Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Navigating Change Is An Opportunity for Growth

About This Episode

Growing — whether in our personal or professional lives — requires change. But change can be terrifying, no matter what stage in your life you’re at. Fortunately, there are people who can help us deal with change — and show us how it can transform our lives and the communities around us. 

Josh Chambers has done it all. Prior to being an entrepreneur and the founder of the Moon March agency, he was an aid worker, an advertising executive, and a professional athlete. Now, with his agency, he helps people navigate change — and he helps businesses do good by helping them to their fullest potential.

Whether he’s helping brands show what they do best through thoughtfully executed campaigns or helping business owners grow into their brand identity, Josh sets an example of how to make change work in our favor. No matter how scary, change can be an opportunity for growth and thanks to his decades of experience, Josh is able to share exactly how that mindset has benefited him and others. 


Guest: Josh Chambers, CEO of Moon March

If you’re looking for an agency that builds and designs brands and campaigns for good, check out MoonMarch.com

If you want to learn more about navigating change and coaching, visit JoshChambers.com

And if you feel like you’re ready to make a change and sign up for coaching, you can email Josh at josh@joshchambers.com.

Sponsors

No sponsors for this bonus episode — but please check out MoonMarch.com and JoshChambers.com

Transcript

Branden Harvey
Many of us are overwhelmed by the idea of change, whether we're afraid of it or simply not good at dealing with it, it is not an uncommon feeling for most people. But the reality is that change is inevitable, meaning that the question becomes, how do we cope with that? How do we effectively navigate that? And, of course, how can we use change for good?

This is Sounds Good, I'm Branden Harvey today, we've got a bonus episode of Sounds Good. Today I am joined by Josh Chambers, the a coach and entrepreneur and the CEO of the good focused brand design agency Moon March. Now, you may have seen that this week we officially launched the brand new Good Good Good website filled with good news and ways to take good action.

And it was actually designed by the team at Moon March, which includes Josh because Josh runs Moon March and it has been an absolute labor of love. We've been working on it for the better part of the year and over the course of the process, I've gotten to know Josh and his story. And let me tell you, he has an incredible story. And I just knew that I wanted to celebrate the launch of the website by doing a fun bonus episode of the show with Josh as my guest, as a quick rundown of how much of an expert Josh is on change.

Josh has been an entrepreneur, an aid worker, an advertising executive for a bunch of big brands, a professional athlete, hockey, which I know nothing about, but it's very impressive. He's also moved 15 times, broken 16 bones. He's had two kids, at least one break down, and he changed his childhood religion. And I think that even for those of us who haven't had that much change, that feels somehow relatable, you know what I mean?

And it's clear that Josh is a great guide on how we can navigate change. And so in this episode, we talk about all things change, how to deal with change, how change can be helpful in our own personal development evolution, how we can navigate the next step, also known as the What Do I Do Now phase. And he has such great advice. I came away from this episode super inspired. And again, I've been talking to Josh for a year, so I hope you love this. I loved it. So let's dive into some change.

Branden Harvey
Josh, welcome to Sounds Good, I am so excited to get to talk with you in this format today.

Josh Chambers
I know, me too man. This is a long time in the making.

Branden Harvey
I know truly, we first got connected years ago and then we've been working together on the new Good Good Good site and other things for a year or two now. And during the time, during the time that we've known each other, you just like you scatter in these little details and facts about your life. And I'm always like, what? And you've lived a very diverse and interesting life experience, which is probably why I'm very drawn to you. That's why I wanted to talk with you today, because I want to unpack some of this.

I think this is let me let me just like roll through some details that I have written down about your life. You at like 16 or 17, you became a professional hockey player. Somehow you transition to from there becoming an international aid worker and then from there, an ad executive. You started a tech startup. You started an agency Moon March, which is how we know each other. And you also began coaching and becoming a therapist. And this to me is like a very diverse set of things that you have done.

And so maybe I'll just start off by asking, like what?

Josh Chambers
It's so funny hearing you say that back to me, because you don't that doesn't normally happen. People don't normally tell you back the things you've done. And because you just did it in bullet format, I started smiling because I was like, does that sound like a little bit weird and different? Does it it?

Branden Harvey
And I was hearing them just scattered through through the last few years where you're just like, oh yeah. When I was a professional hockey player. Yeah. When I was living in Brazil, when I was living in D.C., like all these things, I'm like, am I talking to the same Josh or are there multiple people I'm confusing here.

Josh Chambers
Well, it's been quite a journey and I feel like a big theme of my life is change and trying to understand why change occurs, why some people change, why other people don't, and why I have undergone so much change. I still don't have great answers for it, but it seems to be a through line for everything that I'm doing.

Branden Harvey
I remember in junior high, I was in a leadership class and everybody in the class was forced to read the book Who Moved My Cheese? Have you read this book?

Josh Chambers
Yeah

Branden Harvey
I don't remember anything about it except that it talked about the idea of change and it was it was supposed to be instructional on why change is good and valuable and important, at least in my memory. And I remember thinking like I don't have a problem with this. Like change sounds great. Like do people have a problem with this? Do people need a book about cheese in order to deal with this? Like and I think that's why I'm drawn to you. Is all this change that you've gone through?

