogs, or whatever, whatever the thing is, we all have that list. So again, thinking about incremental progress, you don't need to, I mean, to be sustainable, I think you need to find a way to do things gradually, in a way that is incremental. And if you're getting 1/10 of 1%, moving in that direction, every day or every week, over time, that's going to be tremendously powerful. It's not, you know, we've talked about sort of the New Year's resolution thing. And it's not about making a massive overnight change. It's about just steering just a little bit that way. And, you know, you think about, you know, a comet or an asteroid in space, if it just gets deflected just a 100th of a degree over millions of miles. It's, it's totally changes course. So, I think about that, in terms of the things that I the good stuff that I know I should do more of, and some of the other stuff that I want to do a little bit less of, and, you know, just try to do a little bit nudge in that direction.
THE BEST WAY TO CONNECT WITH YOU
James Laughlin 53:08
That's amazing. You've got a real high degree of self-awareness. And I see that and all the high performers that I connect with that I'm fortunate enough to interview, whether they're prime ministers, whether they're athletes, whether they're innovators, musicians, the one thing that they all have in common, they have many things in common. But one of those traits is just a high degree of self-awareness. You know, what you're up to, you know, when you're performing well, you know, when you're feeling overwhelmed, and the most important thing, you're inspired to take action to change course when required. So, I love it. So Jori, what you're sharing is just absolutely phenomenal. And I just want people that are listening or watching to be able to connect with you, what's the best way for them to get connected with you?
Jori Chisholm 53:47
Sure, so my website is bagpipelessons.com You can also find me on Facebook, bagpipelessons.com, Instagram, and Twitter, bagpipe lessons. And you know, if you're interested in something we've been talking about, feel free to send me an email. Even non bagpipe related questions, if you know the stuff, we're talking about is I think, you know, fairly universal.
ON LIVING LIFE ON PURPOSE REALLY MEAN
James Laughlin 54:14
Absolutely. And that's one thing for all you guys listening in. The one thing I treasure when I get to go to Hawaii, and Jori and I have a lot of fun and we put on an event there but the one thing I cherish the most is in the evenings sitting down with a drink and just chatting about psychology about human behaviour by our visions, our dreams, our families, you know Jori is a real wealth of knowledge. So please, you know, if you' not a bagpiper or a drummer, please do reach out to Jori because he has so much to offer in terms of building a business. You know, becoming highly self-aware developing great habits, so feel free to connect with them. But you have got one last question I always ask all guests so that is to you, what does living life on purpose really mean?
Jori Chisholm 55:00
Great question. You know, I think it's the, that's the sort of thing that I didn't think much about when I was younger, and I think more about it now that I have kids. And to me, the family's a really big part of it. And, you know, using my skills, using my experience, using my talents, using what I've, you know, where I am in life, to try to help others. And I think if I can find something that feels like, it's the right thing for me personally, and also is the right thing for my family. And then thinking about, you know, the broader my extended family and my community, and then the world, if something is good on all those different levels. To me, that's a pretty good sign that, that should be, that's a good thing to do. But I do think, you know, specifically about my family, I think about building my business, and living my life in a way that models for them, you know, the proper way to carry oneself, and to do things. You know, to do things, honestly, to work hard to try to help others and, you know, leave the world a better place. I know that sounds cheesy, but I feel fortunate that I get to, you know, my career is something that's a hobby for most people. And I'm thinking about ways that I can help, you know, individual pipers, but I'm also thinking about ways that, you know, I can help the broader world of bagpipers do my products and my different innovations and leave it a little bit better than it was when I came to it. And I feel the same way about the world.
James Laughlin 56:48
That's incredible. Well, Jori you're a constant source of inspiration for me you're one of those people in my life that I do reach out to. Jori is one of those people I trust that I can get honest feedback from in terms of, hey, how do you think I'm doing in this or what advice would you have so Jori to have you on the show has been an absolute pleasure. And I hope that all the listeners have enjoyed it as much as I have. Please do go and follow Jori connect with him. And as I say, if you're not a musician, you're still going to learn a lot and be inspired by him. So Jori, I want to wish you all the very best for the year ahead. And thank you so much for coming on the show.
Jori Chisholm 57:20
Thanks, James. Always great to catch up whether we're being recorded in podcasting or just hanging out always great to chat and, and learn from you too, man.
James Laughlin 57:38
Thank you so much for listening in today and investing in your own personal growth. Please hit that subscribe button. I would love, love, love If you'd leave me a rating and review as it really helps me to impact more people. I've got some amazing guests lined up in the coming weeks and folks, it's that time. Get out there and live life on purpose.