The Only Way is Up

Episode 6.  Today, we’re speaking with Jamie Clarke, Canadian Adventurer and CEO of Live Out There. In this video Jamie discusses his passion for moving up, and how this doesn’t just give you a new perspective for business, but also on life.

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Grab a coffee and take it all in.


[Michael Chase]

The only way is up. I love that sentiment. Tell me a little bit about your perspective because it obviously rings true in your life.

[Jamie Clarke]
It’s one of those things that rings true in work life, in family life, in just life in general. I like the idea of resiliency. I like the idea of always moving forward and upward. The greatest experiences of my life have been literally upward, but I think that when you have to fight against something, in this case, gravity, you learn a lot and those experiences are rich. I don’t like to coast. Even if I’m going forward, I don’t like to coast. I like to be moving up.

[Michael Chase]
Tell me a little bit about “up” and climbing the seven summits.

[Jamie Clarke]
I think literally when you go up onto a mountain pass, you’re able to see into the future, into the distance. Around every corner, a new vista unfolds, new perspective, new understanding, new learning, so I like the notion of up. I don’t mean it in terms of corporate ladders, I mean it in terms of perspective and personal growth. It’s where I’m most happy.

[Michael Chase]
Business is an adventure because the outcome is unknown. Tell me about this in a world where brands are now grappling with the unknown.

[Jamie Clarke]
I think in all of us, without sounding cheesy, there is a portal, an access to be the adventurer in your own life and that is to embark upon things where the outcome is unknown. It’s that, I don’t know if it’s conflict or … it’s that intensity that I think brings joy to life. It also evokes a bit of fear, and fear I think is a critical ingredient for a life well lived.

I sometimes hate it. It can be paralyzing. It sometimes can burn you out if it’s excessive, but fear brings pause for thought when you’re about to do something foolish. Fear brings some energy. It gets you out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it won’t let you sleep, but it can also serve you, so I’m a big believer in moving toward and into the unknown. At least that’s where I get the most fulfillment in life.

[Michael Chase]
You challenge your team on a regular basis to look at the other side of fear and move to the other side of fear by having a human experience. In a world where we have this digital multiverse today and we’re moving away from that human to human connection, where do you see things going? Why does human to human matter so much?

[Jamie Clarke]
I think that we’re actually moving toward human to human connection because it is of higher priority and more valued. We are distracted in our devices sitting around as a family at the table. In meetings in my office, we have a rule sometimes where you’re not allowed to bring a device into the meeting because you’re just constantly, “Oh, I’m taking notes. Yes, I’m capturing the information.” No, you’re not. You’re trying to get some email done while your boring colleague grinds on and on and on about the same old stuff and goes on some foolish rant. As the leader of the company, if I make our meetings more productive, you shouldn’t have to escape into your email with your digital devices.

In part, I believe we are drifting away, but at the same time, that gives a great opportunity for us to create connection, like real connection. As parents, we need to do it. In my house, you can’t come to the dinner table with your phone. There is a phone zone, free zones, and times. At work, it’s the same thing. We plan retreats, we go away. We’re going skiing for the day, we’re going to go for a hike, we’re going to go to the bar and have some drinks and goof around. No phones. I think we are distracted, but for those who are in the business of connection, it’s a huge opportunity. If we can deliver that connection, then we’re delivering something of value.

[Michael Chase]
Tell me the one thing brands can do today to transform the way they engage with people.

[Jamie Clarke]
Without trying to make it sound like I’m skirting the issue, it’s exactly that. We are very much natural at engaging. Some of us are more or less shy, more or less introverted or extroverted in the right circumstances perhaps. We all crave, want engagement. Inside of my little company, you walk into our bricks and mortar store, how are you approached? You can walk up to someone and say, “Hey, can I help you?” and they’re going to say, “Just looking.” You could walk up and say, “You’re head’s on fire.” “I’m just looking.” “Get out of the building. There’s a earthquake coming.” “I’m just looking.”

How do you talk to your staff, young staff who’ve maybe never worked in retail, or seasoned veterans about engagement? That person coming in the store does want engagement in the right measure at the right time. It’s the same thing in our digital world with an email marketing campaign or how we merchandise on the site.

Engagement is not as complicated as we’re making it. I think it’s do exactly that and I particularly thing as leaders, we track very much our net promoter score, our NPS score inside of our company, and we sit around 85, which we’ve very proud of. Now we’re a small company, so I would argue that that’s easier for us to achieve than a big company, but it’s about engagement and it’s about setting the tone.

If we have a problem, I ask my customer service team, “Fire me an email”. It’s not because you can’t do the job, but fire me the email. I want to be engaged. Send me a note, send me a Slack message. Get me in the loop with the customer. I’ll reach out to them. That’s engagement.

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