Josh Chambers
I think people feel differently about change. The word change brings up different feelings in everyone. And some people think they want to change or like it and then encounter it and feel very differently afterwards. Other people, it's the inverse. But I think one of the common themes for everyone is that life changes around us no matter what we do. And how we navigate it is, I think, what can be so different for people, but change is hard and I think that some of the things I don't think that's easy to understand when you're younger, even if you want to change that, it doesn't ever happen the way that you anticipated.

And it almost never has the same results that you were thinking it would. And it's always difficult. But the difficulties are different than what you would anticipate them being, especially when you're younger. That's, by the way, amazing that they had you read that book in Junior. You said middle school.

Branden Harvey
Wait it must have been — oh yeah, it was middle school as well. But yeah, I think that's a really good point. I'm sure that my openness to change doesn't make the change affect me less or feel less daunting and scary. It's that I probably just like the abstract idea of it and then therefore I like the abstract idea and other people. But that doesn't mean it was easy for other people. And maybe I feel like it might be instructional to kind of unpack some of these transitions that don't make sense to me and I want to understand them in you.

So you were a professional hockey player. You were really good as a teenager and then somehow you from doing that to becoming an international aid worker. Those are very different things.

Josh Chambers
Yeah, they are. So I grew up and my whole life was pretty much hockey because I showed a good amount of talent from a very young age. So I started playing around six or seven. And then I think the first break I took was when I was 15 because there was a program where you try out for the US national program.

You get invited to do that, and that's around the age of 15 when that starts. So I got invited out there and I broke my ankle during during tryouts, which is kind of a deal breaker. And that was but that was the first break that I got literally and figuratively. Like, I didn't have to play for a while. And so when I got drafted, it's called major juniors, and it's sort of like a minor league and it's hard to describe.

But you get you get drafted in this feeder league and then hopefully from there you get drafted or invited to go play in the NHL so that I could have turned 16 and moved on, moved away from home when I was seventeen. It was just such an intense season of life. Like you're on your own, you're signing autographs. Everybody in town knows you. And I grew up really fast in those three years. But during that time, I just got my my ass handed to me.

Injury wise, I fractured my skull, so I took a slap shot in the face in my part of my face, kind of collapsed and was awful injury. And I remember like I hit in the face, I blacked out. I woke up. The trainer's running toward me. I get off the ice. And my coaches like Chambers, you look like shit. I was like, he's like, if you looked in the mirror I was like, No, he's like, don't.

So the first thing I did was went and looked in the mirror, of course, and my face was just sagging. And it was so grotesque that I just started laughing. So I had this, this injury and I had just tried out for the Red Wings. I got an invitation to come and play with them, and that was when I was 18. And so I had this moment of like I'm playing with my childhood heroes. If anyone listening knows Hockey was Lindstrom's partner and Eisenmann and Federoff and all these ridiculous players.

But I'm like hitting this point. I'm like, yes, it's happening, and then boom, it just kind of same kind of thing that happened with the US National Select 15 tryouts where I'm just like I get injured, so I get injured. I was having a great season. I get back the game back, I go down the block another shot and I got hit in the lungs and. My lungs filled up with blood and almost drowned to death in my own blood on the way to the hospital, which was as traumatic as it sounds.

And this pattern kept happening. I just kept getting hurt. And all told, I think it was like around 15 bones broken, including five vertebrae, parts of my vertebrae. And it was just awful. So I hockeys eventually over injuries. Just it's not an uncommon story. And every time I started to get some success or get some momentum and like heal and get back at it, I would just get hurt. So hockey is over officially and I didn't know what to do with my life.

So I went to college and I met a girl, started dating, and she had done a bunch of work internationally. And so she was like, you should you should go travel and you should do something. And so she introduced me to some people and I went on a trip to Brazil and that just completely changed everything for me. I hadn't left North America. I'd been all over North America and had all these cool experiences. But I remember getting off the plane and seeing flowers that I had never seen and trees that I had never seen and cars that I didn't know existed.

And that moment of realization that there are cities and daily lives happening on the other side of the world without any awareness that I exist in, without any care about what I'm up to and vice versa. And it was just my my horizons were irreversibly broadened. So then I'm in Brazil and that's amazing. So I'm in college trying to figure out what to do. And I once again, I had a friend be like, I'm like, I don't know what I'm going to do this summer.

And I had a friend be like, you should do this. It's kind of like a Habitat for Humanity type thing. You should do this during the summer. And I was like, OK, you get paid a little bit. So I cook another adventure. And I remember telling the person who hired me, like, I just don't want to go anywhere hot. And they sent me to Mexico in the middle of the summer. And then but of course, there I met my now wife and I remember being there and building homes and looking around and realizing I don't think I'm fixing anything here.

