| David Gane

Sara Dietschy: Asking, Picking, and Listening

I'm a big fan of Sara Dietschy (rhymes with peachy), a YouTube vlogger and filmmaker.

She has built two fantastic series that focus on creators and the creative process. Creative Spaces TV showcases the studios and workshops of creators, while That Creative Life highlights interviews from Dietschy and artists about their creative process.

I think she is great example of a hard working, talented person that I've begun recommending to my students to watch, specifically for three traits I admire about her.

Learn to Ask

I discovered Dietschy (like many others) through a viral video she made called How to Casey Neistat a Vlog but what really impressed me was what she did next.

The video caught Neistat's eye and he praised her on his vlog, which sent her view count skyrocketing from 4000 to 40000 in one day.[1]

Yet, she didn't sit on this opportunity. She immediately sent an email introducing herself to Gary Vaynerchuk, of Wine Library TV and VaynerMedia, and was asked shortly afterwards to be on an episode of the #ASKGARYVEE show.

This approach reminds me of Amanda Palmer's TED Talk(and now book) about getting past the fear of asking people for their help.[2]

I think if Dietschy had let the Neistat moment pass by, she would have enjoyed some nice attention for a couple of weeks. But she used it to her advantage, took the leap, and built it further by introducing herself to Vaynerchuk.

Pick Yourself

Of course, this moment was built from hard work. She opened her YouTube channel nearly five years ago, but it wasn't until a few years ago that there was a real bump in the output of her work. By the time Creative Spaces TV aired, she had already created about 35 pieces of content. By the time I write this blog, she's completed almost 200 videos ranging from episodes of her two shows, side projects, and her regular vlog.

She's never sat around waiting to be chosen. She's never waited until someone gave her permission to do what she loves. She just started doing it, worked hard, and shared her stuff with others.

Yes, she could have tried to take Creative Spaces TV to some small network to broadcast her show and she could have applied for funding to support it. Instead, she went out and did it herself, building it with her own time and money and stress. But now it's hers, as well as the journey she's taken

Listen to Yourself

On a recent episode of her vlog, she shared how only a year ago, she was pursuing computer science and electrical engineering degrees at college and hating it. She describes the time this way:

A little over a year ago, I was confused. I was...so confused. I was so lost but I was working so hard towards something. I didn't know what it was yet but I was searching so hard.

There were brief moments, like when she practiced her hobby of film editing, that felt right. By the time she went to a huge conference that promoted creativity and Adobe products, she knew it was what she wanted. She gave herself the goal that the next time she attended the conference, she would go as a presenter. A few months later, she became an Adobe Creative Resident, and this year she did talks at the conference.

However, I think there is something important to note here.

While I wholeheartedly believe that you should never stay in a job that you're miserable doing, I agree with Cal Newport that chasing your passions can be dangerous, especially without the follow through, which brings me to Dietschy's bonus strength...

Hard Work

She pursued what she loved with hard work, creating a space where she became invaluable first as a photographer, then as a video creator.

There was no guarantee that Neistat would ever see her video, that Vaynerchuk would ever take her up on her ask, or that she'd get an Adobe Creative residency. However, none of this stopped her from working hard and pursuing opportunities.

For her, the process is a hustle. She knows that nothing comes by sitting around, dreaming, and doing absolutely nothing to move towards your goal. She followed her gut, chose herself, did the hard work, and asked for the opportunities.

I'd say those are four excellent character traits to have.

  1. At the writing of this vlog, it is well past 1.3 millions views. ↩︎

  2. This is a lesson I learned only a few years ago. I had grown up never asking and only suggesting or hinting at things I wanted from people. When I applied this tactic to my father-in-law, a very straight-to-the-point Greek man for something I wanted, it failed. Afterward, when he found out what I had been requesting indirectly, he looked at me and said, "Why didn't you just ask?" ↩︎

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