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On Episode 17, I have a #CreativeConversation with my Pal, J.B. Armstrong.
We discuss the impact of attending private school as one of the few black kids, the career pivot that occurred while he was chilling at a Wendy’s, and why training your mind is the most important thing you can do.
WHO IS: J.B. Armstrong?
J.B. is a Director/Writer/Producer from Detroit, Michigan that is currently based in Los Angeles. As the CEO of EarleyBird TV, a production company focused on Black original content, J.B. prides himself on capturing the true essence of the human spirit.
Backed by his faith in God, his ability to charm a room, and his focus on ensuring he’s always doing what’s best for him, J.B. drops a lot of gems in this episode that will definitely get you inspired to finally do that thing you’ve been thinking about doing. It’s also the longest Pol and Pals episode to date so no shame if you gotta run it back a few times to fully take it in.
Matter of fact: I’m actually listening to the episode as I type this 🤓 .
Mental Breakdowns: Fresh Never Frozen
J.B. starts by taking us through his younger years in Detroit, MI. Early on, he was aware of his “dual-speaking” abilities, intelligence, and overall charm, so he felt like the only reasonable career path was to be a lawyer.
While having a mental breakdown during his sophomore year of college, he realized that this attraction to being a lawyer wasn’t really based in anything aside from “I would be good at it.”
So while on a phone call with his aunt at the Wendy’s in the basement of the Union at the University of Michigan (IFYYK😏), she told him something that pivoted his mindset and changed his future forever:
You have to wake up every morning loving what you do.
From that moment, J.B. decided to pursue his childhood love for art by enrolling in the art school…
…but he quickly realized that that was not the move either😅.
And this became a reoccurring theme for him: if he felt that what he wasn’t doing was the right thing in his heart, he would use that feeling as motivation to pursue what he really wanted to do.
This resulted in him staying in college for an extra year, but it also allowed him to pursue more of his artistic interests and graduate with experience in photography, screenwriting, and editing which allowed him to move to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for storytelling.
What’s BEST and What’s TRUE
Soon after graduation, J.B. decided to go all-in with his goals of storytelling and move to the City of Angels.
Although he was living off of his friend’s couch, he was able to get a job at Vice News! At least, until they laid him off within 4 months 😕.
After losing his job, J.B. had to make a decision: go back home or figure out how to make ends meet.
He decides to stay in L.A. and make ends meet by finding a job at Best Buy. Although working at Best Buy wasn’t TRUE to who he wanted to be and what he wanted to do, it was the BEST* option for him at the time.
*there’s a joke here, but I’ll restrain myself.
This theme of Best and True is common throughout J.B.’s story, and it’s even more evident as he speaks on the additional jobs that he adds to his resume on the pursuit to be true to himself.
Whether it’s Apple, ATTN, or even Netflix, J.B. made sure to always level up despite the ups and downs he experienced along the way.
GOD 🤝 EUROPE
One of the major downs J.B experienced on his road to being true was coming to terms with the fact that he wasn’t truly happy.
While working at ATTN, J.B. realized that he started to overindulge, lose confidence in his work, and place the intentions of others over his own. Mixed with the temptation to enviously compare to what other creatives were doing in his field, J.B. hits rock bottom and decides to quit his job, leave L.A… and go to Europe😭.
As random as the decision was to go travel through Europe for 2 months, J.B. explains how he was at a “crossroad of faith and down on his luck bad.” He was afraid and anxious, but this trip would start the self-reflection journey needed for him to soul search and make way to address things that he considered roadblocks to his growth such as selfishness, conceitedness, and ego.
Believe In Yourself
Despite learning about himself and growing as a person during his trip to Europe, J.B. still felt this sense of loss after returning to Detroit. It wasn’t until a phone call with a friend from LA that he realized the true problem.
You know something J.B. It seems that everybody believes in you… but you don’t believe in yourself.
Hearing a friend tell him this made J.B. realize that his MIND was the main thing holding him back.
So, with his newfound confidence and an invite from his current business partner, JoJoe, to be the CEO of EarleyBird TV, J.B. decided to move back to LA and is now focused on ensuring a smooth launch for EarleyBird on January 28th.
Words of Advice
At the end of each episode, I ask my guest to share some Words of Advice that they feel have helped them get to where they are today. Click on the post to hear the whole message.
“Train Your Mind and Cleanse Your Heart”
Here’s a link to the book J.B. referenced during the episode: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
On the next episode of Pol and Pals (January 21st @ 8PM EST), my guest and I will be discussing traveling, hiking, and doing it all on a teacher’s budget!
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