I think we're building mediocre, maybe possibly well-built, but most likely poorly built homes for people in poverty. And this doesn't seem to be actually doing a whole lot. So then that was sort of a big realization of how I wonder what it would take to help change this and help bring some real relief to these people that I've met and these friends that I've made that helped him form my decision to do international development as a major. And so then I went and studied in Honduras and learned to speak Spanish and just I mean, I just loved it.

I love the systemic aspect of it that there I knew that something bigger was causing these issues. And I loved the international adventure of it all. And that was transition, I guess, of three or four years of going from like I've never left the country to being like I'm going to go work overseas and do that.

Branden Harvey
That's kind of an identity shift, too. Like, that's not just a change in job and place. It's like, did you feel like, oh, this is who I am now?

Josh Chambers
I don't know. I think I was still I mean, I still am trying to figure out who I am in some ways, but I think that felt nice to put on a new identity, to try on a new a new way of being. There's a lot happening outside of that, too, like. It felt good to be doing something totally different because I don't I didn't properly mourn hockey being over and I didn't properly move on from that. I just sort of left the country.

I was living in Canada and it just was over and. So it was probably a part of it where that new this new adventure that I was having felt great just because it was so different. There were other things that I was doing. I mean, I was dressing way differently, like I was experimenting with different styles. And that's partially because growing up in this world, I was always a creative person. I always design things and loved art.

But that wasn't really well accepted in the hockey community. You're either a jock or a nerd kind of thing. Totally. So during that time, too, I mean, I was like trying on different clothing, like trying on different styles and trying on different physical identities. I guess getting into different music and all that cool stuff.

Branden Harvey
So and then you kind of go down this path of years of. Experiencing international aid work, studying international development, going to continue that and then this seems counterintuitive again, because in my mind, it's like you go down that world of of social impact and you stay in that lane. But you you somehow pivot to ad executive, which is a pretty different experience, to say the least. Why that change?

Josh Chambers
That one was difficult philosophically because hockey was just done and there wasn't really a whole lot of options for me there. But going from international development, where you're studying poverty and systemic issues and you're studying sociology and the effects of racism systemically, the effects of economic systemically and to go from I remember distinctly feeling like how I'm spending when I got back from particularly Honduras and Mexico, but particularly the stint in Honduras, I was like, I can't believe I'm spending this much on a coffee when that's like how much some of my friends made in a week.

Um, so I was not a fan of materialism, of the amount of waste of the environmental. I mean, this is, um, I think 15 years ago, maybe 17 years ago. I don't know that that really bothered me. So to go from there into selling stuff was very hard. It was weird. And it was it was a philosophical just a lot of paradoxes and a very complex thing to try and sort out. But what happened was I went and worked for a human rights agency after I graduated and we moved to Washington, D.C. And this organization does really good work.

And I was so bored and I I hated my job. But there was one department at this organization and it was the creative department. And they did all the design and the communication. And I increasingly found myself like hanging out at their desks and doing work with them and trying to get projects with them. And eventually I got assigned to this like product innovation team, probably just because I was young. And that was when social media was just starting to happen.

But I loved that work and it was really good at it. And I had this realization that the mission of the company didn't improve my day to day. If I didn't like my job, it didn't matter that we were what we were doing. Now, the inverse is probably not true. Had I been in a company that was doing things that I couldn't agree with morally, then I wouldn't have probably ever joined. But it definitely wouldn't have stayed.

But it wasn't enough to keep me around. So just one of those realizations was like, this is this is who I am. I love creative work and I love communicating things. And I love design work and I don't know why, but I'm good at it. And there was an agency in DC and they just had I just saw this ad for a job and they had written it very creatively. And it was like a job posting that was written about who I who it was like you are.

And it was just a well written. Here's who you are. It's like, oh my God, that's me. It was just one of those things I knew in my gut the minute I saw it as a gift. This is what's next. This is what's happening. So it was a really weird jump, but I loved it. I mean, then it was like full on design and software development. And they were it was a really great company.

And I got to be part of some amazing projects. We redesigned all of Puma's properties and tons and tons of Web design work. And then that got me headhunted. And that's how we ended up moving on to New York City. And that's how I ended up running strategy for a bunch of big brands out there.

Branden Harvey
And this is fascinating, too, because this feels like another identity thing where it's like you maybe, you know, when you became an international aid worker, you know, I think it sounds like you had some draw to this idea of like, how can I make real meaningful change? Like, that's the thing that you're excited about and energized about. And you had always wanted the opportunity to do something a little, you know, outside the box or travel.

And so you were drawn to some of those aspects. And then you a new role like that can only hold so much of an identity. And it sounds like a lot of that still like you were tapping into a whole different part of your identity that maybe you hadn't gotten to fully explore yet. Sounds like that was the creative design type of stuff. And then when you had the opportunity to explore that new thing, you're like, well, I've already explored this other thing.

Let me go explore this new thing, because what if this is, you know, the secret sauce? And so I guess my question is, was that alone the secret sauce? And I'm going to throw in the spoiler alert that my guess is no, because the next thing that I wrote down on my. This is tech startup, and that's not ad executive.

Josh Chambers
There is an aspect of it of I am a very curious person and I like to explore new things and the idea of trying on different identities, I think that's probably true.

And a big part of it at the same time was just I think something happens Branden when when you achieve a certain level of success, it's something. And I never got to play a regular season game in the NHL and they never achieved that childhood dream. And yet I got at a high enough level that something about that let me know that you're not always happy even when you get the thing that you want and even when you hit this high level.

And so I think I would think I was going through these, like, gosh, I would achieve good success quickly. And then I'd look around and be like, I don't think I want to keep doing this. I think I'm I think I'm good. I think I've checked this box and I think I'm ready for something different.

Branden Harvey
I just want to say really quick, I think that's a very relatable experience. And I think a lot of people. Probably have had this this feeling of like, oh, this is the thing that I thought would make me happy and I've gotten so far along that you would think that it would, and I guess it's not. And now I need to figure out something new. And it's a very scary experience. And I experienced that with with two things I think I've talked about in the podcast probably in years past, which is I got to a pretty good level as a wedding photographer where like I was I was on the phone yesterday with somebody and they were like, hey, I remember following your wedding photography and like seeing your photos on Pinterest and really admiring it.

And I did not like necessarily being a wedding photographer. Like there were there were parts of it that I really liked, but like I was not fulfilled by that job. And so I had to make the challenging choice to, like, let that go. And then the same thing happened years later with kind of Snapchat, which sounds way less serious and way less interesting. But like I was one of the top Snapchatters in the in the world.

And I one day was like, I'm not doing this anymore. While I still had thousands and thousands and thousands of followers on this app, I was like, I'm deleting this app because it just wasn't the thing for me. And I jumped. And it doesn't make rational sense in many ways, but internally it totally does. But the thing that I think is really hard is navigating that next step and figuring out what do I do now?

Josh Chambers
It's really hard. Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me when I want to talk to me a lot, but especially on this front, like. It's weird to be good at something and to not want to do it anymore. It's even weirder to be good at something and enjoy it and not want to do it anymore. And I've experienced both of those things. And those are very difficult things to to look in this like to look in the eye what is going on here.

And I think some of back to some of these some of these other transitions, I think some of them to your question about identity, we're just exploring different aspects of me that I never got to do. And then I think some of it was maybe seeing behind the curtain and being like, oh, wow, no thanks. You know, other things that I just can't explain, like to the identity thing. I remember being in college, and that's the first time I realized it's the first time I ever felt comfortable saying I was smart and it's the first time I had ever been, like, actually realized I was smart because I'd be in class and I was never, like, getting great grades.

But then all of a sudden in college, I would just get A's if I wanted to. And I had other students who would kind of like treat me like I was the smart kid in class and be like, what the hell? What is this all about? But that was like a piece of my identity that had yet never really clicked into place and was like, oh, wow, I'm a certain type of smart anyways. And the next one, the creative thing to your question was like, oh wow, I actually am good at this.

Like I can be creative, I'm allowed to be creative. I did not grow up in a home that was. Nobody in my family had a creative job or was anywhere near a creative profession, so that was like, oh, I'm allowed to do this, I'm allowed to be this, and I and I can be good at this. And yet again, realizing like and I'm done and I want something different.

Branden Harvey
Bring me up to speed. Bring me through like the final days of ad executive through your startup and then and then founding Moon March and then kind of up to where we are today.

Josh Chambers
When we moved to New York City, that was that's probably the first time I felt like I was actually home in my whole life. There were a huge variety of people. Everybody under the under the sun was there. And it was probably the first time that I felt like I could bring a lot of my previous identities or roles into one person. And everyone was seemed OK with it. There was no bifurcation between jock and creative. Some people wanted to make that, but there were a lot of people that didn't.

And there was no hesitation around, oh, you're good at this and you can lead these teams. Great. Do it because we want to succeed. And so we move there. And because of all the experience that I had, a puma, the agency I got hired on had just landed the Reebok account. And so I moved to New York. And one of the first the first thing I did was I remember I was sitting in this corner conference room overlooking Manhattan, running the Audi pitch, and I was like, oh, my God, this was so different and new.

So fast forward. I end up leading the Reebok account as a strategist and. We did the this is when we were merging Reebock and CrossFit, and so we had to roll out a bunch of Reebok products in this new brand globally in most of the major markets. I had increasingly just felt like, what am I doing again here? It was so fun. I love the work. I loved my team, the client I did not enjoy. But I, I was feeling so happy and satisfied in some ways and yet again at a philosophical level like what is this really what I want to spend my time doing is this this is what this is all about.

There was one story that sticks out where we're trying to sell these these shoes and this product line to women in particular. So that was there were tons of different products that were selling. But this one product line in particular sticks out. It was supposed to be celebrating everyday women. I remember working really hard to convince the team, the global team, that we should really actually celebrate everyday women, like we should take people that hadn't been heard of and did everyday jobs and celebrate the ordinary and celebrate them as the extraordinary.

That idea took shape. But then it got mutated into they started running auditions. And in the auditions I saw the audition tapes. Later, they would have these women do yoga poses to see how good their bodies were. And then before you knew it, it was it was really discouraging, to say the least. And then before you knew it, we had what we called the I don't remember the exact name of them, but we had a woman from Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada, I think the US and a couple other major markets that I can't remember.

But they became the representatives of this brand. And we're in L.A., we're on set and we're doing a commercial. And the director is like, no, slap her ass. No, you slap her ass. And I remember just being like, you've got to be kidding me. How this went from let's celebrate ordinary women to like, let's do a basically a model search for it's hard to even describe, like, what the criteria was. But to put it crassly, it was like, let's find the hottest women we can according to this narrow definition of what beauty is.

And then let's do these weird, these weird commercials that did not celebrate women. I don't think at all in that moment there were a bunch of little moments. But in that moment I was like, crap, I'm not affecting the change that I want to see here. And at the same time, I think I was like twenty seven or twenty eight. So at the same time I had achieved this level of success. Like nobody at that age historically should have been leading a global account and a global rollout out like that.

It just was timing because I was great with digital technology, because I had a background in software and and because I was just a millennial. And then also I was exceptionally good at brand strategy. And those two things didn't really talk to each other around that time. It was like you're either digital or your brand. So I was looking around, was like, OK, well, I did that. I'm in New York City. I'm leading this huge account and I'm feeling philosophically at odds with myself right now.

And I'm bored and I really wanted to try out entrepreneurship. So that is what led me to long story longer to starting my own tech company. So I started that and put that together and did that for three years and then. Where should we go from here? Branden.

Branden Harvey
Well, two things. One, do you think that it is possible to change an institution as big as the advertising industry from the inside? Or what do you think it would take? Because it sounds like you thought you could and couldn't. And I, I think I have no doubt that you tried. And it makes me I don't know. It just makes me curious if you think that that's a viable system or if it's the kind of thing where you have to tear it all down and start over

Josh Chambers
This is a very like NPR answer, but it's probably all of the above.

And I do think while working in advertising, I did I don't think it's an overstatement to say that I did bring about a lot of good change on the accounts and on the teams that I worked for and with. I think if there were more people who were equipped and trained to think differently about advertising and humanity, I think there could be a lot of change from the inside. Unfortunately, that's not really the case. We are really good as human beings that just bifurcating and siloing ourselves.

So it's odd to me still that you can show up and write a commercial that you you probably would never live out and almost even would be opposed to in a different area of your life. But we all do that in a lot of ways. We show up at a certain a job or an environment, and we're like, yeah, I'll endorse this at this small level because it's what I need to do right now. But then extrapolate that out and we would not want to do that or see someone do that.

And we're pretty darn good at that. So I think change can happen from the inside. And I certainly hope it can happen from the inside because I don't think you look at some of the institutions in our government, in our society, that I don't think tearing them down entirely would have would be right. But at the same time, maybe they need to go and maybe both. But I think that we skirt a lot of these moral questions because the scale that we do the math is small enough that they never really force us to look them in the eye.

So I'm still in. Communications and advertising in some in some fashion or another, but it's not it's easier to avoid some of these questions about advertising and what messages are being communicated, because the scale at which I'm doing them isn't across a couple of different continents and plastered all over the subway in Times Square. So when it happens at that massive scale, it's like, wow, this feels a little bit weird. And when when the brief from the team from the client is we don't just want to buy one pair of shoes, we want them buy two pair of shoes.

And it couldn't be more overtly materialistic and off-putting to me and like, no, that's a waste. And that doesn't make any sense. Like we just kind of avoid it at a small scale. And so I think a lot of the systems that we've built, we're all still doing them and supporting them. But we don't ever feel like we are because we're not doing it with millions of dollars or with millions of eyeballs. It's just like, oh, well, this is this is innocent and this is nice.

And so I still wrestle with that as a concept. I kind of really like advertising. I don't love the idea that we're the product on most digital tools. I don't like the way in which advertising interrupts us and I don't like billboards and all of these things. And yet I'm still in the communications industry. And so it's a—

Branden Harvey
Let's hold up really quick. We've got to take an ad break. We'll be right back.

Josh Chambers
Just so true that I mean, we're on a podcast and it's like, gosh, I love podcasts and I. I'm so grateful that there are companies that are willing to support podcasters and yet I'm like it would be way better, wouldn't it, if we just all paid for our stuff? I don't know. This is a philosophical.

Branden Harvey
You already brought up Moon March, so I want to stay here, but that would be skipping over your tech startup. And just really quick, can you just tell people with that tech startup was because I think it's really cool. I think that everybody will like it and think it's awesome.

Josh Chambers
All right. So I started this financial tech startup and the premise was connected two years ago, living overseas and having this realization that I spent more on a latte than my friends made in a week or sometimes more. I wanted to introduce a product that would get people to maybe spend their money better. So one of the big realizations as a brand strategist, as a as a person who thinks a lot about how to communicate something, the premise of this this product was that if you want to get people to save money, you should talk to them about spending money, not saving money, because nobody wants to talk about saving money, but everybody likes to spend money.

So this product was you would it would allow for you to skip a purchase like a latte, or we even had people like skipping airline upgrades. And you would then set that money aside and then you could visualize it on up to five goals with the premise being that if you could see that money is fungible and if you could see that the little changes you make have a big impact, it could transform how you view your money. So this cool thing would happen where someone would we had a tracker that would simultaneously project how much you made across your goals.

So if one of your goals was a new pair of shoes, let's say for one hundred dollars, but then another one of your goals was vacation for five thousand dollars or two thousand dollars. What we started to see was people would achieve their goal in short order, but then they'd see that that hundred dollars. Do I really want to spend it on shoes or do I actually want to take that vacation? And so, like, it would start to transform how people thought about money from a very different angle.

And then the brilliant thing I think this was part of trying to fix advertising was we had all of this pent up spending and we knew exactly what category everything was in so we could go to Best Buy and say we have a million dollars of pent up spending in the consumer electronics category. And then Best Buy can give them an offer and start competing for customers attention based on something they actually want versus interrupting them and or trying to convince them they need something they don't actually want.

So that was three years in the making. We got a couple of great awards like financial products. I think it was like top 15 financial products of the year. This was a big moment. We got an offer, an acqui-hire offer from Intuit. And that was going to that was working really well. Oh, and for the record, we tried like we raised a couple of rounds of funding. And for anyone listening fundraising, that was those are some of the hardest years of my life to like.

It was so, so tough. So we had this great offer. The backdrop of all this is I now have two kids. We were raising money and then series A it doesn't work. We're pretty much broke, but we've got this awesome offer from into it. We had moved like ten times. My wife and I, we had a three month old. We were in four hundred square feet. We had just enough money literally to pay one month's rent and then that was it.

And I'm trying to broker this deal with with Intuit around this time. And it all kind of bleeds together. And I just I remember one night laying in bed and I'm trying to fall asleep and my body just starts getting covered in hives. And I have my first probably not my first, but what I would have for the first time known to label as a panic attack. I just melted down my whole body covered in hives. I couldn't breathe.

I had to get in a cold shower. I couldn't even form words very well. I was just an absolute mess. That was the kick off to realizing like, oh, there's a lot of unhealed trauma here that I need to work through an address. And that was the beginning of therapy journey for me years ago. But that moment was like, you want to talk about doing something and changing things and it not going the way it was supposed to go.

Good grief. Like I used up all our money, took on investment dollars, said goodbye to a very lucrative, successful career. And then here I am in four hundred square feet, pretty much broke. Two kids having a panic attack. Oh, that was hard. But, you know, the silver lining of it is that is what it took for me to to call a therapist to finally look at a lot of the trauma that I grew up with and a lot of the trauma that physical trauma and otherwise.

And so moon March, I'll just fast forward to that. So the reason I brought up into it is because they were making acquire and they were like American Express is doing we're doing something with them. That's pretty much your product. So we want you to lead the team. And because it's with American Express there in New York City, you can stay in New York and do your thing. And my wife and I, we're like, good, because we just moved again.

We're out of the 400 square feet. Can't can't do this again. We got little kids. We're we're fried and I'm. Not telling into it that I just had a panic attack, but I'm a mess, so fly to Palo Alto, do all the interviews I get home, they're like, hey, we actually want you to be the head of product innovation for all of the digital products at Intuit, which is a total career making job. And I was like, OK, this is awesome.

Let's do it now. OK, all right. When can you move? And I was like, huh? And I was like, you guys said I could do New York. They're like, well, no. I mean, of course you can stay in New York to get your orders in, like to get your affairs in order. But of course, you're moving out to Palo Alto. So then we had this really hard decision to make, like, do I want to keep doing this?

And once again, I was done. I just didn't want to keep doing what I didn't want to work on that product anymore. And I knew in my gut that another move was not what our family needed. Looking back, I don't we probably could have done it. But long story short, I said no to this job, which was a fantastic job. And I did a couple of little things. But then I started Moon March specifically to reach those growth stage companies.

These are companies that have been around for long enough to know like what works and what doesn't. They know that they need a level of talent that they haven't yet maybe had access to. And I can step in and be empathetic to growing a business and growing a company and bring all of this deep experience in design, creativity, campaign's brand strategy, et cetera. And so started Moon March. And you know what's funny is you talk about life just like giving you the middle finger.

In some ways, I. I try. We tried our asses off to raise a series A on my last tech startup and just couldn't do it. And it was a small round of funding. We just could not there was a lot of reasons why, but couldn't do it within like the first year or two of of March. I had helped our clients raise like fifty million dollars in funding while I remember just being like, you got to be kidding me.

And realizing like, OK, great, thank God I'm not, I'm not, I'm not totally bad at this. Apparently it's just something about that product that time that season. But man oh man that was, that was weird. Fast forward to now. So Moon March has been at six years old now and we've had the privilege of working with some really cool, really interesting companies. All good people, mostly all good people. I should say. We've had to let a couple of clients go.

Branden Harvey
I was going to say, are you talking about me? [laughs] Mostly good people.

Josh Chambers
There's — no there is just some clients that we — it just always happens.

Branden Harvey
Yeah.

Josh Chambers
You're in the good category for sure.

Branden Harvey
Well, technically, I'm in the Good Good Good category of ...

Josh Chambers
Hey-o!

Branden Harvey
[laughs] Absolute garbage. I'm sorry, continue.

Josh Chambers
But so one of the things though that started to occur as we're expensive and we specialize in this tier of companies where, like I said, they've been around long enough. I don't work with early stage startups, so they've been around long enough to know what works. No, it doesn't. They've probably taken their lumps. They've they've probably tried putting their own stuff together or maybe had a freelancer.

And now they're ready for like a really high level, high caliber work. And they also have a budget. There's this tier of companies that we work with occasionally, I should say occasionally we'll do an early stage startup, but they have to have funding and that's just rare. But what started to evolve was I'd get these would be clients and it'd be like, I'd love to help help you, but Moon March,  our economics are not going to work for you and vice versa.

So I started started doing some coaching with people and particularly for creative types and entrepreneurs, and really enjoyed and enjoy the idea of being able to serve some of these people in these communities that can't necessarily afford Moon March as an agency. But maybe I can work with them and help them as they work through and are in the trenches just like a couple of years ago. This is worth noting, I also started a lot of companies and run a lot of projects.

So I'm a co-owner of CBD company and a music company. And like all of these things that bring me joy to try and create stuff, one of the side projects that I did a couple of years ago was this podcast called How Humans Change. And it was because I'm interested in change. We talk to someone and I specifically wanted to talk to just people that no one's ever really heard of about. Little changes that they'd experienced in her life and I'd hear their back story on that change and that process of of interviewing and doing something one on one was like.

So I just found it to be such a gift to be in these one on one environments with people. And I got to hear their story and hear all of the amazing things that happened in their life and that talk about missing things that weren't quite clicking. I've always enjoyed the client relationship in the creative world and the creative work, provided it's a good relationship. Sometimes it's just hard with the work that you're doing. But this like one on one thing was.

I loved it, it was a very different dynamic, it felt more collaborative, and that was one of the things I was like, Oh man, I am I missing this? And I'd love to do more of this. And so I'd love to do continue to design and do creative work and communicate. But there's times where I don't really care about doing that work, but I'd love to work with the person. And that was informative. And it definitely I bring a lot of that work into the work that we do at Moon March.

But that was that was unexpected to be like, holy crap, I love this. And I'm really I think I'm good at this. And that's part of what led to wanting to do more coaching, even though I don't really like that word and then also pursuing it.

Branden Harvey
Wait - Why don't you like the word?

Josh Chambers
Oh, I don't know if I'm going to make your audience thrilled or really angry right now. I just think so much of the Internet and so much of coaching is is just vapid.

It's just built on it doesn't seem authentic or real or true. And it seems to be missing the underlying issues and purpose of life. So coaching, there's nothing wrong with coaching. It's just from my experience, when you look coaches up on the Internet and start to Google things, you come across a lot of live your best life people. And I don't think that's very genuine, generally speaking, to to generalize. And a lot of the coaching industry, like personal coaching, I think is ignores the difficulty of humanity, the impact of our past on who we are.

And it's sort of like if you just try hard enough, everything's going to work out. And it ignores the cultural context in which we're living. So I find the coaching industry at large to be sort of hyper driven and like subscriber count driven and Instagram driven. And I don't know how how much depth there is in it. That's a huge generalization.

Branden Harvey
But when you're coaching or whatever the the new made up where it is for it, you know, like what is what is your. Goal for people and especially, you know, kind of to, you know, begin the process of wrapping up this conversation, what is your goal, especially in the context of your experiences, like you have gone through all these changes, you have experienced some identity shifts, like how does that experience inform what you want to help others through?

Josh Chambers
One of the things I talk about now in coaching is helping people navigate change because I mean, I've moved so many times, different states, different jobs, different careers. And I feel like. Change is inevitable, yet it's still always surprising and how we navigate it, I think can really transform who we are and our life in general, so. A lot of what I want to keep doing in coaching and part of why I'm pursuing a licensure in therapy is to help people.

Better uncover who they are and what how they want to navigate the current changes or step into a change and or be more of who they are and be more human and be more authentic to themselves. And I think that's probably what a lot of coaches are trying to do. I think there's one of the distinctions, though, is because coaching isn't like there's no board. They have to ethically stay out of a lot of territory that could be get them in trouble or they should stay out of that territory anyways for people's well-being.

So when I look at what I want to do with coaching, it's particularly for people that are like, I need a change, I want to change, I feel stuck. What do I do now? And helping people. I think, generally speaking, people know somewhere deep inside themselves what they want and what's what's right for them. And in the same way that when I'm working, like when I worked with you guys, I think Branden you knew underneath it what you wanted.

And I think I saw that. And then I can extract that information from you and then give you back. Here's what I'm hearing. And here's what I think the most powerful aspect of this is. And you can be like, oh, yeah, that connects with what I've been feeling, but maybe I haven't been able to say that's a lot of what coaching is like. Something's going on in you. I'm here to collaboratively figure that out with you.

And then what I'm good at is seeing those bright spots and then giving them back to you in a succinct way so that you can be like all that connects with me, like at a deep level. Yeah. And a much less about like go on a diet and exercise more and get to the beach and then Instagram that and then tell us how great it is and much more about like, hey, what, what, what's stirring deep in you.

You know that feeling when there's wires that are almost connected but not quite. I think I can help you connect those things and I think they're already there. You just might need a little bit of help figuring out what they are.

Branden Harvey
I mean, you went through all of these things. And to be honest, I see how like your current setup with me marching and coaching, going down the path to become a therapist is like such a perfect fit for you in your skill set. Like I can feel it in my bones. Do you do you ever wish or do you think it's even possible? Do you ever wish that you would just skip to this point? Could you have avoided a lot of the things that you did before and it just come to this earlier, or did you have to go through that whole journey to get here?

Josh Chambers
I don't see how I could have skipped anything because all of this all of this stuff needed one little thing at a time, and it needed the change before that change to be open to the next thing. There's a lot of things I think I could have skipped, to be honest, in terms of like childhood stuff, like trauma stuff and things that. We're probably nurtured into me that I don't want to be a part of me, those things I wish I could have skipped because I'm undoing a lot of that work.

But some of the experiences later, I don't think I could have accelerated and still be who I am now. But I don't know, dude, I wrestled with that, too, because you're like, I don't know. Is the multiverse real? Maybe there's like 50 other versions of me somewhere that's doing much better than I am

Branden Harvey
You're watching Loki right now?

Josh Chambers
I mean, for the record, I've been thinking about that stuff for a long time. But yes, I am watching you right now.

Branden Harvey
It's really good. Really good. I want to wrap up with one final question, because I have just so much appreciated your story that's been so helpful to hear things that just connect so deeply to me, like the idea of change is so relatable for people who are navigating this right now. They they resonated with this story and they are trying to figure out how to navigate change. What advice would you offer them for? Making it through this for for transitioning to something that feels more a part of who they are, transitioning away from something that feels like it, it's no longer serving them.

Like what? What advice would you offer?

Josh Chambers
One, get help? I think that's maybe an obvious one, but it overlooked one. It's hard to do that stuff alone or better said, it's easier to do with someone. So get some help. Coach, therapist. I think there's some freedom in knowing that the thing that you're about to enter into is not going to be perfect and it's probably not going to go the way that you want it to go. And you do enough of those to realize, well, the next thing I'm stepping into is the next right thing.

And that's it. That's what I got. And it's going to bring some hopefully some great things and maybe some not so great things. But there can be a freedom. It can be discouraging to think about that. But it can be some freedom in releasing you to pursue something different or new or embrace a change or reject something, because you know that there is no perfect path, which is something I still really struggle with. If there is like the idea of a perfect path or a or the just right way of doing something.

And then I think one of the better pieces of advice that I got was just or some of the books that I've read have talked about the limbo middle period that gets overlooked all the time. We talk about change as like endings and beginnings, but we don't ever talk about the in-between period. And the in-between period is possibly the hardest and most disorienting, because that is when I know that other thing was supposed to end and maybe I've already started the next thing, but maybe I'm just waiting for the next thing and I don't know what's going on.

And I know who I am. And I'm walking down the street and I'm almost having out of body experiences because I feel like. Yesterday, I was this one thing, and now I'm not that thing and what's that all about? So I think giving space for the middle and like, recognizing that it's difficult. And can be disorienting, is reassuring because you're probably not going crazy, it's just a normal part of that change process that is perfect. I think that's the perfect place to wrap this episode.

Branden Harvey
Josh, thank you so much for being on Sounds Good today. Think you for living your story. Thank you for sharing your story with us. And then thank you for helping others walk through their own story.

Josh Chambers
You're welcome, Branden. Thanks for having me on.

Branden Harvey
That's Josh Chambers, the CEO of Moon March, as well as coach and professional entrepreneur. If you are looking for an agency that builds and designs brands and campaigns for good, check out MoonMarch.com. I couldn't recommend working with them more. They have been such a delight to work with and you should check out their site, scroll around, look at their projects: MoonMarch.com. If you want to learn more about navigating change and coaching. Is it JoshChambers.com? And if you are ready to make some change and you want to sign up for coaching, Josh told me that I could just give out his email address. You can email him directly at josh@joshchambers.com.

This podcast was created by Good Good Good at Good Good Good. We help you feel more hopeful and do more good. And our new website does just that. You can find more good news and ways to make a difference at the all new goodgoodgood.co. Go check it out and see how great of a job Josh and the team at Moon March did one more time. That's goodgoodgood.co. This episode was created by Sara Li, Megan Burns and me Branden Harvey. It was edited in sound design by the team at Sound On Studios, and you can find out more about their work as soundonsoundoff.com.

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Episode Details

August 6, 2021

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Sounds Good is the weekly podcast that hosts hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the headlines we can be hopeful about — and how you can get involved and make a difference.

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